On an almost summer-like Hill Country ride this morning, I caught up to my friend Barbara with several miles to go.
“I want to do 100 miles this weekend,” she said. “I’m at 91 right now. It’ll be close.”
I knew she had done a 60-mile organized ride the previous day. I thought our ride today would finish at something less than 40 miles.
With about a mile to go, I was in front of the group. I turned into the circle drive in a park where we start our rides, and stopped at my parked car. Our ride leader, Debra, was right behind me.
As I loaded the bike into the back, it occurred to me that something was odd.
“Where’s Barbara?” I asked Debra. Then I saw her.
She had ridden past the circle drive entrance and headed out to the highway. Then she turned around and headed back. Once again, I watched her ride past the circle drive.
“She’s trying to get her 100 miles,” said Debra.
Barbara came back to our circle drive, but rode past our cars and did another lap. Then, with thumbs up and a smile on her face, she pulled up to her car and dismounted.
“Got it,” she said.
She showed me her computer. It read 40.6 miles for the day’s ride. My computer showed 39.6. She squeezed one more mile out of the ride to reach her goal.
“I wanted to ride 5,200 miles this year,” she said, “but I’m out of town several weeks, so that’s not realistic. I’ve got 2,500. I want to see if I can get to 4,000 by March 1st. I think I can do it.”
I looked at Debra. “She’s mileage obsessed,” I said.
We all went out to lunch together after the ride. Barbara and Jerry, another member of the day’s group, compared ride data from their smart phones. She uses an app called My Tracks. Both were upset that they had forgotten to turn off the app at the end of the ride, and it was still registering data during their drive to the restaurant.
“Top speed, 51 mph,” Barbara said with a grimace. “That’s no help.”
I asked if they log their mileage apart from their phone apps.
“Well, it’s on the cyclocomputer,” she said. “That’s how I know what I rode this weekend, and how I’m doing at reaching my yearly goal.”
“I enter my ride data on Bike Journal,” I said.
“Oh, that’s a good idea,” she replied. “Then, if my cyclocomputer goes haywire, I still have the data.”
“And then I enter it into a separate Excel spreadsheet,” I added, “because Bike Journal doesn’t record everything I want.”
Everyone around the table looked at me.
“Who’s mileage obsessed?” Barbara asked.
Tracy Wilkins says
I’m not obsessive about keeping track of my mileage throughout the year, but every January 1st, I do write down the mileage on each of my bikes on the inside of the cabinet door in the garage where we keep some of our cycling stuff. I try not to check it more than a couple of times a year, but I broke down the other day (sometime in the past couple of weeks) and added up my mileage for the year. When you add together all three bikes, I had a little over 5,100 miles at that point.
Love watching the miles get higher and pushing myself to ride further. Great post…thanks.
I can understand the obsession. Checking my mileage after my final ride in October, saw it totaled 499.9. Bummed until I remembered I test rode a new bike several miles a week earlier and hadn’t counted that mileage!
You mention being “mileage obsessed” like it’s a bad thing … ha ha ha … now, if I can only ride 900 miles this year to completed my 5,000 for the year 😀
Nathan Brill says
I also love tracking my mileage. Nothing like having a goal to shoot for! I rode about 2,500 since mid-May when I got my computer and really started tracking things. I’ll ride circles in front of my house if I’m like a 10th of a mile short of rounding out my ride to an even mileage…kinda weird I guess, but miles are miles 🙂
I was dusting off a pithy comment concerning pots and black kettles but you caught yourself at the end of your story! Much like your earlier post about goals and organized rides, I think this is a great way to motivate someone to do more than they ordinarily would do. I’m not the sort that will pedal up and down the street to squeeze out an extra mile, but I definitely keep track of every mile and I definitely have a goal in mind. Purists will tell you that there is such a thing as “empty miles,” but what do they know?
You may not like this, but I don’t keep track of mileage at all. I got tired of looking at numbers and miles and averages. One day, about a year and a half ago, I removed my gadgets. I just ride now. If I go on a 30-mile route, I tell people I rode about 30 miles, give or take an exploration down a road or two. If I want to know how fast I’m going, I figure 15-16 always sounds decent! I do wear a watch, but it’s analog. Almost always forget to look at it when I take off so I’m usually within 15 minutes of however long it took me to ride however far I went. 🙂
Bike Noob says
Actually, I like it a lot. I’ve thought that someday when I no longer have any interest in logging mileage, I might do just what you did. But I would keep the cyclocomputer to note my speed. And italso notes mileage…and aveage speed…and…
Lauren Fach says
It’s good to set goals for yourself. Sometimes your friends don’t understand, but you can’t let yourself down. She’s got motivation that’s for sure! Good post!