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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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12 Comments

  1. […] via Cycling and 200 Mile Weeks, with a Wife, Kids and a Career — Fit Recovery […]

  2. buckyrides says:

    I think you are right. 200 miles is hard unless you incorporate miles into your commute. I would argue that maybe 200 is not the sweet spot and a range of 140miles is fine. The difference between switching seasons is to incorporate some intensity or hill climbs to make up your top end. If you are riding hard 60 or 80 mile weekends its all you need unless you are a cat 1/2 racer.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I just like to ride. I don’t care about hill repeats and intervals. I just ride for fun. I definitely agree though. 200 is a lot.

      • buckyrides says:

        yeah totally, me too, my point about the intensity / hill climb kinda interval thing is that a few of them are a great way to kick up your top end and it allows you lower miles over winter but then kicks up your fitness so you can enjoy the longer rides in the summer.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Gotcha! Sorry for missing it, brother.

  3. Andy says:

    Finding time is always a challenge. Having a club or group of friends to ride/run with certainly makes things easier.

  4. Gail says:

    If you juggle things up, then you won’t have jiggles getting you down…sorry. Terrible, but I could not resist.

  5. sarahdudek80 says:

    Those are some fantastic miles! You sound a lot like me. I love the long run. Once you start doing them, they are addicting. If I don’t get one in, I feel like I haven’t really had my week of running!

  6. Sue Slaght says:

    You are inspiring Jim. Making healthy living a priority isn’t always easy and I love your no excuse policy. As we head back from Africa I hope to take on some of your positive attitude on getting out there! Thanks for that!

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