2015 was a breakthrough year for me, in terms of both fitness and recovery. While I had plenty of difficult times, I’d have to estimate that ’15 was one of the best in my life. My recovery has been excellent, as it has been for more than a decade and through cycling over the last five, my fitness is better than it has been at any time in my life. After yearly totals between 5300 and 5600 miles for 2012 and 2013, I missed a 10000 km 2014 by only 250 miles (give or take). Then last year I smashed through that ceiling by more than 1,000 miles – 7,621 total, to be exact. Leading into 2016 I anticipated my first decline in mileage since I started cycling in 2011.
When I hit the end of January, compared to the previous January, I was up by 167 miles. I closed out February up another 224 over last February. In all fairness, this has been the most reasonable winter for cycling I can ever remember (thank you El Niño), but then came March, traditionally the first reasonable month for cycling in my neck of the woods… Last year I was able to ride outside almost every day of the month but this year I still beat last March by 153 miles with a total of 776 miles. Add those up and I’m almost 550 miles up from last year and we’re just into the first quarter of the year. Now, I don’t see being able to keep up that kind of pace, especially considering the fact that I put in some considerable mileage through the summer months last year, I believe 8,000 miles (more than 12,800 km) is at least achievable. I never would have guessed this was possible until I was looking at the numbers this morning.
Yesterday was a questionable day for riding outdoors. It was cold and it was looking like rain even though the forecast showed only a minor chance of precipitation.
I had some business to take care of early so I woke up at 3 am and left for the office at 4:30. I attended to what I had to get through and rushed home, pulling in the driveway at 7:30. I hurriedly prepped the bikes and got dressed. We rolled out at 8:30. 1:59:59 later we pulled into the driveway with 34.2 miles. My wife and Mike wanted more miles because of the weekend forecast but I hate being out on the bike during office hours. It’s a personal thing and a long story so I won’t bother with explaining it here, just suffice it to say, I don’t look at time off and playing hooky like normal people do. I don’t like missing (or wanting to miss) phone calls during business hours.
After our ride, we showered up and I tended to some more work until we got into the late afternoon. After signing and sending in the biggest contract of the last decade, my wife and I tackled some bike maintenance together. We set about cleaning our chains, drivetrain and frames. Mine was pretty simple, chain and drivetrain only as I’d cleaned my bike up earlier in the week and only rode it once this week so I knocked that out in short order. For my wife’s though, we decided that she’d do the work and I’d simply offer instruction – and she did it… She took her chain off, degreased it, cleaned the bike and drivetrain and put the chain back on. Then we tackled her headset which I’d assumed would be exceptionally dirty considering the conditions she rides the bike it. Much to my astonishment, it was quite clean. I wiped up the little bit of loose grit present and put the front end back together. Now her steed’s clean and ready for a great season (I think my wife actually has more miles than I do so far this year – it’s close but she’s really racking them up during the week).
Surprisingly, the rain and snow that was forecast for this morning has been pushed off until after noon… so it’s time to get the tires pumped up. We’re ridin’, baby!