Happy living in our stressful lives is all about organization. For instance, I like to sort the tasks first by priority and then group tasks of equal priority into buckets of minor priorities. Software developers creatively call this approach to organization a “bucket sort”. This helps break down what appears to be an insurmountable mess of work and separate it into consumable, understandable units.
Being the optimist that I am, after prioritizing, I start by sorting my activities into those which I would rather consume a cyanide tablet than tackle, and set a goal to work through those first. Once I’ve completed those, I feel a sense of accomplishment that helps build the morale needed to tackle the remaining items. Having completed the “cyanide” bucket, I feel better about tackling the “wrist-slitting” bucket and working my way gradually towards “beating myself to death with a rusty hammer“, which represents the least appealing of the tasks.
It’s all about using the momentum gained from the last activity to drive the next, which is also how I approach my training. It can be hard to find the motivation to remain disciplined in your training when the days are dark and wet; when your goals are many months away it is far too easy to find other priorities when there is nothing immediate towards which to drive. The training becomes erratic, and our progress is stunted. Without a clear plan, we react to our schedules and external demands rather than working around them; goals force us to prioritize our lives in a way that leads us towards success and the secret to Training Properly is to cascade your goals in a way that allows for steady progress that builds toward the greater objective.
However much we love Cycling, getting better at it requires routine hard work and suffering, an endeavor whose most reliable variation is marked by an unplanned visit from the Man with the Hammer and very few glimpses of his lovely wife, La Volupte. We need small successes to fuel our desire to climb back on the bike to continue The Work despite the cold rain lashing down. For the last year, my training has been focussed on the Heck of the North, which I will sadly be missing due to unforeseeable circumstances at work. Missing out on the opportunity to compete in Northern Minnesota finds me deflated and reluctant to get on the bike and suffer despite the excellent form I’m enjoying at the moment. But as one goal is passed by, another settles into focus, and my sights are already shifting around the bend towards the 2015 Keepers Tour, which will be returning to Belgium during the Cobbled Classics.
The days are shortening and the sun hangs low in the sky when it isn’t blocked out by a thick blanket of clouds. The morning mist keeps the roads damp and drives a chill into my bones. A few weeks ago, I was dreading the change. Today, I welcome it. The wet is coming, and I have my goal set. I look forward to tapping out my rhythm to the metronome of raindrops dripping from the brim of my cap.
Vive la Vie Velominatus.