Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yawning at milestones

Yesterday I rode 50 miles on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, going from the Waukee trailhead just past Linden and then back.

I was very happy with this effort for a number of reasons.

* First, I actually got out of bed and the apartment to do the ride. Motivation was not strong yesterday morning.

* I managed to head straight west on the trail without having a weather crisis.

* During the vast majority of the ride — I'd say about 80 percent of it — I felt strong ... and this even included a few windy-in-my-face stretches.

* I finished much faster than I'd expected: 3 hours, 23 minutes (plus a few breaks, but not many, and not for long). I'd prepared myself for about four. That's good for a 14.8 mph average.

* And I didn't acquire any new sunburns! (OK, a lot of the trail was shaded, but still, my diligence in applying and reapplying should be applauded. Positive reinforcement here, folks.)

It wasn't until I got back to my apartment that it dawned on me that none of my pride involved the fact that I'd ridden 50 miles. The distance was no big deal, except that I'd successfully blocked out the time needed to fit that much riding in.

Thinking back to the weeks since "biking season" began, I realized this shrugging-off of distances was a long time coming. A few times, I'd caught myself dismissing the shorter rides as "only" 20 miles.

"Only" 20 miles? Remember what a sweaty effort that was on your previous bike — a perfectly nice hybrid? It wasn't impossible, by any means, but I considered that a pretty significant workout. (Granted, with the hills I encountered out in the country, I was justified.)

But just like how, relative to past rides, 50 is long, 50 is short compared with what I'll be doing for the rest of June and July — 55, 60, 65 and 75 are all on the schedule.

So it's probably good that I didn't start bragging about my accomplishment on every social media outlet that I could. If I thought 50 was the world's biggest deal, then that would likely mean I wasn't mentally and/or physically ready for the serious training and for the main event.

(One tiny brag, though: This and my early May 50-miler have doubled the number of times I broke the 50-mile barrier from April 2011 through April 2013. To be honest, I don't even know how often I broke 40 miles during that stretch.)


  1. Amazing! I can't ever imagine the day when I shrug at a 50-mile ride, especially considering I've never done one. I think my longest ride to date is 15 miles. But I remember that feeling as a runner. When you start shrugging at 6, 10, 13 miles, etc. Once I hit 15, I have to start steeling myself for it. But I did shrug off doing a marathon "just for fun." What is wrong with us??? Haha.

  2. In my experience, getting a road bike was the fastest route to shrugging off long bike distance — but you're absolutely right about how we shrug off mileage as runners. Once I even had a friend give me a "bitch please" look when I said "only three miles" because I'd forgotten how nonrunners think!