Having successfully gotten myself registered for the mighty awful Marmotte GranFondo next July 4th (along with Karsten, John, Anne and Pierre), I suddenly have a good excuse to start training again.

So, after convincing myself that now is as good a time as any (I stepped on the scales, which helped), I have embarked on another year of 'training'.

This year I rode a fair amount; did the Etape du Tour even. I climbed Ventoux several times and Alpe d'Huez one and a half. Oh, and then there were those five 200 km days I rode in Quebec this summer. It wasn't nothing, is what I want to say. But it wasn't 'training'. Something was lacking.

I now know that - at least for me - 'training' means consistency and commitment. You have a program that hopefully is carefully designed to bring you to your goal. This program has a schedule, with regular 'shifts' on the bike. It is your job to show up for work. The hard part, of course, is that there is no boss to fire you if you don't. Showing up really IS half the battle.


No, not that kind of maintenance.

Anyhoo, although I haven't figured out the rest of my training season, the beginning has been sitting on my hard disk for a couple of years now - Coach Rob's 'Maintenance Phase', which I will follow, more or less, till the tough stuff begins after the New Years' hangover disappears. Still, even if this first phase is not as hard or as specific as what is coming up, it IS a program. I can see it every day and it tells me that I should get my bum on the bike (it rarely tells me the opposite) and do something. Although I'll probably hate it later, the formality is all important, and this little Word doc - along with my conscience...and my wife...oh and maybe you, since I'm writing this now - will be my 'boss'.

Let the maintenance begin!