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    • After I started working, I started gaining quite a bit of weight. My Dad had always done cycling as a hobby, but I was never really interested. I felt it was time to do something outside of work, and maybe lose a few pounds. I started commuting to work, 10 mile rides, then 20 miles ride, then 30, 50 etc. I worked up to doing my first metric century, a full century, then I decided to do the death ride. Then being the ambitious fellow I am, I wondered what was next.

      I had been driven to this point by the need to do the next thing. There was always something new to try. Decided to get into racing; the local race scene in Northern California is incredibly competitive. The hilly terrain is ideal for training. I quickly discovered that I didn't really like criterium racing (huge tight pack of guys racing in circles and bumping into one another). Eventually I bought a time trial bike, and discovered my favorite discipline.

      After the initial goal setting, setting goals became much harder. Rather than goals being related to completion, they were now related to competition. Things got much more difficult. Goals started needing to be longer, and in order to stay motivated, I had to start setting short, medium, and long term goals. For example, a short term goal might be: Hit every HIT training interval this week, and don't miss a workout. Medium term might be: Upgrade my racing category from 4 to 3. Long term: Win the regional age group TT in 5 years and get a bear jersey.

      What are your goals? How do you keep yourself motivated for the near and the long term?

      PS: I know I can get lower on my position, working on it :P

    • Ow! The burn of time trialing... No wonder it looks like you're gonna scream.

      Can I just say for a sec? That is a Hell of a photo. The photographer really had it dialed: motion-blurred wheels from speed, blurred background from movement and shallow depth of field, sharp, well-exposed face even though it's in the shadow. Not easy to do.

      I'm with you. To really get the adrenaline going, there has to be competition, not just completion. That's the trouble with centuries, it's not so much a race, although some guys try to turn it into that.

      That's where triathlon or duathlon comes in. You get to race, even on the bike. Maybe you'd love this one. @Viltri and I did it last year.

    • The photo is by Katie Truong, one of the amazing photographers that shows up to the NCNCA races.

      I have played with the idea of doing Duathlon. Being a TT focus, there aren't a huge amount of pure time trial races out there, especially for a 40k distance (really only one in NCNCA). Gotta work on that run though, or maybe a relay :).

    • Oh, that's the way to beat @viltri! The duathlon has a relay division so you can do the bike and get a ringer for the run. My buddies did that to me last year.

    • Great story Eric. You're certainly a motivated person. I used to race motocross and used running and road bike racing to train for that. It started as road biking to train for mountain bike racing then time trial racing to train for road bike racing. The main reason I didn't just ride my mountain bike to train was because we got a lot of snow in Northwestern Ontario - Canada and the paved roads were rideable much earlier in the season. I stopped racing and now I mostly chase Strava KOM's. First it was locally but then I started doing it in California. I love climbing and if you want to do long climbs then California is the place to be as you've discovered.

      So what kinds of goals do I set if I'm not racing? Well I'll sometimes pick KOM's that I want and the date I want to get them by. I'll sometimes pick a watts per kilogram goal and the length of time I want to do it. For example 5 watts/kg was a goal I had two years in a row. I wanted to be able to hold that on a climb for at least 45 minutes. I achieved that goal. Another goal I set is to average a certain wattage for a certain length of time. I did have a goal to average 400 watts for 20 minutes but I stopped cycling for a period of time and therefore didn't achieve my goal. At the time I set it I had gone 406 or so watts for just over 11 minutes. I weight 148-152lbs and I'm 6'1" tall. When I'm climbing well I have 6% body fat according to the caliper method. This year I'm struggling to figure out a goal. It's so much easier when I know I'll be in Cali as I'll just pick a popular segment and set a time goal and estimated average wattage I figure I'll need to maintain for that period of time. Your post have me thinking more about the power of goal setting and actually writing them down. I have pages of old KOM goals that I made and most of them I've achieved. It seems weird to just go out by myself and fly up some hill as if it's meaningful. Weird also how much time and energy I have expended in attempting to achieve these goals. What is the point? Although i for some reason love the feeling of pain and suffering when I push myself I'm not so sure it's purposeful. I guess ultimately nothing really matters and any meaning we set for life is merely something we've created to make life more enjoyable. There must be some innate competitive drive to show we are superior to others and built in biological urge that having strength, speed, endurance and agility helped us hunt game and survive things that would hunt and kill us.

      I guess the only goal I have for this summer so far is to have fun and keep it fun but to feel healthy and fit while doing it. Good luck on your goals and in your races and thanks for sharing.

    • When I played tennis on a competitive team I always had to have something at stake even when just practicing. Sometimes it was as simple as the loser bought coffee, but just playing ‘for fun’ wasn’t focused enough for me. Now with motorcyling I have to be clear what my reason for a ride or flower sniffing. In both cases the routines stay the same but with flower siffing I have to remember it’s ok to stop to see the sights.

    You've been invited!