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What a long, strange ride it's been....(13 posts)

What a long, strange ride it's been....peloton
Aug 30, 2001 9:13 PM
Today I went for one of my most interesting rides of the season. Usually I am watching my form, cyclometer, HRM, and thinking about when to do my next interval. I basically like to think that my slow @ss is a racer in some way. Today, I did none of this and it was great. I didn't watch my distance, time, or anything. I rode hard when I wanted to, looked at the flowers, and rode for the sake of riding. What a nice change. It turned into one of my most strange rides in a long, long time.

I started off by riding some roads that I have never been on before. I got stinking lost, and didn't care. I turned left or right when I felt like it, and made an effort to take roads as randomly as possible. I rode slow on these new roads and observed the differences in life people have. It's amazing around here, you can see a quarter million dollar home less than a mile away from people who live in poverty in dilapitated trailers. Makes you think about how good you have it on your $2500 bike, wasting your free time doing something you love. Observed animals and plants too. You just don't notice that when you are 'training'. Training for what?! Today I trained for looking at trees. Some sections of road I felt like going fast too. No race or interval, just going fast for the sake of going fast. I came upon this road that was in horrible shape. The pavement was cracked like small kitchen tiles, dirt, and occasional huge potholes. I imagined myself as George Hincapie finally getting in a winning solo break at Paris-Roubaix. He'll do it one of these years. Flying over unknown roads at speed, bunny hopping unexpected potholes is such a rush. So different from riding the same old roads. I came across a pond with a trail and a sign stating how it was maintained by the local boy scout troop. I turned on to the dirt path, and I never do this on my road bike. I rode the singletrack, and ran over sections like a cyclocross on my look cleats that I just bought, and I didn't care. I came across a nice clearing in the woods and stopped and rested on my top tube, just looking at the woods. I never stop on a ride. Running through the woods, and stopping- how strange but how fun. When I was stopped I watched the birds, listened to the wind, and was glad I was there. Everyone should do this I thought. I finally got going again and finally came out on a familiar road. I really don't remember the last ten miles of the ride home. It was almost like I was just along for the ride, and I was almost shocked when I saw I was near home. It was almost like I spent the last ten miles just observing myself ride. Who is this guy? He's too big to be a roadie. Why is he climbing that hill? What a silly outfit...

I don't have many rides like this. It was a great ride. Isn't it just about having great rides? Do yourself a favor on your next ride and do something you usually would not. You may be very happy with where you end up. What a strange ride, I don't know if I could repeat it.
re: What a long, strange ride it's been....I Love Shimano
Aug 30, 2001 9:36 PM
Dude, this post is worthy of being printed in Cycle Sport or Pro Cycling..nevermind that it's not race related, but it embraces a different aspect of cycling that most fail to see.

It was a great read too!
re: What a long, strange ride it's been....badabill
Aug 30, 2001 9:54 PM
The zen of cycling. At least a couple times a month I take my cyclocross bike and just ride. Like when I was a kid . It reminds me why I love to ride.
re: What a long, strange ride it's been....Ray Sachs
Aug 31, 2001 4:46 AM
After my first few years of middle-age riding, when it became clear (even to me - I think it had been clear to everyone else right from the start) that I wasn't a racer and was in no danger of becoming one, I've approached almost all of my rides like the one you just described. I'll do a few hard club rides a year just to do it, but mosly I just ride. I don't train for ANYTHING other than the ride I'm doing (although sometimes I'm consious of riding more when I have a tour coming up - I guess you could call that training in some sense). Sometimes I ride with friends, sometimes I ride alone. I stripped the computers off of all of my bikes except one (just to be able to follow a cue sheet), put fenders and slightly cushier tires on a couple of 'em, put a leather saddle on one so I could ride comfortably in street clothes, and put less macho gearing on most of 'em.

Like you said, go easy and look at the flowers when you want to, go as hard as you can when you want to, stop and have something to eat (or even a pint of ale) when you want to, ride along and talk to someone you run into, even if they're a lot slower than you are. Try to hang with someone who's way stronger than you are for a few miles. Sit on a rock by a creek for a half hour. ENJOY the damn ride - isn't that what it's about?

The first few rides like that were pretty liberating. Now I can't remember why I rode any other way. The really odd and unanticipated thing about it is I've even gotten faster riding this way. Maybe not as fast as if I followed a rigorous, scientific training program, but faster than when I used to ride hard all the time and was a slave to the average speed function on my computer.

Riding for fun - now that's novelDog
Aug 31, 2001 5:50 AM
I almost yearn to ride purely for fun. No computer, HRM, techno-fluids, advertising - just ride and do what feels good. It's tough when you get caught up in race preparation. Really tough. I think many of us might enjoy the "sport" more that way.

Thanks Peloton NMnestorl
Aug 31, 2001 6:32 AM
so it <b>is</b> about the bikecyclopathic
Aug 31, 2001 6:58 AM
and happiness, amen
"Soul Riding"Tig
Aug 31, 2001 7:11 AM
I call it "soul riding". With a little age and maturing, I don't have to make every ride a fitness explosion anymore. To look around and soak up your surroundings while getting a nice unstructured workout brings us back to the love of it all. No ego to satisfy, no one to impress... just riding and enjoying the gift.

I learned this first from surfing. Left the contest world behind and just surfed for the pure soulful joy of it. Mountain biking is easy to enjoy like that. Riding down a tree-covered trail, leaves crunching under your tires, and the peaceful serenity of nature. Doing this on a road bike can be tough in the city and burbs, but get out in the countryside and it all just magically happens. Gotta love it!
"Soul Riding"AD14
Aug 31, 2001 6:13 PM
Most of my rides end up like this. Thanks peloton for expressing it better than I can. Getting up at 6 to meet a friend and do it again tomorrow.
Riding as recreation? Whazzup with that? ;-)Me Dot Org
Aug 31, 2001 7:38 AM
There's nothing wrong with working on your VOX, endurance, sprints, intervals, whatever...but it's not why I cycle. I love the rides you describe. Those are the rides that re-charge your mental batteries, and make you want to ride more.
Well Siddhartha...Jon Billheimer
Aug 31, 2001 7:54 AM
You've just achieved velo-enlightenment. Seriously, your account should be recorded in a 2nd edition of The
Quotable Cyclist. You just gave us all a little renewal!
re: What a long, strange ride it's been....DINOSAUR
Aug 31, 2001 8:02 AM
"I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived"

I started to ride just for fun when I came back after my crash. I discovered what I enjoyed most about cycling and ran with it. The woods has many mysteries and hidden treasures, all you have to do is slow down and look for it, they are the master, I am their student. I learned to listen.
re: What a long, strange ride it's been....Skip
Aug 31, 2001 12:54 PM
It feels so good to experience that childhood feeling of elation when first experiencing something new - new max speed with the feel and sound of the wind, a smell or sight that brings back fond memories, etc. It's great to take the time to relive what it is that we enjoy the most, and what got us into riding in the first place. To often we get caught up in the pursuit, and fail to, or deny ourselves the fun and pleasure along the way. Nice to take the road less traveled - at least sometimes. Thanks.