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80,000 Miles On a Bike in Eleven Years… It’s More Than the Miles, Though.

I decided to do a quick tally on my miles for my last post, so I’d be accurate (I actually have a record of my yearly cycling miles on an excel spreadsheet). Originally, I’d written that I’ve got more than “70,000” miles because I was fairly certain of that. Well, I sold myself very short when I looked up the real total on that spreadsheet… then I found an error in which I posted 7,621 miles for “Cycling Sport” when that was my total mileage for the year – so I thought I had 90,000 but it’s actually a little more than 83,972 (I’ll cross over 84,000 miles tomorrow as it turns out).

I’m sitting on 83,972 glorious miles at the moment. On a bicycle.

Now, as early as last year even, I’d have felt differently about crossing that mark. I was a miles whore. I derived a lot of pleasure from how many miles I’d ridden. I’d check stats at the end of the year when it was cold, snowing and ugly outside. I’d have been infinitely bummed that I’ve only got 4,100 miles so far this year… in fact, I’d be trying to figure out what went wrong and where – I’m down about 25 to 30% from last year.

A Massive Change of Perspective… And Heart

While it seemed fun at the time, chasing mileage was really a giant drag. Oh, there were momentary feelings of accomplishment and the like, but at what cost? It’s not just the time I spent out on the road away from my wife and kids, either. I can only imagine how the resentments piled up, and I had to own my part in that mess.

This season was a major departure from the norm. As I wrote above, I’m down 25 to 30% in mileage, but there’s a flip-side to that coin. I’m not piling up resentments anymore and with my wife and I putting in the miles on the tandem, we’re closer than at any other point in our marriage since we were newlyweds. There has to be a balance, but that balance was seriously off when I was off chasing 10,000 miles a year.

In the end, rather than lamenting lost years, I’ll celebrate them. If I hadn’t been chasing miles, what’s the chance I’d have seen the light and made my marriage the priority over pedaling a bicycle?

It takes what it takes, and I’m grateful for where I am today.