With my eye set on a mileage goals for 2010, there has been very little time for recreational riding. Way back in January, I told my riding buddies I was shooting for 10,000K for the year, inspired by the lead of Dallas RBA Dan Driscoll. That averages out to a 200K nearly every week of the year. With several volunteer commitments on my calendar, I had to make every ride "count" -- it had to carry RUSA credit so it could be added to the yearly total. That meant I gave up the fast Saturday rides with the Gyros, a local riding club. It also meant lots less riding just for the sake of riding. There were very few 50-mile pick-up rides on Sundays. Instead, I'd hunt down Deaner and do one of his 100K permanents.
I wound up averaging about 1100K a month, hitting the 10,000K mark in early October. I really enjoyed all the rides, all the camaraderie, all the adventures. Physically, all that riding wasn't that tough. Grinding out the miles -- hey, that's what we randonneurs do. As the season wore on, I found I really liked all that time on the bike. Ten, 11, 12 hours....it was great time to be out there in the sun, or the rain, or the wind and fog. I stopped worrying about finish times and just enjoyed the day. It's probably a good thing that I put time goals aside. All that distance riding with no speed work took its toll. After several long events over the summer, including a 1000K in California, my endurance was fantastic, but my speed? Not so much. Thankfully, with the longer events behind me, my form is returning.
So, this has been a great year of riding, one of my best seasons ever. The distance goal gave my randonneuring a new focus and took me to new places, literally and metaphorically. Will I repeat it in 2011? Doubtful. The focus next year will be PBP. I'll continue the R-12 events, get a series early in the year, work in more speed work, swim more regularly, drop 10 pounds. The plan is to train more, ride less.
What prompted all this reflection was a post-Thanksgiving ride on Raleigh's extensive greenway system. I rolled out on one of my fixed gears and enjoyed a slow cruise through the spectacular fall trees. The city has signed many of the trails since my last ride.....
A light rain was falling, the perfect conditions to capture a swamp crossing near Raleigh Boulevard.
A perfect day, under grey wet skies, to ride a bike for no reason at all.