Many years ago when I raced my bike, I knew this really neat lady named Linda. She was a bit older and she was the wife of the coach of our cycling team. She rode with us on occasion, but she wasn’t very fast, so we generally left her behind. She would straggle in well after we finished our ride, but she was always smiling and happy to be on her bike.
We didn’t have team rides every day, but she was on her bike every day. She commuted many miles to and from work and on other rides almost daily. I once asked her how many miles she did each year. 10,000 miles every year.
I remember that conversation from 15 years ago and I’m still impressed. I have wanted to do 10,000 miles in a year ever since. I’ve always had an excuse not to, but this year I’m giving it a try. I actually started on October first. So far I’ve ridden about 1,700 miles. If you’re halfway decent at math you should quickly realize that I’m way behind.
In part, I want to make an excuse and blame it on the dark and rainy weather, but in reality there is much more to it.
First, I want to say that I think that even though I’m hundreds of miles behind, I think it has been a tremendous success. Every time I leave the house, I go to my bike as my default. Before I drive, I evaluate whether I can do what I need to on my bike. There have only been two times that I have driven when I should have ridden my bike. The first was a faulty weather forecast that told us to prepare for inches of snow. At the end of the day I had driven and there was barely a trace of snow and the roads were fine. The second was today and it was because I decided to take my six year old with me to run errands. Honestly, I took the kid as an excuse so I didn’t have to ride in the pouring rain. Today is the first day that I’m really ashamed of.
The real reason I think I’m behind is that I’ve realized that while I like the goal of 10,000 miles, it’s not really that important to me. This is a tough realization. I want to accomplish my goal, but yesterday I realized that I don’t like bike rides just for the sake of a bike ride. I had some free time and the weather wasn’t horrible so I should have gone for a solid 70 mile ride, but instead I struggled to go at all. When I finally got out on a ride, I realized that without a destination I really felt like I had better things to do with my time. I rode 5 miles, came home and cleaned the sheep pen, cleaned the gutters, and did other chores that needed to be done.
I don’t mind adding some extra miles to my commute. And I really enjoy going on rides with one of my older kids, but going out by myself without a destination feels like a waste of time. I’m still going to try to reach my goal, but it really has me thinking about priorities.