Three months ago I ditched the spreadsheet I used to document my bicycle lifestyle, opting instead for a non-quantitative approach. There’s more to life than counting up the miles, I told myself. I want to explore it.
Over the last three months, I have documented many rides with journal entries and taken photos along the way. Other rides live in my memory and still others are at least temporarily forgotten.
This last week I started longing for that spreadsheet again.
Felkerino and I went for a ride on Saturday and my legs felt totally dead. Small rises took more effort than they should have, required more recovery than normal. Are you there, legs?
Dead legs?! That wasn’t supposed to happen. I planned to return from our riding in Colorado with the indefatigable strength of a giant. Ready for anything. Rawr!
With the exception of my daily commutes and the occasional run, I had taken most of the last two weeks off the bike and easy on my legs. Clarification: When I say “off,” I mean no century or thereabouts rides and no runs longer than four miles for the last two weeks. And still I was feeling exhausted.
Instead of pushing through the longer ride we planned, we divided our ride in half, opting for 87 miles rather than the 160 or so we set out to do. In cases like this, I think it’s best to listen to the body.
Felkerino and I will ride the Appalachian Adventure 1000K checkout ride for our club, the D.C. Randonneurs, at the end of this month. I’m excited about taking on this challenge, and want to make sure I’m ready.
Just as amping up the miles is important, so is rest and recovery after our two-week, just under 1,000-mile tour. I want to make sure I can take full advantage of the mountains and miles in our legs. Riding our brains out after a certain point can become counter-productive.
As someone (Jeff N.) wrote after my original post about ditching the spreadsheet, a mileage log can help validate whether you’ve done the homework you need for your ride.
A mileage log can reassure. That is why I actually think it would be helpful to me right now. Instead I find myself looking back at individual posts. I wonder if I’ve done enough riding overall, but the way my riding is laid out now (i.e., through stories on this blog) I don’t see my training/riding in the aggregate.
What I’ve always disliked about a training log is that it sometimes compels me to chase miles just for the sake of raising my miles. BUT what I’ve liked about maintaining a training log is that it gives me a visual of my training over weeks and months, and helps me understand why I might be having energy dips.
I was thinking today that the story I tell myself is that I am not an athlete. I’m a person out exploring the world by bicycle. That is true. However, I also do a fair amount long-distance riding and running. That doesn’t make me an athlete, but it does mean I have bicycling and fitness goals that a training log can help to inform.
I’m not going to fret too much about recreating my miles or writing all my miles down from today forward. Spilled milk and all that. I have to accept the riding I’ve done and go with that into this 1000K checkout ride. I’m confident what we’ve done is enough, provided we complete one more big training ride (stay tuned!). I’ll get back to the mileage log at some point, most likely in 2015.
And you? What are your thoughts on the whole mileage log thing?