Monday, November 30, 2009

"There is NO Normal..."


These wise words came from Neighbor Ted, at the end of our 19 mile ride today.  You see, Ted looks like your basic Domesticated North American Next-Door Neighbor...he has a demanding job, wonderful wife,  new baby and a busy life.  He is not a longtime competitive cyclist, not a triathlete, and is not a super-ripped JCPenney underwear model with six-pack abs (okay, I'm guessing on that last one).  He is a great guy, just like many people we all know. 

And yet, when he gets a chance to ride, which is not too often, he considers 40 miles to be his minimal distance, but really feels good about getting in 60 to 70 miles...in one ride...on a bicycle.  I try to avoid driving somewhere in my truck that distance.  He just completed the 109 miler of El Tour, beating his previous year's time!  In short, he is an endurance monster on two wheels and I am envious and inspired at the same time! 

If you have been following this blog, you have read where I describe any ride above 20 miles to be a "long ride".  So, given that Neighbor Ted and I seem similar in so many other ways, I wondered how he could regularly handle rides 2-3 times as long as a challenging "long ride" for me, at a much higher speed?

So, after our ride today, I was asking him about his "normal speed" and "normal distances", just to try to understand why, after my months of frequent riding and ever-growing "long rides", I am nowhere near his mph or distance. 

His response was patient, reassuring and simple:  there is no "normal".  Among us amatuers, factors such as weight, bike, history, workout routine, nutrition and psychology are going to be so different from everyone else's, so it is foolish to try to compare or calibrate between two different cyclists' abilities.  There is no normal.

The only comparison that really matters, is to our own previous results.  This month, I have ridden 158 miles!  That is more than I rode in October, or any other month ever in my life.  So, my November mileage is above "my normal"...and I will be content with that for now.

But someday, I want to be like Neighbor Ted.

1 comment:

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Congrats on racking up those miles. Most of my exercise over the past eight months has come from the bike (stationary). It was the only thing that really felt like a true workout when I was done. I still end each session nearly drowning in a pool of my own sweat.

Keep it up, big man!