Riding 1000 miles in a Summer

Honestly, when I moved back to the states I was under the illusion that I would be able to just pick up where I left off ten years ago and resume doing 15-20 hour training weeks.  Back when I was at the peak of my personal fitness (around ages 25, 26) I got a little jumpy if I didn't get my 15 or so hours in a week.

However...

When I moved back to Wisconsin after living in Peru for the last 10 years, my first effort at a 15 hour week put me out of commission for about a month.  I don't know if it was a matter of age, weight, or the fact that I'd been working as a gourmet food critic for a year (weight again...sigh), but it wasn't possible for me to train like the old days.

I was depressed about this for a while, but there's no point in being depressed, so I resigned myself to just starting over.  In short, I was going to train like a guy in year one of a program instead of year ten.  In hindsight, it was the only logical course to follow (but hindsight's always easy now isn't it?).

These days between the baby and the various dirty jobs I'm always called upon to do, it's hard to find those 15 hours anyway.  But even if I had them, I'd be content to just do my 6 or 7 hours of training.  Add that up and you've got a 350 hour year (you need about 500 to be elite in my experience), which is nothing to sneeze at.  I'm finding now that instead of getting a little disgruntled about going for a bike ride...bit by bit it's becoming a joy once again.

I remember that when I first started out riding back when I was ten or eleven, we used to talk about doing a 1,000 mile summer.  Now, I know all the real racers of the area will kind of scoff at the idea of a 1,000 mile summer (because they get that many miles in MAY, let alone THE WHOLE SUMMER).  When you're doing 20 hours a week, the miles tick by pretty quickly, but at 6 or 7 hours a week, it takes a longer time for them to build up.

You know, the humbling experience of doing last year's birkie (which I approached with minimal preparation) has really opened my eyes to the wonderful variety of experiences people have at our local races.  As much as it's fun to ski fast, it's also fun to just see improvement in your abilities over time.

Even this year when I hit about 500 miles on the bike, I really started to feel comfortable in the saddle (a big deal).  Now as I approach 1,000 miles (that photo is old), I remember how that used to be a milestone for me when I was younger, and I'm kind of tickled by the fact that my reality has rotated around so that 1,000 miles has become a novelty again (I got that computer the day before the Chippewa Falls ride incidentally, so I guess I didn't count about two months of riding).

It will be fun next year to see what my odometer says on August 19th and to compare the rider I am then to the rider I was a year before!  That's why we do this isn't it?

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