Sunday, September 23, 2012

Long Bike Ride or Long Run - No Contest

When I was training for marathons I truthfully looked forward to long runs.  When I would begin the training cycle I couldn't imagine ever running 20 miles but I would gradually build up to them and even enjoy them.  They were hard in the moment but certainly an accomplishment each time I completed one.  These days my longest races have been half marathons so my longest training runs are 12 miles.  I do many 12 milers in a year because I do lots of half marathons yet I only do them when I am training for a half.  If I am not doing a half my longest runs tend to be 8 miles with the occasional 10.  Do I ever do a longer run for the heck of it like 15 or 16?  NO!
Approaching the end of the Mohawk Hudson Marathon


Yet with biking the length of the ride seems to have nothing to do with a race.  I have only recently started racing through triathlons and my longest distance was 16 miles in a race.  Yet I repeatedly ride 30, 40 and 50 miles.  My most recent weekend rides have been 46, 50 and 38.  If I had more time I would be going even longer.  Why? Because I love it!  

I love the effort it takes to go on a longer ride.  I love the scenery I see with the miles I cover.  I love the exhausted feeling I have when I have put that effort in.  I love the feeling of  accomplishment.  I love the joy in the moment of the ride which is the difference between long rides and runs for me.  There is no need for me to ride these kinds of miles to get ready for a cycling race. It is purely a choice. But personally I would NEVER choose to go out and run 20 miles for the pure joy of it.  I haven't done that since my last marathon training cycle.

This summer one of my goals was to ride a century.  This hasn't happened and at this point I don't think it will.  When I started riding last spring I did a 50 miler in April and again in May so I was well on my way.  Then there was the whole broken wrist thing that got in the way. First I couldn't ride at all, then there was the gradual reintroduction to riding.  It is only recently that I have gotten the longer distances in.  I'm where I was earlier last summer when I worked up to 60+ miles. I do think I would have reached the 100 without the injury but for now this is next summer's goal.  A lot of my friends say a 25 mile ride is all they care to do but I love pushing the envelope and going as far as a day and training  allows me to on a bike.

This Saturday's ride was less than the two previous weeks but a much harder terrain.  It went up into the mountains and then back down.  I'm not talking crossing gaps here but decent foothills.  I did this ride last year with my friend but today I rode it solo. I had intended to do a different ride but I listened to the weather forecast (a mistake) and put it off.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ride I did and can't wait to get out there again next weekend for a longer ride.  I dread the coming of winter when I have to put my bike away.
Approaching Camel's Hump




An alpalca farm


Fall colors starting to show


13 comments:

Michael said...

I wish I could share your love of the long ride. I do love riding my bike, but I'm good for about 40 miles and anything over that is always a bit of a struggle. But you always have the most beautiful scenery to see, maybe that helps :)

Darlene said...

Yes the scenery is gorgeous. if I had biking friends I may change my mind but for now I run. I too only run long when Iam training.

Mike said...

Love all the pics! I love riding long too. Love that feeling when you are strong and feel like with proper fuel, you would never have to stop. Of course that feeling goes away after a few hours, but it's cool while it lasts.

I would love riding long even more if I had your views. Did you pick up a trainer for the winter? You might consider it so you don't have to start from square one in the spring. It's boring, but kind of like running long, it's good for mental toughness (and watching movies).

Char said...

I can see why you'd enjoy your long rides. When you have scenery like that you'd never want to go home. The Autumn leaves are looking gorgeous.

Average Woman Runner said...

I love riding but right now, it's not in the cards for me due to time constraints & wanting to be with my little & big guys. That will come in another life chapter :) For now, long runs & shorter bike rides are my thing, which is ok. Do please post more pics of your fall colors!

Liz said...

The thing about cycling is that you can go somehwhere further away, take things with you, stop for a picnic or to admire the views etc - it's a day out!
However, I would find it easier to live without cycling than running...

christa said...

Someday I will get a bike...

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

I guess I'm just a runner at heart, but I do have an urge to do some triathlons. I know as I age my body won't be able to take the pounding of running like it can now, and I might be forced to the bike. Until then, I'm not in a hurry. Glad you're enjoying it though, as it lends itself more to less impact. Take care.

Kepa Wong said...

Its weird that biking is my least favorite of the 3 sports in a tri. My bike times are usually in the upper 25%. My swims times are towards the back of the MOP and my runs, well, they are pathetically BOP. However, I prefer running and swimming over biking. I just don't really like operating a machine. I like the freedom of running and swimming. It is just odd that I can bike at a somewhat decent pace when I don't like it all that much.

Fran said...

Apparently you love biking more than running otherwise it would have been the other way. As I always believe one has to do what you love, I'd say keep those long bike rides coming.

Jamoosh said...

I am the exact opposite. 20 miles on a bike or 20 mile run - I will choose the run every time!

Lisa said...

I'm glad you are enjoying the bike so much. :-)

lindsay said...

i like biking because you get to cover more ground/see more than you would on a run. let's face it, we'll never really go out for a 50mile run (and be able to pay attention to the beauty around us). i just get so hungry on the bike!