Yesterday evening, I tried to bust through some of my assumptions about cycling and set some beginner’s goals for myself. I went on a longer ride on Saturday, about 90 minutes of moderate intensity. It went well, and the weather here lately has been nothing short of beautiful. Living further south now, I get to see parts of town I never knew existed; I had lived north of Dodge Street my entire life.
One of my notions about cycling is that it takes too much time to get ready and out the door. Last night, I got home right at 5 PM, got changed, loaded the bike and was out the door by 5:10. That would have been good time even when I was running. I went for a 40 minute ride of fast intensity, concentrating on not coasting and keeping my cadence steady by shifting into a higher gear. I have a little pain under my left knee cap, which feels like runner’s knee but not as bad. That is a sure sign I probably over did it last night. However, what is nice about pushing yourself too hard on a bike is that it doesn’t take you completely out of the game with an injury like running does. If I had applied the same effort to a run, I would have sidelined myself quickly with an intense bout of runner’s knee for several weeks. I now know to lay off and take it a little easier next time.
One of the other differences is that I don’t feel as worn out as I did with say a 4 mile run, for example. Running, there is nothing like it. Your lungs and legs feel nice and used, your body is tired and pumped full of endorphins at the same time. You feel like you did something. I don’t feel that after a ride usually. I’m sure I would have to go for two or three hours to get that feeling. I miss the endorphin rush badly.
Overall though, I’m going to try to stick with it. The positives outweighed the negatives in my mind, and really, the negatives aren’t “negative” per se, it is just a different form of exercise which I am not used to yet. My short term goals are to hop on the bike three times a week for about 40 minutes during the weekdays and a longer ride on the weekend. I need to keep this up for a minimum of three weeks (going off the assumption that it takes three weeks to make any activity a habit). I need to set time for myself to do this; I can’t put it off because I have a lot of work to do at night (which has been my usual excuse for the last six months). If I can keep this up until mid-autumn, then I will purchase a new bike for myself.
As far as touring is concerned, who am I kidding? I really wanted to do self-supported touring, then I realized that I would probably never have the time to do a self-supported long form tour in the next 5-10 years. So, many of my new bike requirements (steel frame, standard pedals) became antiquated quickly. I still want to do some touring, but I could do that on an aluminum rig with a supported ride like BRAN or RAGBRAI easily. This realization is kind of fun, because it opens my acceptable bike range up quite a bit!
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