If I were asked what my ‘sport’ is, I definitely wouldn’t say cyclist, I’d say runner.
And yet, since Easter (and my ankle injury), I’ve been out for one run. I’ve done quite a few miles on the bike though. I’m gradually increasing them too, which is a definite bonus. However, it’s a very different kind of exercise.
It’s weird, I’m getting fitter but I wonder if I went out for a distance run now how I’d feel part way round, or at the end of it. Does fitness in one area translate throughout? I’m not so sure that it does necessarily.
Starting cycling my biggest enemy has to be hills and the gears. Truthfully, I’m a complete novice and I’m learning as I’m going, I couldn’t tell you if what I’m doing works or not. On the flat and downhill I can keep up with my cycling friends, yes I’m slower and yes they are probably going slower for me but we can chat and kick up the pace as we want. Put any sort of incline in my way and suddenly it’s a whole different story; it’s hasta la vista and I’ll see you at the top, don’t let yourselves get cold waiting for me! I’m not sure though how to improve on hills besides practice, the difference is so vast I’m sure there must be something I’m missing…
I lived on a flat island all my childhood so messing about on bikes as a kid the biggest hill was the skate ramp. I’ve had to overcome this lack of hill training when running too and now I can attack the hill; I get my Rocky moment at the top [nearly] every time. This certainly helps me visualise that end goal when tackling the hills while cycling but I’m not there yet.
The problem with cycling (and for all you avid cyclists please do not take this as a running vs. cycling piece; more the observations of someone attempting to improve in both) is the time required. If you want to go out for a quick run you slip on your trainers, maybe set your watch, plug in your music, then head out the front door to work your lungs and limbs. Going for a bike ride that feels like a workout requires far more time. And yesterday I found out that the pump I’ve been carrying around for my longer rides doesn’t actually fit the tubes in my tyres! Schoolgirl error. But there really is a lot more to think about than I had realised.
Training for a 140 mile in a day bike ride takes a lot of time; to travel that distance will take a lot of time. I’m realising now that on top of physically travelling the distance, working out what on earth my legs need to do to get me up the hill faster and knowing how to do quick road side maintenance [with the right kit!] is going to have to be a short sharp education curve; about as hard as that hill I’m dreading.