Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Junk" Miles or Time to See What I'd Have Otherwise Missed

Lately, I have been hearing a lot about this concept in training where people refer to miles ridden without a specific purpose for any particular ride to be classed as "junk" miles. As far as I can tell, you should have specific goals that you focus on for each ride, whether it's working on climbing, speed, intervals, whatever.

Personally, I think the concept is hogwash and just some elitist nonsense that people who can afford to pay for coaches like to throw around to justify why they are paying someone to tell them what to do each and every time they go out to ride a bike. Hogwash I tell ya.

For instance, today I went out for a ride. I knew I wanted to ride "long", but that's all I knew.  Unfortunately, with the weather pattern we've had lately, one of our major connector trails that allows us to link all our trails was closed due to excessive moisture and mud. So that meant that now the select trails that were open required a drive from one area to another to link up trails rather than just riding in between them. I planned to ride the first trail, and then drive to the 2nd trail with hopes of riding that one as well as the linkable 3rd. By the time I finished 2 laps at trail #1, it was lunch time. I ate some food and decided that rather than waste the gas to ride the other trails which total about 15 miles and are decidedly flat, I would go back into trail #1 which offers much more climbing and do three more laps there to make up for the miles.

Yes, my plan changed. The horror.
The bottle tree
Who Goes There?
But, because of that change, I got to see some really cool stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise seen. On this trail that I have ridden so many times before, I noticed the "bottle" tree. How I have missed seeing it every single other time I have ridden it is a mystery to me, but today I saw it.  And it was cool. I also stopped to talk to a family I know who rides together and while we were yapping, I saw a squirrel scurry up a tree, squeeze himself into what I can only guess was a woodpecker's hole and then turn around and put his little face in the hole to keep an eye on us. A cuteness that I can't put into words, but trust me when I say it was adorable. Soon after, I saw a hawk sit in a tree eating the rat he just caught. Yes, I know, not AS cute, but sometimes nature is cruel and hawks have to eat too.

Then, I came upon a purple poodle (okay he was faded a bit so now was more lavender). For this one I had to stop to ask and verify I hadn't lost it. I removed my sunglasses thinking maybe I was delirious for having seen a purple poodle. But, no, sure enough the owner confirmed what my eyes were seeing. He was indeed dyed purple for a commercial he was starring in about mattresses. Yeah, I didn't get it either so I smiled and carried on. Poor dog.
Not him, but very similar.

Lastly, as I was finishing up and riding back to my car, I passed the basketball courts. One skinny guy was literally walking back and forth on this big guy's back as he laid down on the hard concrete. I can only assume this was some back relief exercise and he wasn't actually beating up the bigger guy. At least I hope it was. I gave a double take and kept on riding. I mean after all, I certainly couldn't help him.

So as far as I was concerned, although I didn't go into this ride with a set plan, and then my "rough draft" changed somewhere along the way, I would hardly call the miles I completed "junk" miles. My legs are sore, my heart is content and my thoughts are clear.  All in all, I'd say that's a good ride. As far as junk miles, the only junk I see in my future is food. Now, about that Snickers.

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