This very well can be my best cycling season yet. I’ve got a pile of miles in. I’m fit. I’m happy. I’m enjoying cycling with my wife. We’ve been on a number of cycling trips this year and they’ve been progressively more enjoyable. It hasn’t been all good times and noodle salad though it has been good… and I’ve eaten more than a few pounds of noodle salad.
First, I told a friend last night at the club ride that cycling is the only thing I know of that makes me feel like a kid again. That’s only partially true though, because as I kid I had a cheap Murray 15 sp. mountain bike that I beat to death. Today, not only do I have a couple of high-end road bikes, I’ve got a decent mountain bike as well. I’m no longer relegated to riding to friends’ houses and around the neighborhood, I take my bikes camping, to explore roads hundreds of miles away with the only care of the day being busting out some miles with my wife and friends. I get to feel like a kid without the constraints of being a kid.
If I’ve learned anything about cycling, with all of the attempts at riding with the A guys, with getting dropped every week from the group to finally forming our B group, and all of the awesome adventure vacations I’ve been on, it’s this:
- I have my limits and the closer I get to them, the less fun I have during the ride. After the ride, now that’s a different story. There’s always a certain tough guy euphoria after completing a tough ride that I don’t get if I’m not right at the edge. That said, all things being equal, I enjoy the below threshold rides a little more than what is described as “suffer-fests”.
- I still have to push those limits because it’s been fairly stated, if you’re not getting faster, you’re getting slower.
- “Eat well” does not mean eating like a vegan monk. I still eat a lot of the fun stuff that cycling makes possible, obviously moderation and good choices are imperative.
- Cycling, especially club cycling, is all about helping others. By getting out of myself I enjoy life so much more than if it’s spent inside the gray matter between my ears.
- Some cyclists get their joy from crushing each other on a ride. They’re not wrong, it’s just what makes them happy. I don’t have to understand it – and I certainly don’t have to take part in it if it doesn’t do the same for me (and it doesn’t). Others get their joy from a slow spin… there’s nothing wrong with that either. Then there are those of us who like fast, without the race. There are local cycling clubs that represent all types of cyclists. The best part is, fit people aren’t a glum lot. Chances are you’ll be able to find people inside a group that you’ll gel with. Cycling solo has its merits, but nothing beats a nice weekend ride with a bunch of friends.
The important thing to remember is that nobody ever got fit sitting on the couch. Get out there and ride.