On the fence

It started with a car wreck in my driveway. It continued with the sun crashing into my temperature gauge. I’m hoping it ended on the trainer in my basement last night.

I wrote about the car crash back on June 30th. That was the day after my daughter backed our 2009 Honda Pilot into the front grill of our 1990 BMW 325i. After seeing the estimate from body shop, I decided to do as much as I could myself.

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So began a quest over the next two weeks to fix the car myself. On any night I could, I was searching for parts and deconstructing the damaged area. The result was that over the period I rode my bike two times.

Finally, Monday of this week, I delivered the car to the body shop. I was pretty amazed that I was able to do all the body work myself only needing the shop to do the paint work. For at least the week, I had no car on which to work. My attention turned back to the bicycle.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought of riding. I was actually feeling guilty about not riding. Had I been disciplined enough to get up early or stay up later, I could have ridden. The desire and motivation just wasn’t there.

As with most things in life, when you get into these doldrums you just have to start. It doesn’t really matter how much you do. You just need to start.

So, with the temperatures in the 90s outside, I logged into Zwift and climbed on the trainer. I put a movie up on the TV for good measure. I started to spin.

Nothing miraculous happened. To be honest, I was happy when the hour was done. I didn’t spin a moment longer than the time I set as my goal.

Tuesday night I climbed aboard once again. This time I was feeling a bit more interested and set as my goal to spin for an hour averaging more than my typical cadence. It gave me something on which to concentrate.

Then the “Zwift Effect” kicked in. This happens to many people who ride Zwift. Because you are riding with other people and there are challenges to complete it is easy to get sucked into riding above the effort you initially intended.

And so it was that while I didn’t set any PR’s by any means, I did get sucked into trying for a Polka-Dot jersey. Then I inherited a Orange jersey. Well, I might as well make it a triple jersey, so I put out an effort to gain the Green jersey.

Then things got interesting. First my Polka Dot jersey got taken and then the Green. It was time to defend. This required an even harder effort than my previous one.

The most recent update from Zwift helped. As usual as I hit the beginning of the climb the read out showed me my time as I progressed as well as the fastest time I was trying to beat. However, now the readout also gives me an Estimated Time of Arrival.

This operates much as your GPS in your car. It takes the speed/power you are putting out and projects how long it would take you to complete the segment averaging that speed. This allowed me to measure my effort and not put out anymore energy than I needed.

Before I knew it my hour was up. However, with two minutes to go, the guy who took my Green jersey rode past me. I also knew that the sprint zone would be coming up soon. Hmmmm, it would be fun to get in his draft and have a mano-e-mano sprint.

Unfortunately, I had let him get too large of a gap and was unable to close it down before we reached the bridge marking the start of the sprint. He was already in the zone as I approached it. He hadn’t even attempted it at speed and I passed him in the middle of the effort.

What a difference a day made. I went from obligation to engagement. I’m not ready to say that I am over the hump, but last night’s ride was a good step in the right direction.