Getting back to long distance cycling

Reflection

Dixie HWY at old Georgia Power Plant
Dixie HWY at old Georgia Power Plant

On my past two group rides with old and new friends, I have been asked questions about how many centuries (100 miles) rides I have done. I have also been in discussions about how I navigate on long rides by myself and if I ever get lost. These questions got me to thinking about my past rides so I decided to dig into my Garmin stats and review them. Below are some of my personal best cycling data. I like to keep track of my rides to encourage me to be my best.

Distances 120+ miles

204 miles 04/15/2015
145 miles 03/14/2014
145 miles 02/21/2015
131 miles 04/16/2013
131 miles 05/23/2015
128 miles 04/16/2016
121 miles 01/20/2013

Distance 100+ miles and Elevation 4k+ feet

4,990 elevation 10/12/2013
4,850 elevation 04/16/2013
4,787 elevation 04/30/2016
4,288 elevation 04/14/2013
4,239 elevation 11/09/2013
4,022 elevation 05/09/2015

Current Condition

The last 100-mile ride that I have done was the BRAG Bike Fest in 2015. Shortly after that event, I broke my hip on my mountain bike and it has taken me longer than expected to get back into the cycling condition to ride long distances. I could produce a long list of excuses as to why it took so long, but I always say it is my motivation that allows me to accomplish my goals. In 2019, I have the motivation to do long distance cycling.

Last weekend I rode 77 miles in the Tour de Forts and I had a blast. I was not tired and could have ridden another 25 miles, but my goal was met and I was happy. Yesterday on a Saturday morning ride that usually is about 25 miles, I decided to ride a longer route halfway into the ride. The route to Newton was a route that I use to do when I was bike commuting to the ASU East campus from my home. I had not been on the route in a long time. This ride is my longest self supported ride this year. I was riding with my friends Hilton and Alan and we had a great ride out in the Georgia countryside.

Because I have previous experience in riding long distances by myself it is easier for me to get back into shape to do it again. Recently I have been in several discussions on physical conditioning and muscle memory. I sometimes forget or do not consider the fact that I have been riding a bike on and off since I was about seven years old. I really love being on a bike and I do not dread the experience. No matter what the condition I am in or what the weather is like, if I am on a bike I am happy.

One of the key things that I use to measure my endurance when I ride is how long I am on the bike. Sure my speed is always a fact for me, but during this part of my conditioning I am focusing on how long can I be on my bike and be comfortable making the wheels go round and round. Once I get comfortable being on the bike for 5 to 10 hours, then I can start focusing on getting faster. To be clear, I am not focusing on getting faster than anyone. I am focusing on getting faster so that I can ride further in less time.

One of the key motivations for me to ride self-supported long distances is that I can meet my wife at hotels. Riding in a loop is fun for training rides, but I get bored easily so when I get a chance to ride to Tallahassee I get inspired because I know that when I get there, I do not have to ride back and I can hang out with my wife at a movie or get a nice dinner.

Lonnie Wormley

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