Tipping Point

Sometimes it's even harder to get motivated when you have to ride the trainer.

Sometimes it’s even harder to get motivated when you have to ride the trainer.

I have this problem, a decision problem. You see, when I decide to go out for a ride, it’s often not the first time I’ve decided it. I usually have an internal argument on whether I should and want to ride that goes on for awhile, sometimes until it’s too late, and the decisions made for me. Eh, I’m kinda tired. Eh, I need to eat first. Eh, I’ll hop on the trainer later. You get it. I tend to procrastinate actually getting on the bike. This has plagued me ever since I started taking this stuff seriously, and the instant gratification of firing up Netflix instead of hoping on the bike isn’t worth the loss in training. This I keep learning the hard way.

The worst was my first day back in Penang. I had landed the previous night, and was pretty tired, but I knew I had to get the first ride over with. It was a Wednesday, the day my usual group rides mountain bikes. I figured having other people there and seeing my friends would keep me motivated to ride. Instead, I debated all day (the ride was at 4) if I should ride or not. At lunchtime it was a definitive NO and I gave in to having a beer with lunch. Then, at 3, I decided YES and kitted up. I ended up having one of my best mountain bike rides on the local trail.

I’ve found my tipping point. Eventually I will call myself an idiot and put on my kit, whether I’m ready to ride or not. Just putting on bibs and jersey gets my mind into ride-mode, and I can focus on finishing the ride prep: putting air in the tires, fixing bottles and finding my shoes.

They say that cycling is a mental game, and it absolutely is, but off the bike as well as on. I know this is common for everyone who does exercise regularly, so what’s your tipping point? What is it that makes you decide to finally kit up and get out there, or on the trainer?

The Scavenger

IMG_20140113_153942 (1)Growing up I used to go to tag sales and flea markets with my mom. I collect old cameras, so it was always a mission to find one, but anything I thought was neat would get picked up. I love going on the hunt for something, and it’s no surprise that one of the shows I like to watch is American PickersThe feeling of finding that one particular thing was so much sweeter when it meant sorting through loads of useless crap to find it.

The last few weeks I’ve been working on a couple of project bikes, while discussing with Sip Clip and Go’s Karen Lynn about her quest to build a singlespeed cyclocross bike. I find the wintertime, at least here, is the best for swapping bike parts and thinking up new projects, since it’s like Hoth outside most days. My goal this winter was to sort my Trek out for race duty in the summer, as well as find an old steel frame to bring back to Malaysia. I managed to make both those goals, and then some, picking up yet another steel Raleigh for my husband.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m in the Boston area is dig for parts in my local shop’s basement. Everytime I do I find something new; something I can use for a current or future project.  I’ve built many a bike from parts I’ve scavenged for, and it helps that there’s a decent amount of stock. The problem becomes when my basement starts looking like the shop’s basement. Oops.

Building a bike isn’t something anyone should be afraid of. Of course I say this as someone with a background in working on cars, but really bikes are very simple, and anyone can put them together. The first bike I built was literally a product of the shop’s basement. I had bought a cheap, older bike for the small frame, and used few parts from it, ending up creating a Frankenstein bike perfect for my (then) 13 year old sister.

I think the hardest part of putting a bike together is just gathering parts, hence my scavenging at the bike shop. Most shops have parts bins like that, and you’ll never know what you’ll find. Recently for my Trek I picked up a set of 105 brakes and Oval bars. This let me use the old bars for my Raleigh, and brakes for my steel Fuji frame.

While I’m now on my way back to Malaysia, leaving the cold weather behind, and my Fuji frame is lost amongst the baggage, I’m looking forward to the next time I can go picking at the shop. I still have a few frames to build…

I’m Too Slow for You

48016_523461313255_744253789_n“I’m too slow for you…”

I hear this every once in awhile from people I want to ride with, and it drives me nuts. Apparently I’ve become one of the faster ones, instead of always last. It’s a new experience for me, and I think it’s more to do with the fact that I like to race, more than what my speed is. Perceived versus actual. (I’m not actually fast, just faster)

Here’s the thing though, no one is too slow. If given the opportunity to ride with others really slowly, or go out on a solo ride, I’ll ride with others hands-down. Riding with others makes the ride go by, versus a solo ride when I’m constantly fighting the voice in my head to turn around and go home.

I used to be one of the ones who said I was too slow. I would get super-anxious before a group ride if I hadn’t done it before, wondering how embarrassing it would be when I got dropped immediately, and sometimes I would just head home. In the summer I help lead the slower groups of the weekly women’s ride, and I know that others have that same issue.

Here’s the thing, to get faster and ride better, you have to ride with those that are faster and better than you. This is why I ride with the men’s race group every week and why I look forward to joining the A rides when I’m home. Joining a group outside of your ability will push you and make you a better rider. You’ll become fitter, faster and learn bike handling skills that riding solo will never give you.

So, who wants to ride?