Since 2007, I have battled with the saddle. Sometimes I love the rush of speeding along the road and other times the bike is my personal torture device. The only thing consistent about my bike training is inconsistency. I definitely prefer riding in groups over alone. Yes, I know triathlon is raced without drafting but riding in a group is better than not riding at all? Right?
During off-season the bike is usually my first sport to get the boot. I’d rather brave a heated outdoor pool than the crazy freezing Florida winter. Given the numerous times I’ve had to get “back into bike shape” I developed my own scale of bike fitness. Instead of a well researched and methodical measurement system, I determine my bike fitness by my thoughts.
Courtney’s Levels of Bike Fitness
- “Not happening” – this means a bike ride just isn’t happening. I’m not motivated and don’t care to even check my tire pressure. I was probably at this level a month ago. No bike fitness exists at this point.
- “Alright fine, I’ll ride. Just for a little bit though.” – Motivation is starting to creep in but my fitness involves being able to push and pull the pedals in a circle to move me forward slowly.
- “Let’s do this. Oh shit. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ll hold on as long as possible.” – Fitness is coming back but I get dropped a lot. I’m somewhere in this phase now. My main goal is to cling to the back wheel of the person in front of me as if it were my life source. Do not ask me to bridge a gap, climb a hill, or handle sprints well.
- “Okay. Hmmm. I’m hanging on. Let’s have some fun.” – Drops are rare. Motivated and have enough fitness to handle the unexpected need for power or speed. Pulling other people without fading remains a challenge.
- “Bring it on. I can do this. Keep going. Faster. Harder. Push it.” – Finally happens after months of consistency. Not getting dropped. Handling speed changes while drafting and able to pull my weight in a group. This is when I LOVE the bike and kick myself for ever taking a hiatus.
- ??? I actually don’t know because I’ve never reached that level. Maybe this season. Feeling determined.