463 Miles in 3 Weeks Ending with a 53-Mile Ride: I’m Spent, but Happy

After saying in my last post I wasn’t always fond of posting statistics, I’m now going to do just that. Because, miles, baby! Turns out that I’m averaging 154 miles per week. Sunday was terrific weather here in Central Texas, so I took advantage of it and went for over half a century. If you’re just joining us late, I ride a bicycle. With my, um, age and weight “situation,” I’m bushed, even with the “extra” hour from the end of Daylight Savings Time. And yet I’m pretty proud of my work ethic cranking out the kilometers making up for some missing miles this summer while working and gasp! driving. Pride goeth before the fall, but let’s hope that’s not the case.

Fifty is Nifty

See this ride on Strava and follow me there too if you’re on it

Sunday’s ride began with a perfect temperature of 70 F under a mostly clear blue sky and light winds. Sophie the Fairdale and I took off toward the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. I’ve done the downhill way one and a half times so it was time for the uphill. Not horrible but with a few steep sections that keep you honest and weed out the pretenders. It was such a nice day and I was in a bit of a haze due to the time change, that I found myself lingering. A view here, a leaf there. Stopping at the top of the hill at the YMCA, I got some snacks from the healthy vending machine and hung out a bit, soaking up the sun.

Folks were out in force. Mostly fellow cyclists, some walkers, some dogs. It was one of those sublimely pleasant days where it seemed like nothing unpleasant was even allowed to happen. Sure, the faster dudes didn’t pass me by saying “on your left!” as they should have. A few people had their dogs of their leashes, causing a few moments of uncertainty. More than a few people didn’t acknowledge me when I rang my bell. Greanted, everyone’s in their own space and more often than not with headphones in. Everyone’s in their zone and just because I was in a happy mood didn’t mean they were. Whatever, I was doing my own ride and enjoying it.

After the usual loop, I wound up at home. I charged the Garmin watch and headlight, had a rice cake with peanut butter and jelly on it and a banana, and headed back out. Just 15 more miles would have got me to my goal, but the weather stayed pleasant even after the sun went down an hour earlier than usual. So I just kept on pedaling. Stopping again at a convenience store at the top of my route, chatting with the clerk, refilling my water bottle, I realized that I would be approaching the distance of my birthday ride (including three miles I forgot to turn on the Garmin for). In the end I did just that, and was rewarded with a tired body but happy heart.

21 Days Averaging 22 Miles

Check out my Training Log on Strava. Wait, you’re still not following me there yet?

To put that number into perspective, consider that many months I don’t pass 400 miles in 30 or 31 days. That was with only one day under 11 miles, with two 53+ mile rides, strangely only one 30+ mile day and no 40-milers. I was basically biking a few hours daily. That gets tiresome. Especially with my erratic sleep patterns. Of course I had the luxury of unemployment, being between experiences (or paychecks), as they say. And as a non-racer who takes plenty of breaks, it requires a good investment of time.

My point, as is always the case even if it may not seem like it, is actually NOT to boast about my accomplishments, given there are literally zillions of better and faster bike riders out there. It’s to say this: IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU. I know this because the fast movers regularly pass me without saying “on your left,” or I ring my bell and they ignore me, so intent are they on their miles per hour and personal records and so on. NEWS FLASH: You may be a better bike rider, but you’re a shitty person when you endanger others or are rude to them. I wrote a blog post about that called Top 5 Ways to Be a Jerk to Your Fellow Bicyclists. Play nice!

A scenic shot of the sun-dappled Southern Walnut Creek Trail

The Takeaways for You

All I can say about going from zero to hero of my own mileage goals, is that if you want to ramp up your activity, whether it’s cycling or something else, you can do it if you really want it. But you must put in the work. Obviously, you need the means, know-how, equipment, and time. But even if it’s just walking, it takes work, sacrifice, and also rest, nutrition, and hydration. You really must choose between what you have to do and what you can do in the rest of the time. In other words, it’s a Sophie’s choice between cold night bike ride or warm tv watching. In the case of cycling, it helps to do as I did for Sophie, and get a new drive train.

I don’t know that I’ll keep up my higher mileage, but as long as I hit 100 miles a week for the rest of the year, I’ll meet last years mileage. Considering the sinus infection, summer job with long hours driving a car, one of the hottest Septembers on record, being older and slower riding the heavier bike all year, staying busy writing and now editing my book, I think it’s a pretty damn good accomplishment. We’ll see if I make it to my goal, and what happens in the meantime. One never knows if life will intrude.

For the rest of my story, stay tuned to ADudeAbikes.com! And while you’re at it, why not tell a friend or 10?

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3 thoughts on “463 Miles in 3 Weeks Ending with a 53-Mile Ride: I’m Spent, but Happy

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