Three years ago I was all go all of the time. My slow days, I’d still average 18-19 mph on “slow” solo rides. I used to make a joke about it on the blog because I had such a famously tough time containing myself once I clipped into my pedals.
Then I plateaued. I could not get faster, no matter how hard I tried. I was well and truly stuck.
Riding with my wife changed how I ride altogether.
I have had dreams of my wife and I sharing exercise time since before we even met – and that dream never took place in a gym. I just imagined that’s how successful couples did it. When my wife wanted to give cycling a try, I cleared the deck to make sure I did my best to make the sport enjoyable for her.
That meant riding slow three or four days a week so my wife could work up to the pace of the group I ride with. I never would have guessed that I would benefit as much as I did…
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and sometimes even Friday became slow days, a 16-17 mph average (26-ish km/h) – real slow days, not the “knock a mile or two an hour off of my fast pace and call it an easy day” I’d been playing with for years.
Within a few weeks I’d busted through the plateau and my cycling schedule changed, hopefully forever… because, here’s the beauty, riding at an easy pace is really fun.
I thoroughly enjoy being able to look around and take in the sights. The first few weeks were truly surprising, how much I’d missed because my head was always down, pushing my speed.
There’s no doubt, if I’m going to ride fast, I have to train fast. I was, at the same time, a casualty of the adage; most amateurs ride too hard on their easy days and too easy on their hard days. I was definitely trying too hard on what should have been my easy days.
So, of you’re one of those “all business all of the time” and you’re stuck, try slowing down once in a while. You just might enjoy yourself a little more… while getting faster.
It’s the best of both worlds.