A few months ago the unthinkable happened. I completely lost interest and passion for the sport I grew up to love and compete in.
When I first began riding in NZ, the two wheels on the road four to five years ago on my trusty Cervelo bikes, I promised myself one thing. To put all my time and effort into this newfound hobby and sport and always wear a cycling helmet as I had never ever participated in something as fulfilling and enthralling as road cycling.
Four years down the road here I was, my carbon Cervelo Bike sat with deflated tires, my kit and my trusty bike helmet remained untouched and I had no real desire to get back onto the bicycle where some of my best memories in NZ ever were created.
So where did I go wrong? First off I can say that I ‘overdosed’ my life with cycling. I did this by focusing every minute, hour and day to the sport I loved. I personally thought I was doing myself a major favour by cutting out anything unrelated to the sport as my rationale was that by focusing my entire life around cycling, I would get better and faster but in reality I was getting slower and slower.
I quit participating in any other sports, skipped social events with friends and watched live coverage of literally every race on the UCI worldtour and continental calendar. From kilometre zero all the way to beyond the flamme rouge and even the podium presentation! I was addicted. And addiction isn't good.
Another factor that I believe led me to step away from the sport were the numbers. Now don't get me wrong I fully believe in structured and scientific training with power, heart rate et cetera. But my addiction to the sport unfortunately led me to feel like a robot, constantly looking at power profiles and following training sessions to the T. Which is good in a sense but between constant watching of my power data so that I averaged exactly 300w for the interval and ensuring my ride is exactly three hours on the dot I forgot about the entire experience of cycling. Looking at the scenery go by, exploring new roads and just enjoying the overall ride with friends which were just some of the reasons I started riding my bicycle.
So how did I overcome all this?
I stepped away from it all for a good amount of time a long few months to be exact. I stopped watching races, unsubscribed from the dozens of cycling magazines, stopped scouring for bikes and components and most of all I stopped riding my bicycle.
For awhile I was dead bored, cycling was my entire life and now that I stopped it I had nothing to do. But it was only a matter of time of avoiding all things cycling and friends nagging me to ride until that irresistible urge to jump back on the two wheels came back to me.
I remember my first ride in many months like it was yesterday, it was at dusk with crystal clear skies and light winds.
My new Cannondale bike that replaced my Cervelo bike paired with my brand new bike helmet was all the motivation I needed to jump back on. It felt just like when I first started cycling. I rode in various NZ routes when I wanted, at the speed I wanted and wherever my wheels took me that night. It was enjoyable for once.
Whether it was my new Cannondale bike or my new cycling helmet something felt different, riding my bike no longer became a chore, rather a hobby.
What I did was essentially stripping cycling down to its core and began riding solely for the love of riding, not training, not racing and definitely not following numbers and I can truthfully say that this was a successful way in rekindling my love for the sport.