8 more weeks before the start of the TCR and the excitement is really building up!* Last two months have mostly been about following my own improvised training schedule. It’s been a rather straightforward schedule to build on strength and endurance (maybe I’ll write up a more elaborate reflection on my training after the TCR). But on top of that, I also had a first serious rehearsal, riding to my friend Sacha in Berlin. In my head I’ve written and rewritten extensive blogposts about this trip, but I never managed to materialise it. By now it seems so long ago that writing a full post would never do justice to the actual ride, so let me just spoil it right away to say that I didn’t make it in the 3 days I had given myself. In reality there still was time to ride an extra day, but I chose to take the train for the last 100km, to make sure I would still arrive on day 3 and have all of day 4 to spend at least a little bit of quality time with Sacha (and have some time to get the bike packed up for the bus ride home).
In hindsight I’m completely okay with not fulfilling the ride. I’m very happy to have this first bit of experience in the bag, getting familiar with the mix of anxiety and excitement of starting a trip like this and to have so many valuable lessons learned. But as soon as I realized the only way to finish on day 3 was to take the train, the disappointment hit me quite hard actually. I felt like a complete failure, seriously questioning my ability to fulfill the race. In fact, questioning the very purpose of my existence and life in general. Which also brings me to one of the most interesting lessons learned: when things are going well, they are going GREAT, WONDERFUL, I LOVE IT, GIVE ME MORE, and when things are going bad, it’s GODDAMN AWFUL, I HATE IT, TAKE ME HOME. This might be a tiny tad exaggerated, but the bottomline is, my emotions were a lot more intense during the long rides. Not quite sure why that is, but since I’m usually quite stable and in control of my emotions, it will be an interesting phenomenon to deal with.
The Berlin trip was also very eye opening to experience first hand how much time you lose by not having your navigation in order. I had tried to take the easy way out and follow the bike route called R1, but as soon as I passed the border to Germany, I found out the route wasn’t designed for fast progress. Honestly I should have known, for example the R1 route was about 25% longer than the most direct route over main roads, but somehow I chose to ignore that. So I then resorted to a variety of ways to make my (more direct, less scenic) way to Berlin, but by constantly checking, rechecking and very often retracing my route, I lost an estimated 2 to 3 hours of effective riding time per day. I never thought lightly of route planning to Canakkale, but knowing the effect of bad planning, I’m very eager to get this done right!
For the upcoming weeks I plan to do at least two more extended trips next to regular training, to test the body, equipment and set-up. One of them will be the “Ronde van 12”, which is a one day ride of 426km through all 12 provinces of The Netherlands. It will be my first 400+km ride (and in fact, my first 300+km ride). It will probably be far from easy, but it’s also probably as easy as 400km will ever get, where group riding is allowed and where you can stock up on supplies every 50km. So it doesn’t really come near the circumstances of the TCR, but I’m hoping the experience of this super huge ride will help me feel less daunted by doing daily huge rides towards Turkey. Anything to enhance my “yes, I can” mentality! 😉
8 more weeks, dear god…
*this was supposed to be posted last Friday, but I just found out I forgot to press Publish. 😉