As regular readers will be (painfully) aware, back at Christmas time I set myself the target of cycling 1000 miles in 2016. It seemed a rather ambitious target to me then, although quite a few people reassured me it was very achievable. It turns out they were right: as of today I’ve got less than 80 miles to go. Basically, I’m going to smash it by some distance, and the rate I’m going lately I’ll have it done with five whole months to spare.
I’m quite impressed really. I don’t think I was wrong to be a little uncertain about it, as I hadn’t been riding an awful long time when I set that goal, and a five mile ride still seemed rather a long distance for me. Today it’s just a gentle trip to the shops.
Today for example, I rode over to the Costa on the Lichfield Road shopping centre to meet my fiancée, and afterwards decided, just because I can, to come home via Radford Bank. It’s quite a long steep hill, and things weren’t helped by my rear wheel having moved, the tyre rubbing against the frame for at least some of the way before I realised, but I did it anyway. That was 4.75 miles. Then later I realised I needed to get some cigarettes, (or rather I thought “I forgot to get cigarettes, great! That gives me an excuse to ride my bike!) but rather than simply ride to Asda and straight back I popped into town to ride through the park, looking for the baby swans that are now getting surprisingly large. That was another 3.8 miles. Simple. 8 miles in an evening, after a strenuous day at work in a ridiculously hot factory.
That uphill ride alone would have absolutely killed me in January. Back then I was just trying to keep up by doing a simple, relatively flat 3 mile loop every day. Now I can quite confidently set out on a 20 mile round trip knowing afterwards I’ll be just fine. It’s amazing to see how much progress I’ve made in fitness terms, and it’s pretty cool to have a spreadsheet that presents it in black and white. Yep, I’m pretty proud of myself right now.
Now I know, the serious cyclists reading this are thinking “pfft, 20 miles? I do that before breakfast” and of course that’s true. But I had to start somewhere, and in cardiovascular terms I started in a pretty unfit place. Also, I’ve done 90% of those miles on a very heavy bike, which in a way has helped: every slight hill gives me the same exercise a steeper hill would on a ‘better’ bike.
Since I started I’ve followed at least three blogs that have started off saying “I’m going to get fit riding my bike!” and then petered out to nothing. Well I’m still here, still riding, still getting fitter.
I want to nail these last 80 miles as soon as possible.