25 Miles at 22 MPH

Last Thursday I took it “easy” on my 25-mile ride, while keeping my cadence in the 85-90 rpm range.  My legs were tired and just not in the mood to push in a harder gear.  I decided to make my short rides harder, and my long rides easier.  I am currently only riding twice a week so I can focus on my running and swimming.  This past Tuesday, my 30-minute ride was more strenuous than normal (one might even consider it leg torture).  As I stated in this post, I upped my sprints this week to 1 minute, 15 seconds in a harder gear at 100+ rpm, to really get the legs pumping.

Yesterday I planned another easy 25-mile bike ride.  I saddled up and began to pedal.  My legs were resisting for the first ten miles or so.  I just knew it was going to be a seemingly endless ride if my legs were unwilling.  I managed the ride in segments and told myself that if I can just get past the first 5 miles, I’d feel better.  Five miles came and went, and my legs were still hurting, not wanting to push.  I decided if my legs refused to cooperate after 30 minutes, I would switch to an easier gear for the remainder of the ride.

At some point it became mind over matter.  I refused to let my tired legs win the battle.  I was going to ride better than last week.  I couldn’t give in to their objections, I had to finish the 25 miles.  I continued my intervals, pushing as hard as I could each time.  The pivotal point in my ride was during the middle of a sprint, my quads were burning and I wanted to give up, then “Hurt So Good” began blaring through my earbuds.  Now, I know this song has nothing to do with cycling and it’s definitely not a good song for cadence, but it accurately defined that moment in time and my energy skyrocketed.  I could feel the burn in my legs, and I knew that was a good thing; it means I’m pedaling faster and getting stronger.

When I started the ride, it wasn’t my intention to beat my ride time from last week.  With approximately 10 miles remaining, I realized I was making really good progress and last week’s time was toast.  I finished strong (and very tired).  My average speed was 22 mph, shaving just over 8 1/2 minutes off of my previous 25-mile ride time.  Victory!

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