Wednesday, July 21, 2010

confession time

I have a confession to make. Are you ready? Okay. Deep breath. Here it comes.

I don't like training for a century bicycle ride.

Man, it feels good to type that. Now for the long winded explanation. When I first decided to do a century ride, my cycling experience was limited to Saturday rides with the Bike Shop, always between 20 and 30 miles, with an occasional 50 miler thrown in there for good measure. Last year, I rode 72 miles in the Pineywoods Purgatory, which was great, mostly because I spent zero time training for the event. I thought 100 miles would be an easy jump, a natural progression. I've been loosely following my training plan, doing a long ride almost every weekend, which will continue to get longer and longer until the Hotter'N'Hell on August 28th. But here is something I've learned, something I will share with you today:

Riding your bike for four, five, six, seven hours, every single Sunday, is starting to get boring.

I love riding my bike. I love the freedom I feel when I fly down the street on my way to work. I love exploring parts of East Texas that I would never even notice from the inside of a car. I love the way my legs look right now - toned and strong, able to cycle up 50 miles of hills without standing up on my pedals. I've come a long way with my riding, and I'm proud of the progress I've made. And then, when I think about how much farther I still have to go - well, that's where the despair sets in. That's when I begin to count up the hours I will be stuck on the back of a bike, and start thinking about all the things I could be doing instead - writing, reading, blogging, baking. I feel like I'm giving up so much of my precious time for this event, and I don't know if what I'm getting back is worth it.

I'm still planning to ride the Hotter'N'Hell, but I can't promise you that I will enjoy it. I will say that training for this event has given me a new appreciation for the time and energy that marathon training demands. When I was running 30 and 40 miles a week, I moaned and groaned about how much time training was taking up, how I was always tired and hungry. But now that I can compare marathon training to century training - well, let's just say that I'm now looking forward to marathon training because of how much less time it will take up, how nice it will be to run for *just* three hours and then be done with my workout for the day. That's definitely a plus!

In the meantime, I still have four weeks until the Hotter'N'Hell, and I have to find a way to stay motivated and keep myself on my bicycle. If you have any words of wisdom or inspiring stories that I can read and think about on those long, long bike rides, please share them in the comments! I need all the help I can get.