Guest Article: Clean Livin’
Cyclists need the carrot and the stick. It’s all we understand. Do you want to perform well or not be embarrassed? It’s all the same. Either way one needs to train like a bastard to get there. The good news is training means more time on the bike. The bad news is not much else is going to get done besides work and cycling. Once in a while that is not such a bad thing. @Harminator is in for a real fun ride for KT 2015. There is still room for riders so make your plans before life passes you by.
Yours in Cycling, Gianni
Nothing sharpens you up more than having a clear objective. Except maybe losing money in real estate or nearly cutting your thumb off with the drop saw. Or touching wheels in the sprint. Heck, there’s probably some more, but having a clear objective does a pretty good job of it. For me, that objective is Keepers Tour 2015. To begin my preparation I spent a good six weeks at the Jan Ullrich school of winter conditioning. It was undoubtedly a good time but inevitably there came a moment when I poured another Kwak, slumped back into the sofa and slurred to myself “Maaate. You’ve gotta sharpen up!”
An old raft guiding buddy of mine used to attribute good days to a karmic reflection of what he termed “clean livin’”. Those happy, contented river days when everything runs smoothly were the universe’s way of saying thanks for being a good human. The clean livin’ ethic was both internal and external: Eat fresh fruit & veggies, drink plenty of water, breathe deeply and often. Treat others nicely, keep your temper in check, stay calm in a shitstorm and laugh at your own misfortune. It was all pretty lighthearted as far as ethics go – here one day, gone the next – but I always thought there was something in it.
So I put a bit of the clean livin’ ethic into sharpening up. I cut a lot of crap from my diet including processed sugar, white carbs and all alcohol. I resolved to Train Properly – especially when a 5am roller session was about as enticing as setting my teeth on fire. For the first time in forever I put together a nice long block of good, healthy work. Usually I’m one of the first to give in to temptation. You know the type – the after work beer, the Sunday night pizza, the choc-chip cookies in the lunchroom. But good has a way of breeding more good and I steadily became more and more invested in my V bank savings scheme. I wasn’t about to take backward steps just for a slice of cake at Nan’s birthday party. Merckx knows she won’t be next to me on The Kappelmuur in April.
The results have been just as you’d expect, Captain Obvious. Like the research paper that concluded that sword-swallowing is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. On the upside I’ve lost weight and gained energy and strength on the bike. On the downside I’ve completely lost my tolerance for alcohol which is a completely unfamiliar problem. With less than a month to go before the rubber hits the stones the challenge now is to drive it all home. Many times in my life I’ve been satisfied with “pretty good”. Just when I get into the downhill slope of the bell curve I ease up in a cocktail of smug complacency and self doubt. What if I do everything right and still I fall short?
Let’s see this time eh? It’s Keepers Tour on the cobbles of France and Flanders. If I can’t sharpen up for an objective like that, stick me in the broomwagon now. I’ve seen the Welliminati kitted up and they look like they mean business. So tomorrow morning before the sunrise, after the intervals start to burn, I know where I am going. After all, this is what I came for.