A few years back, I stopped tracking my annual mileage. My bike computers were freezing up in cold weather anyway, so I decided to spend a winter without one. It felt good to enjoy a bike without pursing week and monthly distance goals.
Since then, I’ve used computers to monitor the distances of individual rides, but I’ve purposely avoided tracking my accumulated mileage by season or year. In some ways, it has been liberating.
But it has also made me slower and weaker.
Looking back at this Summer of Suckage, it isn’t hard to figure out where the problem lies. I’ve spent too much time simply enjoying the feel of pedaling. Too much time taking the short routes. Too many rides enjoying a chat near the back of a group. Too many post-ride, barely earned beers. In other words, I’ve been lazy. And it's making me soft.
For cycling to be really fun, it sometimes has to hurt. I can’t remember the last time my wife or daughter said, “Have a fun ride,” and I replied with, “Not this time.”
I’ve never truly trained in any methodical way, but my best summers have always included a lot of rides that sucked because they were hard by design. I knew before I left the house that I was going to suffer, and that was the point.
I’m going to take a few weeks off this fall after getting an injury repaired, but then it’ll be time to get off my ever-expanding ass. I need to ride longer, harder and smarter. The computer needs to come back out, and the gut needs to go back in. The summer of 2009 shalt not suck.
I recently heard someone say something that made a lot of sense:
It’s time to toughen up, Buttercup.