A cycling post

I haven’t written about cycling in quite a long time, and that’s partly because there’s not much going on, but even more so because I’ve felt so strangely about it over the last month or two. Or perhaps to be more accurate I should say I’ve felt strangely about racing. Which is, actually, the way I usually feel about it.

Anyway, I did go on a lovely ride today. Seven of us left from the bike shop this morning and headed south to the beach, and on our way back home we stopped at a cupcake shop. Stopping at the cupcake shop is so much fun that we ride there regularly and now call the ride our cupcake ride. It was a gorgeous day that was perfect for riding, sixties and sunny. The company was good, and we rode hard-but-not-too-hard, which is just the right speed. I got home with SO much more energy than I had when I left.

The racing, though. I rode in my last race on July 22nd, and it was the last in a series of races where somebody around me crashed. I’ve managed to stay upright so far this season, but it was beginning to feel like everybody around me was destined to crash. And then cycling friend Sprinter della Casa got in a pretty awful crash from which he is still recovering, and it was all just too much. I had chances to race after that last race, but I wasn’t interested anymore, and I’m still not interested.

But I also recognize that I go through a yearly cycle: I start racing in March and am into it, and I stay into it until June or so at which point I start getting burnt out. I’m really burnt out by August and am ready to quit the entire racing enterprise entirely, for good. I enjoy riding all through fall, at my own pace and in my own way, and I start telling everyone that I’m not going to race next year. And then December and January roll around and the people around me start to train for races, and I’ve forgotten a little bit how much I don’t want to race and I remember how much I like having a goal to train for, and the next thing I know, it’s March and I’m racing again.

So now I’m in September feeling burnt out, and I’m tempted to say I’m not going to race next March, but what I need to do is to acknowledge this cycle of mine, recognize the cycle might continue or it might not, realize I have no idea what I’ll do next March, and leave it at that. So that’s what I’ll do.

As for regular old riding, I may have mentioned here before that my goal for this year is to ride 5,000 miles, which would mean beating my current record of 4,300 miles set last year. I’ve now ridden 3,580 miles this year, so unless something goes wrong, I should reach my goal. I’ll need to do a little less than 400 miles a month. There was talk on the ride today of doing some longer group rides this fall, and I’m excited about that. I hardly rode at all in August and I lost some fitness, but I’m starting to get it back now, and it feels good.

11 Comments

Filed under Cycling

11 responses to “A cycling post

  1. It is a lot of miles!

    Hmmm, you need to find a half-iron race with a relay option and be the cyclist – if you put together the right team, you folks could be really fast, and it is incredibly safer than the other kind of racing!

  2. You’re well on your way to your goal, and hopefully the weather will stay nice so you can get most of the miles in before it turns really cold.

    I’ve felt very burnt out all year on cycling, and am embarrassed that I’ve been on my bike so little. Hopefully that means that by next spring, I’ll be really excited again.

  3. This sounds very sensible. I can see how you’d get burnt out, but also how attractive it is to begin. So, don’t worry too much about where it goes! 5,000 miles! Wow!!! That’s really impressive.

  4. bardiac

    WOW, 5000 miles! That’s fantastic!

    I’ll be lucky to get 2000 in this year. I can’t quite even imagine 5000. Go you!

    I get a real sense that the work of preparing to race and the stress of racing would burn me out really fast, that and the frustration of never winning.

    But when I just go out and play on my bike, I always have a really good time. And sometimes I go a bit faster than I have before, or climb a hill a bit better.

    I hope you enjoy whichever seems right to you at the moment.

  5. I would find it horrible to have people crash all around me, and know that it could happen to me at any point, through no fault of my own. So I don’t blame you at all for feeling chary about racing. But I really do envy you the pleasure you get from riding. I’ve never had the experience of exercise giving me energy, and I often think that I’d like sport more if it did. The cupcake ride sounds really delightful!

  6. It’s good to recognize that you have a pattern, now you can just relax and not stress out about it all, enjoy the fall rides and get to 5,000 miles!

  7. I could never race (I would be too afraid of crashing), but I could be talked into riding if I knew there would be cupcakes at the destination! Just think, you’ve already ridden enough to get from coast to coast on your bike!

  8. That is a lot of miles! Maybe if I was riding to a cupcake shop every day I’d be motivated – haha… Seriously, I think this is great and good luck on meeting your goal!

  9. Jenny — you are absolutely right. I just don’t know many people who do relays. But I should look out for them. I’m still holding out hope of being able to run one day too.

    Debby — yeah, I’m getting in as many miles now as I can. And I’m sure the interest in cycling will come back for you at some point, and then it will be fun again.

    Bloglily — you are so right about the worrying. I’m such a worrier that this is good practice in giving it up!

    Bardiac — well, it certainly helps to be able to ride year-round. If the winters were just a bit worse here, it would be much harder. And of course it helps that I don’t mind riding in 30 degree weather! I did most of my miles this year in cool or cold weather.

    Litlove — oh, yes, the energy I get is really the best reason to ride so much. If I didn’t get a buzz from it and if it wasn’t fun, believe me, I wouldn’t be doing it at all!

    Stefanie — I’ve continued to have a great time riding this week — yes, the fall weather is gorgeous and just perfect for riding!

    Danielle — it is cool to think about my miles in terms of riding cross-country, and in fact I’d love to make a cross-country cycling trip if I could. I would want someone following behind me to carry my gear though!

    Iliana — thank you! And yes, cupcakes are great motivators, even if they do give you back the calories you just burned :)

  10. I envy you feeling burnt out. It means you have choices. I got my bike repaired, but my neck and back are still keeping me from riding. Tomorrow a doctor will check it out. Things are getting better but I’m so impatient. Hopefully next month, I can post some good news about riding.

    Since the (red) cork got ground off the handlebars, I chose a new color (lavendar) for a new feeling. I notice that they sell lavendar tires as well and may have to celebrate by buying them when I can ride. I’ll be sure to photograph it, if I do.

    I hope you aren’t feeling so strange soon.

  11. LaraDunn

    I know what you mean about a cycle. I ride both on and off road and almost never race. That said, I do do one race a year, a 24 hour mountain bike event, with some friends. It’s not wildly competitive for us, but there’s always a VERY good chance of a fall/crash as it’s always very muddy. Each year (3 now) I do the race in June, love every minute (well most of them) and come home hyped up and enthused. Come Feb when the entries open again I enter, then spend the next 5 months thinking I’ve made a big mistake! I’m now saying I’ll not do the event next year, but you never know…..
    Had spinal surgery in 2006 and now more than a little scared of falling. Silly really, as my back is stronger than ever. Surgery was not due to bike related or any other accident.
    Thanks for great blog, only just discovered it.
    Couldn’t live without my books or bikes!!

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