This morning I made a significant step. I took the last remaining can of beer out of the fridge and buried it at the back of the vegetable rack, out of sight and out of mind. After a summer of excess, I've finally reached a position where the motivation to ride well this autumn is outweighing the desire to get pissed, eat cake, stay up late and generally have a laugh.
As the years have gone by, I've realised that this is a position that you can't force yourself into. You have to lead the high life for a while otherwise you don't last long on the wagon: you end up hopping on and off, never really satisfying your desire for a normal life, and all the time feeling guilty for not achieving what you know you're capable of with a little bit more motivation. If you're going to do something, you have to do it properly.
I don't think I'm the first to approach training this way. Having read Bradley Wiggins' recent tweets it sounds like he's of a similar mindset, and anyone who has read Graeme Obree's autobiography will remember the extremes to which he took this philosophy, by turns leading the life of a monk or a raving alchoholic.
For now, I'm glad to be back on the wagon. The prospect of programming a training plan into a spreadsheet, and filling my diary with race dates, and setting the alarm an hour early to get in some secret training has all of a sudden become very appealing. Experence has taught me that motivation is a fickle beast, and while you've got, you may as well flaunt it. For the time being, that's just what I plan to do.