The Lives of Others

We’re almost there, a six week block and we’re pinning on numbers and praying we don’t crash for the next six months again.
If I were to go by feeling and numbers everything seems to have worked out well enough since I started my winter plan way back in October. The plan was always to be ready for the early races and hope to catch others napping.


Some rare winter sun


However, there are always doubts. Have I done enough?, Should I have taken that week off for Christmas and was there a need to move onto a 2nd box of Quality Street? Should I really have taken somebody else’s plan, was there really a need to be Rás ready for A4??

Similar to my bank balance in January I’ve been avoiding an FTP test for fear of what I might find. I’ll convince myself “FTP isn’t everything” as the purists will say. Heck, even the real techies are saying you need to look at even more numbers now to really know where you are at: 1 sec power, 10 sec power,20 minute power, an hour of power, a fortnights power!! I’ve only 6 weeks why do a test when I could get a proper session in – time is money in the bank at this stage! I will eventually do it. Maybe when I get the “good bike” out of hibernation. That might serve as the extra motivation to get it done and dusted. Until then I’ll go by feel and push an extra few watts where I can.

The anxiety is real though. All that work for what? Until race-day ye really can’t measure how good or bad you’re gonna feel. As ludicrous as it sounds A4 has become ridiculously competitive in the last year and to get any result you need to be in decent shape. My numbers could be up but it’s all relative. If everyone else is up then we’ll all end up faster but in the same place as last year. So with that I’ve decided it’s crucial to no longer worry about my own abilities but comfort myself in the lives of others.

When out on a long Sunday spin I think of them looking out on miserable damp cold roads and turning back over in their bed “There’s no way X is gonna get up and ride through this muck” and if they do they more than likely are stopping for coffee/scones and coasting at the back of a group of 20 for half the trip.

When on the Turbo I simply envisage them ploughing through a pack of biscuits on their couch – exactly what I’d be doing had the wife not banished all the good stuff from the house only leaving a half-eaten pack of unappealing digestives (for emergencies!).

Social media can be a killer, all clubs are getting talks by coaches these days – I tell myself that it’s too late to be thinking about a coach now for March races and that new bike they were flaunting at Christmas is only an attempt to buy some speed instead of training…Pathetic, I’d never want a new bike at the expense of actual hard graft!!

Strava can be worse for an obsessive but I’m not obsessed I’m prudently keeping tabs on the opposition. Any inactivity is instantly greeted with delight that they’ve done nothing and are definitely onto their 2nd or 3rd packet of biscuits this week, (This completely disregards the possibility that perhaps they have moved their rides to one of the many other fitness tracker sites like TrainingPeaks, TodaysPlan, which even worse still would surely mean they have hired a coach.)

Strava rides tagged with Training Peaks or Zwift Plan Week 5 Session 3 are to be viewed as them cherry picking sessions (they haven’t done the other weeks or sessions and are only doing the ones they like!) and they are certainly doing all the wrong sessions, at the wrong time and it’s all not being worth a shite to them because they have no base built up anyway.

The especially tough ones that are logged are welcomed as a sign of impending burnout. What would this guy know about recovery?

Zwift races are sure sign that they’ve taken all their matches and thrown them in the fire in one go. Zwift power isn’t reliable and they aren’t real roads anyway. As for Cyclocross, those guys are on their hands and knees at this stage after ploughing through a winter of mud, cold and shit. It’s any wonder they can even stand at all. Plus launching a bike over your shoulder will be no good to anybody come March.

All things considered I think I’ll be fine, as for the rest of them you’d be worried if any of them can ride a bike come March….……..

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