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Cycling Alternatives

My intention when creating this blog was to record the thoughts I have about cycling as I seem to spend what a lot of non-cyclists would consider an un-reasonable anmount of time thinking about it. I’m always planning the next build, upgrade, accessory, trip, training goal, weather conditions etc.

While I always enjoy pretty much every ride I do – no matter the weather or trail conditions – there are moments when it all comes together, where I feel physically on top form, where the bike runs perfectly, where the trail is is great condition, I’m mentally tuned in and riding well. The buzz from days like this is what I strive for, train for and think about. They tend to be more likely on trips away – North Wales trail centres or the day long ride i did in Pembrokeshire with an OS map and glorious weather – but they happen on my local trails as well. if you’re a regular cyclist you’ll knwo what I’m talking about, or I hope you do.

…and onto the point of this post.

There are few other activities that I’ve done that have given me the same blinkered, encompassing nirvana of emmersion and enjoyment. Where you are commited to what you’re doing with total concentration to the point of nothing else mattering. You get lost on the moment, the excitement, the endorphin rush that keeps you buzzing for the rest of the day.

Last year I found one –¬†Skiing.

I’ve only been skiing twice and last year got to a reasonable standard, able to ski red and some blacks with confidence. I recall standing at the top of a red run in Val Thorens on the Thursday, looking at the off-piste new snowfall having done a section already and considering if this was better than the mountain biking I’ve done. At the time I said it was, but I’ve had some time to consider this is detail since and as I’m due to head out to Val T in a few weeks it’s come back to the forefront of my mind.

– Both give you spectacular views (on a good day)
– Both give you the adrenaline rush of speed
– They require commitment
– They can be done on the cheap but if you buy better equipment you notice the difference.

The mental skills to come down the mountain at speed are very similar – there’s a common feeling of finding your limit, keeping the right side of it, being slightly¬†out of control at times yet having the mental clarity to not panic and to keep the technique.

So none of this is new – they both involve speed and mountains – it helps to be fit and physically strong and a lot of cyclists love skiing. At the moment I’m lucky to be in a situation where I can afford to do both – if I had to choose it would be cycling of course as it’s an all year sport but thankfully for now I don’t have to choose.