This past weekend, I had an opportunity to really push myself on a 30-mile gravel ride that I ultimately opted out of. I rode a 20-mile gravel ride with friends previously, and that was pushing past my comfort zone (I’ll more about that on my podcast). 30 miles while probably doable, was more than I wanted to push right now.
I started thinking about the WHY of my cycling. I started 2 years ago for health reasons. My mom had passed away, I had turned 50, I didn’t want to turn into a “little old lady, piddling around the house”. That may still be my motivation for getting out the door, or starting a Zwift session but what do I get out of spinning it out?
Quiet time to myself, knowing that I can travel 30 miles easily under my own power. If it comes to where I don’t have a car, or can’t afford gasoline, I have reliable transportation. Noticing trees, butterflies, flowers, a slower way to travel, on paths that a car isn’t allowed.
Do I want to race? No. Do I want to ride gravel all the time, or roads all the time? No. I enjoy being able to ride in various areas. I’m not strictly a roadie or a graveler. I have zero interest in mountain bikes, bunny hops, or flipping over my handlebars after hitting a root.
I want to ride for fun, to see what my body can accomplish. Sometimes I want to ride alone, sometimes with my cycling friends. I don’t really know about riding events. I did two this past year. One I didn’t know anyone, and it was enjoyable. The 2nd was a larger event, but my cycling group was riding, so we ended up mostly together so it didn’t feel like a large event once we started rolling. I enjoy having a supported ride with traffic being stopped for us. I don’t want to ride with a large group I don’t know. Everyone I’ve met has been welcoming though, but I have my core group that I know will support and encourage me
I’ve accomplished a lot in the last 8 months in terms of my cycling goals. I went from a normal ride being 8-9 miles to it being 18-20 miles. I’ve become consistent, riding in groups when the weather permits, getting out on my own or with a friend on the weekend, or on my trainer now that the time has changed and it’s dark when I get home. I have 2 bikes (Frida, the road bike and Kismet, the gravel bike) and although I know the N+1 rule, there’s not a ‘next bike’ in mind. I’ve gone from flat pedals to clipless on my road bike. Although I don’t always embrace the term, I finally feel like a cyclist.
Looking towards 2022, I would like to learn basic maintenance & repair for my bikes. Maybe my next bike will be an upcycled scrapper I put together myself, just to learn to build one. I’ve done a few 30-mile rides so my next goal will be 50 miles (road miles – my gravel goal will be becoming comfortable with 20 miles and hills).
Mostly, I just want to keep riding.