Are you riding or are you training? I’ve done both, and often found them to be very different despite the fact they both involve the simple act of operating a bicycle. A coach once told me that training is riding with a goal. Whether it’s a future race result, setting a personal best time or just being able to hang with the pack at the Tuesday night world championships, there’s a specific target you’re aiming at. At times I’ve found training and racing very appealing. Over the years it gave real structure to my life, and reaching goals was very rewarding. Other times the whole concept became a real burden on my life, spawning disappointment and depression. That’s when just riding became a priority, and that has been incredibly fulfilling in its own way as well. Both have their strong and weak points.
So what’s the difference? I think that…
…training is stepping on the scale every day.
…riding is going back for seconds, guilt-free.
…training is anti-social, because you need to stick to “your program.”
…riding is social, where the plan is to just have fun with friends wherever, whenever and however.
…training is putting your needs ahead of real needs like family and career.
…riding is the reward for taking good care of real needs first.
…training is numbers: heart rate, watts, grams, calories, hours, miles.
…riding is words: fun, excitement, routes, buddies, sharing.
…training is riding according to a set schedule, whether you feel like it or not.
…riding is doing it whenever and however you want to.
…training is hammering over the top.
…riding is stopping at the top to admire the view.
…training is writing down and analyzing every part of the ride.
…riding is reviewing the day over beers with your buddies.
…training is for the future.
…riding is for the present.
…training is knowing what your lactate threshold and VO2 max are.
…riding is knowing that your heart is trying to break your ribs from the inside.
…training is riding when you’re ill.
…riding is limited to the couch when you’re ill.
…training is filling your bottles with CytoPowerEnduraHammerMax.
…riding is filling your bottle with water.
…training is cold, wet, hot, dark.
…riding is sunny and mild.
…training is pushing yourself to new levels of physical and mental capabilities.
…riding is occasionally pushing to the top of a hill.
…training is because you have to.
…riding is because you want to.
Did I miss any? And how would you describe your current time in the saddle?