I just signed up for my first organized ride of 2008, the Armadillo Hill Country Classic, sponsored by the Austin Cycling Association. It has a reputation for being a good ride, and since it covers much of the territory I rode last fall in my first organized ride, I know the terrain will be agreeable.
I’ve been looking forward to this ride for awhile, but I haven’t been doing anything special to get ready for it. My mileage has increased with the better weather, from 96 in February, to 127 in March to 111 so far in April, and we’re only halfway through the month. I’m averaging about three rides a week, and will be able to bump that up to five once we get into May, and some of the demands at work slow down.
But as I wrote the $30 check to pay for ride registration, it occurred to me that just the act of paying money to join a ride might be an incentive to train for it. Why spend good money on a ride and not be ready for it? Why run the risk of stopping before the full distance is finished? I wouldn’t get my money’s worth out of the ride.
So maybe I will pick up the pace a bit, and actually train for the ride. I could sure stand to do some hill intervals, and maybe do some short rides at a pace faster than I intend to ride the Armadillo. I know this is a departure from my usual attitude about training, but I don’t want to just survive the ride, I want to finish it with a creditable time, with some gas left in the tank.
That 30 bucks may buy me more than a place in the pack — it may also buy me better cycling fitness.