To say that I rode my bike alot in May is an understatement. 543 miles is 125 miles per week and almost 18 miles per day. My activity app Strava, paired with my Garmin GPS watch, are fairly accurate. Believe me, I feel it in my bones. Also, this was the hottest documented month of May in Central Texas ever. So I’m feeling pretty happy about that accomplishment, seeing how my original goal for this year was 50 miles per week. It could all change in a moment, and there are some things on the horizon which may mean I’m spending less time on the bike. But that’s all fine. For now, I’m satisfied that I still have some legs. Oh, and I also walked 45 miles. Today is a well-deserved rest day, so let’s dig into the stats a bit, shall we?
Dude, That’s Alotta Mileage
As you can see from the Strava chart, I rode every single day. In fact, my last rest day was way back in early April. A few days it was just a mile or two. But for some reason I felt a drive, urge, or maybe even compulsion to just keep going. I started out strong with a half-century: Un-Lazy Sunny Sunday: Anatomy of My 50-Mile Bike Ride and the next weekend did a 40-miler. As the end of the month approached, I found reasons keep the mileage up to get to certain numbers. First, it was just 100 mile weeks. Then maybe 450 for the month. Then 500. And finally 540, to reach the second best month. While this may be impressive to some, in a way, I’m not following my own advice about rest days and sleep. (See Rainy Friday Blahg Post: The Value of Sleep and Rest Days for Cyclists.)
As for the heat, I often waited to ride until 6 or 7 pm, and after dark, it’s downright pleasant. Someday soon I will be back to an early schedule. Since it shows no sign of abating, that will be important for avoiding overexposure to the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. I do wear sunscreen, a hat that covers my neck and sides of the face, and arm sleeves when necessary. Hydration is key for this time of year, so I’m always carrying Nuun or Gu tabs in one water bottle with ice. Cold showers before and after, cycling jersey, and frequent rest stops in the shade or air conditioned rest stops all help make it bearable. But at some point, one must be comfortable sweating to the oldies and getting acclimated. It seems I’ve done that well enough, but it’s barely hit 100 yet, and it does become oppressive. Also, it slows even the toughest riders down.
Distance Isn’t Everything — Quality AND Quantity
I wrote recently that I wanted to get back to riding for fun. No backpack for errands, or any particular place to go. A number of these rides accomplished that. Today someone observed that I must enjoy riding so much, and I had to think about it. My first response was going to be, “Yeah, but it’s alot of work.” But I considered the answer, and said, “Yes, I suppose I do.” It is work, for sure — unless you’re doing it yourself, go try! And I do question the insane amount of time, effort and discomfort involved. There are inevitable aches and pains, old lingering injuries, fatigue, and the effects of too much chocolate and not enough vegetables.
The psychology involved in what I do and why is not something I always understand or can explain myself. So yes, in May, I rode alot. I expect June will not be nearly as big a month. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take off a whole month even! Well, that’s doubful, unless I have to. But I do have to find work and will have use of a car soon, plus the heat is a real factor.
Maybe the best answer to “Why?” is still “Why not?” or “Because I can.” As long as there is some degree of enjoyment, as well as exercise, stress release, being in nature, and being part of the bicycling community — plus hopefully inspiring people who read this blog — I hope to continue. But I’m well aware it could all end tomorrow, for a variety of reasons. That’s true for everyone and life in general.
There’s more that could be said, but I think my legs — and more accurately, the pictures of places my legs took me — have done plenty of talking.
What do you think about my “epic velocimania”?
Impressive! Bottle up your will-power and discipline for me.
No big deal. I do that in my sleep every week.
Scary. Whoa, Dude, take a chill pill!
Snooze. What’s a bicycle?
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