With many weeks of indoor or solo riding and almost all races being cancelled, this season is like no other. Read how Veloine rider @aanaakuu is dealing with the situation and how she's turning obstacles into new adventures.
Training camps abroad have been cancelled, cycling trips across the border are still not conceivable and group trips are only possible under certain conditions.
As much as I hate to say or write this term by now, I do it nevertheless. COVID-19 has us firmly in its grip, smashing all the plans we made last autumn and which we were so much looking forward to. Honestly, at the beginning of the lockdown here in Switzerland, I felt really down. My normally so good mood had vanished, and I felt locked up from day one. Restricted in my passion for cycling, for the active life that usually takes place outside. In the first days I was still hoping that everything would soon be back to normal, that I would be excited to be in Dijon with my friend Pauline at the start line of the Rad Race 96Hours and that after four days at the latest I would arrive in Koblenz happy and with lots of new impressions. All of the worry and moaning, and trust me, I have done this often and loudly, did not help. The race had to be postponed to an indefinite date. I was crying and getting really angry about Corona, which actually didn't help much, either. So I had to make new plans for my spring and summer on the bike.
With strength and flexibility into the new season
All winter long I have been working on my muscle strength. On the many ski tours my leg strength has increased extraordinarily, while my core and arm strength has decreased at the same time. And, like many of us female cyclists, I am one of those women who suffer from shortened muscle strands. Yoga, although I always found it very relaxing, was never high on my list of priorities. That has clearly changed in the last few months. Since last autumn I have been practicing yoga at least twice a week. The advantages are obvious to me. I can strengthen my core while stretching my shortened muscles. Depending on the need I have, I put in this or that unit. Everything looks still a bit shaky and certainly not perfect, but it feels good.
Out to gather new impressions
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that in the last few months, actually since last fall, I have not been following a strict training plan. I simply enjoy riding when I feel like it and when my free time allows.
Recently I have been riding more and more often without a specific goal. On every tour I gain more new impressions than I've had for a long time. I meet people and take the time to talk to them. Just recently I met an elderly man who was riding his new electric road bike. At first I smiled at him, but then in the course of our conversation I realized that the e-support makes it possible for the guy to ride a road bike - like he has been doing every day for over 50 years. He told me about his passion with an enthusiasm that reignited my own. His advice to ride through nature with open eyes and to have the courage to be without a plan and get lost has inspired my thirst for adventure.
Off to the first road trip of the season
While I am writing this blog post, I am in the middle of the preparations for my first multi-day bike tour this year. And, for my second multi-day tour ever. The first one took place two years ago and ended abruptly on the second day in hospital. You can read more about it here (German only).
On this trip everything will be different, because I will be riding with my "Velosista" Pauline (who would have been my partner in crime for RadRace 96Hours, too) and I am basically better prepared. The bike tour leads us through the Jura. A beautiful little-known hilly landscape on the border to France. We start in Delsberg or Delémont, as the capital of the canton is called in French, and cycle along the Jura arc towards Nyon. I planned the route to our trip with Komoot and chose the option "Bicycle with gravel" when entering the data. Pauline and I have recently become proud owners of gravel bikes.
We are quite well equipped for our multi-day trip. We take a tent, two sleeping mats, two seasonal sleeping bags, three bike bags each, a stove, one cup and one set of cutleries, as well as a hygiene set, cycling and changing clothes and various individual products. Gummy bears and the obligatory fairy lights for the evening romance in the tent are also included. It is supposed to be a pleasure tour among friends - and not a competition. I believe that both of us want to compensate for the unusual RadRace 96Hours together and strengthen our friendship.
I am sure that Pauline is the right partner for such adventures. She's wonderfully uncomplicated, openminded and, like me, not at a loss for words. Pauline has the natural of being able to turn every negative moment into a positive one. That's what I especially like about her - and also her Dutch accent. It's so cute!
Haruki Marukami has exactly the right quote at this point: “That’s how stories happen - with a turning point, an unexpected twist.”
I wish you all the best for your season, you great cycling women! And, I hope to meet many of you some day.