Helping my daughter study today, I learn that The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh is, perhaps, the oldest written story on Earth.

I also learned that the comic I read as a teenager has its roots in a classic Neolithic tale.

For my mind it’s a revelation, for my body it’s been another week of slowly but surely gilga-mashing my depals, in a dyslexic effort to try and keep my watts up on yet another 20 min time indoor time trial.

What I mean to say is that it’s been another week of sweeping slowly across the bottom of the pedal stroke. Not mashing, no not mashing – mashing leads to things breaking – breaking things like my pedals, like my confidence, like my composure. Eventually this leads to breaking down on the course, and suffering a DNF that could have been avoided.

I joke with my trainer that I’ve probably gotten the furthest down the line of any rider without any training of consequence. Having strength I learn, does not equate to having power. Power is reduced to a simple number (weight/watts = power). It doesn’t matter how much strength (input) I have – the outcome (power) is severely curtailed by weight.

So, what can be done? Well, in the recreational world we all want to have success but most (many?) (some?) of us don’t really want to put in the effort. If we’re strong we think that the input of being strong is enough, but in reality it’s just the start.

How does the jibe go? A better rider doesn’t suffer less, they just goes faster. I have learned a lot the last couple of weeks, and I’ve only been formally training for three so along with the food log, the lack of “mediocre” rides what’s the most important thing I’ve learned so far? Well, it’s pretty simple – I’ve learned that I’m way too old and way too heavy to coast anymore.

I need to train with a vengeance to be competitive (even in, well, maybe especially in my class). This is a simple process – train like hell, focus on smart training, eat right, sleep lots, no beer, no junk food and make sure every last thing on the bike that could ruin a ride is taken care of. There will be spreadsheets.

A dirt road is good for the mind, but a sweaty gym with no view is good for the body.