I reached 4,000 miles for the year last week.
It’s not the first time I’ve ridden that far — I finished 2010 with 4,100 miles. But it came more than a month sooner this year, and I’m guessing I’ll finish around 4,500 for the year this time around.
It sounds like a monumental achievement. It’s not. In fact, finishing the year with over 4,000 miles is relatively painless. Consider: There are 52 weeks in a year. If you ride 100 miles a week, you’ll have gone 5,200 miles in a year.
Now, living where I do, I have an advantage over many of this blog’s readers. Just this morning, for example, I rode in shorts and a short-sleeved jersey — no base layer, no arm warmers, none of that stuff. Temperatures were in the mid-70s (low 20sC) and the biggest problem I had to contend with was the stiff wind from the southeast. So I have a better shot at racking up 100-mile weeks throughout the year than most.
I don’t do it, of course. Stuff happens, like my ridiculous month of October this year. But even with a setback like that, I find that if I make an effort to stick to some sort of routine, I can get in the miles I need.
I try to ride Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Tuesday ride will likely be around 15 miles — just an hour on the bike after work. With the return to Standard time, that might be cut out soon. My Friday route is about 20 miles, Saturday 25-28, and Sunday 30-50. Add those all up, and it gives me about 100 miles, give or take. Realistically, it’s more like 85-90. Still, that’ll get you over 4,000 for the year.
I don’t set a mileage target at the beginning of the year. I just let the miles pile up as they will. This year, I dabbled with the idea of doing a metric century ride every month, not to add to my total mileage, but to increase my tolerance for longer distances. That lasted four months, then I lapsed back to a 30-45 miler for my long ride of the week.
I suspect next year’s riding will be a lot like this year’s. No big plans, just steady pedaling. And if I find I wind up with even more miles than this year, well, it’ll just be something that happens.