FGR #15 Wrap

Time is to a cyclist what bricks are to a mason. It is both the forest and the trees. We slice it by the season, the day, the hour, the effort. Because the lengths of rides can vary so much, it’s not enough to acknowledge the number of days we ride in a week. Six days of one-hour rides bears little in common with five days of three-hour rides.

Time is the barometer all bodies can read. No matter what you’re counting—how long the effort, the number of days since your last ride—your body knows the truth like no yardstick can. So it should be no surprise that we can use time to couch our aspirations as well.

Because fatigue accumulates in the legs like interest on a credit card with a balance, we must plan our riding if we hope to get more than about eight or 10 hours of training per week. And that seems to be the dividing point for this week’s FGR. Most of you who responded are simply trying fit the rides in, however, whenever, wherever possible.

While it sounds like few of you are getting as many miles as you’d like, most of you seem to have made peace with the many requirements of your lives—careers, children, marriage, some priorities are just that, priorities. More than a few of you are getting the bulk of your miles either on a trainer or by commuting.

A surprising number of you are riding four to six days per week. That fact speaks to the mindset of a cyclist. Each new day is another chance to ride, seized or not.

Unfortunately, very few of you who responded are getting more than a dozen hours of training per week. I suspect there are more of you who do, but I also suspect you’re too tired to write much.

For my part, following a dismal year last year marked by a wrecked neck, the addition of a bowling ball to my midsection and a 50 percent increase to my home’s population, I’ve managed to carve out a shelf in my crowded commitments just for training. My mileage is up, the highest it’s been in some years, and I’ll be ready for each of this season’s rendezvous. It’s not always easy to keep up the effort, but my riding feeds my writing, and without it, I’m not worth much as a blogger or a freelancer.

The revelation in the comments was how little spring has influenced your riding. It’s as if the change in seasons has yet to be recorded. And for those of you who ride trainers or at the edges of the day, the warmth the spring sun brings has yet to pay you any dividends. Here’s to hoping that as summer approaches you are afforded the opportunity to ride in the heat of the day, and to spend more of your days turning pedals just for the sake of it.

Gus_C summed it up best when he said, “I do what I like, kid’s healthy, wife is pretty and bike is delish.”

Does it really get better than that?

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9 comments

  1. wvcycling

    Currently unemployed, and going to get my masters in the fall, so I’m taking some time off to just ride. Ride every day that I can; exploring roads I have not been on before, searching around like an adventurer for new trails, I’ve even increased my stable by 25% while being laid off. My website has also been getting more attention as of lately.

    This lifestyle won’t like it is much longer, but it is oh so sweet while it lasting~

    P.S. 10-14hrs/wk.

  2. Matt Walsh

    Wow, I’d say you’re doing damn well, given the family addition. My wife isn’t interested in cycling and hated when I tried racing and grew angry when I tried training for more than 10 hours a week.

    If I wanted to do that, I’d have to go old school Floyd Landis, no drinking whatsoever and train at 3am in the morning. And that’s just not something a 52 year old man does no matter how much he loves cycling.

    I envy you and the apparent understanding you get from your wife. While generally supportive of my cycling blog, anytime I try writing on the weekend (when all the races happen) I get the cold stare and the It’s-all-about-you-all-the-time attitude. Guess I’m whining tonight.

    Thanks for the usual well written story. I really the literate approach to cycling. Hell, even my wife might appreciate that.

  3. TimothyDay

    For my 10-14 hours a week of training to be possible, it has had to become not something to schedule in, but something to schedule around. Granted we have no little ones, and my wife is on her bike for 5-7 hours a week as well, but we’ve integrated the training into our routine. Family and friends respect it as a necessary evil, something that keeps us sane.

    Nice post as always, Padraig. Good luck with the bowling ball.

  4. Alex

    My wife doesn´t ride but we´ve got no kids yet and working time is very flexible, so I´ve been logging about 10 to 14 hours a week and focusing my best on making it ‘quality’ time.

    I don´t know how that goes for you guys who ride a lot, but the biggest problem I face is coming up with ways to “cover” that much bike time. If I tell people – even friends and relatives – that I´m riding consistently 14 hours a week, they instantly get jealous. I can buy a fancy sportscar, travel or visit nice places, but if I say “I ride a lot and I love it”, people have problem accepting that.

    So I usually say something like “oh I´ve been squeezing a little ride here and there, and avoiding chocolate pig-outs to keep weight down” without looking exceedingly enthusiastic or disciplined or happy. Thanks to training I´ve been doing fine at races for the last few years, so of course that doesn´t always stick. But at least keeps them wondering, puzzled.

  5. SinglespeedJarv

    Padraig, interesting you make the suggestion of spring influencing our riding, an idea, or differentiation I didn’t pick up on in the original post. Over the years I don’t think the arrival of spring has meant anything much to my riding, just that I would have new kit and sometimes a new bike. The benefits of a mild climate.

    I guess, other than where the weather has a big impact on riding, this topic is as much about balancing life as the changing seasons. For me I’ve always balanced cycling and bikes in my life – I’m guessing a lot of others have as well. But I never fought to have it all. When I rode 20hour weeks alongside a full-time job, I did it at a cost to everything else, but I did so because I could. I chose not to have responsibilities in order to train and race, but I chose to do that because I wanted experiences, I wasn’t in it for the competition as such. But everything has a credit-limit and it got to the point where the bike owed too much and payback was due. Bikes will always be there, they just vary in form and function and the stories they allow me to tell. But when I ride, I still ride as if I’ve got a full season of racing planned.

    To me spring time is Classics season, most things have to fit around them, even riding the bike.

  6. todd k

    Where I am riding in Oregon I don’t fully appreciate the seasonal change from spring to winter until after the leaves fully develop on the trees and the temperature stablizes above the 50′s during the day… I have noticed spring is in the arrival mode, though, given the appearance of the odd “really nice day” and the increasing daylight hours that allow us a bit more luxury for scheduling accomodating group rides.

    Strange, I find it easier to get more mileage and road time during the winter. I apparently have fewer family, outdoor and extracuricular activities competing for my time in winter.

  7. Steve

    Austin TX is a great place to live if you want to ride. We get sleet in the winter ( I ride in it whenever I can) and blazing heat in the summer (ride early and finish by 10). I get in about six hours of riding a week concentrated on Sat and Sun. I’m not proud of it but with two little ones that’s what’s available.

  8. randomactsofcycling

    I feel lucky. My wife loves nothing more than for me to get out of the house early so she can sleep in! I’ll often arrive home on the weekend at 10am and have to wake her up! I’m currently putting in more time on the bike than ever, 10-12 hours a week of training and about 7 hours of commuting. We’re heading into winter down here and I’ve had the heavy duty lights out in the mornings for a few weeks now. I’ll need them in the afternoon soon. I’m praying I can keep this up as I am slowly creeping up on all those guys that used to drop me at the beginning of the Summer.
    This is a good topic Padraig. It’s good to hear of the common and simple frustrations we all share!

  9. mbrtool

    Spring is starting to compete with fall as my favorite season. Living in Chicago, summer is sort of taken for granted for being nice and winter is the season to just gut it out and ride. Nine hours per week, spring, summer and fall; winter six to eight. April is the month when I feel the most improvement.

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