19 January 2016

I can ride for miles and miles

Although I did phenomenally well last year on quilting goals, I fell short on my overall cycling goals. Now that snow and ice have clogged much of the bike path, it's time to look ahead and make plans for warmer days. I want to be in good shape for Ride the Rockies in June, assuming we like the route and further assuming we get drawn.

This month, RBR ezine asked readers to evaluate how they did in 2015, and instead of just saying, "I got this one!" and "I got that one!", detail what made goals attainable and what made them difficult.

I knew by July of 2015 I would not reach my goal of pedaling 3,000 miles by December. I modified the goal to 2,000 miles, which I still did not reach. But I missed the revised goal by only 49 miles!

I have yet to learn to say no to charitable requests, and I often stack my own personal crafting goals a bit too enthusiastically high. I spent much of 2015 being over-committed (which really isn't odd for me), and I have no one but myself to blame. I also can't be angry with myself for this because I gave in a lot of ways that affected a lot of people. Had I chosen to ride my bike instead, it would have made me happy. Well, and maybe The Lizard.

I'd like to think the service projects I did throughout the year and the quilts I made for nieces and nephews made a bigger difference in the world than a few more miles on my bike would have made.

My most important cycling goal of the year was to regain the strength I'd lost during my 2012 bike injury and recovery.

I'm still working on that goal, but I'm pleased with how well I did during Ride the Rockies last year because it was one challenging route (to me), and I didn't train as much as I would have liked, due to weather and construction. Construction at times probably was an even bigger factor in me not attaining my mileage goals in 2015 than my inability to say no.

My 60-mile round trip commute to work is an easy way (for me) to build mileage. But our oh-so-wet spring left many sections of the bike path along the river under water for more than two months, and some repairs are still in progress to this day. Some of the detours (or lack thereof) were downright dangerous. My philosophy is: I want to live to ride again another day. I'm not going to pedal in an area where I don't feel safe just to click off a few more miles.

Besides, all the Boat To Work Days and bike path damage gave me more time for quilting! Which I did!

The most frustrating cycling goal failure for me was in November and December. We had several rides planned, and I would have been able to pedal about 200 more miles had the weather not interfered. But that's life in Colorado. You can't go into October short on mileage goal because chances of Indian summer extending through January are not always that promising. For two whole months, we just didn't get to ride.

The final week of the year, I'd look at the daily forecast and then calculate how many times I'd have to ride around the block to get 49 miles in 10 degrees on icy streets. If I did 9 miles every day... That's just plain silly!

We could have worked out on the trainers. But I don't count trainer miles in my annual mileage. Trainer miles can be good. But they are not the same as riding.

Trainer miles are free of road hazards, traffic, weather, and for me, even klutzy blond imbalance disorder. I can take both hands off the handlebars on my trainer without crashing!!!

Regardless of how many settings a good trainer has, riding a trainer in the basement is not the same as riding up Vail Pass or Independence Pass. The workout is not the same. For one thing, there's oxygen in the basement. None of that to be found at 10,000 feet!!!

Tipping the bicycle upward to simulate uphill riding??? Ha ha ha ha! Increased resistance on the tires to simulate riding in the wind??? Don't make me laugh!

Riding the trainer for two hours every night is going to help me lose or maintain my weight, but it's not going to help me get over mountain passes.

Oh, and did you know if you ride your winter-only trainer for two hours after six weeks out of the real ride saddle due to weather, you can still get saddle sores?

We won't find out the 2016 Ride the Rockies route until Saturday, February 6, and if we like the route, we won't find out until March if we've been drawn. We hope to participate, so it's time to start setting 2016 goals, even though we don't yet know what this year will hold.

We didn't get to go cross-country skiing in 2015, I think, and I think we went only once in 2014. That's just criminal! My goal for 2016 is to go at least three times, although I'd go every weekend I can this year, especially if we can't ride. We've got two trips under our belts at this writing, and that precious trip made me remember how much I love cross-country skiing. It's great cross-training for big cycling events because it's aerobic, it helps me get back in the habit of being out in the cold, and it targets essential muscle groups.

Last year we reduced the number of organized rides we participated in, mostly due to cost, but also impacted by my work and charity schedule. We discovered we really like riding because we want to ride as opposed to trying to be in shape by such-and-such date for such-and-such ride.

In 2014, we'd tried something new and signed up for the Tour de Lavender and Ride the Hurricane on the Olympic Peninsula, and we had so much fun, we decided that year we should do more new rides in the future.

The future is now!

Aside from Ride the Rockies, we're aiming for the MS-150, with a bit of a twist. This year, we're planning to volunteer for the Colorado ride (because they've had an increasingly severe shortage of volunteers for the last two years) and ride an MS-150 in Washington state. !!! Can you say, "Ooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!"

We'll be riding right across this baby!!!

Which means I have to finish another PDF snowflake booklet so we can raise money to benefit the fight against multiple sclerosis. Yes, this is part of my cycling goals this year, and I hope to have it done by the end of February.

For the first time since 2004, we are not planning to ride Elephant Rock. I could change my mind on this, however, because I love the ride, and right now, I can't even picture life without E-Rock. We don't have another ride picked out that weekend, but skipping Elephant Rock might give us a better chance of participating in the Santa Fe Century a few weeks earlier, which we did for the first time last year after about 12 years of wishing we had.

For the second consecutive year, The Lizard is not planning to ride the Triple Bypass or the Double Triple Bypass. For me. So we can focus on wildlife and wildflowers instead. Is he awesome or what?!?

Because training last year went awry, I did not attempt Pikes Peak. That means it's back on my list this year.

Photo by Brett Atkinson

Last year, I made it to the top of Vail Pass on my first attempt of the year. I had never accomplished that before. So it's back on the list again this year. We'll be riding Vail Pass plenty of times throughout the snowless seasons, but my goal is to make it to the top on my first attempt. That means Deer Creek Canyon is multiple times high on the list of early season climbs. I'm hoping for a good climb of Independence Pass this year, too, since we were unable to attempt it last year before the road opened to vehicles, due to snowfall well into June. Climb, climb, climb, and then climb some more. Get stronger. Keep the body healthy. Increase speed a bit, if I can. Then keep climbing some more.

Photo by Brett Atkinson

Now for the biggie... NO MORE WRECKS!!!

Actually, I'm not joking. It was a goal last year and the year before, and I accomplished it both times. I intend to keep the streak alive for as long as I can!!!

Now for the REAL biggie... I'm shooting for 3,000 miles again this year. I've done it twice before, so I know I can do it. Here's to my third 3,000-mile smile!

Photo by Brett Atkinson


  1. That will be quite the bridge to cross indeed. True, you may not reach one goal but that leaves time open for other things and increased goals there. And of course mother nature and dumb construction can screw things up. But one you can't stop and the other has to be done some time.

    1. I'll keep rolling with the punches, Pat. I promise! I will get up Pikes Peak one day!!!

  2. 3,000 it is then! I actually feel more like riding when I don't have numerous events planned. For me, it puts the fun back into fun.

    1. I so agree with you, Lizard. I'm looking forward to 3,000 miles with you!

  3. Yeah from New England - good luck to you!

    1. Thanks, Patty! Just took our first bike ride of the year yesterday, and oh, my heavens, I'm going to need that good luck. I'm SO out of shape!!!


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