I’ve just achieved my highest mileage week ever on a bike (well, I included a 5k run in the mileage too). This, of course, after I had broken my highest weekly total just two weeks ago (I think it was two weeks ago, not tracking my mileage with an app has made keeping the timetable straight a little difficult). When I started cycling three years ago I’d struggle to get 100 miles a week, last week I topped 236.
Before you get the idea that I’m taking time off work to get this done, I did this amidst a 50 hour work week. and with only one weekday ride taking more than an hour. Here’s how this works… Monday I worked from 6 am to 4 pm. I got home at 5, my wife went out for a ride and then after dinner, I did mine (at 7 we had two hours of daylight left). Tuesday is our club ride that starts at 6, 35 miles there. Wednesday looked like Monday, another 16 (50 minutes give or take). Thursday was just four “checkup” miles at 6 pm, two on the mountain bike and two on the road bike to make sure I got some changes right followed by a 5k run at 7 pm. Friday was an early morning 16 miles with Mrs. Bgddy sandwiched in between a lot of work and 45 minutes on the tractor cutting the grass later in the day. The big mileage occurred over the weekend, 46 and 100 miles on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Do the math and that’s 236 miles, or conservatively, 11,000 calories (or 3 pounds if you prefer).
Now, I’m not suggesting I, or anyone else, could keep this up on a regular basis with a family and full-time job. The reality is that I’ve spent a lot of time on the bike and I’ve had to keep a pace that averages close to 20 mph to do it and still have time to get the rest of my responsibilities done. These last few weeks have been a blessing taken advantage of, but the simple point is, it can be done – depending on where priorities lie. I was once at a place where I didn’t care if I was fit or not. After putting on a whole mess of pounds I arrived at a point where I needed to get fit. Follow that with the point where I wanted to be fit and the whole ball of wax culminates in me needing that hour a day during the week to “feel” right with the world. I was going to write that I need it to “function” but that really doesn’t do it justice. That 50 minutes a day during the week, wherever I can fit it in, is time taken to clear my mind of the days stresses for just a short period so that I can return and face life’s challenges with a clear melon. That bike ride helps me to feel good, even through tough times.
Unfortunately, it’ll be no rest for the weary as we’ve got some serious rain blowing in starting tomorrow evening and extending through Friday. With three days off coming up, I’ll ride this evening and then tomorrow if possible and worry about time off while it’s raining.
As for that century yesterday, you know, the one I was so confident about killing? Oh my God, the first 75 miles were awesome! I spent the first 50 up front (or close to it, one or two wheels back) and even dropped off of the group to help a friend back who had to stop for a “nature break”. There were a couple of other instances where I’d drop back a hundred meters or so to bring those who’d fallen off the back as well. I was on top of my game… Later, after lunch, another friend was tinkering with his Go-Pro camera mount so I held back by a half-mile so he could ride the first half to catch up, then I could give him a draft for the rest. By the time I hit that 75 mile mark, all of that time cutting wind, in addition to the hard 46 on Saturday, took its toll. I was cooked. By mile 80, I was spending more time at the back and started breaking the last twenty down in my head so I could keep with it. At mile 90 I was feeling ugly but I just kept thinking, “only thirty minutes to go”. I tried to put ten miles in its perspective because in the scheme of things, the way I ride ten miles isn’t much. On the other hand, put that ten miles on the back side of 90 and all of a sudden it gets a little tougher. However I want to slice it though, I just cracked out two back-to-back hard, long rides for the first time and even if I did spend a little bit of that time hanging on by my teeth, I made it smiling – teeth in tact. A small second lunch, a huge dinner, and about seven hours of sleep and I’m feeling pretty good again.
With the Assenmacher 100 just three weeks away I’ll be ready. Life is good, on two wheels.