Rolling The Gap in a Pandemic
by Robert Thorpe, Executive Editor
by Robert Thorpe, Executive Editor
I’m in lockdown again, although due to family circumstances I didn’t really leave it earlier in the year. With a wife who works at the hospital, elderly parents-in-law and kids at university I had to stay safe and semi-isolate. Thankfully I’m quite a solitary person anyway, but at times it’s been demotivating. Family tragedy also meant that my mental well-being was affected by the loss of an uncle who I truly regard as the most caring and altruistic man I ever knew. Add to this, the loss of an older brother, and the thought that in a years time I’ll be older than him, then you get the picture. Too much tragedy for one person, and so it’s been tough finding the motivation to train over recent weeks and months. Being a parent also doesn’t stop when the kids are at university, and being a nephew is tough when the uncle that you love and admire is suddenly taken away unexpectedly.
The thing is though, I love exercise and training – it’s part of who I am. I wasn’t unduly concerned at having a break; it’s probably done me some good in a way, but I knew that I needed to get back to daily training. Going for the odd short ride or a long walk just doesn’t cut it for me. I need to sweat and to ache and know that my heart has been pushed. Back to the garage then and the rollers, using Elite’s Real Video on the Suito trainer, or YouTube and the Stelvio Pass to fire me up on the Elite Quick Motion Rollers and with Voom Nutrition giving me the necessary boost and hydration before, during and after. I love the rollers, I really do, and the Quick Motion are the very best in my book, with three resistance settings and a platform that responds to counter movement, allowing me to stand up and give it fullgas.
I don’t usually train to music, as I come from a mountaineering and fell running (mountain running) background; and back in the day we didn’t have the luxury of an iPod on a cliff face or up on a ridge – we just dug deep into our soul and emptied ourselves and puked as we ran, took a swill of water to clean out the mouth and then carried on. We were young and fearless and stupid and now our bodies suffer from it; from carrying 2 rucksacks – one filled with climbing gear and another strapped on top with clothes, food, tent and sleeping bag. No, music wasn’t required, for we had the mountains and sound of the water as the infant rivers fell down the hillside beside us. We rolled with it in the hills and all these years later, here I am rolling on the Elite Quick Motion indoors.
I needed some motivation this week, if I was to get back into the swing of things and roll the training gap. Spotify was downloaded and I searched for a playlist from number 1 son, who has an excellent taste in music. The Stelvio was on YouTube in front of me, I had a Voom Nutrition bar in my rear pocket and bottle of hydration powdered water on the bike and I was ready. F#ck covid and to hell with self induced lockdown. I’ll beat you because I never quit. The thing about being a climber is the mental strength. After all, there’s nowhere to hide on a mountain, when all you have for protection is a rope and your wits. Now, all I have is three well designed cylindrical rollers holding up my bike and some well engineered physics from Elite. The rest is up to me. Rollers are scientific and simplicity at the same time and I like that.
The music plays and it feeds my soul and I’m fired up like Lance Armstrong or another well known rider on the contents of a very iffy jiffy envelope and I’m back in the working zone. I’m rolling the gap and I’m feeling good again as sweat pours off me and my legs turn the rollers to the rhythm of the music. Cycling is part of who I am, because it allows me the freedom to just be… and right now that’s exactly what I need – to be me and alone in my thoughts, away from the world on the rollers.
I need to swing and sway on the bike. Not too much when I’m in the garage or I’ll cause a minor catastrophe, but enough to work the core as well as the legs, and to peel away at my pandemic drained mind. Riding the rollers is therapeutic, challenging and just damn well fantasticly realistic too. Elite know this and they’ve done their best to stay true to cycling, making their Quick Motion in a way that supports real cycling experiences. The Stelvio is in front of me on the screen and the rollers are set to produce medium resistance. I can flick the gears to add some more pressure, as I continue to roll the gap towards normality and a new dawn in spring.