There are just 31 days until I start the Euro City Cycle (London to Amsterdam to Brussels, 300 miles over 4 days) and I’m entering the final stages of my preparation.
When I originally signed up for the event it really was a stretch target. No-one was in a position to tell me I would be able to do it. I was still in Cardiac Rehab. The medical professionals weren’t going to encourage me to push myself too hard, and the rest of us had no idea what I’d be capable of. I really was heading into the unknown. To be honest, it would have been considered a challenge even without the Heart Attack given my lack of physical activity.
Committing to the event was scary too. It set a hard deadline. If I hadn’t been able to do it due to medical concerns it would have said something about the impact my Heart Attack was going to have on the rest of my life. It would have been much easier for me to “wait and see”, to only to commit to something I knew I could do, but that’s not really me, and certainly not how I want to live.
Yesterday’s cycle served as a reminder of how far I’ve come…
Having got a solid winter’s training under my belt, primarily inside on the Turbo Trainer, I’ve been slowly building the distance outside. Yesterday saw a big jump to 80 miles! If the truth been told, it was probably too big a jump (from just under 60 miles). We weren’t really monitoring the miles, we just followed a route. It was a tough ride, but good to complete!
A few weeks ago I took on “proper” hills for the first time. My initial hilly cycle resulted in me walking for part of two of the three main inclines. I hadn’t considered that I would need to develop a strategy for hills, to learn how to cycle up them, but that’s exactly what was required. Now I’ve got to the point where I enjoy a good climb. Each one represents an honest, visible and tangible challenge, laid out right in front of me.
Over time I’ve also become less obsessed by my Heart Rate. I constantly monitor it, but I’m more relaxed. The last time I visited the Cardiologist he was comfortable with me cycling and was happy that the medication would prevent me from pushing myself too hard. It’s therefore become less of a concern for me, less of a constraint.
The drugs are working. My short term recovery is amazing. It’s a combination of the medication and my improving fitness but, after having pushed myself hard, my Heart Rate can drop off by 30 beats per minute in a couple of minutes. I feel it too. I enjoy regular breaks to eat / drink, but I don’t need long before I’m good to go again.
Having completed yesterday’s epic cycle I’m going to take a few days away from the Road Bike. Instead, I’ll have some fun on the Mountain Bike, a machine that has been horribly neglected over the past few months.
There are just four more Saturday outings before I head south for the Euro City Cycle itself. It’s just a milestone on my rehabilitation journey, but it’s an important one. My key goals at this point are to stay fit and healthy. Fingers crossed!