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  • Writer's pictureHoosier Doc

2019: A Year of Firsts

Picture of my e-bike parked on a paved trail in December.
My Como hangs out on the new trail.

This blog is a beginning. This post, though, is all about endings. In 2019, my goal was to cycle 1000 miles. Commuter miles counted. Recreational miles counted. Trainer miles counted. Whatever got my wheels spinning. I was late to the game thinking that I was too old to commute year-round. Thus, I only began logging my miles on my first ride and commutes at the end of April. If only I'd known then what I know now. My predictions, as I wrote them down were as follows:

1. I would spend a lot of days on the trainer because of weather.

2. I would probably only commute 3 days a week - at most.

3. I would probably ride outdoors until about October.

4. Most of my mileage would be recreational in nature.

5. There was no way I was pulling my kid in a trailer.

6. I would maybe be able to ride on the big chain ring completely by the end of the year.

In reality, this is what happened:

1. I racked up very few trainer miles - most of which happened in December when we had snow/ice for the better part of two weeks.

2. I started off commuting 2-3 days a week. It turned into 4 days a week at the end.

3. I am still riding and it's January.

4. Most of my mileage was from commuting which I do almost daily.

5. I often pull my kid in a trailer. It explains most of my recreational mileage!

6. I was riding only on the big chain ring by June.

I finished the 1000 miles but I wouldn't have without my e-bike which I purchased in September. Without it, I question how I could have forced myself to do the last 400 miles I needed on a trainer. 1000 miles on a standard bike with a very hilly, 12-mile commute was just not feasible every day. Not for me, anyway. It wasn't just challenging, it was a total pain. It took the fun out of the ride. I needed to bring lots of changes of clothes. My hands ached from using my brakes so often on hills and stop signs. You see, changing jobs - even on the same campus - changed my commute from less than 10 miles to 12 or more (depending on route). And it doubled the number of hills. While I now needed to ride more than ever for our schedules to work, I was struggling. I also came to terms with the fact that I needed a winter commuter with disk brakes. If I was going to spend the money, I was going all in to get the bike I needed. And that bike was the caddy of commuters - a Turbo Como 3. With that bike, I was suddenly able to ride 5-6 times a week. I put in mostly short, commuter mileage - run an errand here, ride a mile or two as time allowed - but it added up. The thing is, 1000 miles - even when about 90% of it is commuting - is just a lot of little miles added together. It's the combination of short, meaningful rides. That, I think, it what made it so special.

I went in thinking that I would do all these long weekend rides. That's how I used to train before I had my daughter. However, that rarely fit into the schedule nor did it feel feasible. I had to get creative and change my thinking about mileage. That challenge and mind-shift was just what this doctor ordered to finish those 1000 miles.

I learned a lot in 2019. I'm far more capable than I ever imagined.

While having a baby changed things and may have caused some serious damage to my body, it isn't stopping me from loving life.

Being more creative with my mileage made me happier, more relaxed, and more present in the life of my kid.

Modeling healthy things like riding for my toddler made her want to be strong and healthy like me.

Even though I'm not blazing fast anymore (and may never be again), I can still keep up at a very decent pace on a group ride.

I can handle both a commute in 90 degrees and one in 20 degrees if I prepare well.

Overall, it was a great bike year. Welcoming my new steed, Edith made a world of difference and I can't wait to do more distance rides next year with Le Monstre Vert even if my first ride of the new year was a hot mess. More about that later.

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