I couldn’t ride 100 miles right now. I am not bike fit. I just don’t have the miles in my legs, and here at the front end of winter, an icy crust on the front yard, piles growing at the roadside, I’m not going to be getting those miles any time soon.
This is not to say I’m not fit, and that got me thinking about a second type of endurance, the same we have different types of fun.
Type one endurance is the classic, I-can-go-forever kind. Your friends have a century planned, and you can roll out the door and join them without thinking too hard about it, or someone decides to lift the pace after 50 miles, and you have the legs to go with them, or even, someone proposes a long ride the day after you’ve done a long ride, and you don’t need the day to recover. You have those legs.
I seldom have this kind of endurance. It comes and goes.
Type two endurance is what I have, which is a constant, lower-level fitness born of never really stopping. I am not often doing monster efforts, but I am always doing smaller efforts, week-after-week, all year long. I rarely take more than 2-3 days off. In fact, when I do, I tend to feel terrible mentally and physically. My body gets tired, but it also needs the work. My mind, without that steady physical effort, turns into a real shit show. My emotional state deteriorates. I am much less fun to be around.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that type one endurance is much harder work to achieve, and its highs are often matched by subsequent lows, whereas type two endurance keeps me ticking along nicely. It’s easier to maintain in the moment of the actual work, because I’m not working that hard. What makes it hard to keep hold of is the constancy of it. It requires a certain faith in the outcome to keep going. It requires a continual search for new sources of motivation.
Few things test this pursuit quite like the advent of winter.
This week’s Group Ride asks, which type of endurance are you more likely to have? How do you maintain it? Whether you’re rolling out into cold and snow and ice or retreating to the basement, it’s hard to keep pushing. How do you do it?