I haven’t written about cycling in quite a long time, and that’s partly because there’s not much going on, but even more so because I’ve felt so strangely about it over the last month or two. Or perhaps to be more accurate I should say I’ve felt strangely about racing. Which is, actually, the way I usually feel about it.
Anyway, I did go on a lovely ride today. Seven of us left from the bike shop this morning and headed south to the beach, and on our way back home we stopped at a cupcake shop. Stopping at the cupcake shop is so much fun that we ride there regularly and now call the ride our cupcake ride. It was a gorgeous day that was perfect for riding, sixties and sunny. The company was good, and we rode hard-but-not-too-hard, which is just the right speed. I got home with SO much more energy than I had when I left.
The racing, though. I rode in my last race on July 22nd, and it was the last in a series of races where somebody around me crashed. I’ve managed to stay upright so far this season, but it was beginning to feel like everybody around me was destined to crash. And then cycling friend Sprinter della Casa got in a pretty awful crash from which he is still recovering, and it was all just too much. I had chances to race after that last race, but I wasn’t interested anymore, and I’m still not interested.
But I also recognize that I go through a yearly cycle: I start racing in March and am into it, and I stay into it until June or so at which point I start getting burnt out. I’m really burnt out by August and am ready to quit the entire racing enterprise entirely, for good. I enjoy riding all through fall, at my own pace and in my own way, and I start telling everyone that I’m not going to race next year. And then December and January roll around and the people around me start to train for races, and I’ve forgotten a little bit how much I don’t want to race and I remember how much I like having a goal to train for, and the next thing I know, it’s March and I’m racing again.
So now I’m in September feeling burnt out, and I’m tempted to say I’m not going to race next March, but what I need to do is to acknowledge this cycle of mine, recognize the cycle might continue or it might not, realize I have no idea what I’ll do next March, and leave it at that. So that’s what I’ll do.
As for regular old riding, I may have mentioned here before that my goal for this year is to ride 5,000 miles, which would mean beating my current record of 4,300 miles set last year. I’ve now ridden 3,580 miles this year, so unless something goes wrong, I should reach my goal. I’ll need to do a little less than 400 miles a month. There was talk on the ride today of doing some longer group rides this fall, and I’m excited about that. I hardly rode at all in August and I lost some fitness, but I’m starting to get it back now, and it feels good.