A few years ago I took up cycling because it became the customary office thing to do. Then I found out how addictive the two wheeled sport can be. Hard but very addictive. Brought the colorful blue bike and hit the roads, hairy legs and all. I thought yep I'll do Taupo with the boys who had done it many times before, and lapped up and down the waterfront numerous times in the months before the race. Determined as ever I wanted to be first one home in front of my mates but I found rather harshly that I was first – but at the wrong end and owed numerous rounds that night in Taupo!
So last year I decided to join the boys many months earlier doing the group rides in the rain and cold that is our winter. Thankfully my wife always had hot soup waiting to thaw me out each Sunday and I managed to get around Taupo just on an hour quicker than the year before. Since I felt like I had concurred Taupo the Tour of Northland was my next goal and this year I suffered back to back for four hellish days from which I am convinced I will no longer be able to bear children, but I still flatly refuse to shave my legs.
Convinced there is a better way to train I let my fingers do the tapping and did the most natural thing in the world to me now: a google search and I came across NZ's local internet coaching site Kinetic Edge. I must admit I thought it was just for pro's to begin with as it seems all science and geeky but then I saw the advert for the Tour of Northland program and dived a little further and found out this is exactly what I was looking for. You see I work 45-50hours a week, and try to ride 4-6 times a week on a good week. I don't have kids yet (and probably won't while I ride those skinny little seats) but do have a wife, friends and a life away from the two wheeled blue thing that cost me just as much as a car. So my mission this coming Northland is to do it and actually be able to enjoy Northland's sights after the race each day and ride with good riders. Not suffer for completion only.
So anyway I saw this ad for the Northland program that seemed all good to go. I rated myself according to the website and decided yep I'm a bloke so pick that one, not the woman's one and thought yep I'd still classify myself as a beginner/recreational level rider so I'll try that, but at $225 I wanted to know a bit more. So I rang Amy, one of the coaches of Kinetic Edge and she explained that the program is pre-written for Northland riders and for people who work like me. I wanted to make sure I would benefit so she asked me some questions and I dutifully answered yup and nope and she explained the week in week out parts of the program and the difference between that and personal coaching and how I would benefit from each. To confuse me even more I now had two options – personal coaching and the pre-written program. Since I had spent five figures on my bike and my helmet is worth more than most of my clothes put together I decided the price was fine but the pre-written one would do and maybe after that I will try personal coaching to make sure I truly slaughter my mates at Taupo in 06.
Anyway, got the program and I will let you know how it goes. It has a nice week in week out structure that makes perfect sense and I just wish I had thought of that before. It starts the second week of January and goes through to Northland giving me plenty of time to work off the Xmas induced beer mono-ab. It appears to cover everything from hill climbing to flat fast stuff and the time commitment won't put a strain on my marriage which is of obvious concern (considering I spend all my spare pennies on my cycling addiction instead of her now). It has interval things that I have never done before so I am looking forward to them and came with a few pages of tour riding tips that have already made me realize I could have ridden faster with less pain this year - hindsight is a killer sometimes. It even has options for pre-set events building up for Northland so there is some flexibility if I decide to do the Cyco crits or the Round Mt Egmont ride. So wish me luck. This year I will get to the beach instead of my wife spoon feeding my after each stage but most importantly I will be the first across the line waiting for Mr Lantern of the office to shout me.