I know I've been writing quite a bit about cycling lately. Consider it my addiction. But I promise to cut back soon, on the writing if not the cycling. I'm presently at a point where I keep hitting markers, landmarks if you will, where I exceed what I thought was possible.
... and this afternoon, my sinuses began to cry "Headcold! Headcold!"
Damn. I've fought off so many headcolds since my last that I should be thankful but all I can think of is "Not now! My last ride of the week is tomorrow! I'm missing days this week! I don't want to be sick, too!!"
I think it's just tough luck.
So, today, I thought I'd sit here with my increasingly stuffed-up head and my sneezes and my body aches and look back at how much I've accomplished since I started cycling. Once I started, I realized, I have quite a bit to be proud of.
For instance, the day I was offered my current job I took a long bike ride: 10 miles. Now, I'm up to 50. My daily ride is up to 17 1/2 miles. It used to take me three rest stops to do that. Now, I ride it straight through. Back then, I was lucky to hit 20 mph if I really pushed myself, and could only do it for a very short time. Now, I can maintain speeds of up to 18 and 19 mph for pretty good distances. My normal speed used to be 10 mph, now its about 14.
When I first started cycling, I wore what shorts and t-shirts I had. I still do, but on long rides I wear cycling shorts and t-shirt to keep my cool and, um, padded. My bike now has headlights and taillights and a cyclocomputer on which I've logged nearly 700 miles!
Most importantly, though, is the difference I feel from one year or even five years ago. I didn't cycle five years ago. I'd try to jog now and then, blow out my knee, smoke and drink. Cycling doesn't take its toll on my knee nearly so much and, better still, I don't smoke and my drinking isn't nearly at the same level. (Though sometimes I really feel like tying one on!) Body aches aren't as bad and go away much faster. Hell, I rode 50 miles on Sunday and had recovered by Sunday night!
So, here I sit, sniffling, dreaming about what the future holds. And what is that? Well, I want to do more 50 mile rides, hopefully every Sunday. I also want to start changing up my routes, which includes leaving the security of the Santa Ana River Trail for more street riding. I think I can do that if I chose my streets wisely. That'll introduce more hills and a wider range, all of which will be good for me. Beyond that, though, I would really like to get a proper road bike. As I've mentioned here before, my bike is kind of cobbled together from one given to me by a friend. A real road bike will help me improve my performance and increase my range.
Once I get over this cold...