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I Bought a Year Planner!

At the beginning of this year a I bought a year planner, so I could see what lay ahead for the year (perfect planning or so I thought).

I was ready to tackle the year head on. Our visit to Nice in France, to plan a new trip for 2021 went well and I came away with some great plans for what we could offer.

But somewhere in the back of my mind, things didn’t seem to right. I had been seeing stories of friends from when I used to live in Beijing and they were sharing some bleak images of roads I spent many years riding on, which were now barricaded and empty.

On the evening of 17th February, I caught my flight back to Kiev and spent the night at the airport wondering how many might have this new virus.

I spent the next few days adding little stickers for the various trips we were going to be doing for Tyco Cycling on my new year planner. I had flights booked and was preparing the routes for our next Yorkshire trips in April and May; things were looking promising.

Maybe things going on in other countries might improve and things would get back on track quickly. I had a residence permit appointment at the Embassy in Kiev scheduled for March 18th, and I needed to wait until this was done before I could leave the country again.

But then, on 16th March, Ukraine locked down and on the 17th all flights were cancelled and the borders were closed. Overnight, everything changed. Going out was only allowed for walking the dog or shopping and it was illegal not to wear a mask. My fear of being trapped in the country had become all too real and was looking to be indefinite.

Fortunately, I was set up for indoor training, having come through the harsh Ukrainian winter, however, I stated to doubt the Yorkshire trips would happen. What was the point of training now?

On March the 23rd (my birthday), the UK entered lockdown too and I can say, at this time, my anxiety levels were pretty high. I had practically lost interest in training, I was stuck in a country I couldn't escape and I spent most nights not really sleeping.

It was tough watching others in the UK venture out on solo rides and later being able to ride with each over but in Kiev, that just wasn’t possible.

My fitness level had pretty much dropped right off by the last weeks in April and I needed to decide what I was going to do.

The Yorkshire trips were now postponed, so that was no longer my focus, but what was I going to do, sit inside looking out the window, waiting for something to change or use the next few months to focus on improving and building my fitness.

The next Tyco Cycling trip we had planned, was our visit to Provence to climb the mighty Mont Ventoux in September, which was still planned to go ahead. I have a commitment as Road Captain for this trip, to be able to support anyone who signs up to try to reach the summit. I have a passion for cycling and I love to see others achieve their cycling goals. So, sitting and looking out of the window, wishing for better things wasn’t going to make that happen.

The mind plays a big part in what you achieve. I have spent some time in the last few weeks trying to get back to the UK but I quickly worked out that even though some flights were available it wasn't going to help, just by being able to go out for some solo rides. France too, where I have a house, was also closed so going there was also impossible.

Well, I am now on week eight of a training programme and I am getting my fitness back, and will be in a position to lead our customer's to success by reaching the top of the mountain.

The time of sitting in a small apartment thinking about all the things going on has taught me that the best thing you can do at times of uncertainty, is to focus on what you can control, and not worry about what you can't. It's times like these that make you stronger.

So, now, when 'tomorrow' does come, I will be ready to face it and not look back on a wasted opportunity.

See you on our next trip


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