Numbers don’t lie:
2009 mileage - 4131
2010 mileage - 3868
2111 mileage - 3107
2012 mileage - 2273
Clearly, a downward trend is involved in that data.
But, I’m OK with that.
In fact, it was a good year. I knew it was going to be a tricky one - relentlessly long hours in January prevented any riding - my first “ride free” month in memory. It took a couple weeks after that before I even had the gumption to be active again. As spring arrived, the highest goal was to stay healthy so I could be available for voice work. Since that directive was not in keeping with any kind of Belgian Spring Mileage, long rides in the rains were not really in the cards. Lower general mileage meant that I was not really in any kind of shape for Brevets, Fondo riding, Centuries or even Populaires - all of which tend to drop a decent chunk of distance into any type of ride log. Lastly, I couldn’t rely upon the cheap mileage of a commute to work - since my commute no longer included any “outside” distance. (And while voice acting tends to emphasize a certain amount of personality, that wouldn’t necessarily include showing up hot, sweaty and out of breath to a gig.)
All of which probably sound like rationalizations and excuses.
One thing I needed to relearn was how to commit the act of riding - since I didn’t just automatically log some back and forth to work miles every day, I needed to realize when I had the gap to go - send off the auditions and log off the computer and be on the bike in 5 minutes. It’s certainly a skill set which I used to possess - there were times when I had to drive 45 minutes each way to work, and was one of “those guys” whose bike was locked to the roof rack in the parking lot, bag o’ bike gear in the back seat, with plans to be late one the way home after a road loop or a little trail work.
It was also a little easier when my work environment had more infrastructure. I could hide in the office after a weekend of long, hard mileage, limping through orders and inventory reports, doing my job but not having to find new clients, think about marketing, continue to develop and refine my brand, chase down overdue accounts and some of the things which being a self-employed creative “solo-preneur” demand on a daily basis.
But, I did end up with 104 separate rides last year. About one every three days. More if you figure that I didn’t ride for two out of twelve months (September was kind of lost when I took a tumble and tweaked my ribs). I find that a decent average for maintenance level riding. I know I lost some oomph here and there, but things basically feel pretty good when I get out. Well, now anyway…
Post-September was the roughest. Low miles. Injury. General life stuff which drags you down. The first few rides at that point of this year, things just felt bad. Then worse. Then even worse. I was riding just enough so that each ride felt harder and more labored than the last. But, you just keep pulling back on the controls and know that you can come out of the dive.
The Quickbeam was both tough and kind at this point. A fixed gear setup will not lead you on with false hopes or pretense. Cruising the flats a 16 mph one week, then 17, then 18, then finally feeling a bit lively here and there. Finding enough moxie to accelerate into a short climb. Starting to be comfortable with two hours of spinning.
Yep. I’m still very much finding the need to work my way up pitches and bits that easily sailed past a year or so ago. But, I’m out, cleaning the muck out of the foundation. Signed up for the Fondo a couple days ago, so optimism is not my issue.