At 5:47 PM on Sunday, August 2, 2020, I headed out on Sophie my trusty Fairdale after an appointment I had ridden six miles to get to. I thought I’d put in another 14 miles to make it another 20 for the day. But in the back of my mind was the thought, “I’ve got several 150-mile weeks in a row under my belt. If I stop now, I’ll break that chain.” And if you know A Dude, you konw he likes to #DontBreakTheChain (first noted in Jerry Seinfeld & The Juiceman Can Teach Us About Making Healthy Choices (Day 2). There had been a little rain to cool things down, I was feeling a little better, and as the title says, I found my 40-miler legs. Sounds easy right? Maybe I make it seem that way, but nope, it’s never easy. Allow me to explain.
But first, if you think you’ve seen this post title before, you basically have. This was a 48-mile day with six and 42 mile rides, and the previous was a 50-miler, both to Cedar Park. Check out Un-Lazy Sunny Sunday: Anatomy of My 50-Mile Bike Ride from May 7, 2018.
I will apologize for no photos; it got dark. If I were going all fitness influencer on you (which I won’t because I’m not), I’d say things like “key takeaways”, or “pro tips”, or something else to try to rope you in to consume all my products and to separate you from your money. I don’t need catchy phrases or marketing ploys to say that having one’s goal churning around in my subconscious clearly can help. It sure played a major role in the success of this ride. Sports psychology and the mind-body connection are real things.
The previous successes I’ve had gave me confidence to know I could replicate that. And lastly, a can-do, adventurous spirit makes a challenge more fun. I was also OK with not making the goal. Let’s be real, there are more important things, especially now (yes, coronavirus, I mean you — don’t you get enough attention elsewhere?) But it’s nice when you do log a little victory over sloth, over your self, over yesterday’s efforts.
See, the way I rode is not the most scenic. The main road I was on is basically two three-lane highways. But it does start to take one out of the city of Austin into smaller suburban cities that quickly become rural in nature. Also, this major road has very wide shoulders that have been paved recently. It features a number of convenience stores and a few bike shops if necessary. And on a Sunday, you get less traffic. Familiarity with the route helps, up to a point — I did get kinda lost, as it got dark and it had been a while since I’d been out that way.
Going into the sun wasn’t fun but the cooler temperatures helped, as did strategic refueling with Vitamin Water Zero beverage then a Slurpee made of the same but with added brain freeze, and then of course nightfall. I was wearing some mountain bike shorts with a thin chamois pad for biking and no Chamois Butt’r, but that wasn’t a big problem. I had a protein bar and an emergency gel with amino acids. And I had a few chicken wings early on. I would ride, stop, rest, and get going again. Spurred on by the dying light, and checking my electronic map, I found ways around the highway sections with disappearing sidewalks. Once back on familiar turf, it was no problem getting home.
I made 10 Personal Records on short segments in Strava, which is all the cooler because Sophie is a heavy girl, being steel (and just 9 gears). The recent return to Gatorskin tires has given me the impression I’m back riding Sookie the Fuji, with her lighter aluminum frame and 27 gears. In fact I finished the ride with an 11-mile per hour average, which is one more than usual and for me, good for that distance. All told, it was a successful ride with only a little time lost on navigating.
A combination of stubborn determination to reach a goal, favorable weather conditions and decent health added up to a successful ride. My longest in a while, actually. As I continue my quest to ride every day for a year and attain 10,000 kilometers, I may need more rides like these. With group rides and riding buddies scarce and not exactly safe, flying solo is the way to go. And if I’m out there on my own (with Sophie, of course), I damn sure better enjoy the company.
On this day, I did, and am thankful for the opportunity to exercise my fathlete’s body and write this blog for you to read. Thanks for doing so and remember, you can do more than you think, if you want it bad enough, prepare, improve your level with marginal gains. At some point, you’ll have to just go for it.
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