I am starting the new year of recreational cycling by trying something old with a new spin. One of the things that I liked to do in the past was to write about my cycling adventures. My real reason for doing this activity was that it provided a digital paper trail for my adventures that I could read later and inspire me when I was not feeling my best. Over the past few years, 2017-2019, I have struggled to get back into the groove of riding my bike. I can point to several external excuses for not being in the best mood for cycling, but most of the blame is with me. The long-lasting benefit of cycling for me is cycle therapy. In the past, I have cycled like a mad man when my life was really tough at work. The past couple of years of work-life was a little tough, but I struggled through it without riding my bike as much.
Well starting on 2/1/2020, I will not have an 8-5 job to keep me from cycling whenever I want. My goal for my recreational cycling adventures is to be prepared to ride the Paris Brest Paris in 2023. This year I will continue to ride and document my adventures on this blog. I have decided to do a different format in that instead of writing a blog about a single ride, I will do a weekly blog about the rides completed during the week. As usual, I write for my own amusement and I reference my writings when I am not feeling so well and I get inspired by what I have accomplished in the past, and I get inspired all over again.
One of the most important aspects of my training has always been the amount of time in the saddle that takes priority to speed. My main goal is to build up my endurance and to strengthen my body to ride long distances. Tight now I am not bothered by the fact that my average times are not what they were back in 2015. I am also not too concerned by the fact that I cannot ride 100+ miles without any real worries right now. For the moment I am riding to have fun and I know that I will get stronger by putting more time in the saddle.
I believe in making goals that are realistic. My goals can be accomplished when I have a plan to get to the goal. In 2015 I set a goal to ride 10,000 miles and I did it. My plan in 2015 was to ride 850 miles a month or 215 miles a week. I measured myself and it was tough, but I was bike commuting every day to work so I was dedicating time to get in my miles.
For 2020, I am going to do the same game plan. I have set a goal to ride 5,000 miles in 2020. I set my goal in the Garmin app and each week will I set a goal of riding at least 105 miles a week. I need to ride at least 420 miles a month to stay on track to reach my goal of 5,000 miles for the year. Right now on 1/13/2020, I have 208 miles for the year. I am looking for more fun on my bike in 2020.
Recreational Cycling Mud Creek – 8 Mile Road Loop 1/14/2020
One of the surprises on this ride was that I got a 10-minute rain shower that did not show up on the Weather Channel App on my phone before I left the house. In true form, I loved the rain as it reminded me of the maydays when I would bike commute in any weather. Fortunately, I have my mini Da-Brim on my helmet and the rain did not bother my vision very much.
I started my year cycling one of my favorite routes that are also close to my home, Gillionville, Mud Creek and 8 Mile Road. I like to ride this route counter-clockwise or clockwise as it has some gentle hills in both directions.
Newton, GA Recreational Cycling Adventure 1/15/2020
I like riding my bike from my home to the small town of Newton, GA because it is a 23-mile one-way ride on rural roads with low traffic. I like this route because it has few distractions like intersections to break up the cadence. The scenery is typical SW Georgia with a mixture of forest plantations and commercial row crop fields. The pavement is not too bumpy and it is a good ride to meditate on just keeping the pedals going round and round.
On this ride, I was testing my GoPro 4 Black video camera. I have not used this camera since 2017, so this was a chance to see if I remembered how to use it.
On my way back to Albany, GA I decided to stop and take a picture of this grain or seed silo. When I was bike commuting on this route the large oak tree right next to this silo is where I would take off my jacket in the winter months because I would be getting too warm. This point is about 15 or 16 miles from my home.
Recreational Cycling the Leary Loop 1/16/2020
The loop to the town of Leary is a nice ride that is fun to do and keeps me close to my house. aside from some occasional traffic on Gillonville road, GA 234, it is a nice ride up to the Dougherty, Calhoun County line. The county’s border is defined by the Chickasawhatchee River. Today was the first time that I had a chance to ride across the new bridge on my bike. I rode across the old bridge a bunch of times since moving to Albany, GA in 2010.
Seeing the old bridge get torn apart is like losing an old friend. Sure riding across this bridge at 4 AM in the morning or late in the evening was an adventure in avoiding the steep plates or semi-trucks because it had no shoulders will not be missed. It was amazing to see this crew pull out the huge steel girders out of the river bed. Georgia Department Of Transportation does a great job of recycling all building materials from a bridge demolition.
Wildlife Management Area
After taking a short break in Leary, I headed out back to Albany on a road whose surface use to be the worst in my area. Now the road from Leary to the Dougherty County line has a new surface of blacktop and it is a joy to ride. The scenery along GA 62 before you get to Mud Creek has always been fascinating to me. I love to experience the swampy sections of the area. One thing that I noticed is that there were a lot of very large oak trees blown over by Hurricane Michael two years ago, but the many cypress trees held firm because of their ability to have a root system that is adapted to being in constant water.
Recreational Cycling Slow Roll to Downtown Albany 1/17/2020
Today I decided to take an easy 20-mile ride to downtown Albany and back. I took one of the routes that I use to bike commute on when I worked on the east campus of Albany State University. I like to take winding neighborhood rides through residential and industrial parts of Albany. It gives me a great opportunity to observe city life and enjoy carefree cycling on my bike.
Recreational Cycling Slow Roll to Downtown Albany 1/18/2020
I decided to take another 20-mile ride looping through downtown Albany today. I am amazed at how many of the streets have been re-paved with nice smooth asphalt in recent years. when I first started bike commuting to the Albany State University west campus Stuart Avenue was full of large pine roots and busted curbs that made riding a bike completely out of traffic lanes impossible. Today riding on Stuart Avenue was a breeze.
This ride concludes my week of cycling. In order to make my mileage goal for January 2020, I will need to ride 234 miles. So my plan is to ride at least an average of 18 miles a day until the end of the month. This is how I play the game that I love.