Twenty-five miles a day, five days a week, with a long ride on Sunday. This addiction took ahold of me years ago and beginning next month, in May, it will again. May will unlock some time for me as my Master's Degree will reach completion and the physical training can take place once again. How does one become "addicted" to such a thing? Not everyone does, but I'm betting the people that reach that level of riding will do anything they can to get in the miles and not give it up. Some of the uphill climbs drop my speed to 6 or 8 miles per hour. 57.8 miles per hour is my personal record on a down-hill and I still have my goal set at breaking that 60 mph barrier, even if just one time.
The equipment is very important as well as the maintenance that goes with it. My chains sparkle with cleanliness. The chain cleaner, the bio-degreaser, the teflon lubricant, and tools I use remind me of a doctor's office when I am working on my bike. Neatly laid out in somewhat of an obsessive-compulsive sort of way, I find it important to treat my bike, my partner, and my friend in the best way possible. Truing the spokes for the perfect spin is critical. No noises when I'm riding is imperative. All I want to hear is the swish of wind in my helmet. Yes, my helmet. I still wear those and think people who don't either have a death-wish or have never crashed. I remember the time I got off my bike over in Rochester, VT to refill my bottles with power-ade and water. A guy said to me, "Hey, I have to ask how far you ride? I noticed you have those fingerless gloves on so your hands don't get sore, so you must go far." I informed him that the gloves are not for the ride... but the fall. Your hands will hit the ground and be embedded with gravel, glass, sand, sticks, and anything else you may encounter on that tumble. Crashing doesn't make the cyclist a bad rider. You cannot predict the things you will encounter such as a small animal running under your tires when you are at thirty plus mph. You have no way of knowing which motorist will be upset with your using their road. They will throw things at you, having no idea that their stupidity may get you killed.
I ride for the fitness, but I ride also for the love of riding. The fresh Vermont air and the new scenery I see daily makes it worth it. The after-effect of the slight burn in my lungs.... love it! The way my mind solves problems while I ride reminds me of my running days. In a two hour ride, I will solve problems that would otherwise take me a week. There is a runner's high. Is there a rider's high? Oh...you betcha! What is that? Well, the simplest way I can explain it is, you will be out on a 30 mile trek, and at the 25 mile mark you will have forgotten the last five miles. You won't remember being in certain areas where you must have been to get where you are. It is a euphoria in a sense. You give no thoughts to the effort, the pace, the speed, or anything you are doing because it is so perfectly natural.
So, I will be shopping for my new partner, my bike, in just a few weeks. The type and make doesn't matter. What matters is the feel. It has to be perfect. Never again will I purchase a bike that is "good enough for now." My mouth salivates and my pulse quickens with the excitement of the riding that is coming. I have missed it terribly and I need it. Patienceeeeee........ :)