When I saw Don Blount’s post about his riding stats, it spurred me to look at my own. I knew I wasn’t putting in the miles this year to bring me to last year’s total of 4,000 plus — but I’m at about 3,100 for the year at this point, and I’m pleased with that.
What surprised me about my numbers, though, was the lack of long rides. The longest ride I have done this year was a metric century — 62 miles — and that was way back in March. My traditional long ride days with the club haven’t turned out to be that, because I ride with the B group, and we don’t go as far.
In fact, when I pored through the overly obsessive riding stats I keep, I found that I’ve done a whopping FIVE rides of over 40 miles this year. Just five. Disgraceful.
Why would I consider that disgraceful? Purely for personal reasons. I don’t really care if anyone else notices I’m not going long. But two things apply here: I like long rides, and I know they help me get better (better = improved endurance, which also means somewhat faster speeds on shorter rides).
I probably should have done something about it earlier. I even posted in mid-summer that I’m the King of the 25-Milers, and mused about the need to stretch out my rides back then. Never did.
And I’ll bet I know why I haven’t done the longer rides this year: a lack of goals. Another post from early in the year dissed the organized (or t-shirt) ride as something I didn’t need to do, because I could ride those routes on my own most any time I wanted. The trouble is, I wasn’t riding those routes on my own.
So, I’m setting a goal for 2012: More long rides. Wait — that’s not specific enough. How about: Two century rides, and four metric centuries. It’s likely I would have to target organized rides to force me to train for them. I can also see that another advantage of the organized rides is that they occur on a set date. That kind of targeted training has worked for me in the past. I could also target different group rides that I haven’t done yet. I’m a member of the Austin Cycling Association, for example, but rarely go on their rides — and they do between two and four every weekend. All of them have at least one distance of over 50 miles.
Again, I’m pretty happy with the total mileage I’ve done this year. But I just feel that my cycling has been missing something. Adding more long rides in the coming 12 months will fill the void. I hope.