As an endurance athlete new to cycling (and one who has been sidelined for more than a year), I am trying to find the correct balance between what I am physically able to do now and what I know my body use to be able to do. At the height of my performance, I ran a PR in the 10K, half, and full marathon with, what I believed were, respectable times. I was averaging about 40 miles a week and I considered a 14 mile run to be relatively short. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to maintain that same level of endurance and fitness with all that I’ve been through in the last year. Luckily for me though, I am able to cycle and my new bike is pretty awesome.
I’m finding my most difficult challenge right is now to understand and accept my current fitness level. I am no longer in my peak physical shape. I also no longer have a resting heart rate in the low 50s. I am not in “marathon shape” anymore. In cycling, this translates to me thinking that I can ride much farther than I should. Just with running, I’ve found that with cycling you do not want to increase your distance too much at once. My rides on the bike are still relatively short, but I am slowly increasing my distance. I am also feeling that after a few weeks of riding, I am feeling much more confident on the bike. It is even easier to look behind me now to see if cars are coming if I have to get into the left-hand turn lane.
While I know that at one point I would have been able to ride much farther and quicker, I am content with my current riding. I know my dedication, determination, and drive (after my next surgery) will transform me into the century rider that I want to become. Today, I went on a relaxing, challenging, fun, and adventurous bike ride. It was a blast. I had a great time. I even got to thinking that I am quite lucky that I can still do such things like cycling. I have to admit it, cycling is just as almost as fun as running. Today I rode almost 9 miles. My distance is still very short, but it is increasing, which is good. I love how I get to discover new areas of my city and see just how beautiful some parts of it are. While riding today, I had to stop and take a couple pictures with my phone. I wish I had a better camera phone because it was so pretty. Mount baldy covered in snow was peaking over a hill filled with mature landscaping and established houses. These pictures really don’t do the area any justice. I promise, it was so much prettier in person. Although, perhaps it was so pretty because I was so happy to be out doing something I love. Yeah, that’s right. I love cycling already. I’m hooked and I haven’t even participated in an organized group ride yet.
Today I rode 8.84 miles in 39 minutes and 12 seconds. I averaged 13.5 mph and my fastest speed was 22.0 mph cruising down a hill.