The 2012 NJ Gran Fondo is 107.4 miles [171 km] and 9108 ft [2766 m] of elevation gain. And IT'S NEXT SUNDAY!
Okay so if you've been paying attention to my monthly adventure posts, I've been reporting the miles I and my friend [and cycling partner] have put into training for the upcoming Fondo. We rode all winter long, nearly every Saturday or Sunday as long as there was no rain or snow falling and temperatures were above freezing. Those mornings when the temperature hovered around the freezing mark, we didn't ride more than an hour or two, 20-30 miles maximum. Then as winter gave way to spring, we started riding longer and more frequently. Then we threw in some even longer rides, up to 70 miles [112.7 km] or so. Once the kids were out of school we started riding early on weekday mornings as well. We also rode sections of the actual Fondo course a few times, including the toughest climb which still kicks my butt.
A few weeks ago, while my cycling partner was on vacation, I did a 63 mile ride [The Medio Fondo named Best Ride in New Jersey by Bicycling Magazine!] with three women I had never met before [I found them through an email contact in a local tri women training group from last year]. It took a lot of courage for me to do this. So many unknowns involved--riding with strangers, a route I've never done before, my comparative skill and endurance levels, and so on. But I did it and it was eye-opening and humbling. I struggled on and off to keep up with the pace of the group on this ride, both with speed and endurance. It was not my longest ride to date, but it was certainly the most challenging. It seemed there was always a hill in front of us. The course did have more elevation gain in the 63 miles [5400 ft.] than I had ever done in a single ride before, so at least it gave me a clue why I had such a hard time. But this route was clearly indicative of the entire Fondo and all I could think was, "I am in TROUBLE!" :(
Needless to say, after this ride, I started to doubt my ability to complete the Fondo. My anxiety went through the roof and I admit I even shed a few tears because of it. I can hear my cycling partner in my head as I type this: "No crying in cycling!" She's right! There should never be a reason to cry doing a sport you enjoy. I really need to learn to relax and just go with the flow and not worry. Why do I get so worked up over biking. This is supposed to be fun! Not stressful! I've been working very hard on that in the last two weeks and feel better today than I did two weeks ago after that grueling ride. I really believe our mind is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. That whole mind over matter thing... that having a positive attitude really plays a roll in our success.
|My new bike pedals|
So for the next week, the plan is to take it easy exercise wise--nothing strenuous. Maybe just an easy ride or two to keep warmed up so to speak, but not fatigued. Absolutely nothing on Saturday and maybe nothing on Friday, either. Aside from that, the rest of my focus will be to relax mentally. No anxiety, no worries. I'm going to finish the ride. I'm ready. I'm going to feel happy about the whole thing.
As long as it doesn't rain. :|
And I don't get my period next weekend. :/
What kinds of activities cause you stress? How do you manage your anxiety?
Have you ever biked a century or Fondo? What advice can you give a first timer?