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Fighting Boredom- By: Jasper Blake

“Boring is as boring does”

By Jasper Blake

Big rides can loom on the horizon when you are preparing for a long event.  It doesn’t matter how much you love your new bike, a full day on it can gnaw at your subconscious making the task seem overwhelming.  But guess what soldier, you brought this on yourself.  It’s your choice so if you’re going to do it you might as well do it properly.

I’ve had my fair share of 7+ hour rides in the past two years and I will admit that there are times when it is difficult to stay motivated and to stave off boredom.  There are definitely strategies to this madness and I would like to share some of those with you now.  So sit back and enjoy the ride and don’t worry about getting bored because this is going to be an awesome article.

You know what they say; “Only boring people get bored”.  I’ve always like this idea.  It is a spot of wisdom we should all live by.  There are too many interesting things and too many interesting people for life to ever get boring.

Probably the easiest way to keep yourself motivated and free of boredom is to do your long sessions with other people who share a similar skill set.  Nothing kills time like the company of other like-minded individuals who you can gabber with for hours.  I manage my long winter sessions with several different groups here in Victoria and believe me, it would be mentally exhausting without them.  Long, wet days in the saddle are always so much more enjoyable when there are a bunch of people to kick your butt.  Chances are you will be more likely to simply show up and get the ride done with a group.  It’s easy to let ourselves down but we often treat other people with more respect, courtesy and timing than we do ourselves, which in itself is rather insane but often true.

Long rides get shorter when you build into them.  I always find that first 3 hour ride of the base season almost agonizing.  However, after some 5, 6 and 7 hour sessions that three hour ride gets pretty basic.  The fact is we are mental animals and our brains can determine mood and emotions.  We need to train our brains to handle this kind of time and it takes work.  Be patient and don’t rush into the really long rides or you truly will feel nutty by the end.
Breaking long rides up into manageable sets is a great strategy and actually just smart training.  It’s rare that I will strap on the helmet and ride with no game plan for 7 hours.  My long rides are always broken down into more manageable pieces that I can get my head around.

Choosing different routes for your long rides is essential.  Sure sometimes you have to get a set in and it needs to be controlled so you ride up and down the Pat Bay highway for 7 hours, around and around and around and around until all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy but that’s another story.  They say that a change can be as good as a holiday so why on earth would you not explore.  Do you have any idea how far you can ride a bike in 5-7 hours?  You can go a very, very long way so why not explore where you live especially during the time of year when pacing and heart rate are not written in stone.  Try riding out of your town or city in completely different directions every long ride.  You will be amazed at all the little communities you stumble across that you’ve never heard of.  Your knowledge of the area will grow immensely and you will have a much better mental image of the countryside you live in.
On the same note, try a point to point ride and plan to end up somewhere cool where you and your sweet thang can spend the night in a cheap motel and have pizza delivered.  The next day you can drive or ride back.  These rides are affectionately known as “credit card rides”.  All you need is a general sense of direction and your good friend Visa or MasterCard and off you go.

The last bit of advice I would offer is to get in touch with your inner dialogue and ability to stay present.  There is a meditative state that conquers all inner anguish and it’s simply the ability to stay focused and connected with the present moment.  Boredom and mental fatigue are caused from the inside out, not the other way around.  When we lose the connection with the present moment the brain often wants to escape to a different time or place.  Unfortunately this can really cause a downward spiral in your current state of affairs.  When we project ourselves into the future or the past the task at hand can seem daunting and non pleasurable which in turn brings about boredom and creates motivation gaps.  There are loads of books available about this kind of thing so go get one and read it.

Every situation has something motivating and interesting in it you just have to learn to see it.  So remember, the next time you feel “bored” ask yourself if the situation you are in is boring or whether you are just being a boring person, it’s like a good old fashioned slap in the face that will swing you around to a state of common sense.

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