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Home » Cycling » Stronger, Faster…  Fitter:  What happens when you reach the next level only to find that you liked where you were at?

Stronger, Faster…  Fitter:  What happens when you reach the next level only to find that you liked where you were at?


I had a great conversation with the owner of our local shop the other day about my Tuesday night club ride.  It was fast.  Maybe too fast.

While I rode hard and emptied the tank, I truly believe I could have stayed with the racers.  If not to the end, close enough for government work.  I chose to sit up and let a gap form because my friends had dropped and it was time anyway, because that’s just what we do.

I’ve improved my average on that ride from 19.5 mph the first year to 21 the next and 22 last year.  May not sound much but that’s a ten minute difference over 30 miles.  It’s a lot. 20 seconds a mile.  This year I’ll beat that.  Easily.

So Matt says to me, “You should have stayed with them [on Tuesday].  You’re stronger, faster… Fitter.  You’ve learned a lot too, about where to be in the group, when to hide.”

He’s right and I’ve been working for this for a long time.

And now that I’m on the edge of the next level, I’m not sure I want to give up that last ten miles with my friends.  Couldn’t I be happy, maybe even happier, just being the hammer of our little gang or do I have to make the progression just because I can?  It’s a great problem to have.  I used to think my age was going to limit me, that I was getting on in years and that I should just embrace my place as a young geezer, but I was wrong.  It wasn’t my age, it was miles and fitness – and go figure, in a year where I’ve put in more slow miles (with my smokin’ wife) than ever before.

The truth is, speed is a funny thing.   Sure, it has a lot to do with being strong and fit, but the faster I get, the more I’ve come to learn that it’s more about “want to”.  It’s often said that the best way to get fast is to ride with people who are faster than you are.  In my case, I ride with people vastly faster than I am.  As this is published, I’m out on the road with my best cycling buddy, Mike.  Today’s going to be a long one so we’ll have plenty of time to talk things over.  One thing is for sure, this year is far better than I’d hoped – and we haven’t even hit summer yet.

I can say this for sure:  I never thought that I’d get to this point and say, “Do I gotta?”

From the Memorial Weekend ride:








  1. Dan In Iowa says:

    Why not both? Ride with the racers some nights/days and ride with your group others. (Maybe they ride at the same time so it would be problematic?) And tell your wife to quit smokin’! It’s just not good for you! 😉

    • bgddyjim says:

      First, that kind of smoking is always acceptable… 😎

      Second, I already have to be careful not to lead out too fast. My buddy Mike can hang but I can blow up the other guys if I’m not careful… I kind of have one gear that way.

      Third, it’s a big jump in average speed – from my current group to the racers. From 22 mph to 24. If I make the jump, I don’t know how that will affect me hanging with my current gang.

  2. It is always hard to get out of ones comfort zone. When I started run, I would run with a group that was one notch faster than me and then end up with the group I should have been with. So for almost half of the training run, I would be pushing hard and out of my comfort zone. By the end of the training period, I was just at the back of the pack of the faster group.

    Run with the big boys and push your limits, you will be surprised at how good you actually are.

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