I don’t even. I mean, how do you react to the last few weeks? German politics…I don’t even. European politics…I don’t even. Venture capitalists and their blunt colonialism…hate to say I told you so. The US primaries? Ever since Igor got me into watching The West Wing a couple of years ago, the primaries have been my favorite reality soap. But I think that the writers have gone too far this season. Having a supreme court justice die in the middle of the season? Come on. I hope Warren interviews those writers for his newsletter and finds out if they plan ahead or if they just make it up as the season progresses.
But with all of this going on and so much more, with the less than two months of 2016 already feeling crazier than most of 2015, which wasn’t an easy year at all, you know what’s most on my mind? Cycling.
Unless you’re following me on Instagram
you didn’t see that coming, I guess. But it’s true. I’ve been going a bit crazy about cycling over the last six months. Igor mostly reacts with rolling eyes and “you got issues,” while other friends seem mostly amused.
To explain how it has come to this, I have to back up a little. About four years ago, I was diagnosed with very mild higher blood pressure. So I did the obvious thing and bought a blood pressure monitor that connects to the iPhone and started measuring. I found out that my blood pressure is closely linked to stress. I go to our office, and the pressure goes up. I leave the office, and it goes down again. Exactly, what you need when you’re building a company.
But I also learned that sports helped me to work off the stress and thus keep the pressure lower. Same for meditation. Same for becoming more relaxed about my actual work. So I did what you do when you learn that you have a lifestyle disease, I changed my lifestyle. A bit. Because I’m also lazy. So once the blood pressure gotten down to a decent average, I got sloppy about the sports and only occasionally would pick up meditation again, etc.
And then, 2015 happened, and both my father and my grandmother died within three months. Both, among other factors, from the long-term effects of high blood pressure. If there is a message from the universe in things like these, I heard it loud and clear and decided to take my overall health much more seriously.
I had already picked up bouldering
a month earlier and enjoyed it. It’s also quite meditative. I can have had the toughest day. But once I’m in the hall, the only thing on my mind is how to solve the next “boulder problem”. And it is so much fun that you don’t recognize how exhausting it is. You can do it alone or with friends and only need shorts and a shirt. If you’re looking for a new sport to do after work, I can highly recommend it.
It wasn’t enough for me, though, as it didn’t have much effect on my blood pressure. Cycling, on the other hand, I had already learned, was ideal for it and for a particular reason: there’s no other sport with which I can kill myself as good as with cycling. With running, for example, I get exhausted quickly while also destroying my joints with my weight. But on a bicycle, I can ride for two hours at an average puls of 155 and still make a sprint for the last kilometer.
So from Juli/August last year, I started cycling seriously. I set myself the goal of riding 500 kilometers until the end of the year on my single speed bike. Only then would I allow myself to buy a proper road race bike. And I made it and now I have a nice Rose Xeon CRS-2000
What is a real blessing is that Igor and our friend Martin who also has a desk in our office both decided to hop on the “bike train.” We already did numerous group rides last autumn, and I can’t wait for spring to come. It’s quite funny to observe myself how much more obsessed I have become with the weather forecast.
I’ve also bought a Tacx interactive bike trainer
because I don’t want to wait for the weather to get better. The result is that I have already ridden almost 400 kilometers this year (on Zwift
, which is this new virtual cycling game that connects to your interactive trainer so you can ride your bike in a virtual world with riders from around the globe, it’s amazing).
So there you have it. I’ve become one of those bike nerds who geeks out over equipment und reads training bibles
. I’ve also enrolled for my first bike race, the Velothon in Berlin in June. Is it just me early-adopting my midlife crisis or looking for something else on my mind than work? I don’t know, and I don’t care…much. I’m really, really enjoying it as it goes along with all the other lifestyle changes like getting back into meditation, being more careful about what I eat and nursing my relationships. With the occasional bouldering session as a bonus.
This is a good moment to thank a couple of people. Igor and Martin for joining me in my bike craze. Sjef for suggesting bouldering and Fabian for teaching it to me. Susan and Deb for encouragement and advice on all things fitness and health. And Nicola for all the support and for letting me park a bike in our living room :-)
And if you’re wondering if I only have cycling on my mind now, here are the (bike free) reading recommendations.