The road to 5000….

December 1, 2014 at 6:03 pm 3 comments

At some point this week I expect to be out on a ride clocking over my 5000th kilometre for the year. Whilst this isn’t a significant number of kilometres for many cyclists it will mark the completion of a goal I set myself in December last year. It has certainly been a journey to get to this point and I wanted to write a little bit about it.

Why 5000km?

I set the 2014 5000km goal at the end of 2013. At the time I’d just passed 4500km ridden in that year. I had enjoyed the riding I’d done but decided that I could push myself to be a little better and do a little more. However there were some factors that went into the “stretch” target:

  • In 2013 I spent quite a lot of time training for two four-day races. The Hellfire Cup in November and Wildside in January 2014. I didn’t have any race goals or aspirations post Wildisde and knew I wouldn’t train as hard, or sacrifice as much time, without a competition goal to work towards.
  • I didn’t want my goal to dictate my rides. I love riding off-road, either on my cyclcross or mountain bike, and never wanted to be dissuaded from this terrain by thoughts of not maximising my kilometres per ride.
  • There was a vague possibility that I might go on holiday for a significant period in 2014.

With all that in mind I set my sights on 10% more riding than I had done in 2013.

Racing Wildside on Tassie's West Coast

Racing Wildside on Tassie’s West Coast

Racing Wildside on Tassie's West Coast

Racing Wildside on Tassie’s West Coast

How to achieve a goal

Anything you read about large goals will tell you that you need to break your goal down into manageable tasks in order to make any progress. With 52 weeks in the year I decided to aim for 100km of riding a week. This allowed 2 week’s leeway to deal with sickness, stupid weather or other reasons why I may not be able to get on the bike.

With that decision made I plugged 100km into Strava’s Weekly Goal tool and resolved to leave it there for the rest of the year.

The progression

All went well for the first third of the year and I reached the end of April with 2306km already ridden. Having nearly reached half my goal in a third of the year I was feeling pretty confident and pleased with myself.

Racing the Mount Wellington Time Trial

Racing the Mount Wellington Time Trial

Cycling Sunday Century Ride

Cycling Sunday Century Ride with Ant and Glenn

From that point things became a lot harder. To begin with my work circumstances changed and I suddenly found myself working at a ridiculous rate to try and get into my new role and keep on top of things. In addition my job entails semi-regular interstate travel which meant time away from my bikes.

At this point I did some fairly serious re-assessment. The pressure of work and the requirement to ride 100km a week was becoming too weighty. I was also starting to lament the lack of running and upper-body work in my fitness regime. I decided to put my cycling goal aside. I had to focus on getting some balance back into my life and however much riding I could fit in would simply have to do for the year.

Two weeks later I became too sick to move. I’m sure many of you have experienced gastro and know how much it can knock you around. It hit me pretty hard and I was laid up for a fortnight unable to shuffle up and down the stairs, let alone get out for a ride. Upon return I managed a week and a half of riding before being overcome with a cold which knocked me out for another 1.5 weeks.

By now I had reached the end of June. Our vague holiday plans were solidifying and I knew we were going to be gone for around a month sometime in October. Things weren’t looking that great.

Riding to the Springs is always rewarding.

Riding to the Springs is always rewarding.

On a positive note, it was half way through the year and I was sitting on 2700kms. I knew that the summer months would bring back long evenings and the chance to catch up on kilometres, more than 100km per week for sure. Work had settled down somewhat so I resolved to push hard up until our holiday and get myself ahead. I wanted to be at least a month ahead before we departed so I didn’t come home with a deficit.

The result was a big effort from July through to September. Arguably the worst time to be riding in Tasmania, I managed to exceed my 100km/week on all of the weeks except for one. In total I put on 1734.3km with 647.2km of those coming in September, my biggest month of the year.

Riding in the snow was great fun!

Riding in the snow was great fun!

So I left for my 4 week holiday with 4566.1km done. Just under 500km remaining and 6 weeks upon return to get them done. As it turned out, I managed to get some riding in whilst I was away and have ramped back up to my 100km/week target since I returned. With all of December to go, I’ve got 40km left to do.

Riding in San Francisco

Riding in San Francisco

Hitting trails as soon as I got back home from the US.

Hitting trails as soon as I got back home from the US.

The emotions

So how does all of this make me feel? Undeniably there is a bit of pride and accomplishment associated with this whole process. It is difficult to ignore the millions of other cyclists who passed 5000kms back in the middle of the year (or earlier). They make think about how much I haven’t done. However, this was a personal challenge which wasn’t about anyone else. I have managed to push through and get it done. I’ve never really set resolutions, or long term goals before and I am pleased to have gone through the process.

In addition it has been great to have a reason to get out and about. I’ve experienced some amazing parts of Tasmania (and the world!) by bike this year. Many amazing sites, views, sunrises and sunsets. This is something I won’t be giving up, even without a goal next year.

Sunrise Commute

Sunrise Commute

That said, I don’t think I will be setting a target like this again for next year. Whilst I feel I have achieved something, it isn’t really something that means a lot in the world and I’ve had to make sacrifices in order to get there.

For example, I spent a lot of time alone this year, riding my bike. Of course I rode with other people a lot (which was great) but there have also been many solo kilometres traveled. I like riding alone, a lot. However I also like hanging out with friends, building relationships and spending time on things that might have a bit more meaning than ticking off kilometres. I still want to ride a lot in future, I still want to ride alone a lot in future. However I don’t want to prioritise riding over opportunities to spend time with family and friends in the name of a personal kilometre goal.

In addition I have also forgone some other pleasures in pursuit of my goal. I haven’t run as much this year as I would like, or been able to focus on my ultimate game. I’d really like to get into some more trail running in future and am looking forward to it! I’m also looking forward to spending more time getting our house in order and finishing off some things that have been put off for a while.

Some thanks..

Importantly, I had some great help and support whilst working on this goal. I’ve spent many ks alongside my riding buddies on the road (Glenn and Anthony) and off the road (Elvin). I’ve also had the support of my partner Maz who lets me disappear for hours on the weekend, doesn’t mind too much if I am not necessarily around for lunch dates during the week and kindly stays at work late so I have time to sneak in a ride before dinner.

Exploring trails with Elvin is always fun.

Exploring trails with Elvin is always fun.

I should also thank Strava for helping me with achieving this goal. The whole product is amazing and is really supportive and enabling for people trying to work on fitness goals. I’ve lived by the weekly targets, poured over the training calendar & training log and been spurred along by the monthly challenges throughout the whole year. Thanks Strava.


Entry filed under: Cycling, Mountain Biking. Tags: , , , , , , .

Wildside! Becoming a Wombat…

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Glenn  |  December 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Nice post Jase! Happy to be along for the ride (well a little bit of it). 🙂

  • 2. thejackal0814  |  December 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Well done, Jase! Inspirational. 🙂

    • 3. Jase  |  December 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks Myron! 🙂


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