Today was stupid beautiful out, 65+ degrees. Eerie. As the sun went down, it got even warmer out!!!
I packed bars and bottles and off I went on my Ghisallo, riding towards Ringwood. It was very overcast and a little drizzly, but I was enjoying the ride, spinning at mid-90s rpms, just turning the pedals. I cut up past Shepard’s Lake, the Ringwood Manor, Margaret King. I turned left on Long Meadow and cruised down the fresh pavement. I love that road — makes me feel like I’m in Vermont.
I took 106 up into Harriman, climbed up and continued past Kanauwakee, up and up. Nice climb. By now, the sun was trying to glimmer, the pavement drying. I bombed down Gate Hill at 54 🙂 At the bottom of the descent, I decided to go straight instead of making the customary right. I had plans to meet Mike on Piermont Road at 4:30ish, so I had time to play with.
To make a long story short, I got lost, super mega humongously lost. I needed a compass! I ended up in towns I didn’t know. Eventually, without ever stopping and trying to stay on healthy fat roads, I made it to Piermont. I headed south and met Gisler on Piermont Road, and we rode for another two hours or so. I felt great.
I looked down at my computer and noticed I had 87 miles. Oops. But physically I felt good, fresh even. Like Ballerini at Roubaix, I was eating and eating and eating. Mike and I went our separate ways in Ridgewood, and I trekked home steadily, ending up with over 100 miles.
Even though I broke one of Joe Friel’s golden rules today, I had an absolute blast. It was the most fun I’d had on a bike in a long time. Rob Eckstein once told me that riding the bike is the perfect way to see the world. Walking is too slow, and when you drive everything passes much too quickly. Today I appreciated the road unfolding in front of me. I’ve never been to Harriman at this time of the year, and it’s amazing how far you can see through the woods with unleaved trees. I liked climbing 106 and looking back down, through the woods, seeing the pavement knife up and wind through the wilderness. This, more than anything, is why I ride.
In 1999, I lost my license. So I bought a road bike (of course!). At the time, I was living at school. I was a tennis pro in a tennis club 10 miles away, and I loved riding my bike to and from work four days a week. Nikes. Three Wilson Pro Staffs stuffed in my Jansport backpack. I used to hammer there, hammer home. It was such a rush…
On campus, I was a hermit, locked in my room always writing. One night in January 2001, the music in the apartment was loud, the beer pong game LOUD, and I couldn’t concentrate as I sat alone in my room at my desk.
So at midnight I put on some clothes, got on my bike, and just rode. I had been riding for over a year, just short rides. I went out and rode and rode, heading out into the night. I ended up at Cranberry Lake, aeons away from school. It was cold out but I wasn’t cold. I was shaking with energy. I turned around and rode home, the stars guiding me. I was riding in Nikes, poofy Adidas pants, and a fat North Face jacket, but I loved it. Coming home, I was bonking a bit. I hit up a 7-Eleven for a Coke Slurpee!!!
By the time I climbed up to campus, the sun was poking up through the serrated horizon. I had never felt so alive in my life. I knew right then and there that I loved riding my bike.
Which brings me to training. Periodization periodization periodization. It’s great to follow a plan. I see the benefits of it, but following that type of training to an exact T may not be the best thing for everyone. I sometimes think all these training programs are a bit of a marketing ploy. “It’s cold outside in December? Of course we’re going to go slow…” Riding a bike, after all, is fun. I just read a great quote: “We all have jobs. Work hard at cycling. But don’t make it work.”
What’s right for you, me, Mike may not necessarily be right for someone else. Everyone’s different. There is more than one way to peak success. Like I’ve said, we’re not paid professionals. We’re not going to Tuscany or Monaco or Tenerife or wherever the hell else pros go to ride 8 hours a day easy for 3 months. For them, they’ll reap the full reward of following a strict periodized plan.
Me? I’m following a plan. But today I rode and rode and rode. I loved every minute of it. Was it smart? Perhaps not. I wanted to do an endurancce ride, and I did an ENDURANCE RIDE. I broke a key training commandment. But physically, and more so mentally, I felt terrific. At the end, approaching the Route 23 intersection, I caught the light yellow. Hit the gas or hit the brakes?
I hit the gas. Big time.
Tanita: 154.8 lbs
Ride time: 6h 1m
Distance: 108 miles
Norm watts: 190
Avg Watts: 148
HR: 131 bpm
Speed: 17.6 mph.