When is a holiday not a holiday? We all love a holiday, and many of us love a sporting holiday. Finding the balance between enjoying the experience, or just concentrating on how well you perform, can make the difference between a successful trip or sitting in the departure lounge on the way home thinking of what might have been. Was it a holiday or training? Is there a secret to striking the right balance?
Firstly, the key is to choose the right trip, one that is achievable. Do you want it to be a holiday or training trip.Can you only get out on a Sunday ride ? Do you have time for just a couple of hours on a home trainer ? If so, then six straight days of 125km and 1500m+ of climbing is not viable. You may think that you can survive, and it is admirable to give it a go, but will you enjoy it? Probably not. However, that should not preclude you from taking on a challenge that, on paper, looks beyond you. Many cycle tourists can perform small miracles with the sun on their back. And also free of the day-to-day stresses of modern life.
So, how do you choose the correct trip. A good rule of thumb is to establish how long you are comfortable on a bike. Physically and mentally. If your Sunday ride is about 3 hours or so, but always leaves you wanting more, then a five-hour day is doable and enjoyable. And six days straight may sound a lot, but most cyclists will get stronger and stronger as a trip goes on. Plan your training in the three months before the trip, increasing time on the bike, rather than huge intensity. A smooth five-hour effort will adjust your mind and body to excessive time in the saddle, and stretch, a lot, after each ride. A holiday is just that, a holiday, and there to be enjoyed. So the dilemma of is it a holiday or training can be solved, with some good forward planning.