Junk miles

It’s occurred to me that the miles I’ve been putting in lately aren’t doing a lot to build up my endurance, or speed, or agility on the bike. I rode regularly during December and the first week of January, knocked off while on the trip to San Francisco, but have ridden some since returning.

I’ve got a definite goal in mind: the MS 150 from Houston to Austin in April. It’ll really be 180 miles over two days, and I want to make sure I can handle two 90-mile days in a row without too much trouble.

Twenty miles for me is nothing. I ride it all the time. But I haven’t ridden many rides longer than that since October, and I haven’t really pushed myself when I do ride. I’ve heard some bikers refer to the kind of riding I’ve been doing as “junk miles.”

Clearly, I’m going to have to change my riding strategy. I’m back at work now, and the amount of time I spend in the saddle each week is going to be cut back. Once again, I’m going to have to ride with a plan.

But doggone it, I’ve sure been enjoying the rides I’ve taken over the last six weeks or so. I’m on the bike at least, and I’m feeling good at the end of each ride. It’s hard for me to call the miles I’m putting in “junk miles.” In fact, I don’t think any miles on the bike are junk miles. If I have to use a “j” word, I would call them “joyous” miles.


  1. says

    Ya, I agree there are no “junk” miles. You might not be training for something but you’re better off on the bike than you are on the couch! I’m doing the MS150 too…I need to start ramping up my miles!

  2. says

    I’m with you Noob. No miles on a bike are junk miles…but it’s good to have a plan too! My plan for a century ride is simple. Ride as many miles as I can, when I can, with one long ride per week. I increase the long ride every week to about 70-75 miles 2 weeks before the event. The week before I cut it back to no more than a 50 mile ride. Of course, my goal in the past has only been to finish the century ride with ease. I would train/plan differently if the goal was a fast century. Just my 2 cents.

  3. says

    There are no junk miles. Miles are good. But as Glenn said, you also have to plan training rides to support your goals. Sometimes your “junk miles” and training rides are mutually exclusive, sometimes not.

    You obviously train to meet your goals already, so I agree with describing them as “joyous” miles!

  4. mic says

    I also agree, junk miles don’t exist. You are conditioning and gain bike handling skills that you’ll need in when in a bind or tight spot, hairy situation.

    Also, I TT to work like Wirehead mentioned.

    So my junk miles-nonjunk miles are anaerobic redlining miles, with thigh and calf burn. And I’m always working on things like my breathing. Eg., clearing the lungs out completely and taking big doses of O2 when needed. And bring it back down and steady when you coast on the downhills.

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