Today was supposed to be a day off the bike. I’ve put in a fair amount of miles in the last couple of weeks, hundreds, and a lot of them hard. I needed a day off…
On the other hand, for the first time this year we’re experiencing temps warm enough to pitch the arm and leg warmers to the side. No toe covers, hats, full finger gloves… None of that crap.
Now, with temps at above 75, there was simply no chance I was staying off the bike. No chance I was missing out on the first day to sweat. What self-respecting cyclist could?!
Not this one.
I opted for short rather than easy. That 30 minute, ten mile ride did more to boost my attitude that I can put into words without sounding goofy. Oh how I missed sweating!
In other news FR news, the trademark process is almost done for my new company. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. To that end, to all of my cycling friends out there, please polish up your A road bike and snap a photo (you on it or not). It’ll come in handy as soon as this is done.
While I was out with the boys on Saturday for a 65 mile training ride, It finally struck me just how tough it is to ride 100 miles with a decent pace. Last year, with just five guys, we did a century in just under five hours (20.7 mph if I remember correctly). Our pace was pretty slow on saturday, under 18, but I was hurting those last few miles. Part of this is all of the cold weather crap. Arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves and the cold itself all restrict movement and actually mean you’re working harder – combine that with this only being April and I’m doing better than I usually am this early but I still felt like I was a long way from being ready for a century on Saturday.
Now all of that out of the way, as this was swirling around in the gray matter, I also realized how fortunate I am that I’ve been cycling for coming up on three years now and I’m just now understanding how hard 100 miles on a bike really is. I was so set on attaining certain goals that I never bothered to consider how hard any of this is to actually accomplish – I just kept pushing harder until I got the results I wanted.
Now that I’m at this point of understanding, I wouldn’t say that I’m a freak or special in any way (indeed, quite the contrary), but I finally do get the idea that I’ve managed to accomplish something special – either through determination or plain stubbornness, take your pick.
When I started this little adventure, I didn’t know my butt from a whole in the ground – I didn’t know anything about bikes (mountain, road or otherwise), training plans, nutrition… Nothing. I just knew I wanted to go as fast as I could so I did, one day, one mile at a time. There was a lot of trial and error but I was there before I knew it.
Without recapping everything, which would take a post so long even I couldn’t stand reading it (let alone write it), I think not knowing what I could or couldn’t do helped more than hurt. Sure I could have started out with much better habits, including rest and a few nutritional tips – maybe a few good hydration items as well, but in my ignorance I never bothered to wonder whether a 4-1/2 hour century was too hard or not, I just did it.
Now there’s no doubt, I needed a whole lot of help to be able to do that (we had a huge group), but there I was with my friends, crossing the finish line. As I’m preparing for this season, getting in my base miles, working myself up from 15 to 65 miles in a matter of four weeks (maybe five), I realized it’s better to concentrate on what’s next, rather than how hard it was to get here.
I will do this, as I always have, by interrupting the negative thoughts of how hard my path was with thoughts of what’s next because if I know anything, it’s this: If it was easy, anyone could do it.