Friday, May 25, 2012

4,000 miles and counting

Last week I passed the 4,000 mile mark for the year, with my highest week in over 20 years of 395 miles. I've also started to incorporate more speedwork into my training, in addition to some longer rides of 130+ miles. So far, my body has been responding well to the extra stress of the higher miles and more intense training, and seems to recover well afterwards...considering my old body of 53 years!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Return trip

My first double-century - 200 miles in one day - was on  a late summer day in 1981. I was only 23 years old. In about 4 weeks, I'll be trying to do it again - only this time I will be one month shy of 54. So far this year, I've ridden three centuries and two 120-mile rides - and thankfully, still feeling quite well the following day. In fact, the day after the second 120, I rode another 60 and felt pretty strong.

But 200 miles is a different world than 100 miles. I hope I'm prepared for the return trip to that world.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Welcome to the machine

Most of us learned how to ride a bicycle when we were kids. It was our first experience of freedom, allowing us to go further than our walking legs could ever take us. We found a whole new world out there on the bicycle. It also introduced us to a magical union, that of man and machine. The bicycle remains the most efficient, most practical, and healthiest means of transportation ever invented by man.

When I began ultra-marathon cycling back in 1981, I entered into that union deeper than I ever imagined, to a level that almost makes that union of man and machine if they were one.

The heart becomes the engine. The legs become the pistons.
And the bike disappears....

Welcome, my friends. Welcome to the machine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I will boast gladly of my weakness

I grew up with asthma as a kid, which kept me from participating in most sports. Then I discovered my passion for long-distance bicycling, shortly after high school. I didn't know it at the time, but I was slowly building up strength in my lungs. I could control the amount of effort I put out, without causing an asthma attack, yet just enough to let them grow stronger and healthier.

When I gave up cycling around the year 1990, my lungs slowly grew weaker. About 7 years ago during that spring, I began having asthma attacks again, something I hadn't experienced in many years. I couldn't get a full night's sleep for over a week, until I finally surrendered and got an inhaler. I was trying not to resort to that again, but I needed to sleep so I could function.

Well, as you know, I'm back to my old tricks again - riding the miles away like I was able to 30 years ago. I still have my weakness. But in that weakness, I have found my strength. The Lord has given me a second chance, and He is the source of that strength. I will boast gladly of my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

3,000 miles under the belt

A couple weeks ago I passed the 3,000 mile-mark for this year. The monthly total for April alone was over 1,000 miles. It's been a very long time since my legs and lungs have seen this kind of mileage.