Rider Information

Reviewed by Hans Dusink - former President of Audax Austarlia &  les Randonneur Mondiaux.

 Ride of Your Life


Aligning heart and mind for success in long distance cycling

Written by David Rowe

In the Spring 2000 edition of CHECKPOINT I wrote in President's Pedals

"Audax riding is about facing and meeting personal challenges. It is not about being the fastest or the best. It is about completing an endurance ride within a specified time limit.

Each year we set our goals......with the release of the new calendar, each of us will sit down and plan our schedule of rides to meet our personal goals. .....for others it will be to complete that first 200km ride and others will be planning to complete a first Audax ride.

I went on in other editions of CHECKPOINT to elaborate on this theme, as well as suggesting that our goals need to be tempered with the plans and aspirations of our families (Spring 2001).

More recently I wrote (CHECKPOINT 21, 2004) about the importance of not only setting goals, but also comparing your achievements with the goals you set. This process of comparison gives you a chance to analyse and evaluate the reasons for any variance to your initial plan.

So what do my past musings all have to do with reviewing a book? This book proposes a system for each and every one of us to achieve our goals and ambitions. It crystallises for me the things that I have been saying and writing about for many years into a set of spreadsheets (the accountant in me loves spreadsheets), that will assist me and many others to maintain focus on the important things in life.

The author, David Rowe, is a long distance cyclist. David has been riding for more than 30 years and like most cyclists has never raced. He says that the main attraction of long distance riding is the reprieve that it brings from the demands of his career as an Internet marketing manager. At the same time, he maintains that the fitness and health that comes from riding helps him be a more significant contributor at work.

His goal in writing this book is to help others to use the bicycle as a means of realising an enhanced sense of personal accomplishment, which comes from completing a long distance cycling event, and to experience the physical and emotional benefits that transcend the rides and increase our appreciation for other aspects of life.

The Ride of your Life is a departure from the normal cycling training books, this book focuses not on the physical preparation but rather it focuses on the mental preparation that in the end makes or breaks a rider's commitment to their goal.

I have often espoused my theory that the successful completion of a randonnee is mainly in the mind, this book actually bears this out. I am sure that we have all read books on our favourite sporting stars and how they visualised crossing the finishing line, or used all of their mental reserves to overcome adverse conditions. This is all due to a proper mental preparation. I am not saying that there is no physical preparation, but one without the other does not seem to work.

This book gives the rider an 8 step process (complete with worksheets) to setting goals for the short, medium and long term.

1. Clarify your core values

2. Evaluate your past performance

3. Create a wish list

4. Rate the rides

5. Use your value system to evaluate the rides

6. Sort the goals list

7. Chunk it down to one-year milestones

8. Make a plan to achieve each goal.

These are steps that I think we all go through but there is nothing like seeing this on paper.

Step one is important. In this step amongst other things we need to understand how the various components of our life fit together. To quote the author"Riding can be a source of conflict in your life if you let it be."

It is important that a balance is achieved between your cycling goals and how these will fit into the other aspects of your life such as family and work.

In the past I have never considered writing down my goals and aspirations (in spite of this being one of the rules in goal setting), but this book has inspired my to give it a shot. In the short time available I have started to complete the first worksheet but am finding this the most difficult part of the process to complete, but I am slowly working my way through it.

This book also contains interviews with six riders who have figured out how to balance their personal and professional lives with the demand of training for long distance cycling events.

Gregory Paley on the Portland-to-Glacier 100

Jill Homer on Susitna 100

Del Sharffenberg on the Elite PAC Tour

Kitty Goursolle on Paris Brest -Paris

Kent Peterson on Raid Californie - Oregon

John Spurgeon on Race Across America

One or two of the names may be familiar to some of you, but there stories are worth reading. Ed Pavelka the RoadbikeRider.com president says that "Their stories are the stories of thousands of riders just them. They give us a sense that if they can do it, we can too!"

There are a couple of little quotes from this book that I think are worth reprinting here.

Kent Peterson "I don't train, I practice."

Kitty Goursolle (completed PBP in 2007, Cascade 1200 and Rocky Mountains 1200 in 2008) quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet "For there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so"

As Molly Meldrum is often quoted as saying "do yourself a favour" and pick up a copy of this book. In my humble opinion this book will help you to clarify and attain your cycling goals what ever they may be.

Safe Cycling,

Hans Dusink

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