Focus

I have come to realize that if I spent more time focusing on the goal of a given ride, and less on finding the perfect picture opportunity, I may actually set new speed records every now and then!

I really felt as if this was going to be a record setting ride. The wind was against me the first half of the ride, but I was managing to maintain a >32 km/h average speed, and so understanding that I was going to have a little assistance on the return journey, I was feeling pumped!

So close….no more than a hair’s breath!

My record setting 40 km ride, as per the wisdom of Garmin Connect, was set exactly one week prior. Something about Fridays perhaps? I don’t know, but the conditions felt right for a crack at breaking that 1:11:00 barrier again. What you feel on the bike and what the computer tells you afterwards are often quite different. I thought my outrun had been faster than last week, but I was clearly wrong.

In fact I was slower by over 1 1/2 km/h. Thinking back to last week, the wind was not as strong, which is reflected in the speeds of each segment. The headwind kept me to a modest 32.1 km/h as compared to the 33.7 km/h from last Friday. The ‘fun’ segment corroborated this with this past Friday’s average return speed a healthy 36.0 km/h vs. only 34.7 km/h the week prior. So, yeah, it was windier this last go around and as I did not manage to keep a slightly higher average on the opening stint, it cost me the record.

Or was it the wind? I don’t think so. Here’s the thing. I like to take pictures, and not just pictures of the scenery as I whoosh by. I also like to take pictures of myself on the bike. I am not going to get into what that says about me, we don’t have time for a full psychological analysis, but I can admit that the process of taking a self-shot whilst riding does remove focus from the task at hand.

You can see that I finished the same route 3 seconds slower. Only 3 bloody seconds! All that effort: the leg-burning, lung-searing pain I pushed through, believing I had it in the bag. All for nought, because I took this:

The picture that cost me the record!

I must have thirty different (but the same) versions of this shot, and here I was going for number thirty-one. As my good friend @Andy_Wheatley pointed out when I tweeted something about Chris Boardman and the level of focus required to break records:

Touché my friend, touché!

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7 Responses to Focus

  1. richard h says:

    James…. I have a Go-Pro you can try out and see if you like ……..

  2. richard h says:

    I feel the need to nurture your secret inner Coppola

  3. Bobby says:

    I would like to cycle from Dollard-Des-Ormeaux to downtown every morning at 5:30 am starting in May. What route do you suggest if I would like to make it in less than an hour. I can maintain a 30 km/h speed.

    • James says:

      Hi Bobby – great question. I am in Dorval and so when I go downtown I ride along the Lakeshore into Lachine, then typically I’ll take the canal bike path that takes you all the way to the Atwater Market. From there you can head north up Atwater right into downtown. Not sure where your final destination is, but you’ll be able to figure that part out. From DDO my suggestion would be to get onto Lakeshore as soon as you can, so head due south on one of the main arteries, although St-Charles can be quite gnarly early in the morning. There are undoubtedly smaller streets that would be less busy. Good luck and let us know how you get on!

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