I try to ride twenty five miles every morning before I go to work. I am up early….usually at around 4:00 AM. I have a cup of coffee, answer some emails and slowly wake up. By 5:15 AM, I am out the door and rolling. This is quality time. There are no computer-generated chimes, dings or bells to attend to. Let the day wait. Being in the middle of God’s world as it wakes up is the most amazing experience. I wish I would have started doing this a long time ago.
With the exception of a few weeks around the solstice, it is almost always dark when I start these rides. I have lights, but I still have to slow down to compensate for road hazards that often materialize out of the ether. Although I like riding hard, I’m also okay with riding slow. There is a time to race. There is also a time to just ride. I’ve come to understand that it’s best to not confuse the two.
There aren’t enough cyclists in America. I don’t know why this is, exactly, but I suspect our “win at all costs” culture has a lot to do with it. Part of that culture is the macho “no pain, no gain” ethos that is so prevalent among so many. No pain, no gain is so very destructive. Take those Peloton commercials with the spry 20-somethings exhorting you on. The message? You’re weak. Try harder. That may be a good message if you’re trying to sell a stationary bike, but it’s not a good message if you’re trying to get well.
You have a choice every time you get on the bike. You can ride in a manner that tears your body down or you can ride in a manner that builds your body up. People ask me how I can have ridden an average of 33 miles per day for close to 1,000 straight days without a day off and I tell them it’s easy. I don’t ride all out. I typically ride at about 70-80% of my capacity. That allows me to ride a lot, and that is the key.
It has been a magical journey. I haven’t been sick over this stretch. I’ve rarely felt any pain at all. When I finished Seattle to Portland (204.8 miles) last summer, I felt great. I really didn’t need much in the way of a recovery. I kept riding, because that’s what I do. Even at last month’s Bohemian Sto Mil, my hardest day ever on the bike, I recovered quickly. I went 40 miles the next morning. No problemo.
I want to share this because it goes against the grain of so much of what passes as training wisdom. You don’t have to go fast to become strong. You don’t have to push to become well. Be like Eddy. Just ride. It is the easiest thing in the world.
Please share this message with the people you love. Share it because this is the true path towards health and wellness. It is not paved with sacrifice. Wellness is not pain. Wellness is health. Wellness is joy. Wellness is easy. It is the most natural thing in the world.