Swim: 0 m/70,500 m
Bike: 38.9/457.6 miles
Run: 5.5/117.6 miles
Whew – I made it! A month after signing up for the challenge, I’ve ridden my bike every day in the month of April. From a handful of 1-mile “getting-it-in” days to a 30-mile ride to cap off the month, I’ve done something every day.
It’s been a ton of fun, even though my legs grew increasingly tired as the month wore on. Getting through today’s 30-miler (my longest ride ever) after 90 minutes of a hard bike/run brick the day before was a challenge, but I managed to get it done at a 17.9 mph pace. I feel like I learned a lot about biking this month, and grew so much more comfortable on my own ride (which really needs a name, by the way). But, honestly, I’m ready to take a few days off from riding so I can recover and, hopefully, come back even stronger.
Here’s a look at my #30daysofbiking experience:
The goal: I started the month with a goal to reach 100 miles, and when it quickly became apparent that I would easily meet that mark, I upped it to 200 and then 300 miles. The month ended with 303.5 miles, more than a hundred of which were ridden in the last 8 days of the month. For comparison, my biggest monthly total before April had been 71 miles in March, and the total for the first three months of the year was 154.1 miles.
Fitness: I wanted this goal to be about more than just riding every day – I wanted to use the opportunity to become a better cyclist and to grow more comfortable and familiar with my bike. As the month progressed I spent more and more time in aero position, and I was able to ride most of today’s 30-miler in that stance. I learned more about shifting and pedaling strategies. And I think I got stronger. I accomplished my fastest rides ever – two long rides over 19 mph – but still didn’t reach that magical threshold of 20 mph for an entire ride. I rode much faster than 20 for long segments of individual rides, but never covered the entire distance at that pace. Maybe next month…
Aero: I also grew more confident in the aero position. At the beginning of the month I would wimp out and quickly grab the flats as I began to descend the largest hill in my neighborhood, but later in the challenge I was swooping down that same hill in aero. It can be a little disconcerting if you think about the fact that you can’t really steer or touch the brakes when you’re in aero – you’re pretty much at the mercy of the universe (car pulling out? wind gust blows you into traffic? Uh oh.) – so I find it best not to think about it. I reached a high speed of 30 mph in that position on today’s last ride of the month.
New routes: Another byproduct of riding every day is the discovery of new routes. I used to just ride a lot in my neighborhood, but through sheer boredom I sought out new places to ride that aren’t that far from home (and some that are). These more-open roads are where I put in my longer and faster rides of the month. And it was great to get away from the relentless hills around my house and onto some flatter courses.
What’s next? That’s a good question. The streak is ending, but there’s lots of training left in the year. I need to find new ways to make it fun and interesting. Having to ride every day helped to dictate my workouts for the month, and now it’s time to reset my focus.