No, not André Greipel… I'm talking about that old quote by Greg Henderson - “Training is like fighting with a Gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the Gorilla is tired”.
I have isolated myself in the winter training cave; strength training to correct all of those knee & back niggles that accumulate over the summer months, indoor sessions to keep the power, solo steady miles on the weekends to keep the weight off and lay down the summer foundations.
I'm a total control freak, it's the driving motivation for my training, the steady progression keeps everything 'just so', the thought of riding with other people becomes less and less appealing as the days grow shorter and my mind recedes deeper into the winter cave, my surname seems appropriate.
Summer is here... "better jump back into the chain gang, see if this training has worked". Indoor sessions hurt... but I arrive prepared, I know the numbers I need to hit. The chain gang introduced variables and removed control, the gorilla took over, and fuck, it was liberating.
I trust my club mates with my life, due to their etiquette, experience, and countless KMs together, I could close my eyes in the pace line; they'd guide me safely around pot-holes, take the best line through corners, wait till they're on the back before they roll down warmers, take a drink, etc.
We head out on the usual club run, rotating like a well-oiled chain, the pace is getting hotter and hotter, the games begin, surging, testing each other's legs… it was fucking brilliant. When fighting the Gorilla, you have no say on how hard the pace gets, where the lead out starts for the road sign sprints, who sets the pace on the climbs, etc.
I enjoyed having sparring partners, it was nice to be hit back, we even set a course record... must have got carried away (or it was the low air pressure).
Guys, thanks for slapping me in the face and dragging me out of my slumber, the ride (and coffee stop chat) was top notch. My mind rests easy, knowing the winter training was effective, but a gentle nudge out of my comfort zone has done me the world of good, mentally and physically.