I am willing to admit since I was a teen I have always thought I am happiest when I’m on my bike. Approaching the grand old age of 50, today’s ride confirms there is still no change on that one. The reasons why cycling produces happiness may change and today the reason I enjoyed my ride so much is because it’s left me in a state of utter disbelief.
Three years ago I was far fitter than I have ever been in my entire life. I was never off my bike and no matter the distance I absolutely hammered it from A to B everytime. The amount of power I put into my legs meant that I was doing up to 150kms in a day and some weeks between 300-500kms. I still know which routes I always took in the city and what my average speed was at various stages and so on.
At present I am very unfit, courtesy of being out of work and everything being shut down. There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do until we recover from the current pandemic and things return to normal. So like most people I have become inactive and am at home mostly. You could say I’ve become quite lazy with so little to do. All week I have been telling myself to get out on my bike everyday as that gives me the chance to stretch my legs and release some of the stress from a difficult situation. I then established a route in the city, a lap of a downtown area near where I stay. Not much, only like 10-15kms or something. So today was my trial run and something very unexpected happened. I already know why but expect to remain in a state of total disbelief for quite some time.
If we compare fitness levels three years ago to now, the difference is enormous. So large in fact the two are incomparable. I have nothing like the power in my legs now. So you would expect that when I used my bike today I would be moving with much less speed than I used to. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, my average speed was massively higher. Normally when I don’t use my bike much I don’t use the biggest gear either. Today, however, it was the only gear I used and I was able to accelerate in it faster than I ever have despite my lack of fitness. And not only that, I also went and broke my record for flat terrain by a fair bit without even trying to. I literally could not believe what I was seeing on my odometer from start to finish.
So how on earth is it possible to break my own records when my level of fitness is much much lower than it usually is? There is only one answer. It has nothing to do with the condition of your body and everything to do with the condition of your mind. The frustration that has built up in these difficult times badly needs an outlet. That outlet is my bicycle. The force I flew down the roads with was nothing more than the release of built up frustration, the reserves of energy in use vast. It’s going to take time to sink in what I achieved today. To do it in the shape I am in is something quite astonishing.