Just yesterday I came to the realisation that I am in fact two different bike riders. This is weird because I own three bikes (or fifteen depending how you define ownership). There’s the road bike, the track bike and the fixie.
Why aren’t I just one bike rider with three bikes?
Why aren’t I three different bike riders depending on which bike I ride?
These are the issues I ponder as I sit at university and procrastinate away valuable assignment writing time while watching the Masters Track Cycling World Championships on web TV.
Here is where my questions arise from:
Yesterday I was preparing to go for my daily ride and as I was putting on my shoes I was considering what my ride would consist of. What benefit I should gain from the ride? I was in turmoil. Having done a power session the day before, today should I be doing a speed session? Or should I be doing a long steady ride? Not a recovery ride between power and speed sessions, but a significant calorie burning event.
Perhaps the question is simply a manifestation of my bike riding serving two different purposes. I am a competitive track cyclist and I am a person in need of weight loss. I need to ride my bike to train for my track racing. That requires speed and power sessions to keep my racing edge. But I also need to ride my bike to raise my heart rate and burn calories so I can lose weight.
The kinds of riding that satisfy those two purposes are so different that they could almost be different sports. If I was a competitive chess player and overweight I would need to practice my chess and burn my calories. These two activities would be mutually exclusive (if anyone can tell me how to burn 600 calories an hour playing chess I’d like to know).
The fact that my competitive activity and my exercise activity are one and the same is both handy and frustrating. Handy in that the expense is spread over a broader span of use. But frustrating in so far as after a high intensity “track quality” interval session I challenge anyone to feel the urge to go out and plod along at 60-70% of their maximum heart rate for 2+ hours. Similarly, at the end of 2 hours slogging along there isn’t the sharp edge available to do a quality track session. One will diminish the quality of the other.
The only reasonable alternative is to treat the two activities as totally isolated from each other. I hereby declare these two activities to be independent of each other and undertaken as two completely separate sports. My purpose now is to go to my “life co-ordinator” and beg for permission to shoe-horn another bike ride into every day.