I’ve had a chance to reflect this weekend whilst on a cycling trip up north for Tour de Yorkshire. It’s been some of the best cycling I’ve done since Ride Across Britain last year, both for how I felt physically and mentally – but what was the difference this weekend?
They make this 20% incline look so easy!
During my solo final spin of the weekend, I had time to think about why my riding legs finally feel familiar and comfortable again. Yes, I’ve had enough preparation in the mountains of Mallorca and over big distances in pedalling home, but there was a much more important factor in my enjoyment of the weekend – friends.
The past few challenges and training associated with it have been very solo – planking my way through January (largely in my room), running through February (mainly commuting), mountain climbing in March (going uphill on my own with Sam racing ahead), and pedal power home last month (again, with Sam ahead).
This weekend has been about group riding, climbing, eating, drinking, laughing, singing and drinking in every beautiful view that Yorkshire has to offer (believe me, there’s many!).
People power, as I’ve coined it, is that natural buzz and energy that others give you. That extra motivation to climb the extra hill or the reassurance that it’s okay to stop for coffee in Harrogate and get a lift back. Its the comfort of knowing you’re not alone, that there’s others to help if you need it and that they’re there to sing and laugh with too.
They’re there to baaa at the sheep you’re riding past and not think you’re crazy for doing it. They’re there to learn from and challenge you to your limits. They’re there to be “all about that view” and take hundreds of photos because it’s Yorkshire and stunning. They’re there to support you with a push up the hill or dinner when you return.
And for me that was the big difference between all previous rides and training. Groups of people – whether it’s friends on a cycling holiday or strangers on an event – make a huge difference. So never underestimate how important you are, both in your own life and in the lives of others.
I can’t imagine a better bank holiday weekend than with this lot.