“For a moment he felt good about this. A moment or two later he felt bad about feeling good about it. Then he felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it and satisfied, drove on into the night.”
– Douglas Adams
April. What is April really known for? Go through the months and they all have something going for them:
January has the beginning of the year going for it
February is the shortest
March the beginning of spring
May has Memorial day, May the Fourth Be With You, and Cinco De Mayo
June has the beginning of Summer and the end of the school year
July has Independence Day and the numerous loss of limb injuries that accompanies such a momentous, colorful, explosive holiday
August has the beginning of school and the dourness that accompanies such an event
September has football season and the beginning of Fall, which some people mistakenly think is the best season. The reason they are mistaken about this is because Fall is clearly not the best as it comes in at an objective 3rd place on the seasons depth chart.
October has Halloween and Marching Band Championships
November has Thanksgiving
December has Festivus and no other noteworthy holidays
That leaves just April. And for those who want to argue about April having Earth day, I guarantee you 87% of people either do not know about that day or cannot tell you when it is. You may as well ask them when National Chili Day is and you would probably get the same success rate. For those that want to spew some nonsense about April Showers should note that it rains on some days in some places most of the year so I don’t think April should get credit for it.
The point I’m trying to make is the most famous thing April has is that it shares the name with the reporter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I digress.
April marks my highest annual mileage total for my entire biking existence. I finished the month with 845 miles. That total should have been closer to 900 but weather forced me to miss out on a 50-mile ride to end the month. Either way, May should yield a minimum of 1,000 miles with my sights set more on hitting a 1,200 mile total.
Entering June, I will be doing the Great Cycle Challenge for children’s cancer research. For that, I would also be aiming for 1,000 to 1,200 miles with high hopes at getting to the 1,500 mark. That may mean longer commutes to work each day in order to get that total up that high. On my profile page at that web address, you can make donations to my personal challenge that will go directly to children’s cancer research and see maps of each of my rides even before the month of June.
Not only did I complete the most miles in a given month, I also had an average speed over 1 mph faster than my average in the month of March. I have no idea what that actually means in terms of efficiency because, as I have said before, average speed is not a great indicator of effort or efficiency. I spent more time in April biking with the wind than I did in previous months as my last three long rides in April resulting in a pick-up by my wife rather than me turning around and fighting the wind. So the speed difference could be a direct result of that. Interesting nonetheless.
The month of April also contains my first 100-mile ride of the year. Century rides are interesting creatures. It never seems to matter how many I do, they always feel somewhat daunting. On any long ride, I am constantly doing math, which I may have mentioned before. I will reach the 10-mile mark, my Garmin Vivoactive HR will buzz, telling me I hit another 5-mile lap, and my mind will immediately process that I am 1/10 of the way done. I will then usually break that distance down into more viable chunks, often comparing them to other trips I have done.
For example, when I hit the 80-mile mark, I will almost certainly think that I am one North Liberty commute to school away. I can envision that ride and I know I can do that distance with no problem to try and alleviate any fatigue or concern I may have about the remaining distance. Doing this is not necessarily something I think about before hand, it’s just where my mind goes. Sometimes it will wander and when I hit the 60-mile mark, I will think “I once did this and then did 200 more miles on RTYD III”
In the case of this past Weekend Training century, I thought more about how that was ⅔ of the distance I will have to average come the July trip and that’s where the math can get in the way of success.
I also missed five days of riding this month due to a trip to Washington, D.C., where I attended a conference on the need to study sex differences in science research and followed that up by joining the March For Science, which took place on the oft forgotten Earth Day. I will also miss a weekend in May when my wife and I make a blitz visit home to New York for Mother’s Day weekend.
Thus, I will have missed one weekend of riding for three straight months. This is not ideal and with less than 90 days before the attempted trip in July, I do harbor some concern about the lost days of training. I do not think they will make all that much difference in the long run and in each case, the lack of cycling during those days are/were unavoidable whether due to injury, work, weather, or family.
One thing that has happened throughout the month of April is a slight deviation from the structured schedule that I was maintaining through until March. I noticed that I stopped devoting a lot of time to stretching before bed like I was doing in the early months. Returning to this schedule is imperative moving forward. I cannot afford to injure myself or get climbing into the saddle with super tight and sore limbs. A return to structured stretching will be the main goal moving into May.