I’ve had it in my mind that I wanted to do this mountain biking race in August since last year when I volunteered for the event. I fit one spin class a week into my Nordic skiing schedule in winter, I started cycling early in the spring once the ice was gone. I slowly increased my mileage, making sure not to take any huge leaps.
Once I was 12 weeks out from my event, I started a training plan- a modified version of the one I did last year for 24 Hours of Great Glen. Everything was going great- I was scheduling half my rides as group rides which meant a lot of time seeing my cycling friends, I was actually doing all the scheduled rides (even if that meant working them into my commute). And most of all, I was feeling really strong- the strongest and fastest I’d ever been on a bike.
And then, 6 weeks in, my right knee started to hurt. It was pretty sudden- I went from thinking “Oh, it’s a twinge” to nearly bursting into tears on a ride by myself. Cycling may be a much lower impact sport than running, but you can still hurt yourself! I took 2 weeks off cycling, but it still felt a little off. I found myself hiking, walking, swimming, and just generally enjoying the summer. After one more week, I slowly started riding again, paying special attention to my pedal strokes and totally ignoring speed and distance. And you know what happened? I found so much joy in cycling again! Training is tough on body and mind and your social schedule- that’s what it’s supposed to do. It needs to stress your body so you super-compensate and get faster and fitter. But something about just riding whatever I felt like that day- road or mountain, long or short, hilly or flat has been so great for me.
So, a whole year of planning for this event isn’t going to result in me doing the race I had planned. There’s still a couple weeks to go, so I could always sign up for the half distance version, but I’m not sure my heart is in it. I’ve been just loving having a less regimented schedule and enjoying riding with my friends and by myself.
Sometimes, your body just says no and you just need to listen.