With October 15th a month and a half away, I really need to start upping my miles. And so, I did.
Normally, during the weekdays, I ride an 8 mile loop with the second half being pure climbing. Since 8 miles is 92 less than my goal, I upped it. I rode 16 today, and while it was quite uneventful (other than a car honking and throttling his engine from behind me while we waited for a red light to turn green) it allowed me time to think.
I have great ideas.
I thought up a t-shirt design with "WWJD?" but the "J" would stand for Jens. As in Jens Voigt. I'm sure the idea's been done before, but still: Ideas!
That's the kind of guy I am. Lots of ideas. Lots of thoughts, too.
I started to wonder why road cycling was such a lonely sport.
I know that the Tour De France and other major tours have teams, but I'm talking about your average, run of the mill cyclist trying to lose a few (or hundred) pounds. Other than the occasional "wave" or "head nod" as someone rides the opposite direction, we are pretty much always riding alone. Other than the weekend (when the cycling clubs come out to play) I never see groups of riders together. We are always riding alone.
And it doesn't have to be that way. I treasure my rides with the San Fernando Valley Bike Club, partly due to the camaraderie, partly due to the fact that it helps me gauge my abilities, partly due to that it is fun talking to other people while riding your bike. I ride with my friends as often as I can. And with them, I don't ride to train, I ride just to ride. For the sheer joy of cycling. It's hard to do that when you are by yourself. Don't get me wrong, I still have fun, but not as much as I could be having. I think I could probably put in more miles if I was doing training rides with my friends during the week.
Riding alone all the time also makes me think of who would be the perfect training partner. Would it be a pro like Cadel Evans or Jens Voigt? Probably not. They would just drop you immediately. What about a retired pro like Lance Armstrong? Nope, still a great cyclist (he won the Leadville 100, an epic mountain bike race, a few years ago, AFTER he retired).
Then, you may ask, who would be the perfect training partner for your average, run of the mill cyclist?
Easy answer. Someone slightly better than you.
Think about it: The carrot is always dangling in front of you, showing you what you could be if you trained a little harder, lost a little more weight, were just a little faster. And that is what the effect would be, because you would want to be able to keep up. As he/she improved, you would improve. Constantly competing with each other.
I'd like to meet a carrot.
PS: My buddy Manny is not a carrot. He is levels, echelons, above me. He placed 7th in his age group at the Hansen Dam Tri. I placed last. That speaks volumes.
PPS: But still, I do strive to reach that level of athleticism someday.
PPPS: Ok, maybe he is a carrot.