Over the last few months I have been working toward the goal of riding my bike from the northwest Twin Cities to Duluth in one day (about 150 miles) and then back in one day after a couple days of rest. But as my training has progressed I've decided to delay the trip - not cancel it but delay it - for the following reasons.
1. Over the last year or so I've been very undisciplined with exercise and thus I've lost my previous level of fitness. Although I've trained well over the last few months, I've been experiencing some pain in my upper body and feet when riding for more than 65 or 70 miles, and bottom line, this means that I haven't been enjoying the longer rides. Since I'm not entering a race or cycling event, I can take the ride to Duluth and back anytime I want to and I think it will significantly augment my joy in doing so if I put it off for a few months.
2. The manner in which I've trained this year has allowed me to ride fairly well for 50-60 miles but at that point my lack of overall fitness becomes obvious and unavoidable. So it seems best to me to prioritize fitness over endurance and spend some time on and off the bike strengthening my upper body, core, lower body, and aerobic capacity.
3. Another benefit of prioritizing fitness is that I will gain in average speed, and it seems best to put speed before distance. To this point I've aimed to complete the 150 mile trek at an average speed of 14 mph which means that I would spend 10 hours and 45 minutes on the bike. But if I take a few months and build a better base of fitness, I can complete this distance at an average speed of 16 mph or higher which means that I would spend 9 hours and 20 minutes on the bike - quite a big difference!
So, bottom line, I'm delaying my "Duluth and Back or Bust" ride to build fitness, develop speed, and increase my joy on the bike. It seems a good decision to me and I look forward to the process from here on out.