April cycling update

A season has changed since the last time I did a cycling update in my blog. I’m still dilligently riding my road bike, and I still don’t know why.

The first big change is that I started riding with a group. Every Saturday, they ride about 40-50 miles and climb 3000-5000ft. I’m starting to frequent them. All sorts of different people there — young and old, men and women. It’s nice to meet other likeminded people, but from different walks of life. As I show up more, people start to recognize me, and they gradually open up. My conversations with them gradually get more meaningful.

Linda is the leader of this group. Her voice has command, so I initially assumed she’s a teacher or even military. Turns out that she is a material engineer. I don’t think she is the fastest rider in the group nor the most experienced. It got me thinking about what the leadership is.

I found out that my neighbor across the street Jeff also started riding a road bike. So I talked to him, and we went out to ride together for a few times. Jeff is still very new, so his reach is limited, but his friend Matt is more serious rider, so I also went out a few times with Matt as well. The thing I love about them is that they don’t mind stopping by at a bar. I’m a big fan of a weekend ride with a bar stop.

I participated in a few long distance ride events around the bay area, and I developed a few acquaintance. I love the feeling that my friend circle is expanding. When was the last time I made my new friend, not through work, not through children!?

I’m still passionate about going further. I choose a destination, plan a ride about 65-85 miles. Here, cycling is a means, not a purpose. I stop here and there and click pictures. I don’t gobble energy bars and instead have a proper lunch. I stop by for coffee, juice, wine, beer, whatever catches my eyes. Sometimes I even contact my friends who nearby and meet them. It’s basically a day trip. Incredibly fun.

The last few weeks, I’ve been training toward the San Francisco -> Los Angeles ride that I signed up in June. The actual event will cover close to 600 miles over 1 week. The distance and the intensity that far exceeds anything I’ve done thus far. So to prepare for that, I’m using both Saturday and Sunday, to ride ~150 miles to develop confidence. If I go slow and steady, and don’t push myself too far especially in climb, I think I can handle it. I’m buying additional gears, cycling wears, and other stuff to prepare for the week.

Every Wednesday, I still climb a local hill. In April, I beat my previous all time record not just once but twice. That said, I’m trying not to get too hang up on the record. You cannot get better forever. I feel I need to find joy elsewhere. And when I stop worrying less about beating my previous record, I get to notice little red flowers throughout the climb. A little change in the same scenary. I love that.

There are just so many things I want to do, there’s not enough time in weekends. I wanna ride with the group every week, I wanna go out for more day trips, I wanna train a little more intensely, and I wanna do more 1:1 touring with friends…

I think my life is at a pretty good place right now. How fortunate.

(Pictures from the rides below. Click to flip.)

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