After a couple of weeks off for travel, Sturgis, and other miscellaneous work duties, I’m getting back in the saddle for another 30. I’m hoping to do 300 miles in the month.
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I highly recommend that you join us on this! It’s a refreshing, fun, and rewarding way to reconnect with your two-wheeled past. Why do I say past? Well, I used to ride a lot, back in grad school. Yearly pilgrimages to Moab, mountain bike races, and a longish but doable commute got quite a few miles on my legs. Moving to California in 2000 probably put me at the most miles I’ve ever done in a single year, though I’ve never kept much track of the actual miles ridden.
But work, life, and kids sort of intervened. I’d still pick up the occasional issue of a bike magazine, and go for a spin once in a while, but it always felt harder than I remember, and I never managed to stick with it. I’d go to watch the bike race in downtown Stillwater, and feel vaguely bad about myself that I had this tremendous love for bikes, but hadn’t made actually riding them that often a priority. My actions weren’t in line with my core values.
When I saw a Facebook posting (thanks Bob Amaden!) alluding to #30daysofbiking I perked up and paid attention. I got to the party a little late (April 16th) , but made up for it by not stopping until work-related travel absolutely forced me to. It ended up being 105 days straight of more than 5 miles on the bike. The longest ride was a nice hilly 56-miler down to Afton and other places in the St. Croix river valley.
If you’re anything like I was, you used to ride more than you do now. Maybe you didn’t, but you probably bought a bike at some point, and when that bike was shiny and new you put on more miles than you do now. Well, that can be fixed in short order, and you won’t believe how quickly it takes to feel that wonderful feeling of motoring under your own power again. The small triumphs of hills conquered without downshifting (or the fixie equivalent: motoring up hills seated with higher gearing than you used at the start of the season), and the sureness of knowing that you are indeed fitter than you were the week before are still there waiting for you. The mellow relaxation of a post-ride endorphine high is still just as pleasant.
Think about it this way: your life is probably a lot more complicated than it was when you last put on any serious miles. You need those miles now more than ever to put everything into perspective.
I’m looking forward to a nice way to round out the summer. It’s already feeling a little chillier out there (in the 50’s the other night made it wonderfully brisk.) Soon all the rides will be in the dark, and there will be some weather to worry about. Bring it on, I say!