Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Junk miles

One of my favorite cycling phrases of all time.  If I proceed from the assumptions that I'm training for a race and that the time I can spend on the bike is limited, whether by time, training tolerance, or something else, every time I ride my bike has to be a workout and every workout has to have a specific purpose.  That leads to the idea that rides that don't fit into the mold of a specific workout take time away from rides that could be specific workouts and therefore more useful in preparing for a race.

Wow, what a mouthful.  Also, I don't agree.  My experience this Fall was that if I'm racing every week, I can work out once or maybe twice a week in addition to racing.  There are four other days in a week!  My experience is that I only need to take one or sometimes two days off cycling in a week that has racing and working out.  So there are still two or three days of cycling left unaccounted-for.  These days can be recovery rides, or just whatever.  They're still miles, and they're still a higher training load than sitting on my butt, but nowhere close to what I do to myself if it's a specific workout.  I would say that that describes going riding with my friends just as well as it does a recovery ride.

Maybe my friends are just slow.  Or maybe freaking out about junk miles is a little silly.  I guess that ultimately race results are the proof.  My race results improved all last season and I achieved my goal.  Things might change as I keep going racing and work my way up the pack, but I hope that I never have to give up junk miles like rides I enjoy, rides that keep me out of cars and busses and rides that prevent me from riding bikes with friends.  I think that if I ever do "have" to do that, it would tell me that I should reexamine my motivation and what it is that I want out of cycling.  Or maybe I'll keep doing all those, keep doing training rides a few times a week, and beat a few more people every race until someone makes me upgrade and I start from the bottom again.

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