Change is inevitable, growth is optional

I never used to believe my parents when they’d talk about time speeding up as you get older, but this year has just flown by. 

This year has been an amazing experience and whilst I am immobile after a massive amount of foodconsumed over the last couple of days I thought back over what I learned no what I will take forward into 2019.

2018 started off in a way indicative of the rest of the year with a lot of training. I had never gone through a proper structured season of training and I spent hours and hours grinding away on the rollers starting at the power profile set out by the sadists at TrainerRoad. Staring at a small blue line for hours on end wasn’t exactly exciting but it worked! I had some very specific goals for the year and that work early on helped me later on when I would rely on it to get me through some seriously tough moment later in the year. 

Live and Learn

I’d say that this year was a real success for me in terms of cycling. I wanted to take something away from this year beyond the completion of the target I laid and in hindsight I got a LOT out of this year.

I dug deeper and pushed myself further than I ever had in the past when on the final climb of the Marmotte on Alpe d’Huez. You learn a lot about yourself when you are that fatigued and have no option to stop. Well, I could have stopped, but no one was coming to pick me up if I did. Being able to shut things down and just go corner to corner and focussing on the moment saved me there. 

Whilst the Marmotte was a really important part of the year and was my main target, I realise now I developed some serious tunnel vision when it came to completing it. That kind of focus is a real double edged sword. On the one hand, being able to focus in on an end goal and to go out and achieve it comes with an immense satisfaction. On the other hand, focussing so hard on a goal comes at the expense of other things, be that favorite foods, beer (oh god, i missed beer!) or most importantly, time with my family. My biggest learning point for the year was that I need to balance my personal goals better with the rest of my life.

Shortly Before the Col de la Madeleine

Secondly, two days after the Marmotte, we’d moved on to our Air BnB in Albertville and I got a really great reminder of how important it is to just enjoy the ride. We rolled out of bed, on to the bikes and set out on what became one of the most enjoyable rides of the year. Clear skies, stunning scenery and most importantly, good company will do that.

Just to roll out and not care about an average pace or power level was such a break from what had become a very prescribed norm that it took some getting used to. Starting a long climb and just chatting, moving around in the group, laughing, even listening to some music reminded me just how important that side of things is. 

Up and up and up we go

The Col de le Madeleine isn’t a short climb and the scenery changes all the way up but having fun on a climb wasn’t something I had done in a long time and this one was special and set the tone for the rest of the trip.

Sure, there were some times when we pushed each other, dipped into the red zone trying to drop each other or chase each other down, but we were having fun. 

I absolutely don’t buy into that “type-2 fun” idea that if it’s not conventionally considered a fun activity that its somehow an obtuse, fringe type of fun. It’s all relative and I think that “type-2 fun” label is just people trying to make themselves feel special. 

If what you are doing makes you smile then that is what counts. Life is short, do what makes you happy. 

Do whatever makes you feel like this.

Where next?

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me!

So, what next?

Well, my main target for 2019 is to switch things up.

Firstly, the easy part. Riding goals for the year: I’ll be riding the Trans Alba Race and seeing what I really have in the tank. There. Cycling goals done. Next….

Secondly, I am going to stop hoping to see things change and work to facilitate that change. That’s a pretty vague statement and something I will be expanding on a lot over the coming months. 

Even though it’s late December I feel so energised and excited for 2019.

One love and oven gloves!

On to 2019!

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