As some of you are aware, and many of you are not, I have been without a car for upwards of 7 months. That’s not to say my ‘household’ has been without a car, but we’ve gone from a two car household to a one car household. This was not a conscious choice, and we’re still anxiously awaiting the repair of said car.
When this vehicular challange began in June of last year, I wasn’t too fussed – I ride to work most days anyway, Calgary sees little precipitation in the summer and I thought it would be good for me. As the days grew shorter, the light waned and the mercury dropped, I became a little apprehensive, but not alarmed. I had braved a Canadian winter before and would do it again – Though admittedly with the safety net of a car whenever I deemed it necessary – I would have no such luxuries this winter.
Looking back on the last 6 months, there are three main things that strike me:
The first was how easy it was.
The only real concession I needed to make as a regular commuter was that when I was really fatigued or the weather was lousy I just needed to suck it up – no other options were available. But really, getting on the bike day in day out wasn’t that big a deal, and usually regardless of how slothlike I felt, or how bad the weather, after 5 minutes on the bike I felt better.
The second was how much it affected my wife’s life.
By no means am I insinuating that I rode every single day for 6 months, there were times in the deep of winter when riding was just not the smart option – If I was to get a flat things could’ve been not so awesome. When those days came round I would batt my eyes lovingly at my beautiful bride and beg and plead for a ride. Luckily for me she was almost always more than accommodating. When winter was at it’s worst though, she drove me for almost 2 weeks straight – A busy gal in her own right, this took it’s toll on her ability to make her morning swims and hit the gym after work. Though there was the odd time she dropped me off at work before her swim (around 6am) – I will admit that I couldn’t will my body up that early very often.
The third was how much if affected my training/racing.
Though my commute is by no means gruelling, it’s no walk in the park either, this had two main impacts to my training. The first was the fatigue factor – Because of my seeming inability to travel at anything less that full throttle as the days and weeks progressed I found my legs a little less than ‘fresh’ on most occasions. The second was that not having a vehicle made it difficult to get to races on the weekend (I’d need to coordinate car usage with my wife) and made it next to impossible during the week (which made my attendance at the mid-season crits and late-season cross races next to nil). Especially as January draws to a close I’m finding myself behind on where I’d like to be training-wise. After commuting hour and half on the bike every day it’s tough to stay mentally tough enough to hop on the trainer and pound out some intervals. I’d like to be hitting some spin sessions with my club, but I’m usually not able to get a car in time.
Is there a lesson to be learned here?
Serious racers don’t commute? Ken likes to whine about not having a car? A hint of both, perhaps, but I think something grander can be gleaned. It’s all about being smart with the cards you’re dealt. Because I’m unable to attend a lot of group events it’s just forced me to become more disciplined with my own training – Oftentimes it’s easier said than done, since I’m sure as anybody will tell you, it’s always a lot easier staying motivated and pushing yourself when you’re with friends. I guess everybody has their challenges, I should just count myself lucky that my challenges involve me riding… Just perhaps not in the way that best benefits my training.
There are definitely worse situations I can imagine ;-)