Well, AYC patrons, it may not be 2011 in California yet, but it sure as heck is 2011 elsewhere. So, on behalf of the Abandon Your Car crew, I would like to wish all of our readers a safe, healthy, and fun New Year.
Looking back, 2010 was a world of change for me personally. Especially in the realm of cycling and related activities. I went from being an out of shape neophyte to a pretty committed cyclist in the course of only twelve months. To be honest, I really don't ride nearly as much as I'd like to, but when I do, I make the most of every second and make sure that I'm getting what I need.
And that thought, along with a very helpful suggestion from Aunt Jen, made me start thinking of other things that occurred with my cycling career over the course of 2010. My amazing aunt suggested that I compile a list of goals that I had during the year, ones that I accomplished and ones that I didn't. Along with that, I was also urged to start a training journal months ago and I've kept with it in a composition book. So, I wrote down my end-of-the-year lists and also some tips I've picked up along the way. Here's just a bit of what I came up with:
-Try to ride at least twice a week. School may get in the way, and there may be times where you're hunkered down studying for a week, but don't let the noodle-y legs discourage you. Keep on trying - keep on riding.
-Give it what you've got. On a ride with some highly competitive friends, do your best, do your part and try as hard as you can to stay with it. Even if you start dying and explode out the back, finish the ride and satisfy yourself with the fact you gave it your all.
-Conquer at least a 50mile ride in a reasonable time frame. Although my 50mile sufferfest may have been a mistake, I was still pleased to have gone the distance.
-Never quit. By the time you've crested the first brutal climb or fixed your third flat of the day, know that the ride is still there and you're still breathing. Don't let a ridiculous situation psych you out - finish what you started.
-Do a race knowing you're going to get smacked. Admittedly, my "race" is my race-paced fitness gauge from a few weeks ago, but I started it knowing fully that I wasn't going to win. What I'm saying here is that you should do it for the learning experience and the fun in competition, not purely for winning. Although, as my debate coach so often reminds us, winning is good too.
Goals Not Met:
-Don't end up in the emergency room. Yeah, well... things happen sometimes. Of course you don't want them to happen, and of course it might be your fault (ask me about it), but take care of yourself and move on.
-Ride all out, every day - no mercy. My hat comes off to people that can accomplish this. I may use school as an excuse not to ride as much as I could, but motivation is also a huge factor. It's amazing what riding with a friend can help you accomplish - do it more.
-Keep a clean, orderly work space. Trust me, if you take on any cycling project in a garage you don't technically own, you better have some room and some uncluttered storage. It helps avoid conflict
-Climb Mt. Diablo from both directions (Northgate, Southgate). This was a goal of mine all year and I'm really bummed I haven't climbed the flippin' thing yet. Honestly, it's like the mountain is beckoning me. It'll happen quite soon, I believe.
-As Dave states, don't count your chickens before they cackle. The way I interpret this is to not lose sight of what you're trying for because you think that you've got the situation nailed down. More specifically, don't not ride because you think you're in adequate shape - that fast group ride will tell you otherwise.
-Don't forget the basics. That is - carry your repair kit, do your bike maintenance, make some checklists, etc. Once you start getting really into your training, you may start forgetting things. Don't. Do. That. Nothing's worse than flatting ten miles into some new trail you're exploring only to notice that the ranger station is out of sight and you have no tools.
-Get your butt behind the saddle, don't bomb it if you haven't ridden it before, and heed your partner's warnings. See my goal about the ER. This pretty much applies.
-Never, by any means, attempt to remove a pedal with your knuckles directly in line for a collision with your beautiful 53t Campagnolo chainring.
-Don't let getting dropped traumatize you or make you not want to ride. View it as a learning experience and keep on trucking.
-Look at some maps. Know where you are and what you're about to ride before you plop yourself onto the saddle. This is information you should know in case of an emergency, and also in case of a pop quiz.
-If you didn't catch the memo about that last tip, don't be afraid to ask for directions. Suck up the pride and pull off to that gas station or fellow cyclist and ask where the heck you went wrong. There's no shame in doing this and it's better than getting further up that metaphorical creek.
-No, those wheels won't make you any faster. AKA: it's not about the gear.
-Lastly, have fun. Ride your bike because you want to and because it's awesome. Don't lose sight of the fact that truly, deep down, we're all in this because it's what we enjoy doing and remind yourself of that if need be at times.
So, there you go. There are some of my favorite things from my riding journal this year. I encourage our readers to make their own journals including some goals you accomplished, some you didn't, and some you have for the future. Also, keep a few pages of tips and tricks you pick up along the way and read over them a couple times during the course of a year to remind yourself of some things you may be forgetting.
Happy New Year once again to all of our readers. I'm going to bed and hopefully riding tomorrow if the party-ers are still recovering from tonight and if the weather isn't that bad.
Stay classy, AYC.
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