Big Rides in the Summertime
Summer is the season of abundance. At least, according to an informational kiosk on Skyline Drive I happened to stop at while on a ride. That’s true for the critters that live up there, as well as us riders.
I’ve realized this more and more lately.
This past winter, I rode very little. Between the weather seemingly more wet and chilly when compared to other years, and a lack of motivation, goals, and other distractions, it didn’t bother me much.
It turned out to be helpful. Being a person with a finite amount of mental energy to deal with cold weather especially, it was nice to start riding more again in late April/early May; There was finally enough time to use the good weather and daylight to my advantage.
This summer has been about being able to refocus and perhaps attain goals that I just haven’t had the energy to carry through in the past. Big rides have been an important part of this. Exploring new pavement, dirt road, or trail keeps things fresh. For me, this means a lot of 100+ mile rides around the valley to places I very rarely reach on a normal ride. Revisiting some good old huge rides often feels pretty fresh too, as I haven’t done some of these in 3 years or so.
All of this is good, but motivation is important for me too. Strava is helpful for me in this regard, as I often plan a ride around a great climb that I want to better myself on, or take a KOM. I have been decreasing the amount of time I spend traveling to races and increasing quality training load without driving 8 hours in a weekend, racing for two, then coming back tired on Monday. Instead, I've been riding for 10 hours between Saturday and Sunday and staying focused on diet and recovery. This has proven effective, at least in a big climb and all-day-strong kind of ride.
Shooting for a zippy Shenandoah Mountain 100 will keep me honest going through the summer and into Fall racing, as well as the great rides like the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo and the SVBC Century. I may even make it to the Mountain Mama century August 6th in Highland County, where I love to ride!
Summer is the season of riding abundance, so whether it be a big or small ride, get out and enjoy it!
Right now, I'm out in California for some vacation time as well as checking out the 2017 Specialized Dealer event. I've done a few big rides so far on some awesome roads! Check out this sweet ride Northwest of Santa Rosa!