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Daily Archives: April 12, 2017

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Cycling and 200 Mile Weeks, with a Wife, Kids and a Career

Last week was a 200 mile week, as was the week before.  To do this is relatively simple, seven days, 30 miles a day, 210 miles in a week.

During the week though, 30 miles a day isn’t possible, at least not in my world.  I do get away with 38-ish on Tuesday nights but I simply don’t have the time for that more than once during a work week.

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This means long miles on the weekends.  In my case, if I’m going to post a 200 mile week, half of my miles are done on Saturday and Sunday, often more than half.

The long rides are where it’s at.  The long rides are what melt the fat.  The short rides just condition me for the long rides.  The short weekday jaunts (16-20 miles) also provide the dual benefit of the need to take active recovery days along with an enjoyable time to ride with Mrs. Bgddy and just check out the scenery that I’m usually pushing too hard to pay attention to.

The hard part was in building up to that mileage and to get that mileage done in a reasonable amount of time.  Many new cyclists make the mistake of assuming that those of us who are cranking out big miles we are simply, magically, granted the ability to ride long and fast miles.  I don’t know anybody who started off crunching out 20 mile rides, let alone 50.  I started on a mountain bike doing 4 mile loops at about a 14-15 mph pace.  After a couple of weeks I started upping miles, I went from 5 to 8 to 10…  Then I bought a road bike and went from 10 to 13 to 16 and my pace jumped from a decent 14-15 mph on the mountain bike to 19-20 mph.  That was the game changer, the pace.  When you can bang out 20 miles in an hour, 200 miles is only going to take 10-12 hours in a week:

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Once I got to a regular 16 mile ride I started doubling mileage.  I found that if I dropped my average pace by about a mile an hour, I could double my distance.  16 miles at 20 mph became 35 at 19 mph.  Try it, it works!

Finally, I started cycling with a club and my mileage shot through the roof.  I went from 100 miles being a big week in July to 210 being a regular Spring week.  Now the 100 mile weeks are only reserved for the winter, when outdoor riding is limited by snow, ice and extreme conditions.  Where I used to ride 90% of my miles solo, now 90% are with my wife and friends and are vastly more enjoyable.

Finding time to exercise isn’t always easy (it was quite impossible when I didn’t like the exercise).  On one hand, juggling everything is a challenge, there is no doubt.  On the other, I’d rather do the best I can to stay fit so I can enjoy a long life rather than make excuses and end up with a short one.  I don’t want to be the guy who gets the “Well, as unhealthy as he was, it was only a matter of time and he had to know it” at his funeral.  So juggle things I do, and I make it work – and it helps that I love the ride.

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