My Cycling Challenges…………..
I have always been active (most of my life anyway) in sports whether it’s been cycling, running, playing tennis, playing golf, skiing, in-line skating or whatever is tickling my adrenaline rush. Since taking on this relatively new path of fitness and good health, setting and achieving new challenges/goals has played a very important part to me. Since I found cycling, something I can be fairly good at and be competitive without actually competing on a top level, challenging myself has kept things interesting and fun! I cycle with many that are 20 years my junior and as many they are in their 60’s and 70’s! That’s encouraging to me that I can keep up with some of the younger folks (for now) and that by staying in shape, I can continue as long as I want.
Initially when I first started cycling, my biggest challenge was just getting out every Saturday and Sunday. I would tell myself to just keep peddling, don’t stop. Each month or so, I would increase my mileage 5 to 10 miles. I started keeping a record of how long the ride took, and my average speed to track my progress. I soon build up my mileage and strength that I thought I could ride with the local Club without embarrassing myself.
When I joined our local Club, I found out what that really meant to ride with a group of people and my next challenge began. In August, my fellow Brand Ambassador, Jenna Novotny wrote a great blog about Group Training, check it out if you haven’t already. I found that I really enjoyed riding with a group of people, it inspired me. There is such a variety of ability levels within the group; I had to find the right group to get started with. The challenge became keeping up with that group and pushing myself to get better enough to catch up to and ride with the next group. During this time, I was also encouraged to take on Organized Group Rides such as the Tour of Palm Springs. The first year I did the Tour, I rode 55 miles which was a push for me at the time. Later that year and after doing several more longer 55+ mile rides I was persuaded to ride my first Century (100 miles). This was a great accomplishment for me, not to mention not an easy first time Century that included 6,800 feet of climbing. This challenge very soon grew to become a Century ride a month for one year. The year was great fun with an awesome riding partner, great friends and finished my last Tour with my first Double Century (200 miles) ride.
Now one might think, “What comes next?” Well, after a minor injury at the beginning of the following year, I got the hankering for my next challenge. The Double Century that I had done was kind-of a lead in…… My riding partner and I decided to aim for the Triple Crown (3 Double Centuries in a calendar year) and to add a “small” twist, throw in the King of the Mountain series (3, 110 mile mountain rides totaling some 32,000 feet of climbing). The year is almost over and I’m proud to say that I (we) have accomplished this great feat however it isn’t over!! It seems that there are 2 more Double Centuries in my near future to join the 1,000 mile Club! Crazy I know but I’m already being persuaded for next year’s famous/infamous Everest Challenge (a 2 day, 200 mile, almost 30,000 feet of climbing) race.
The success of my challenges has now centered on training, diet and the right electrolyte replacement drink to keep me going. Please look to my following blogs about how I prepare for these challenges.