Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 mileage: one for a smaller book

I took my final ride of 2013 last Tuesday, in spite of ongoing struggles with cold weather, creaky knees and mood swings. 2013 was a hard year for me on the bicycle. Between a radical career change with several missteps and an ongoing worry about the state of my future employment, my non-racing, and more travel which helped to lower my riding time, I didn't make two thousand miles for the first time in many years.
Total, 2013: 1,907 miles.
Total since I began recording my miles back in 2005: 20,509 miles. That looks like a lot if you don't ride much. Among my bicycle enthusiast pals it's fairly low -- most of them commute more and farther than I do these days and some race or ride in Randonneur events.
Still, it seems worth it to keep tacking my miles, though at this moment I can't articulate the reasons why. Mostly it's about keeping track while I think about reformulating my bicycling goals, which aren't as clear as they used to be.

In any event, it's been a tough year for me. I think it would have been even harder if I had not ridden my bicycle. That right there seems a good place to begin thinking about my bicycling goals for 2014, though at this point I haven't yet decided upon anything really specific other than to find ways to do a little more off-road riding. The winter has really taken a toll on my enthusiasm for bicycling in the last month; my energy levels, my creaky joints and the persistently cole temps have all reduced my desire to be outside for more than a half hour at a time. So I ride shorter distances and times in the hopes that at some point -- likely when things begin to warm up a little bit -- I'll rediscover my love of going longer. Mostly I try to be gentle with myself -- though that has been one of the hardest things to do in light. of all the radical changes and trials of the past year. I take more hot baths in the winter, sometimes two or three a week if my body and psyche need them. I sleep in on my days off, sometimes not rising until after 7:30 (that will change tomorrow when I go back to teaching after winter break). And let's not discuss my dietary choices, which have seen me gain back the last five pounds from the ten I lost three years ago when I worked out all winter as part of my prep for racing. My clothes still fit, and my legs still turn the cranks with fluid ease. But I feel slower.

Still, I keep riding, even if it's for shorter times and distances. I might yet make it outside today for a short errand with the trailer. The sun is trying to come out from behind the cloud cover and it might warm up to something like 45F. And the trailer is working out beautifully since I made the modifications. We'll see how motivated I can make myself before the afternoon gets away from me.

If you head out this weekend, happy riding wherever you go!

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