Lessons from Failing to Cycle 9000km
At the end of 2021, I found myself at my lowest point, feeling dissatisfied with my weight and overall fitness level. In October of that year, I decided to take control of my life and set some goals for the next year. One of those goals was to cycle an impressive 9000km. It was a lofty challenge that I was determined to achieve.
However, despite my best efforts, I ultimately failed to reach this goal. Lessons from failing to cycle 9000km taught me that at first, I felt like a failure, but over time, I realized that there were valuable lessons to be learned from my experience. In sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to set their own challenges, no matter how big or small, and to learn from my mistakes.
Join me on this journey as I explore why I fell short of cycling 9000km and the lessons I learned along the way. Perhaps my experience can help you avoid the same pitfalls and achieve your own goals.
Table of Contents
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Short Story Long
In 2022, I embarked on a mission to cycle 9000km by committing to cycling 25km every day. I started off strong, but by the second week, I completely forgot about my goal and fell off track. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but as the weeks went by, I found myself getting further and further behind.
By mid-January, the weather took a turn for the worse, and I was faced with strong winds and heavy rain. I began to question whether my ambitious goal was realistic, considering the challenging conditions and my previous struggles with cycling.
Despite the setbacks and challenges, I remained determined to achieve my goal and continued to push forward. Looking back, I learned valuable lessons about the importance of consistency and the need to be adaptable when pursuing a challenging goal.
While 2021 was one of my worst years for cycling, I refused to let my past failures define my future success. I was determined to make 2022 a year of transformation and growth, and my goal of cycling 9000km was just the beginning.
January - April
In January and February, I was off to a good start, averaging 450km per month on my cycling journey toward the 9000km goal. However, as March came along, I found myself falling further and further behind. But I refused to give up and pushed myself to cycle an impressive 1000km for the month of March, bringing me back within 100km of my target.
Just as I was feeling proud of my progress, my friends from Berlin arrived, I went on a 350km cycling adventure. After almost seven weeks of non-stop cycling, I was relieved to finally take a break after reaching my goal.
However, my victory was short-lived as I contracted Covid-19 shortly after my friends departed. It was a setback that left me feeling out of breath for weeks. Despite my best efforts, I struggled to maintain a minimum of 25km per day after recovering. As a result, April’s cycling distance was a mere 400km, far from what I had hoped to achieve.
May - August
In May, I decided to buckle down and take my cycling challenge seriously as I traveled to Croatia. As someone from a flat region, I thought I had an advantage when it came to long-distance cycling, but as expected, the trip left me in need of a few days to recover. However, with a trip to Greece coming up in a few weeks, I made it a point to cycle every day, and by the end of the month, I had already clocked 900km, putting me back on track to achieve my goal.
June, on the other hand, was a bit of a distraction. The festivals in Osijek were just too tempting, and my friend Nikola and I had planned to cycle every day for the last two weeks, but we only ended up going two or three times before giving in to the fun. Despite the setback, I managed to clock in 600km for the month.
July in Dublin was a summer to remember! The warm weather meant I could cycle as much as I wanted, and I took full advantage of it. In fact, I even completed a 100km centurion ride and cycled over 1000km that month. I was determined to reach my 9000km goal, and nothing was going to stop me.
However, in August, I started feeling a bit off. Whenever I drank, I would feel sick and need four days to recover. I was worried that I might have liver cirrhosis, so I started cutting back on my drinking. I still went out on Saturdays, but I made sure not to overdo it so that I could stay focused on my cycling challenge.
September - December
The first weekend of September was unforgettable, and not in a good way. I had a wild night out with my coworker, and the next morning, I woke up with a sharp pain in my left abdomen. At first, I thought it was just a result of the previous night’s shenanigans or maybe a freak sleeping injury.
But as the day went on and the pain spread to my chest, I knew something was seriously wrong. My initial suspicion was gastritis, but I wasn’t sure. Thankfully, my flatmate came to the rescue with some powerful pills that were supposed to help. After a few days in pain, my GP sent me to the Emergency Room, which completely derailed all of my plans for 2022.
Due to illness, I was mostly focused on photography.
Well, folks, it seems that the cycling challenge has come to a close, and I must admit, it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. After suffering from gastritis for six long weeks, my dreams of completing the 9000km were crushed. I had to cancel my trip to New York and, worst of all, lost over 1000km of cycling. Even though I tried to make up for lost time, the pain kept me from reaching my goal.
As I reach the end of December, I have come to terms with the fact that I fell short of my objective. However, at that, I was not giving up. Despite my disappointment, I am still proud of all the hard work and dedication I put into cycling. Who knows, maybe this year, I’ll be able to complete the challenge and reach my goal. Until then, I will continue to empathize with all of you who also fell short of your objectives last year. We’ll get ’em next time! 😉
Why I failed
Well, it turns out that my plan to cycle 9000km didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped. But you know what? That’s okay! Looking back, I can see that there were a few key reasons why I fell short of my goal.
First and foremost, I didn’t prepare well enough. I only started training a few months before the challenge, which definitely wasn’t enough time to build up the endurance and strength I needed.
But even if I had trained harder, I still would have struggled with the mental aspect of the challenge. Cycling such a long distance requires more than just physical stamina – it takes real mental fortitude to keep going week after week. Unfortunately, by the time I hit the halfway mark, I was already feeling pretty burnt out.
Of course, getting sick with both Covid and gastritis certainly didn’t help matters either. I hadn’t planned on those setbacks, and they definitely took a toll on my overall progress.
But perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from this experience is that it’s important to enjoy the things we do. If we’re not having fun, what’s the point? In the end, I realized that I just wasn’t enjoying the challenge as much as I had hoped. And you know what? That’s okay too. Life’s too short to spend our time doing things we don’t love.
So, there you have it – four reasons why I didn’t quite make it to 9000km. But hey, I still got out there and gave it my all, and that’s something to be proud of in itself.
What I learned from failing
2022 was supposed to be the year I completed my 9000km cycling challenge, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Despite getting a shiny new Kona bike, I found myself struggling to stay on track after just a few weeks. I started missing days, and before I knew it, I was falling behind. And then, of course, there was the inevitable illness that made it impossible to keep cycling altogether.
But here’s the thing: failure isn’t the end of the world. In fact, I’ve learned that it’s often the best way to learn and grow. Rather than wallowing in disappointment, I decided to give it another shot in 2023.
This time around, I’m taking a different approach. Instead of focusing on a specific goal, I’m simply riding my bike whenever I can. Some days I might only manage a few kilometers, while on others I’ll push myself to go farther. The point is that I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, and I’m enjoying the ride a lot more as a result.
Of course, it would be great if I managed to hit that 9000km target this time around, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t. After all, cycling should be fun, not a chore. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that guilt and shame won’t get you anywhere.
So if you’re struggling to reach your own goals, take heart. Failure is just an opportunity to learn and grow. And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up enjoying the journey more than you ever thought possible.
Tips for Comfortable Riding
Cycling can be an incredibly fun and rewarding activity, but it can also be uncomfortable and even painful if you’re not properly equipped. Here are some gear recommendations and tips to help you make the most out of your cycling experience and ride in comfort:
Invest in a comfortable bike saddle: A good bike saddle is key to a comfortable ride. Look for a saddle that fits your body type and has adequate padding and support. I use Brooks Cambium C17 (black).
Wear padded cycling shorts: As a cyclist, I’m not always a fan of padded cycling shorts. However, I’ve found that whenever I’m trying to cycle over 100km, I would use them without hesitation. Why? Because they can make a huge difference in your comfort level while riding. The padding in these shorts helps to absorb shock and reduce pressure on your sit bones, which can prevent soreness and discomfort during and after your ride. So, if you’re planning a long-distance ride, consider wearing padded cycling shorts to make your journey more comfortable. Your body will thank you later! For the longer rides, I use Qualidyne (padded), and for shorter rides, I use Giro’s Arc Shorts (not padded).
Use a high-quality bike helmet: A helmet not only protects your head in case of an accident, but it can also improve your comfort by reducing wind noise and providing ventilation. I use Giro Montaro MIPS.
Choose the right bike jersey: When it comes to bike jerseys, there are many options available. While some are specifically designed for cycling, others like the Mountain Hardware jersey, can still provide excellent ventilation and sun protection. Regardless of the brand or type you choose, it’s important to consider factors like fit, material, and ventilation to ensure a comfortable ride. I use from Mountain Hardware Carter Lake Hoodie (green)
Use cycling gloves: Cycling gloves can help to reduce pressure on your hands and provide a better grip on the handlebars. I use Giro DND gloves (suitable for all seasons except for winter and harsh weather conditions).
Adjust your bike fit: Proper bike fit is essential for a comfortable ride. Consider getting a professional bike fitting to ensure that your bike is adjusted to fit your body correctly.
Take breaks and stretch: It’s important to take breaks during long rides to stretch and relieve pressure on your body. Try to take a break every hour or so and stretch your legs, back, and neck. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and fuel your body with small snacks to maintain your energy levels throughout the ride.
By following these tips and using the right gear, you can make your cycling experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Remember to listen to your body and adjust your gear and technique as needed to avoid discomfort and pain.
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Failing to achieve a goal can be tough, but the silver lining is that it presents an opportunity to learn and grow. In my case, attempting to cycle 9000km taught me valuable lessons that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
If you’re new to cycling, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to accomplish too much too soon. Take it slow and steady, and gradually increase your mileage. That way, you’ll avoid injury and burnout, which are two common reasons people give up cycling altogether.
One thing that can make or break your cycling experience is having the right gear. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but investing in a good bike and some comfortable clothing can make a world of difference. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck on a subpar bike or in itchy, restrictive clothes when you’re trying to enjoy a ride.
Lastly, if you find yourself getting bored with cycling, switch things up. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore new terrain. Riding up hills or taking on some challenging dirt trails can be exhilarating and give you a renewed sense of excitement for the sport.
In the end, cycling is all about having fun and enjoying the ride. It doesn’t matter how many kilometers you cover or how fast you go. What matters is that you’re out there, taking in the scenery, and feeling the wind in your face. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, embrace the journey, learn from your mistakes, and keep pedaling!
It’s been a pleasure sharing my experiences and thoughts on why I failed to complete my cycling challenge, and I hope it has been helpful for those who are also embarking on similar journeys. Previously we have touched on the topic Analog Dayz 2.0 regarding future plans, new web design and Darkroom prints.
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Remember, failure is not the end of the road – it’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and come back even stronger.
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Analog Dayz is a blog authored, edited, and published by Ivan Kristić that features articles about my hobbies, such as film/digital photography, adventures, product reviews, cycling, and more.
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