Saturday, 24 August, 2002

Extreme Bike Rides

It takes discipline and hard work to train for and ride 100 miles on a bicycle.  There's no doubt about that.  But in cycling circles, "simply everybody" has done a century.  In my two years of road riding, I've met many people who have moved from overweight couch potato to century finisher in relatively short periods of time. Some in less than six months.  Accomplishment that it is, I'll have to do something a bit more intense in order to remain interested.  Just as with running, where "simply everybody" has run a marathon, but not so many have done Pike's Peak.

While I was researching training programs, I ran across two very interesting groups.  Members of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association specialize in endurance races:  double centuries (200+ miles), 12-hour and 24-hour races, and the annual Race Across America (RAAM).  I won't be riding 3,000 miles in 8 days any time soon, but a double century looks interesting.  Perhaps next summer.

The other group is the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America. What these folks do is intriguing—they ride around things: cities, lakes, counties, countries, etc. One person has logged almost 65,000 miles in perimeter rides, covering 9 countries, 26 counties, 31 lakes, and 5 islands.  This is something I can sink my teeth into. I can think of plenty of things to "ride around," right here in Central Texas.  I'll need to improve my fitness level a bit, but riding around the city of Austin, or the perimeter of Lake Travis don't look like unreasonable goals to start.