When I first started riding in 2002, I did 3 mile loops in my neighborhood and 10 miles was a big deal. I bought a road bike the week after I rode 27 miles. 3 mile loops became 10 mile loops.
I thought riding 20 miles in a single ride was cool. Twenty miles became 30. Eventually, I rode a personal best 40 miles in the summer of ’03. That ride kicked my ass and I didn’t ride that far again until last Monday when I did 42 miles.
Why didn’t I ride that far again? Well…because it was too much effort. Everything hurt on that ride. My ass, my feet, my hands, and my pride. Part of that pain was my equipment…my shoes were really too small and the bike rode like a cement truck…but most of it was my completely out of shape self. Riding hurt so I didn’t do it. Now, though, it’s different. It’s fun…
These days, anything less than 30 miles feels like wasted effort, which is the wrong attitude. Charlie and I rode a little over 31 miles on Saturday at an average speed of 14.9 mph. We rode the 42 miles at a 13.2 average. Charlie is teaching me that shorter distances are ok, just do it quicker to help build endurance. Like he says, once you get used to doing 30, 40 isn’t that bad.
I guess what I’m trying to share with you, Dear Reader, is that I’m slowly starting to really enjoy this cycling thing. I still think of ways of getting out of it, but I don’t follow through with them. I find myself wanting to ride, even if it’s just for an hour or so. And the amazing thing is that although the ride on Saturday hurt like hell for the first hour, the second hour or so was great because I didn’t quit. I didn’t hear the voice in my head saying, “you really suck at this”. I didn’t mind being the last of three riders because I knew I was doing the best I could. Once I got my wind back (and my saddle raised about 1/2″) I rode strong. It felt like I could just keep riding. That, friends, is an awesome feeling. That is progress.