I will probably fall just short of 5,000 miles for the year, quite a large total of miles on a bike by almost any measure. But for me, it’s the lowest total in nine years. In fact, the last time I did not reach at least 5600 miles was in 2002, the year before I started randonneuring.
This year, family and work issues combined to make it impossible to spend as much time on the bike as before. But comparatively speaking, I still rode a lot. The two previous years, 2009 and 2010, I had finished with about 7200 miles each, close to my all-time high. So the drop was about 30 percent.
My family and work issues look like they will continue into 2012. But I’m still exercising 5-7 hours per week, even through December. I’m lifting weights and running twice a week and spending 3-4 workouts on the bike, half indoor and half outside. I credit my exercise with making a major contribution to my physical and mental health.
Not having a major goal in 2011 no doubt took some of the edge off my fitness, as did the lower mileage total. I probably peaked in mid-August, with the PA 200k which I finished in 8:45, only 16 minutes off my best ever time even though I took about a 15-minute wrong turn up a hill. My actual wattage average for that ride was 161, which was third for any 200k I rode. I did a full brevet series for the third straight year and sixth year overall.
I’ll turn 55 next spring, old enough to qualify for the senior specials at Denny’s. With some careful riding, a little luck and good health, I hope to continue this sport that I love, but I may slow down and cut back a little. The superlong brevets, say 1000k and higher, take a big toll. I have done three of them and each one took months to get over physically. Maybe scaling back a little isn’t such a bad idea.