I had spent the best part of January gym-cycling as a more agreeable alternative to venturing out on potentially lethal icy roads. Then the bug kicked in and nothing happened for about 3 weeks. A real downer but I felt I had enough residual fitness not to have lost too much momentum.
However, venturing out into the chill winter sunshine, my first real ride this year was a slog. I puffed and panted like a hopeful for the Christian Grey stage role. I was not happy and pretty deflated, I admit, even allowing for the fact that I was probably shedding the bug.
Gym equipment can be terrifying to comprehend. They often resemble Heath Robinson contraptions designed as instruments of torture rather than cleverly evolved fitness apparatus. I considered all these wondrous things at my disposal – and it was clear after my first ride that I might need to strap myself in and see what happens.
Eighteen months ago I made the acquaintance of a fitness trainer who designed a winter programme for me that would keep my fitness up and ready for getting back on the bike again when the Spring flowers peaked above the sodden sod. Under the circumstances I needed her help again. The fact that she is blond, fit and pretty has no bearing upon my motivation. I thought I would just stress that.
The gym was barely empty when we caught up. “I don’t need work on my legs,” I said, ” when it comes to it, they are my secret weapon. I cycle. I run. They’re fine.I need some new core work and upper body strength.”
“They all say that,” she said. “Cyclists all say that. My legs are fine. But I’ve trained a few and after I make them do strength work on their legs too they realise how much more there is to do and how much better they have become.”
Disarmed by her smile I handed over my body. If any of you have done this personal trainer work-out thing you’ll know that as a rule they don’t take prisoners. R worked me till I could lift no more for an hour and I hobbled home promising that I would wash and repeat as soon as possible.
Sure enough my next ride was a breeze – except for the head-on breeze I rode into going home. I could feel the difference. Damn it she was right, and it’s obvious. If you are stronger it’s going to be easier. Nothing motivates quite like success, so now I’m all fired up to wrestle with these contraptions and to leave the gym bike alone for now.
I just need the sun to shine a little more so that I can get out on the road.