Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thousand Mile Update

Mileage: 244
Days: 22
Remaining: 68
Average Daily Mileage: 11.1

My new "standard ride" is from home out to Fry Road in Katy and return, for a total of 22.4 miles. It's much more open and straight, with two major straight-aways. Thus it's more annoying to ride in high winds, and a bit less interesting, but it does allow for steady effortful riding. Also, they are few or no pedestrians. The old standard ride was home out to the Beltway and back, which was just over 15 miles with a detour on the spur up towards I-10. That ride was no longer challenging, although it's fun especially when I take the "high road" dirt detours. On today's three armadillo, five snake ride I was thinking that this is the most constant riding I've done in a long time. The first year in Tucson I commuted by bike, about six miles each way. 12 miles a day, but I certainly didn't ride every day. Living on Weymouth St I commuted regularly to the U of A for about five years, but that was only a seven mile round trip. As a teen I rode a lot, and I probably beat my current averages, especially in the summertime. The conclusion is that the Thousand Mile Challenge is working for me although I didn't expect it to. Not this well. Riding is still fun -- this just gives me that boost I need to get out on the bike. It makes it feel urgent and not something I can put off until tomorrow. If I do that, I have to make up today's mileage. It works well. And it's not related to the "carrot" of a new bike. I rarely think about a new bike, and in fact I cannot find one I'd want to buy. New semi-custom steel bikes in bike shops sport price tags around $3000 and up. Mass market steel bikes are generally down-market and not to my liking. Plus they gotta stick a carbon fork or stays or something on every one. So it's not the carrot. Perhaps it's the "spiral upward". I ride each day and I can see the quite tangible improvement: the first few days I could barely ride six or eight miles, and I felt terrible after. Now I can ride 22 miles (in 1:25, tonight) and feel good. Before I started riding I was starting to run out of holes in my belts. Now that problem is well under control and I've started to lose whatever little bit of white-collar belly I was gaining. I don't know where I'll spiral up to. I've already considered the next challenge -- what will it be? 20 miles a day? That's tough to maintain seven days a week. It means that most days I'll need to log 25 or even 30 miles. At some point the riding starts to take up a significant part of my free time, at which point I'd need to decide: hobby or sport of choice? But that is a long way off! I'm only 22 days into the challenge!

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