The eleventh month of 2018 is in the bag, and I thought I’d do a little recap for loyal readers and newcomers alike. It wasn’t the best or worst month ever. It’s a bit better when compared to last November, the first month after I was laid off my job (that ironically I had for 11 years). There have been four elements challenging my progress: 1) the loss of Sookie the Fuji; 2) what feels like less sleep and more fatigue than usual; 3) cooler temperatures coupled with sometimes intense cold intolerance for some reason; and 4) going back to work part-time has shrunk the available hours to be out there doing activities. Even with these things slowing me down, I still put in a pretty respectable month on bike and foot. For the number nerds, the data dweebs, git ‘er done geeks and so on, click on through to learn more of what A Dude Abikes has been up to.
Strava is my activity app that is paired with my Garmin vivoactive HR watch. It records everything I do and all credit goes to Strava (and Garmin) for the data. It’s fun to see the time I spent biking was 41 hours 41 minutes. Walking is sill going strong, if not very fast, at 1.54 miles per day in 30 minutes. The point is, I kept moving my butt every single day.
I’m back up to averaging 100 miles per week on the bicycle, so I’m almost at 4,000 miles for the year! What’s that? I thought I heard you say “THAT IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!” Well, you would be right. Especially for a fathlete of my age. Sure, the elevation lags behind last year, because I didn’t aggressively seek out hills. I also didn’t have any hilly rides to train for, by choice. Alot of that had to do with focusing on writing this blog and my book in progress. Sixteen rides per week may seem like alot — until you consider that some are relatively short jaunts on errands. I also had a few rest days. Time of course is a huge investment: 10 hours a week is a whole series I could be binge-watching on Netflix or Hulu. But then I would just be fat, not an athlete, with not much to blog about or to inspire you with, wouldn’t I?
More Measurements of My Mileage
Here’s my progress for the last 12 months. (These numbers combine walking and bicycling.) I had a slow start due to that anemia problem triggered by my week-long experiment with a vegan diet. Then I peaked in May, decreased in the summer and peaked again in September. Fall has slowed me down, but I’m still beating winter and spring. If you compare me to other riders on Strava (something one needs to be very careful about NOT doing), I’m above some and below some. There are people passing 10,000 miles, and they are aliens or freaks of nature with unlimited cash, time and energy. Remember: I’m just A regular Dude — but one who biked 10,000 miles in two years. Horn tooting? Yep, and you would be too if you were in my shoes.
Strava also shows me how I’m doing compared to other riders doing a monthly challenge, and those I follow. Only a few do the challenges, and some them are total badasses. They may also run and/or swim, don’t ride in the rain, and have full-time jobs, etc., so it’s not really a fair comparison. It also shows I didn’t complete the challenge, and barely got halfway through it. That’s because 1,250 kilometers is 776.714 miles, which is more than my best month ever (April 2017). So yeah, that’s not happening for A Dude. But hey, third place overall amongst fellow Austin Strava riders I know ain’t half bad.
In Sum + December and Beyond
The human cost of all this work is not easily captured. Everyone who can should exercise, and I don’t want a medal for it (although all the finishers of the Mamma Jamma Ride got one.) But there have been nights where, to meet my daily goals, I’ve gone back out at night on the bike, bone tired, just to put in some miles. I thought I’d put that unhappy practice to bed and was trying to do more enjoyable rides for no particular reason. On the other hand, it does show I have the ability to make myself dig deep and do hard things when I don’t want to or even when I don’t feel like I can. I git ‘er done!
The habit – discipline – addiction of cranking out a certain set of numbers is ingrained by now, and hard to quit. So I don’t include the word suffering lightly, because there are far worse things to experience like war, famine, disease, abuse, etc. From my privileged position as a white male in a developing nation — even though I am very, Very VERY broke right now after a year of unemployment — there is still difficulty, even if it’s self imposed. I do have my health challenges, and although I don’t go into them in depth, they are there and real obstacles. But just like hills, they are things that test us.
Other random ruminations:
- Maybe I’ll make my upwardly revised goal, maybe not, but the biking and walking (and yoga and writing) are sure taking time and effort that would be better focused elsewhere, like making money.
- My main goal should be 4,000+ dollars a month, not 4,000+ miles a year. 2019 is just over a month away so I guess I’ll see what I do then. Maybe more money means more freedom to bike.
- The mileage goal is an arbitrary number, and as such is not meaningful in itself; it’s just a friggin’ number. Yet the work involved is leading me to wonder if it’s really the right goal and if goals themselves are really all that important or even helpful. If my larger goal is fitness and bicycling isn’t really improving mine — in some ways it may be declining — then it’s time to re-evaluate.
- Although Ive been doing yoga and walking daily too, maybe I need a new sport. Weights tend to injure me, I don’t have access to a swimming pool, and gyms cost money (plus I basically despise them for the noise, the scene, and the risks.
- I definitely I need better health care, better diet, and better sleep. Easier said than done.
- Losing use of the lighter bike is a pain, but also an opportunity to bike less, if I can. Maybe it’s an addiction at this point. No one really cares how many miles I ride except me. It’s not impressing any sugar mamas, causing me to lose weight or to get faster. Or maybe it means it’s time I ask the internet to help via GoFundMe.
- Is all this biking making me happier? I enjoy it while I’m doing it, for the most part. But overall, is it a balanced part of my life or really taking it over?
These questions will persist, and January will be a time to revisit all of this. For now, I’m actually on track to make a bigger goal than planned due to the walking. And that’s alright, as long as I take care of business. That means better focus and planning. With that, I bid you adieu until the next time, which is Monday.
To check out my Strava rides, which have fun titles, pictures and sometimes comments not featured here, go to my Strava feed.
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