The Soapbox: Loving The Fitness You Have

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Words by Kath Bicknell | Images by Damian Breach

‘Want to go trail riding on Saturday?’ – ‘Yeh! For sure!’

‘Want to hit up some beach hills on Tuesday?’ – ‘Count me in!’

‘Race you to the pie shop?’ – ‘You’re on!’

‘Sleep in tomorrow?’ – ‘Sounds like a plan.’

While shabby days on the bike happen to all of us, it bums me out how frequently some riders are down on their fitness instead of glowing about it. These riders are so focussed on the merits of being fitter, they don’t reflect on their current form.

Personally I’m stoked when the level of fitness I have is enough to say yes to almost anything my riding mates throw at me.

What I love most about ‘yes to anything’ fitness is it doesn’t matter if you’re tired, flogged, fresh or even particularly fast. It’s about enjoying every ride, for what it is, hopefully with an infectious giggle at the end of a particularly excellent trail. If you choose your rides well, this will be most of them.

Of course, key to being able to say yes to anything is having mates who ask the right questions. An assemblage of fellow trail buddies whose rides make you glow with enthusiasm rather than look anxiously toward the horizon, or wear your brakes out as you fight to reduce the waiting time at the bottom of each descent.

Friends who push you just outside your comfort zone in the effort stakes make you accidentally fit. Meanwhile, those who challenge you to practice your skills in the singletrack give your legs and heart some time to rest.

The right rides offer the recovery and interval benefits of a basic training program (if you’re that way minded), but can make you laugh out loud and get you reasonably quick on the bike as a by-product of hanging out.

In the spirit of good health, a few yeses to fine dining, early nights and enjoying other off-bike fun will also keep your riding highs on track.

Why so many cyclists spend precious riding time complaining about form is beyond me. By waiting for the day where you ride out of your skin, you run the risk of missing all the good days that lead up to it. Not just good days on the bike, but good days on the bike with friends.

Ride days that consist of more yeses than nos and enough stamina to mostly keep up? Sounds like awesome fun to me!

‘Up that climb again so we can ride the sweetest descent in the world one more time?’ – ‘Let’s go!’ Come to think of it, I think saying yes to moments like this is why I feel fitter than I’ve ever been.

Enjoy the ride.

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