I don’t get hung up on mileage anymore. I had a watershed moment about 15 years ago, when I was struggling to maintain 14mph into a head wind. I know I was going 14mph, because I was staring at the small digital display clipped to my stem, and I became angry that I was riding the computer rather than the bike, and I pulled it off its mount and stuck it in my pocket and I have not ridden with a visible computer since.
I do occasionally wonder how far I’ve gone on a given ride, and I’m sure some of my regular riding companions have grown tired of me asking what we’ve done. For a short time, I ran Strava, so I didn’t have to ask, but I got bored with that pretty quickly and returned to blissful ignorance.
But you know, mileage can equal goals, and goals can be motivating, so if you’re obsessed with numbers, I get it. If that’s what gets you on the bike, that’s what you use. I have not yet reached the point of diminishing returns for riding my bike. More is pretty much always better.
My friend Padraig is on the verge of 8,000 miles for the year, which given his life situation is a whole lot of distance. My friend Bryan, who commutes year round in Southern Maine, also puts up a pretty good number. In a small way, I envy them their milestones, but not enough to ruin my rides with data collection. This is what works for me.
So as the year winds down, all I can do is some basic estimation. With organized and disorganized weekend jaunts and commutes all stuck together, I’m going to guess I did somewhere between 2500 and 3000 miles. I could ride more. I could make fewer excuses.
This week’s Group Ride wonders what you did. How many miles or kilometers did you put up? Did you measure them exactly, or did you take a more offhand approach? Will you do more or less next year? Why?
Yeah. New Year’s resolutions. It seems so obvious. What else would we ask about? Let’s try to make it interesting though. What we want to hear this week is both what your personal cycling resolutions are (mileage for the year, climbing better, completing a double century), but also what one resolution you would make for the UCI to make pro racing better.
So let’s have it. Give us your goals, and set one for the sport. Try to be practical. Or don’t. It’s dreaming time.
2010 stretches our before us, a blank canvas. Let’s paint it.
Image: John Pierce, Photosport International.