Tuesday, 1 April 2008

March roundup

A couple of weeks of poor weather and pressure of work left a bit of a hole in the log for March, but I have ended up covering a slightly longer distance than I did in February - at 286 miles.

My total distance this year is now 621 miles, which means I have logged more distance on this bike in just over two months than I logged on the previous bike in just over a year. I am on track for my annual goal of 2,500 miles, but I have twice missed my weekly goal of 56 miles, and there have been two weeks when I've had fewer than four rides.

I have now ridden my age in kilometres five times this year, though I have yet to ride it in miles. My Eddington number is up to 13 since January, and 18 for all time. On my virtual European tour I am now half way to Rome.

I've reached ten of the twelve churches on my list of those picked by Simon Jenkins as England's best. That means I've covered 83% of the destinations, but because the two remaining are furtheat away, and at the end of the the most hilly routes, I've only covered 71% of the distance, and done 63% of the climbing.

If you think that all looks a bit of a complicated set of targets, then I'm inclined to agree. The question is, though, whether they are having the desired effect.

Angelo Fausto Coppi (1919 – 1960) was a famous Italian racing cyclist, who won the Tour de France twice, and Giro d'Italia five times. A journalist once asked him what it takes to become a champion, and his reply was "ride your bike". According to Eddy Merckx (who held more records than there is space for here) the secret of success was "ride lots". Now I'm not exactly in their league, but sometimes I feel like going for a ride, and sometimes I don't. Once I am out, I enjoy myself, but sometimes I need an extra nudge to make the effort.

The different objectives I've set myself are providing that nudge in different ways. The end result is that I am getting out more often, and covering greater distances than I would otherwise be doing; and I feel better for it.

So in principle the numbers are doing their job. The Jenkins quest is proving a bit unambitious, and it looks as though I will complete the list well before the end of the year. So that will need adjusting, but at present it is pushing me to attempt regular rides of 30-40 miles.

The annual and weekly distance goals are quite challenging, so I've probably pitched those about right - for now. If I am still covering similar distances in a couple of months time, then perhaps I should revise them upwards, but at the moment they encourage me to get out frequently and cover decent distances.

The Eddington number has definitely got legs. It's proving gradually more difficult to keep pushing it up (which is as it should be), and it looks as though it will continue forcing distances that are slightly longer than normal. So rather than taking half an hour to do a quick five miles, I am now looking for opportunities on weekdays to take more than an hour and do fifteen miles: because that bumps the E-number up. Soon, it will have to be twenty miles to have the same effect.

It looks as though I will need to review the goals in a month or so, but leave the general mix in place. Maybe as time goes on I can also simplify things, but not just yet, because different goals push different buttons. And I am not forgetting that the most important thing is to enjoy myself.

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