Most of us are aware of the complications brought on by the work-life balance – it’s a much used phrase these days. Add into the mix a minor obsession with all things bike related, and what you end up with is the work-life-bike balance or, to give it it’s full title, the work-life-bike-recover-rest-repeat balance.
This is not an easy thing to manage.
A recent interview with Alberto Contador as reported in Velo News got me thinking about this tricky business of tired legs, and how to recover quickly enough to take on the next task. In Contador’s world, of course, the tired legs are a result of three weeks going head to head with the mountains of the Giro d’Italia (and winning), and the next task on the horizon is the Tour de France, which does put my problems in perspective somewhat.
As Contador described his predicament, “physically and muscularly, I still feel the wear from the Giro…as a result, I tried above all to rest as much as possible during this time…I have only done three days of specific training to activate my body.”
Whoah, hang on a minute…
”Activate my body?”
That’s a weird phrase.
Without delving to deeply in to the sports science behind what Contador is saying, it sounds like I need to be ‘activating’ my body after a long ride, and I have a sneaky suspicion that my usual post ride ritual of a quick shower, a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, a run around the park with the kids, a few household chores, and a couple of glasses of wine before bed might not quite cut the mustard.
I’m not so much ‘activating’ it as ‘de-activating’ it, which may explain the deep tiredness and ravenous hunger I feel the next morning as I drag myself out of bed for another day at work.
The effort of a big ride on a Sunday – maybe eighty or ninety miles or so – can easily take until Wednesday to leave my system; just imagine if I’d ridden the Giro d’Italia this year, before being back home on the Sunday evening to bath and bed the kids, and in work on the Monday morning.
Contador wouldn’t have been the only one complaining of tiredness; but thankfully, Team Sky deemed me surplus to requirements in Italy this year.
So it seems that the only logical solution to this tricky conundrum is to eliminate one of the elements of the puzzle.
I’m obviously not getting rid of the bike bit, and the life bit is mostly great fun too (kids, family, friends, wine etc.), so the only logical solution is to find a way of eliminating the work bit (thus freeing me up to rest-recover-repeat).
Following recent deep cuts to the welfare benefit system in this country, to fund an extravagant cycling habit via the taxpayer is no longer an option, and so simply quitting my job and signing on for benefits is not a realistic solution; proof, if it were needed, that this Conservative government just isn’t taking the cycling agenda in this country seriously…(!)
My only answer seems to be to find a way of getting paid for doing one of the other two (life, or bike). Short of creating my own reality TV show (viewing figures, I fear, would be an issue) I can’t see a plausible way of making money from my kids, family, friends or wine (at least not a morally acceptable one anyway), so this leaves me with just one option.
I need to follow Contador’s example and make some money in a bike related way, although, as I’m now in my late thirties, I fear my Grand Tour winning days might be behind me.
So I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that bike related business opportunity, and in the mean-time, it’s back to my attempts to master the work-life-bike-rest-recover-repeat balance.
Wish me luck.