I’m the type of person who is highly averse to changing his mind once he’s made a plan. And on Sunday I made the plan to ride my 10,000th mile yesterday. I realized that by the end of Sunday, having accumulated 125 miles in December’s first 7 days (not bad!), I would be only 65 miles away from 10,000. Sixty-five is more miles than I like to ride in winter, when the the cold makes the experience less pleasant, the exercise harder, and the scenery kind of bleak. But I liked the idea of one last extra-effort putting me through to 10,000, and the weather report looked favorable, calling for temperatures in the mid-30s, which is still winter but not bitter.
When I recognized that it was ten degrees colder than predicted, and saw that–despite the unambiguous cloud icon in the photo above–it was snowing, I almost turned around. But the snow was a wispy, dry one that didn’t look like it would make riding dangerous. And if I didn’t hit 10,000 yesterday the odds were it would be on some random 2-mile commute sometime in the next week, which seemed anticlimactic. And I’m resistant to changing plans anyway; so I kept pedaling.
For the most part, it felt like an enjoyable ride. I had put on all of my warmest clothes–2 layers of fleece leggings, wool jersey, winter coat, balaclava, snowboarding socks, lobster gloves, my last two hand warmers–and that kept me feeling relatively comfortable. I decided to ride all 65 miles non-stop, because going back out into the cold after getting warmed up is a terrible, terrible feeling, not worth the little bit of rest and a cup of coffee.
There were signs that it was pretty cold. It’s always difficult to drink enough on a winter ride, because you don’t feel as thirsty as in the summer and because you’re loath to pull down the face mask to take a drink. At one point, as I was passing through a corner of Stow, I forced myself to expose my face and take a drink; but a thin layer of ice had formed on the outside of the bottle, and it slipped right out of my hands. Not wanting that to happen again, I decided I’d wait until I was stopped at a red light to take my next drink: easier to hold the bottle, and easier on the face. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen until Lexington, 20 miles away; and by that time the water in my bottles had completely frozen. So, it was a thirsty ride.
But I made it home, and with one extra victory lap around my block, I passed 10,000 for the year!
Here are the facts and figures for my 10,000 miles:
- As you can see, I rode 491 times, and spent 646 hours on the bike. That’s about 8% of my time;
- I climbed 169,340 ft. I also descended 169,340 ft., but somehow it didn’t feel that even;
- My average speed over all rides was 15.5 mph;
- And I allegedly burned 592,555 calories. That seems like an overestimation to me. But I did, in fact, lose 15 lbs and go down two pants sizes.
People have been asking me what next year’s goal will be. I don’t know yet; I’ve earned myself 23 days to think about that. All I know so far is that I hope to continue to fit into my new pants, and that my goal won’t be 11,000 miles.