I like to ride bikes. The past few months have seen a change in the way I view bikes as I have begun riding more and I’ve gotten rid of my car. My goals, athletically, now overlap my practical goals of being car free. So, while training to ride a double century is an athletic goal, it also impacts how many places I can comfortably commute to on my bike.
In September I did an experiment. I had been only riding my mtn bike (a rigid single speed SE Stout 29er, ratio: 32:18). And while I had been going out for 6-8 hours at a time, it’s a different kind of riding than what I would do on my road bike. I decided to have lunch in Belfast, a coastal town about 50 miles away. So a friend and I, Ben, took a leisurely ride down to Belfast, had a long lunch and then rode back. It was pretty decent. It surprised me in fact. It was then that I realized that if I could raise my base fitness I could comfortably visit my folks (70 miles away) or any number of things. I could take an extra day and ride to Portland. My imagination just isn’t big enough yet to fully conceive of the things I can do on a bike.
To train for a double century (while also training to run 50 and also keeping up the delightful hobby of bouldering and being a grad student) means that sometimes I wake up early to get a ride in. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to sleep more but wake up earlier which means streamlining my morning procedure so I can roll out of bed and onto the bike. So I have found myself increasingly waking up on the bike. The alarm (a sunrise simulator) goes off and I wake up. I start drinking from my thermos of coffee, still warm after making it before bed. I eat a piece of pumpkin bread while getting dressed and grabbing my bag which is already packed (with alternate clothes etc). Soon I am on the bike, lights on, pedaling through the darkness. I always feel a little slow but that goes away as I find my groove and I have really started to enjoy the process of seeing the darkness fade away and day break over onto the world. As the rides get longer I will spend more of my morning sipping coffee and eating breakfast while rolling down roads and I embrace this. My rides are no less than the growth of an engine, the improvement, in situ, of my vehicle of choice. Here’s to breakfast on two wheels.