Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Violent Act

I have said it a hundred times before and I will say it a hundred more... Running is a violent act.

At the end of the racing season this year, the team went to Cozumel in Mexico. Outside of the usual duties of meeting new team mates, organising equipment and taking official media for next year, we were told to relax and spend some time off the bike, allowing the body a bit of R&R before we start pushing it again.

This may sound ideal to some, but for myself, I go a little stir crazy when I am just sitting around as I would rather be up and doing something. So to compensate my lack of riding, I thought that I would partake in some other activities. The week began with many of us playing around with scooters, jet skis and catamarans and pretty much any other activity that we could find. 

Despite filling the time, these activities just don't have the caloric expenditure of riding a bike for hours on end, and with the thought of putting on as little weight as possible in the off-season weighing in the back of my mind, it wasn't long before I was itching to do some exercise.

I started to spread the word around the team that in the following morning we should go for a run. A little bit of weight bearing activity to make sure our bones don't fade away to nothing. A lot of people were keen and at 6:30am the next day, 15 people had traded their cycling shoes for joggers.

I'm not sure if you have ever experienced going for a run after not doing it for over 12 months but it is extremely painful. Muscles that you forgot you even had ache within minutes and the constant impact on the feet and joints is almost immediately unbearable. Before we had even made it a kilometer down the road, several guys had already stopped and started the walk back to the hotel.

Being a highly competitive bunch, the rest of us pushed on, the pace getting faster with every kilometer. As we hit the 3km mark, I began to question just how far we were going, aware that we were going to have to run back yet. 500m later, I pulled the pin and turned back, my legs already aching.

That afternoon, I tried to spread the word again about another run in the morning. I was met with very little enthusiasm. At 6:30am the next day, only 3 other people showed up for a run. Of the others that went running the day before, one had huge blisters on his feet and another could barely walk because his ankle was so sore. I ran another 3 times during the week, ignoring my aching legs and assuring myself that it would eventually get easier. I had grand ideas of being able to go for a run with my wife when I got home and just doing something different.

Just before I left Cozumel for home, I still had an ache in my left calf muscle and when I got home, I was limping around. I went to get it checked out and I had a suspected tear in my muscle. This resulted in taking another few days easy and letting it heal, re-confirming what I have always thought about running. It is a violent act. 

Humans were given highly functioning brains for a reason. To invent other modes of transport like the bicycle and the car. Running should be reserved for when you are being chased by a lion or when you miss the ice-cream truck. Needless to say, I have not been for a run since I got home and I have no plans to.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Strava Art

Hopefully, the novelty of Strava KoM's has worn off on you by now. 

There was a period of time where it seemed like everyone was trying to one-up their mates by sprinting up every hill on their favourite rides. But now, most people have reached their terminal velocity. There is only so many times you can do your local ride full gas before... a) you can't go any faster. b) some freak takes your KoM while motor pacing and you have no chance or c) you just can't be bothered anymore. 

So what is the use of Strava now other than to give Kudos to your mates for doing the exact same ride you just did?... Strava Art. That's what. 

I was looking over some old rides recently for some inspiration on where to ride and noticed that some of them vaguely resembled a picture of something. I had to squint and view it with a very Picasso-esque outlook, but it was there. It got me wondering if I could plan out a ride to draw a picture. 

After about 0.00054sec of research on Google, I discovered that 'Strava Art' is a common thing and some people have done some amazing things. 

Here are some of the best Strava Art pictures out there...

After seeing these and sat down at the computer to attempt to plot a course to follow to make some Strava Art. It is a LOT harder than it looks. Actually, it's too damn hard for me. 

Instead, I have adopted a 'shoot first and call whatever you hit the target' approach. Just do a ride and maybe at the end, it might vaguely resemble something. 

Here are some of my best works...

This is 'horse with fire tail'

'Demented pouncing cat'

'Donald duck with backwards hat'

'Fat camel'

Get out there and give it a go! It's a lot harder than you think. Forget KoM's, they are so early 2014.