When i worked at Canbox many, many moons ago, the CEO send a number of people to a training called “Leading without hierachical power” or as i called it “shoulderflaps-free leading”. I’ve learned two things at this training … one thing doesn’t matter here, but it had a very lasting impression on me and until this day it guides my behaviour. Perhaps i will write about it in many,many moons … like after my retirement or when i write a book about this business (okay, just joking … nobody would read that … just a old man ranting at everything ;) ).

The other was a game with tennis balls: How can each of your team members touch a each tennis ball you got in the shortest time. It’s one of this simple games where you yawn. It’s a cheap psychological trick, but an effective one. Most of the time cheap tricks work really well to make your point. It is meant to show you how continous improvement gives you results that you would have deemed impossible if you where told to reach this result at start. We went from almost a minute to two seconds. If somebody would have said “Do it in 2 seconds!” we would have said “Forget it!” but by continously challenging us again and again and again, he got his 2 seconds.

Why i’m writing about something that is 21 years in the past this year? You can call a training effective when you think about something you’ve learned after such a long time. Because I’m thinking about this training quite often when i’m seeing the development of the last two years.

You think you can’t ride more than 10 km at speed at first. The swift kick in the butt that lead to weight reduction and sport didn’t made it easier. But then you ride 20, then you ride 50km, then you ride 100, then you ride 130 km. At first you ride at 50 watts, then 100 watts, 200 watts, then i stopped and made it my objective to hold 200 watts as long as possible. Half hour, one hour, two hours, three and a half hour. Step by step. And do not stop when you hit a road block.

My next targets are small increments on this. 150km, holding 200 watts for four hours. Nothing spectacular. But just small steps forward.

Okay roadblock … not the best word in regard of cycling. But i think you get the point. Of course you should stop in front of real road blocks. I checked this. you should at least steer around street lamps. I know it … been there, done that, including an ambulance ride. Since that day i’m convinced about helmets and sun glasses. With the deep sun in front of you, you see almost nothing. Not a good idea at 25 km/h. Nice story at the side: The female police officer actually stopped my Strava when i was sitting on the ground leaning at a wall pale white and tried to get my thoughts and bones in order. I was that white, passer-bys insisted that an ambulance should be called and the ambulance drivers insisted on driving me to the hospital. Luckily it were just contusions and bruises from hell. So it seems the tshirt “Stop my strava when i’m lying on the ground” is not really a must nowadays. People know ;)

I never thought i could run 20 km. But with small steps i got there until i had a torn ligament because of a damned pothole. I have to regain all this this spring. Step by step, again. What looks unattainable at first, is natural to you later. It doesn’t get there over night. You need time for it. A lot of time. But you get there.

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It’s the same like with trouser sizes. I came from a 42 with tendency to 44. And you look at a 36 and think … no never ever. But then each trouser size falls and a 36 starts to be a little wide sometimes. Step by step and do not stop because just because you hit a road block.

That said: I still have a trouser problem nowadays. My legs doesn’t fit into those damned trousers if the legs aren’t strechable. Instead of easier to find a decent jeans it got actually harder. Nobody told me about this. Buying the next suit will be an interesting endeavour.

A few weeks ago i found a photobook with photos of my San Francisco vacation in 2016 with person that was important in my life at that time. I saw how out of bounds my weight was. I was considerabily shocked and the comment of friends that they didn’t wanted to insult me by talking with me about this, didn’t made it much better. Well, one of my plans for the next years is going back to the Marin Headlands and shot a photo with the same clothes i wear when i was there 2016. The clothes are much too large now and i will have to ask someone to take this photo and perhaps have to explain the story, why i’m sitting there in front of the Golden Gate bridge in much too large clothes there, but it will remember me of what you could do with willpower and baby steps.

Oh, and with the help of a really swift kick in the butt. Something everybody needs from time to time in my opion. At least because it helped me. I would have preferred it a little bit less swift, but who i am to complain.

Written by

Joerg Moellenkamp

Avid bicyclist, likes california, dreams to combine both.