When I set out to do my goal in 2019 my plan was to start slow and build up my miles, 50 miles a week was my target – slowly building this to 150 miles a week with an aim that I was covering enough to complete a Strava MTS by November and complete the two monthly challenges of the year which needs you to ride minimum 25 miles a day. As I sit here and type on the 27th January – I have completed a mere 27 miles… A mixture of bad weather – yes I know all the sayings about winter riding…but even I am not silly enough to think I am skilled enough or my bike is capable of cycling in ice, but also a lack of motivation to do so combine that with intrusive thoughts from my OCD about some how coming to harm while commuting by bike, which can range from being involved in an accident and dying, to some how breaking my bike in a way that costs too much to repair. Anyone with OCD will tell you its not a simple case to dismiss intrusive thoughts of this nature, and they lead to compulsions such as checking behaviours. In my case 9/10 times it simpler to just take the bus.
That is going to change this week – I have set myself a target of 4 out of the 5 days to be done by bike. Why not 5 I hear you say? Well its Millie my Black Labradors turn to come to work with me (bring dog to work Friday in work), and as much as having her running along side me to work on her lead sounds fun – in reality she cant walk in a straight line let alone keep out of my wheels! Now the forecast claims rain on two of these days, and snow on another – and in all honesty I am looking forward to the snow day! I LOVE riding my bike in snow – my trusty Giant Fathom 29er bounces along and lets me have some fun in the snow – yes I am a big kid at heart! I do however hate cycling in rain – it makes you miserable, wet, cold and makes a mess of the bike! The bike being messy does mean I get to treat it using some of my Velo 21 kit mind – but its just a job I could do without doing after a hard days work.
I have decided this week however that I will not be using my Garmin 1030 – for the same reasons that I talk about in an article I wrote for Velosocial – that I do not want to be distracted by the many stats and figures that the Garmin offers me – instead I will simply be using a Garmin 200 unit which simply displays current speed and distance. Method in the madness I hope is that I will not be distracted by cadence, heart rate or avg speed etc and just get used to being on the bike again and having some fun – well as much fun as someone can have into a gale force headwind which I hope despite raging outside right now is not there coming home tomorrow after work!
As for the intrusive thoughts – I have decided that the only way to over come this is to face some of these head on – so a combination of meditation – CBT and shear determination are going to be used. My plan is to get everything ready the night before – then there is no messing about in the morning – the messing about can lead to me just giving up sometimes and listening to the intrusive thoughts! So everything will be laid out ready the night before – bike prepped the night before then everything is ready just to get up and ride. I have even been digging in the back of some drawers and found some meditation beads I used years ago when my OCD was at its most extreme!
So here is to 4 days cycling..come rain, wind and I REALLY HOPE SOME SNOW!!!!! In fact if it could just have a quick flurry of snow 30 mins prior to me cycling into and from work that would be fantastic – but I am realistic I live in Cheshire – its not going to snow for more than 5 minutes then melt!
Will update you all next week on how it went!
You can read more of my journey battling mental health and my mission by clicking here! One Velo is sponsored by Cool Hammocks – Suppliers of the UK’s best quality hammocks and hanging chairs.