About going faster/longer

Before I started this blog, I wrote an essay titled “On Not Riding 100 Miles“. It was my defense for not striving to complete the coveted century ride. I realized that it is OKAY to not want to do a century. And it was therapeutic for me to write that.

And then I realized that the day I rode 85 miles, 85 miles was just about all I could’ve possibly ridden. At the end there was no way I could’ve entertained riding just 15 more miles;  I’m quite sure I glared at my spouse when he suggested I could do it. I had to admit that my choice to not ride 100 miles was influenced by the *fact* that the century was just a little beyond my physical abilities that day.

Fast forward to this year, and my issues with trying to ride with a group who, simply put, goes faster than I can. Those folks make me really angry! How dare they leave me behind!  I don’t *want* to go faster, faster, faster all the time. I like to observe the scenery, and carry on conversations, and just enjoy life by bike.

But the day I got dropped from a ride because I was too slow, I had to admit that, hey, I simply cannot ride as fast as those folks. Grant Petersen & others claim that for every 12 lbs of weight you lose, you can ride 1 mph faster. And guess what, I carry a few multiples of 12 pounds of extra weight. It is hard for me to admit that I could probably ride much faster if I lost some weight. Losing weight is hard! I can do it, and I have done it, but it takes a very concentrated effort and amount of mental energy that can wear me out when I’m also trying to do so many other things like train for RAGBRAI, improve my 5K time, work full time, cook dinner, feed my cats, water the garden, etc., etc.

So I just work on getting stronger as a Rubenesque cyclist, with or without weight loss.

But I have a feeling that even if I lost a bunch of weight and could go faster, I still might not enjoy riding with folks who are more intent on performance than enjoyment.


5 thoughts on “About going faster/longer

  1. G.E.

    “But I have a feeling that even if I lost a bunch of weight and could go faster, I still might not enjoy riding with folks who are more intent on performance than enjoyment.”

    I think this statement is the heart of matters for me. I have said it before, and I’m sure will continue to do so… I want to enjoy riding. Once it becomes a race or something that I feel I have to compete in doing, I no longer want to play. It’s not fun getting left behind (especially because there isn’t anyone to talk to), and I also don’t enjoy the feeling of being last (bad childhood memories, I suppose), so either way, it doesn’t spur anything good for me to be left behind. Last year, I decided that I wasn’t doing group rides anymore for this very reason. I broke my rule this year, and was sorry that I did so, but it reminded me that I do like to ride, but not when it means that I end up feeling bad about myself or my ability, etc. I have improved for ME – and honestly, that’s all that matters. Who cares if it’s 2, 5, 10+ mph slower than the group? I miss the social aspect of having a group around, but when I really thought about it, I wasn’t getting to chat anyway, so I might as well go alone and chat to myself. People stare, but at least I keep myself amused. :O)

  2. Iris Murasaki Post author

    Hear, hear! I agree, I don’t want to lose weight just to go faster. And I mentioned before being the youngest kid & feeling like I had to “keep up.” As an adult I have reclaimed my right to go at my own speed.

    But sometimes cycling is hard for me, especially when I ride up a hill. And I think it would be nice to make that easier somehow…..How? ;^D

    Thing is, I do really ENJOY riding with other people! But those people have to want to ride with me, as well, and that means going on a slow enjoyment ride. So, I am starting to cultivate my own group instead of fitting into another group that’s inappropriate for me.

    Now, I miss talking to some of the faster folks, but we’ll just have to get caught up through other means.

    1. G.E.

      I think starting your own group is a wonderful idea. We had a group like that last year that went on Friday afternoon/early evening rides that were probably about 12 mph. It was great… faster than cruiser rides, but I didn’t feel as though I was killing myself to keep up. Somehow it’s dissolved this year… and it’s a bit sad. I know there are other groups, but I’d have to drive to ride with them and I really don’t want to do that. I’m sure at some point I’ll find a group again, but for now I’m trying to just go at it alone. I definitely enjoy riding with others too… it just stinks when it’s hard to find those at the same level/pace. I have heard runners locally talking about similar issues. They’re looking for someone to run with, but the others are either faster or slower. I suppose we all have to find our way through the forest – it’s just more fun with someone to do it with. :O)

      1. Iris Murasaki Post author

        Also reminds me of a professional quandary I’m in: a couple years ago I switched sub-specialty within my profession, & now I am struggling to find a professional association that il click with as well as the one for my previous specialty. I’m off to yet another conference to check out another group…

        That said, I led another club ride this morning, and THREE people besides my spouse showed up! And I thought nobody’s want to go on my rides!

  3. Cecily

    I’m nowhere near as fit as you or G.E. but I’m at a point now that I’m even backing out of slow social rides with friends because I can’t keep up.

    Granted, weight is but one of the issues I’m dealing with at the moment (hello, rheumatoid arthritis), but when the people I most want to ride with are quite literally a third my size and super fit, the things that seem so effortless to them are extremely taxing to me. While they’re patient and very good friends, I still feel extremely self conscious about riding, and now find reasons to back out whenever I can.

    I don’t want to hate riding. I hate dieting, because even though I was very successful at losing a lot of weight, I wasn’t successful at keeping it off. Is there a happy medium somewhere?


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