This was an interesting challenge. Most of my previous goals in any sport have required commitment over a shorter time period. I found the sustained nature of this challenge made it easier in some respects, but harder in others. On one hand, I could afford the odd 'bad month' provided I was able to make up the time later. At the same time, it was hard in that it works out as having to ride a minimum of 27 km a day, every day...for the whole year..so any slack time meant more work later. As it turned out, I lost a lot of momentum over winter - and I found switching jobs always contributed to that lost momentum, so had to really dig hard for November & December to make the total distance:
A lot of the distance came from commuting. Over the course of the year I had a couple of different jobs, and the closest to home was still 31 km away - so riding that both ways at least a few times a week would mean lots of km's done. I supplemented this with fairly regular weekend rides in the warmer months, and 1 long tour from Adelaide to Melbourne. When I got behind, it felt better to break down the 10,000 into smaller weekly targets and focus purely on hitting that. Losing momentum is your biggest enemy...it's really hard to get started again when you stop, so the key for me was making it part of my daily routine - then your body actually starts missing the pain when you stop pushing yourself hard. I also got plenty of motivation form cycling forums where plenty of others had set similar goals.
|Melbourne's Eastern Bays: The path is great for slow training. Take the road to ride quick.|
Apart from the physical challenge I've had great health benefits returned from being active. I weigh less now than I did 10 years ago (I also changed a few bad eating habits mind you), and after a cholesterol warning from my doctor at the start of the year, look forward to my next test results to see how much its all paid off.
Perhaps one of the most inspiring news articles I read all year, was the news that bicycles outsold cars in Europe last year. And not just in the big cycling countries with a long history of bicycle friendly services, like Holland, Denmark and France....but we are talking just about ALL of Europe. Most articles I've read about this tend to cite financial recession as the main driver for this, but I wonder if this keeps up long enough, we might even see an impact on not only our population's health, but our planet's too?
All the more reason to get off your ass. Have a happy New Year! And good luck with setting tough, but possible goals...