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.
Stephen Bach says
I have the same issue. My sweet spot is a metric century and I would like to try a century or 2 next year. I do the MS150 in DE and might target going to 175 for this year. I use a few target ‘event rides’ to focus training since I have a date and i’ve committed money to it. I think otherwise there are too many things with kids, yard work, office work etc that will keep from getting these rides on my own. Plus I often find that the group event rides are safer and it’s great having the rest stops for potty breaks/food on those long rides. I like having support for anything over 40-45. Even if I’m riding alone on those rides, I will perform better by the issue of not wanting to get passed. Without that on solo rides I can lose focus. So I would encourage you to follow through on your plan, works for me!
Did you take into account that we just had the hottest summer on record? I did a lot less riding in the evening because temps were still over 100. And on weekends shorter rides had me finishing before the heat became unbearable.
Bike Noob says
Well, in July I rode 22 times for a total of 550 miles. Two of my 40-plus mile rides came in July. I tried to ride more often in the mornings. I can’t blame it all on the heat, much as I’d like to.
I agree, scheduling a big event and letting folks know you’ve signed up definitely helps motivate you. Organized rides are a good way to do it, but if you simply said, “On June 1, I’m going to ride an unsupported century,” that might work too.
Putting that date on the calendar is the best motivation out there. You’ll be constantly reminded and will push yourself out of fear of failure.
II think you’ve set some fair goals for yourself.