The hardest thing (other than giving birth, although this may be a tie!) was this past August when I rode a 6 day, 525 mile Cancer charity ride called PPRAC, Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer. We began in the mountains on West VA and rode our way back to Palmerton PA, six days straight. First 3 days were each almost 100 miles a day with 10k ft of climbing every day. Thought I'd die! But I didn't and the empowerment of finishing each day was amazing. I cried at the top of two summits, emotions just poured out. I was riding in memory of my mom who died from pancreatic cancer 7 yrs ago. Here is the link to the PPRAC page to read about the ride (it's every other year, so next one is 2013). www.pprac.net/
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”-Lance Armstrong
March Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (27,816) Posts: 6,720 9/19/11 11:09 P
my yardstick ride hands down was the time I casually got my stuff together and went out for a ride with no real defined goals in mind and proceeded to do 61 miles, with knobby tires no less. thank goodness that they were a little worn down or I would still be recovering from the vibration. I know better now but that let me know that I can be a distance rider if I train and prepare.
My yardstick ride was the first fast training ride that I wasn't dropped. Our standard length of training ride was 40 miles and I had done many of them but I was always "off the back." After I rode a while I still couldn't keep up with "medium" pace rides so the closest we had to a coach proclaimed that I would never be fast. As the days got shorter we no longer had time for much of a ride after work so one person had to stay behind to run things the last hour and close up. Since everyone knew that I'd never be fast and would never race I was elected to behind and close up. Every night after closing up I trained on a turbo trainer in the back room. After weeks I showed up for one of the Sunday morning rides and expected to get dropped like usual. This time I stayed on the whole ride. I figured they weren't going that hard since it was a winter ride. 3/4 the way through the ride I was spinning up the toughest hill on the ride when I noticed that there were only 2 people still with me: one of the Cat II's on the team and the other a really strong triathlete who trained with us. When we got back to the bike shop one of the racers on our women's squad told me that I had no idea how strong I was getting and that I should send off for my license so I'd be sure to have it in time for the first races of the season. The guy who said that I'd never be fast (who I just dropped) was grumbling about how I only dropped everyone on the hill because nobody was expecting the attack and that I'd never do it again. It wasn't a fluke and I made it my mission to hurt or drop my naysayer on every ride I could. Paybacks are a bitch!
Ditto to SCRUFYNERFHERDR + On2Victory: For me, it changes every year or so because the yardstick needs to be readjusted. I’m the type of person that is just never content. Once a goal is reached, another harder one needs to be added.
My first major hurdle when coming back to cycling was to complete a century (hopefully in a “respectable time”).
The following year was to complete Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I was able to complete it, but was weakened very severely since I rode with a major outbreak of shingles and the flu (my doc warned me not to go). On the bus ride back down to Marion, I went unconscious and smacked my noggin on the steel deck of the bus. From experience, I would highly recommend *not* racing w/ shingles.
Since then, I've been into the ultra distance riding. Each year I try to beat my personal 12/24 hour distances. Any race\ride at these lengths are always a challenge even when in shape since weather, temp, ride type (group vs. solo), mental state, and on bike nutrition can easily determine if it's going to be a good or bad day.
PERFECTFORTHS clued me into Randonneuring (long distance unsupported riding, often over very challenging terrain) last fall, which really has been awesome and keeps things fresh. I will expand on my Rando goals next year.
I was going to try something really extreme this fall, but the timing just didn’t work out. It’s marked on the calendar for next year.
Fitness Minutes: (27,816) Posts: 6,720 8/17/11 10:15 A
I guess I have several "yardsticks" that I use to measure by: First is a Wednesday Night Group Ride each week that I see how long can I stay with the fast group of 20-30 year olds ( I will be 50 in Oct.); Next would be the Race the Lake which is a 90 mile bike race to see if I can improve on my time(my best has been a 4hr 38 mins my first year my second year I was slower 4hrs 42 mins) Century rides only to see if I can keep up with the main core of guys from the Wed Night Rides; and last Cyclo-Cross races ..... only to see if I can ever finish a race on the same lead lap as the leaders.
I often recall a "race" I did after the fact. I'll explain.
My sister was a competitive road biker. She had won a few races and had made the provincial team. The first race I went to watch of hers was a 20k criterium in a local park, 10 laps of a 2k loop. That inspired me, and I wondered what my time would be. So the next day I did the same route. Must have looked like quite the buffoon, some kid racing around full speed through the park dodging cars, going around and around. In the end I was 10 minutes slower. I don't remember the total time, just the 10 minutes, and wondering how I'd do without the cars and the Kmart (that's right, Kmart) 10 speed. To this day, I've never been in the same race as her, but I'm always mentally racing her. I've challenged her to a triathlon next year. I figure I got the swim no problem. :)
Pounds lost: 12.0
Fitness Minutes: (97,382) Posts: 13,497 8/15/11 9:15 A
I think it would be my first "long" ride of 8.5 miles. That was when I realized it wouldn't kill me. But even more are the markers along the way. On our regular rides, I used to feel like I had made it "home" when I turned onto our street, 0.6 miles from home. Then it was when we crossed the last big road, 1.3 miles from home. Then when we went through the 4 way stop, 1.6 miles from home. Now it is when we cross the big highway, 2 miles from home. Miles aren't as important as they once were to me. I still haven't ridden a century (82 is my max) but it isn't as important to me as it seems to be to some people. I am happiest at 55-65 miles for long rides and 20-30 on our routine daily rides. Perhaps that is my "yardstick", what makes me happy.
One Day at a Time: 1) walk/ride 30 minutes 2) organize something in my home 3) fruit or veggie with each meal 4) sew 1 bobbin full 5) do a good deed
March goals: 1) give up one bag of items daily 2) eat a fresh fruit and vegetable daily 3) repair something in my home daily
Mine was my first full Century. I had started out in the early AM and it was already 85*F and was projected to climb to 100*+ before the day was out - the humidity was absolutely hideous - I think it was literally somewhere around 95%. But I'd already committed mentally to doing it - Today was the day!
I stopped at 36 and 75 miles for a brief respite, but at mile 91, I had to stop and just lie in the grass on the side of the road. The temp was reading 102.3*F and the very slight breeze blowing over me felt cool and actually chilled me. I knew, at that moment, that I had been just a few crank spins away from heat stroke. I cooled off for about 15 minutes, got on and finished out with 100 miles at 6:26:16. I went on to ride three more Centuries before the year was out. But none of them were harder or more grueling than this one.
The funny thing is, with the new season, I could care less about riding another Century. It was almost like achieving that goal, then proving that it wasn't a fluke, was enough for me. I pretty much feel like, "Eh, been there. Done that. Big deal..." I have started going for endurance now, riding Metrics non-stop. On a slow day, I'll just do 50 miles. These used to be milestones that I, at one time, would have given most anything to achieve. Now, they're good practice and endurance maintenance rides but nothing more.
Funny how today's victory becomes tomorrow's mediocrity.
current weight: 197.6
Fitness Minutes: (89,233) Posts: 1,834 8/14/11 9:35 P
Do you have a ride that you did and use as a mental yardstick for what constitutes a "difficult" or "challenging" ride? It doesn't have to be a formal event, but just one that really made an impression.
For me, it would probably be my first ever XC race. It was at the beginning of my journey to get fit, cut weight, and change a whole lot of cumulative bad habits that had built up over time.
I remember crashing twice, once in front of spectators. My heart rate hitting 170 bpm and the sensation of being lightheaded and redlining my body. I felt like I was going to be sick, and my heart was going to explode.
I hurt real bad afterwards, with two swollen hands, but I felt a sense of accomplishment that drove me to really pursue my goals in a much more serious way.
For distance, I remember my first 60 mile ride, done on an old clapped out big box Mongoose S-20 that I rode into the ground afterwards. At mile 55, I recall pushing and doing the "hike a bike" up a lot of hills.
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