When you know what you are looking for

Pawing over statistics from this weeks ride, I discovered something. Something that now with context gave that data meaning. My personal best on the local 9 mile TT course had pushed me into an arrhythmia for the last third. Something I was not diagnosed with for a further year.

2016 I was in mixed shape. The year had started with a very broken shoulder, and riding was focussed. It was a stationary bike, and weight was lost despite being even more sedentary than usual. The result was a rider that didn’t use both his arms all the time as that hurt – but was probably fitter than he was before the incident in terms of power to weight, and especially motivation. Life had presented me with a one-two in terms of shit sandwiches, and I was ‘exercising’ my daemons. My first ride back as such was the 70 mile Ffestiniog 360 (which I am not in any shape to be doing (and it be fun / me not be a liability) in a week or so’s time) – and a few time trials followed. I had not done any for years, with the previous years focus being climbing and distance for the London 100 and the Fred Whitton Challenge.

This week found me really not in the mood. Not in the mood for one lap of the course, let alone the deliciousness of two. No. However, I thought I would ride down there, see how I felt, and ‘getting out the house’ being the primary obstacle – I was off to ride. Peer pressure featured, and I collected my number and made my way around the course. While taking it easy would be the wrong phrase – there were no teeth showing, there were no white knuckles – I was trying to relax – get around – play the game – tick the boxes, but generally not be seen to be trying too hard. This, I achieved.

The event finished, I made my way home, and I looked over the data that had been generated trying to find the joy that I used to get out of the ride here as opposed to the usual tsunami-like waves of adrenaline and euphoria that usually follow an all-out effort. Oh – okay – so I got a second place personal record. Twice. So first lap, then second. None too shabby. So I wondered how the data looked for the fastest ride I had done. I remember it well, it featured my old (school) TT bike with Mavic Cosmics in alloy, and a position that was at best – “not current thinking”

It was quite obvious that either I upped my game or the last two-thirds of the lap. I had upped it and kept it consistent at that level. Wow, that’s some effort. Then I looked closer.

I am sure at some point in my life my heart did or was capable of ver 190 bpm – however it is not in recent living memory. Yet there it was – between 190 to 192 bpm for what looks like about 7 or so minutes.

Traditionally I am a 45 beats a minute with a 170’s top end, yet here we were 3 years ago with me apparently ramping up then sustaining this crazy high bpm.

At the time it clearly went unnoticed.

A year later I am diagnosed with AFib and flutter.

A year after that PVI ablation surgery.

Nine months after that I am sat on the sofa thumbing my way through Strava stats and there it was. As clear as day.

Data is powerful stuff.

Time has the power to not only give context to the past, but meaning.

Take aways:

– 1. It cannot of felt right – but it’s my fastest for that course on Strava;

– 2. Pushing to the point of rythm collapse clearly was not slowing me down.

Interesting stuff.

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