For the first five weeks of training for my triathlon, I have ridden endlessly up and down our 2 mile road. At the beginning, the scenery was new and the first couple of rides were enjoyable. As I became accustomed to the bike, the repeated scenery and jarring potholes became mentally challenging. With my most recent ride calling for 80 minutes on the road, I needed to change the back and forth of a single stretch of road. Surprisingly, this change in my route to include new views brought back the initial joy of riding again.
I remember setting out on my first ride in decades six weeks ago. I was saddling up on a bike that I had never ridden expecting my butt to be extremely sore after the first ten minutes. I slid my feet into the cages on the pedals and began to pedal at an easy pace. After 20 minutes, I was taking in the sound of the wind, the horses I had never noticed on the neighboring property, and felt the thrill of moving my body again. I’d turn around at the end of the road and pedal back with a bit of joy in riding.
Repeat the above scenario about eight times and all of that joy gets lost in the repetition! You also begin to focus on your sore butt rather than the joy of the ride. Repeat it for 80 minutes and you might as well hang up your bags and learn to hate cycling. I had to find a new route that was close to home. I thought this was going to be difficult because the two main roads are too dangerous to ride most times of the day. The cars are not used to cyclists and get very impatient with other cars by passing often on the two lane roads.
Therefore, I mapped out a route that I hoped would offer safety and a long enough ride for my training. I thought I could use some lighter trafficked roads and some neighborhood roads to avoid the dangers. With a little ingenuity, my ride yesterday was the best I’ve had since returning to the saddle.
The most surprising part of the new route was a long stretch of road I never new existed. I turned onto it not knowing if it would be trafficked like the really congested roads I was trying to avoid. It turned out to offer the amazing views of lush farmland and only a few cars. I cannot even remember a single pothole that need to be avoided. I remember only once thinking about my tiring legs. But that quickly went away with the next site to explore around the corner. I was really enjoying riding again! Just like the first couple of times six weeks ago.
Yes, I was tired and could not avoid all the high traffic roads. I had to ride about 500 feet to cross over to another road. I now had a new perspective on the joy of riding. If you work at finding the routes, it can offer some amazing views of places you have never noticed or been. Now I know that when I feel like I am in a rut cycling, it’s time to find a new path to explore.
Week 6, Day 5 & 6 (running later today). Done.