It Has to be Pleasant!


The year had a sluggish start. Goals, nevertheless, are gradually emerging from the fog, plans gently landing from the clouds. Last year was noisy and dense. It gripped me and would not let go. Slowly I shake it, stretching lazily and wide, shooing a morose winter away. I am not sure yet, but contours seem to be shaping up. Fun outlines that I now get to fill in, coloring in blue. Vast, large blue roads ahead. We’ll see where they go.

Drifting softly, I wonder where my blue plans will lead. Nowhere? Always a possibility…With PBP still on my mind, I decided to become faster (not fast, mind you) to give me a fighting chance in 2019. Most of my riding followed the “ride, now ride some more” plan of action, punctuated by clarity and structure offered by my wonderful coaches here and there. I have gradually, however, felt the need for better long term planning (or any really). Thus, the birth of the four-year PBP plan, with the first one dedicated to acquiring much needed strength, speed, and riding skills.

I had not realized how many measurements a person needs to actually become faster. I suppose something other than “this feel fast,” or “I know this was faster” is likely a good idea. But all these numbers…I am a big picture kinda person. I might dare say a grand picture kinda person, threading, not too uncomfortably, on delusion. Numbers, well, are anything but. And there are lots of it: lactate threshold, functional threshold power, watts per kilo, body composition, average speed, rolling speed, inclines and so on and so forth endlessly. Oh, dear! You name it, people (other than me) measured it. It seems that I now need some of those numbers. I suppose establishing a baseline is necessary in order to observe progress. This must be especially true when the aimed progress must valiantly fight age, muscle loss, fat deposits, hormones and thick episodes of brain fog. The four year PBP plan quickly morphed into a mathematical eternity, and I am only at the reading stage. Perhaps, implementation is better left for year two…

On the other hand, if the chased goal does scare some and stretch lots, what fun is it? “In the pursuit of craziness!” might be a fitting battle cry. Last year, for example, I was hoping to ride from Seattle to Portland (300km) in one day. As the year went by, this goal ended up becoming a training ride for France. That was a nice surprise! So here is my challenge: understand those numbers, and put them to good use. Always, though, looking around, away from rigid precision, right?! Because the plan has to be fun! Better yet, as I once upon a time yelled over a particularly rambunctious and slightly rancid family dinner: It has to be pleasant!

There, pleasant plans for the next “quartet,” beginning with speed, strength and skills. As I look over the budding year, up the hilly terrain, beyond all the numbers, I see beautiful Seattle, blue (yes, blue!), with vast, wide open roads, inviting even more adventures. Can’t wait to see what happens.

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