Dawn broke as always and the sun beamed its first rays over Sydney roads. Usually at this moment Streets become a parade of coloured lycra, whirling wheels and frequent exclamations of “Hole!”, “Turning LEFT”, and “Over!” But this morning it was raining, and a strange kind of quiet hovered.
Many of us remained in bed riddled by that mixed state of guilty pleasure. Sounds of rain bumped against windows as our beds became home to that horrid temptress called Slumber.
Later, crawling to work like normal people, our eyes were full of sleep and we mumbled till our brains made some sort of sense.
We now sit at the desk and regret. We even feel a little angry. “I should have…..” “I could have…”
The day goes by. We worry. “I missed training.” I’m unfit.” I won’t keep up.” “I’m lazy.” But reality also chats away, ‘A break is good.” “You’re due a rest day.”
So much internal chatter associated with that one single missed morning ride.
For so long, mornings have been the dominant time for cycling in Australia. A list of reasons are made to counteract the disbelieving faces worn by European visitors. Why don’t we ride at a better time like 8, or 11 or even in the afternoon? The answers are: traffic, time, enjoyment of quiet, commitments…
However, what is the best time to exert ourselves? In the case of missed rides, we might compromise by pedalling into the sunset. But are there benefits to habitually incorporating evening rides into our training plan?
For the last few years we’ve added evenings to our regular rides. For a variety of reasons they’re not always popular. But recently we’ve introduced a Wednesday 6:30pm ride in Centennial, designed for anyone to enjoy. And its proving a success.
Why? Socially it’s a great way to connect with friendly people. And for those new to riding, its a fast way to learn bunch skills. The ride is consistent – it’s on a circuit so there’s no reason to stop. And its challenging if you stick around because afterward some riders push harder till, well, till we pretty much drop.
How do we feel post-ride? Training times affect people in different ways. It depends what you train for. Personally I’m not into weight loss. Apparently I do that wrong because I eat heaps at night and don’t sleep till late. So evening training allows me to build strength on pre-warmed muscles, consume how I like and, before hitting the sack late, I can burn some of what I’ve consumed.
There are arguments for and against morning or evening exercise. A heap of resources out there advise this and that. The Medical Daily is one of the briefer and better articles.
Regardless of the theory, its good to keep things fresh and I like to do this by treating myself to something different. The best way to know what works for you is to simply try it.
If you’d like to tack on to the Wednesday ride everyone gathers at the corner of Grande Drive and Park Drive. Its an open ride with a lot of chat, and no ego.
Ali from Chainsmith
Centennial Park: Wednesday, 6:30pm, Cnr. Grand & park Drive.