Easy Does It

Last week I did a good bit of mileage on my bike. On Sunday, I rode 60 miles at the Southern Maryland Century at Indian Head Maryland. Then I did my usual 150+ miles of bike commuting during the week. That’s over 210 miles in six days for those of you with dyscalculia.

The weather this weekend was spectacular, very reminiscent of early fall in New England and upstate New York where I spent most of the first half of my life. Time to knock out some long rides. Or not.

Next weekend I have two rides scheduled: the 50 States Ride and the Backroads Century. The 50 States Ride is a little over 60 miles entirely within the confines of Washington DC. It may be 60 something miles on the odometer but it feels much more like 100. It’s quite hilly and there are scores of stops and starts as riders wend their way through the city. The next morning I will awaken around 5 a.m. and drive to Berryville Virginia (after a short diversion into DC to pick up a passenger). There  I will ride a metric century, another 60 plus miles, over beautiful country roads. I did these rides back-to-back last year so I know what I am in for. Two-wheeled bliss.

As usual, I plan on riding all five days to work this week which should total about 150 miles before Saturday. So riding straight through next weekend would mean that I’d have way over 400 miles of cycling without a break. That’s a recipe for a really lousy experience next weekend at best and overuse injuries at worst.

Many years ago I was a distance runner. At one point I got up to 70 miles per week, even doing 84 miles in a week once.  With that much running it was inevitable that I was going to get hurt. And I did. My longest mileage for a year was 3,000 miles which comes out to fewer than 60 miles per week.  Once I realized that I was averaging 60 miles per week, it occurred to me that I should just lower my weekly mileage to 60 miles and take one day off per week. And two weeks off per year. I saw no drop off in my running performance at all.  And my legs were much happier. During this time, I also tried to find out how many days in a row I could run a minimum of five miles. I don’t recall how many days I did but it wasn’t many before my body told me to stop.

I’ve carried these running lessons over to my bike riding. If I notice that I’ve ridden ten days in a row, I take a day off, even if the weather is nice. So that’s what I did yesterday.   Even though the weather was perfect.

Today I did a 33 1/2 mile ride on flat terrain. I deliberately took it easy.  It was very tempting to go out and ride 60, 70, 80 or more miles.

That’s for next weekend.

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