(2015) Here we are weeks away from the holiday season. It’s not exactly the righteous time to think about what sort of big races will grace the 2016 race calendar. But that’s where the issue arises.
Watching this BBC interview with Bradley Wiggins, I found myself questioning the hardest part about being a champion: Is it harder to become a champion? Or is it harder to repeat because of the motivation factor? How does one prepare himself for his whole life of competition, to win said competition, and then come back with the same flare or more? I thought Wiggins provided an insightful answer to a great question. Let's face it, the man has stuck his name on numerous cycling disciplines over the past decade.
With the off-season, according to Wiggins, we should explore other avenues to better ourselves in preparation for a new season. Instead of road bike speed workouts, borrow a friend’s cyclocross bike and jump in the mess. Roll into the woods on a mountain bike without a computer. Purchase cross-country skis if it snows in your area and flatten the snow for the fat bikes to come through. Then pull the fat bike off the roof of the car and silently plow through your cross-country ski tracks. If there's an indoor velodrome nearby, utilize it. Recreating summer’s intensity in the winter will lead to burnout at some point.
I know Christian Vande Velde was in a commercial stating next season starts in a barn in October. Well, I’m without Grand Tour aspirations. The closest I’ll get is the cookbook by Hannah Grant. Being an amateur is precisely why this part of the season is for kicking back and trying new things. Next season needs to feel fresh, new.
So I will take Sir Bradley Wiggins’ advice. Sure I’ll still sprint for the town signs. I’ll still erroneously find myself on the front of the Trexlertown Derby. But I may also find myself meandering through The Nox trails just to get away from the road bike and every other stress in the world. Perhaps then, next season will feel like that first year all over again.