Monday, 1 June 2009

That mental thing

People sometimes ask me how I can go and do long rides without my brain melting and dribbling onto my favourite cycling top. Especially during the winter, when it just isn't pleasant. Winter means either uncomfortable outside or staring at a laptop playing DVDs in the garage.

There are a bunch of reasons
  • High boredom threshold. Sort of. When on a bike. Off a bike, my boredom threshold is microbial. My catchphrase as a kid was "I'm bored"
  • Mental chunking. Probably the only reason that has scientific proof. I don't go for 6 hour rides, I ride to the next village. When I'm there, I ride to the next one. Then the next one...
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She helps a lot.
  • Music. Special "bike ride" playlist, at a very low volume.
  • Other people. Whilst they can be distracting (by being faster than me) they can also be motivating (by being slower than me).

Now on Saturday I went out for a solo ride, 4-5 hours or so. About 10 minutes in I realised I'd completely forgotten the MP3 player - all those rides with Jon meant that it wasn't top of my pre-ride checklist any more. I was under a bit of time pressure so I carried on without it. Then I found another thing that helps me deal with long rides. Summer. Sun, warmth, green countryside, general chirpiness in the air. Somehow the novelty of it proved a perfect distraction.

So, to prevent boredom: Summer, or Buffy Summers. You choose.

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