Train, overtrain, crash, sick.

What a familiar refrain.

You’d think I know it by now, but oh, no, it’s still a top 10 hit in my life. The question isn’t why I keep getting myself in this situation, the question is why can’t I avoid getting myself in this situation in the first place.

Where is my mercy I wonder? It’s very easy to crank the miles if you’re an obsessive sort of trainee. I am. I like data and I like recording it and tracking it and manipulating it and comparing it to other people. OK, haters, it’s not like attempted murder, but it can have some less than fine consequences.

Sometimes it can lead you to miss subtle signs that might indicate a break time is due, or lead you to train in a way that’s more directed to your numbers than your end goal.

I think this might be fine for professionals, but for amateurs, who have very little bandwidth and even less support in order to achieve peak performance it can definitely be a liability.

Like staring at a lightbulb until you sneeze, the numbers game can lead you to weep for a release that you don’t you necessarily need in the first place. I like to imagine that number-obsessed riders like the pain that leads to the numbers recorded, and they like the social competition of comparing to other riders. What I believe is that this doesn’t make them better riders compared to other ways of training. Yes, it forces action when faced with exposure. Yes, it gets other people to support and cheer and give you kudos.

What I want if we’re all going this way, is a device that takes perfect selfies, great panoramas, tracks my performance in real time and feeds back improvement strategies. I also want it to be able to contact other area riders for companionship, road-side help or plain old hill climbing, traffic-light jumping pick-up racing.

Then it can all upload back to my computer, organize the pics and information and load it to my website. That would be great.

I’ve had two weeks off the bike to recover from a virus – and it’s been time well spent for the most part. I got something towards my final goal. I lost a few pounds lying around eating fruit and lots of veggies and no red meat.

I researched for over 6 hours online all the tire options and settled on the weapon of choice for my race. Maxxis Ikon 2.35 which should give me a little extra volume to tear through the Portugese countryside in a few weeks.

Today I am hitting my local bike store to choose a new drivetrain. It’ll be a simple but big decision. I need to know from my mechanic if it’s possible to change the front chainring to a smaller ring to give me one more climbing gear. Which is really all I need. Or do I go all in on Eagle X0 and pimp my ride for a few years to come.

Direction-wise, I’ve got my new Garmin 600 which is the preferred and recommended gps by the race organizer, so now I am ready to follow the red line and hopefully not get bounced off track like last year. This unit is powered by AA batteries which is really trail-replacement friendly. It’s also easy to use with a nice touchscreen, which will be good for someone like me who’s easily distracted from it. The only down-side is that the unit feels quite heavy and chunky compared to my Garmin Etrex 20.

Having been off the bike for a couple weeks I’m looking forward to taking in two long overnight training rides over the next couple of weeks. One long ride to Burlington, followed by one long ride to Lake Placid. Round trip of a couple hundred miles in each case. I need to return to Lake Placid to the bike store where I bought my amazing saddle last year and pick up a supply of Skratch electrolytes which is better price and choice than the one store I know in Montreal that sells it.

So that’s it for now, stay tuned for the final five weeks training coming up right after yet another weekend of snow!