My seven days are up. I took on a challenge a week ago to cover 100 miles on my bike. I had never done anything like this before. The most I had ever cycled in a day on a bike was 25 miles and that was a one-time deal. I did participate in The Buffalo Classic fundraiser bike ride once, cycling their shortest route. All this is to say traveling 100 miles in a week was an extraordinary journey for me to take on.
Drum roll please…I did it! Every day I rode. The first two days I rode over 20 miles each day. Then the next five days I covered 13 or more miles. The total for the week was 109.5 miles. I blasted through my goal of 100 miles. I can’t tell you how great I feel. Taking on something you’re not sure you can actually do and then actually doing it is a real attitude booster.
It wasn’t easy. My bottom was perpetually soar, my “bum” knee decided to act up and swell, it rained, it was really cold a couple of mornings, we got lost a couple of times, one of my gears on my bike decided to slip and my husbands bike broke down so he ended up riding our 30 year old rusty back up bike. When you are not used to it, cycling every day is exhausting. You have to face it with determination and an attitude of “I think I can…I think I can”. Remember reading The Little Engine That Could when you were little? That imagery came in very handy for me this week.
It is because of the challenges that I feel so accomplished. When I first started to talk to my husband about taking on this challenge he was honestly doubtful. He wondered if 70 miles was more realistic and equally a difficult achievement. I wondered about that myself. But then I thought about how I could break the ride down over a whole week, how I had been working out consistently to build up my strength and endurance and how I could prepare myself practically and mindfully in order to reach the finish line.
To minimize the stress of the ride these are the things I learned:
- Plan your routes the day ahead (it makes all the difference to know where you are going before you start. We used Google Maps on our phone to reference as we rode…we still got lost a couple of times but got it figured out each time)
- Use a tracker (I used mapmytracks which is a free app and helps you track each day’s accomplishments)
- Enlist a buddy (I was fortunate to have a husband who was willing to take on the challenge with me. It made it so much more possible and fun)
- Wear padded bike shorts (your bottom still gets sore but it helps!)
- Wear tennis shoes with good support and athletic socks (my feet got soar too; good shoes helped)
- Put on sunscreen every time you ride regardless of time of day or clouds (I got sunburned each time I thought I didn’t need it!)
- Use chapstick (I found my lips really dried out)
- Pump up your tires (amazing how much easier the ride was afterwards!)
- Take water on the ride and drink extra water during the week (you really get dehydrated covering that many miles in the outdoors)
- Stretch before and after the ride (I found warming up my muscles helped my speed and at the end my quads were so tight that without stretching I got really stiff)
- Eat bananas everyday to avoid muscle cramping (this made a huge difference for me)
- Pamper yourself during the week and at the end (I highly recommend soaking in a hot bath with Epsom salts and a massage)
Besides the memories of the journey, I wanted to pay-it-forward to feel what I had done could help others too. I set the goal that for each mile my husband and I rode we would pay $1 to a charity. We chose Action for Healthy Kids. It feels good to be sending in a check. Our miles will hopefully have a lasting effect on us and others.
After our ride we connected with our neighbors across the street. I shared with them that we had just completed my 100-Mile Journey as a birthday week challenge for me. They then told us that they had done something similar at age 70 only their challenge was to ride 1000 miles in a year. I swallowed hard and smiled appreciatively. Wow, 1000 miles in a year. I guess I know what my next challenge will be.
Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just one thing. It is about challenging ourselves every day to be the best we can be by what we eat and what we do. It is a journey. The best part is all the fun I am having.
If you are interested in following my 100-Mile Journey day by day here is the link.
Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!