Another use of the term "chasing the dragon" refers to the elusive pursuit of a high equal to the user’s first in the use of a drug, which after acclimation is no longer achievable. Used in this way, “chasing the dragon” can refer to any recreational drug administered by any means.
Another year is coming to an end, but this time the review will be a little more detailed. It began with me getting a new road bike and all the motivation that comes with it. I thought riding 12000 km last year was a lot, but this year's 23000 km and over 700 hours just dwarf that. If somebody told me a few years ago, I'd call them crazy.
The thing that changed the most was my getting out there and doing more group rides. I was nervous during the first one and crashed in a corner I've ridden hundreds of times before on the way back home. After recovering from that costly mistake, I started to show up at weekly rides around Leipzig's lakes and made some new friends. Without them, the most memorable rides this year wouldn't have been possible.
The standout ones to me were:
- A ride through the Ore Mountains at the Czech-German border
- A four-day visit of a friend in Munich, which included a stunning ride through the Bavarian Prealps and an epic climb up the Rossfeld panorama road
- A 250 km ride to the Brocken, twice
- A 260 km ride back from the Brocken, the longest I've done so far
Performance is essential in an endurance sport like cycling. I followed a training plan during winter and carried most of my fitness into this year. Losing everything and starting from scratch is something I didn't want to do again. But when it came to outdoor riding, I tried to keep it fun. I attacked Strava segments when an opportunity arose and went on hard long rides with a tailwind all the way. Could I achieve more with structured training? Probably. Do I want to? Meh.
The high training volume and hard rides were more than enough. I increased my FTP from 335 to 362 watts 1 and reduced my weight from 86 to 81 kg just by riding that much. Those performance improvements made the following rides possible, each leaving me absolutely exhausted:
- 0:45 h with 360 NP on the velodrome
- 1:40 h with 340 NP on the Porsche circuit
- 135 km in 3:30 h with 309 NP to Moritzburg Castle
- 200 km in 5:10 h with 288 NP to Cottbus
Let's find out what the future holds!
I caught a bad cold in December and took a week off to recover. Then I did one week of endurance riding to ease back into training but wasn't able to finish the "normal" scheduled workouts, which was quite demotivating. ↩︎