It was easier than I thought and happened faster than I expected. With 42 miles under my belt by Sunday morning, I knew I’d come close to my longer-range goal of logging 50 miles in a week. But the kicker was, we were experiencing high temperatures over the weekend. Most people don’t have air conditioning here. For the very few days of really hot weather we get during the summer, it just doesn’t pay. But when we do get those days, it can get very uncomfortable. By 9:00 Sunday morning, it was already sticky and quite warm. But I was determined to get out on my bike and accumulate a few more miles. I imagined I’d get about four or five in by the time the heat got to me.
I made the decision to have this be an easy ride, avoiding as many climbs as possible, using my gears wisely (I have a tendency to muscle through some climbs instead of gearing down), and taking it slow. I rode about four hot, sweaty miles on the roads and thought about heading back. Then I just sucked it up and headed for the trails and the trees. The shade quickly reinvigorated me and I had a glorious ride through the woods. By the time I returned home, I had gone 10 miles. That put me over my goal by two miles! I felt remarkably good after the ride and even better after a cool shower. When Monday morning rolled around, it was much cooler and I got a good start to this week by riding more than 11 miles—my longest ride to date.
That ride on Sunday taught me a couple of lessons. First, gears are there to use. The more intelligently you use them, the more energy you have, and the farther you can go. Second, even under less than ideal conditions, sometimes you just need to go for it and enjoy the experience. The results can be awesome!