Preparations among the Team Green Peak Pedlars are probably as diverse as our locations from Ireland to California and as varied as our ages from a young thirty year old half ironman to some young- at -heart sixty somethings .For this member of the older cohort, the one -month-to-go reminder for RTR caused flashbacks of the worst panic attacks that preceded school and college examinations…
- Despite the fact that you have known for ages that this exam is coming , you realize all too late that you have done insufficient work …You just know you should have put in a bigger effort sooner and you wonder now where best to concentrate in the limited available time.
- Perversely, you wish the exam was starting tomorrow so you don’t have to cram frantic preparation or feel guilty for every available hour in the remaining month and so that the rest of the diligent participants won’t be getting even further ahead of you with every passing day..
- Everyone else seems to be better prepared than you and they talk about aspects of the exam that you haven’t even heard about…Are we even on the same course?
- You know all the advice about how to prepare for such challenges, how to map out a sensible program, how to do practice exam questions against the clock and that most annoying recommendation to taper down your effort and get plenty of rest as the big day approaches …How the hell can you taper down or rest when you are staring failure in the face, you are more interested in any assistance available to keep you awake for longer to prepare as much as possible…
- The fact that the exam paper was published in full 6 months ago is of no assistance, it makes the prospect worse if anything , you just break out in a cold sweat when you read it… Unless you have done the work beforehand, knowing the questions is no help…But maybe it’ll be OK on the day ?…No, it won’t….
- You console yourself that you don’t need an A grade anyway and that the Pass mark is quite low, in fact, in this case ,just staying alive will constitute success..
- You philosophize that exams and challenges aren’t the be-all and end-all and there’s more to life etc…but you can’t suppress the fear of failure and the looming loss of face among your peer group…..
- You remind yourself that you have somehow managed to scramble through all previous such challenges, even if not very elegantly on some occasions, but you can’t deny that this challenge is bigger than all the previous ones…”past performance is not a guide to future…” etc etc as the investment gurus tell us
- Then you firmly resolve to devise a plan and to start preparing properly tomorrow…or maybe the following day as you already have other commitments tomorrow….
Notwithstanding all this, I have managed to squeeze in a new form of training for RTR. In the absence of any natural altitude, two gyms in Dublin offer a form of altitude training. So, in recent weeks , I have done two spin classes a week in an “altitude chamber” …which is much less sophisticated than the name suggests…it’s a small room crammed with a dozen well-worn stationery bikes where the temperature is raised and the oxygen level is reduced for the class.,,,
If this activity happened as punishment in a prison, Amnesty International would be protesting about the inhumane treatment of the inmates. It’s difficult to measure any benefit, all I can say is that I sweat profusely and my heart rate rises rapidly after modest effort and I emerge feeling half cooked and fully dehydrated after only 40 minutes…And trying not to think of what lies ahead in Colorado…..
As for the rest of the group, some have recently had a week’s training in the sunshine and smooth roads of Mallorca and another member slipped off quietly to Gran Canaria for a four day training top up so they are all in good shape.
Last weekend, four of us RTR virgins went to the south west of Ireland for the Ring of Beara one day Sportif on 25 May. This is an 85 mile circuit of the Beara Peninsula , a scenic area with rolling roads and some challenging climbs (though not of Rockies proportions) and, inevitably ,some wind off the Atlantic. Happily we all completed it safely and in quite good style.
So now its Colorado here we come…most will depart Ireland for RTR on 5 June, the day President Trump is expected to arrive here for a brief visit and possibly a round of golf.. So ,just as Air Force 1 lands, Bike Force 1 will be taking off……we hope he has as much fun here as we expect to have in the US.