Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cycling once in a while

I went cycling this evening. It wasn't a hard ride at all. There is a loop around a golf course that I do occassionally and I do it twice for a total of 4.75 miles or so. I do the two circuits in a very consistent 19.5 minutes. Tonight was no different except perhaps I found it a little more easy than usual. My heart rate did not exceed 165 bpm, I avoided using any bicycle gear below 14 (I have  a 21-speed hybrid bike), and at the end of the two circuits I thought about doing a third. And I should have.

But somehow I've lost my love for cycling...again. As a high schooler and college student I never missed a chance to go riding on neighborhood roads or nearby trails. Then in graduate school I didn't dislike cycling but I just found other things to do. Then during my first job I started it up again, often riding into work (5 miles each way). But now I'm at my second job in a different location where there are lots of hills, and I just hate the hills.

Until this moment I thought I hated hills (at least going up them) because of the leg work involved. But this evening's ride featured hills that used to be a significant challenge to my leg muscles and lungs, but now those same hills are simply inconvenient moments of exertion. Even though it is easier to ride up the hills, I still don't like the experience much. Thus, I now believe that the fun part about cycling is the speed. I like feeling the wind in my face and the wizzing of rotating tires. Going down the hills I reach a speed of more than 30 mph. But going up the hills I slow down to below 10 mph and that's just no fun. This realization that I love speed does not fix my problem, but now I understand myself better. I guess that's what a blog is for...

I have agreed to go on a 50-mile cycling trip in two weeks from now. That is in fact what prompted me to hop on the bike for 20 minutes tonight. I'll need to train a bit longer to prepare myself for the 50 miles, but I'm in good enough shape that this 50-mile distance does not scare me. I'll be with three other friends, and the trail we'll use is an old railroad bed, so it's relatively flat.

Looking at my workout records, I am surprised to see how infrequently I've gone cycling this year compared to last year. In 2010 (so far) I have gone cycling 5 times and used my indoor exercise bike 4 times. By this time last year, in 2009, I had done the same activitites 11 and 19 times, respectively. Of course, it was almost exactly one year ago that I started swimming several days per week, so my swimming workouts have replaced the cycling to a large degree. That's fine. Right now, I like swimming a lot. Maybe I'll go back to liking cycling at a later date. Who knows? I'm in great shape, so I should just do what I find the most long as it still feels a bit like work.

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