Lately I have been riding many miles and trying to get as much endurance in as I possibly can before the "season" begins and the long races officially start making their way onto the calendar. However, riding many, many miles is having another effect on me. While I love my bike, and I love to ride, I am starting to feel the dreaded "burned out" syndrome. And it's too early to feel that way.
Because of the fact that I need to ride more and more miles, I find myself riding my home trails all in one shot. So instead of it taking me 5 days to visit five local trails, I end up doing them all in one day. That leaves me limited options for my other riding days on where to ride. 15 miles, 30 miles, 45 miles....each time out feels like it has to be more. No number seems to be enough. Since I don't road ride anymore, that's out as far as cross training to break my training up. Plus, because the weather is so nice, I only want to be in the woods anyway. So it ends up with me wanting to travel to other trails to visit some fresh dirt to pedal something new. That takes time and gas money. And that just seems wasteful to me. Time which I could actually spend riding instead of driving. Money I could be spending on bike parts instead of burning fuel to ride those parts somewhere new. It's a dichotomy. So you see where I am going with this.
Today, I drove 3 hours round trip to ride somewhere else. Had a great ride. Left there, and passed another trail on the way home and felt that my previous great ride wasn't enough. I had to stop there and ride more. Once done, it still wasn't enough. So I decided to drive back home and ride my local trails anyway. Yes, my legs were tired, but my mind was saying, "not sufficient, need more, as long as there is still daylight, why aren't you still riding?" So really, how much is enough? Why wasn't the first trail enough even though my legs really were tired from it?
I realize that biking is very similar to drugs. Sure it's a good drug and not the kind that leaves you face down in a ditch somewhere not knowing your name or what year it is (not counting concussions of course), but it's like an addiction none the less. The more you ride, the more you want to ride. The more it takes for your body to be satisfied each time you go out for a ride to get the same "buzz" a/k/a the that feeling that says "what a great day because that ride really put the hurt on me."
Yes, it's a dichotomy. It's sort of sad really. Like that feeling you get after you've trained for something really long and hard, and then once it's finished, you feel that empty gap. You need to find that next big event to train for...the next big score that can match that high feeling you got when you trained for the last one. Only your dealer is a Google search on the upcoming race calendars on the internet instead of the shady guy on the corner. But you cough up your money for them just the same in hopes of finding that next awesome event. The piece d' resistance of mountain biking or whatever sport it may be, you can't wait to sign yourself up for it.
So the question remains....how do we deal with the ever progressing need for more miles, and fresh locations with endurance training. How do you satisfy the need and quell the search so that each and every time you go out for a ride, any ride, it still seems productive? Not productive according to your bike computer or your ride log, but to satisfy your mind. That is something I think I will have to figure out before endurance biking gets the best of me.
For now I need to just ride and have fun. F.....U....N.