I started cycling again last May. Started off with the occasional ride to work (9 miles round trip) and the odd fun ride of 6-10 miles. These rides got more and more frequent until the beginning of October 2012 when I upgraded from the old hack bike to a shiny new road bike.
I looked up Strava today and my first ride to work was recorded on 23/05/12 http://app.strava.com/activities/9147357
I remember reaching work with jelly legs and was seeing spots behind my eyes. All this with an average speed on 10.1mph / top speed of 19.4mph and an elevation of 73ft – hardly pro-cycling stats 😉
I don’t go out and properly train, not to any real standard anyway, I push myself from time to time, you know the sort of thing? Perhaps I’ll keep the power down a little longer than is comfortable or on a hill I’ll hammer it for as long as I can before my lungs burst. Nothing structured and nothing that will get me a ride in a peleton. I did do a bit of turbo training in Dec / Jan as the weather here in Scotland was just shocking. I do though cycle to work just about every day. When I manage to get to bed early I often get up at 5am so I can take a longer route into work, typically 10 to 23 miles.
I have though felt some really great progress doing this. I recently completed a challenge on Strava to ride for 30 hours in 16 days. Sounds easy? It wasn’t. Trying to fit the hours was a strain but I really enjoyed it. In the last couple of days I put in some serious miles and time and had some great rides. I did feel tired at the end of it but from feeling wobbly after 4 odd miles to completing 70 odd miles on a mountain bike over some real challenging hills shows that progress.
It was todays ride into work that made me think of that http://app.strava.com/activities/70918879
This ride was done on the 29er and I managed an average speed of 16.1 mph and a top speed of 25.7mph. Yes I had a good bit of breathing going but nothing too drastic. Got to work, had a shower and started work feeling refreshed and alive. A stark contrast to that first ride into work.
Guess all I’m trying to say is enjoy it and you’ll get better, which in turn helps you enjoy it more – it’s a win win