The Experience is Greater Than The Mileage

IMG_0477 My favorite cycling app, MapMyRide, showed 5.95 miles at an average pace of 8.6 mph.  Yep.  Not one of my biggest rides….   In fact, I’d normally be embarrassed to even share that number with you.  I’ve read somewhere long ago that a ride less than 10 miles isn’t even worth doing.

Normally, I’d agree with that assessment.  I mean – if you’re going to don spandex in public, you might as well make the most of it.  The warm-up is typically only 5-6 miles.   On an average, I like to get 20+ miles in when I hit the road.

This past weekend, I had three rides just like this one.  Only the third one didn’t even hit the 5 mile mark.  I’m pretty sure that last ride was even slower than this one.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m telling you that I only rode a short distance at a slow pace.  What does it matter?  Did I really get anything out of the rides?  Do the unimpressive numbers really show something even more significant.

The answer(s):  These unimpressive numbers represent some of my favorite and unforgettable rides!

I had the fortunate rare opportunity to get some rides in with my kids.  Like most other typical families, daily life and activities are consistently pulling all of us in different directions.  Between work, school, ballet, video games, guitar, friends, and [insert any other daily chore, etc. here], it’s rare to find time to just unwind and have a great slow ride with those who matter the most to you.

IMG_0224The last time I was able to ride with either one was last fall – when my son honored me by joining me in the mountains for a ride along some of my favorite trails!

Those trails aren’t the easiest trails, and he took them on with a smile (note:  how can you NOT smile when on a bike….).  On a future ride with my usual buddies, we took one of the trails that my son and I did – and I was astonished at the difficulty of the trail he completed!

It’s so rare to find time to just get away from technology and regular duties to be together.  I’m not sure my son realizes how much it meant to me to have him enjoying that time and exploring those trails with me.  The ride this past weekend around the neighborhood and through our local park was just as special.

It gives us time to talk – and he learns what I’ve known for a very long time:  you can solve all of the world’s problems on a bike.  You really can!  When you get away from it all, you actually have time to think!

My daughter joined me for two rides this weekend.  She had to take turns with her brother – since they’re sharing a bike for now (a big thanks to her big brother for allowing this).  Her schedule is consistently busy – with 3 nights a week and most of her Saturday taken up by the activity that is truly her passion.  So, these rides with her were precious moments that are also hard to come by.

IMG_0481As we were riding along, I couldn’t help thinking of that scene from Father of the Bride – where Steve Martin is recalling all those moments of his daughter growing up while he thinks of her getting married.  It made me snap this photo while traveling along a path.  She doesn’t even know I snapped it….

These moments are rare in today’s day and age.  And that’s too bad!  It makes me realize that I need to work harder at making those moments less than rare.

It’s more than ok to have short rides in your riding schedule.  It’s more than ok to even stop and rest (and eat pretzels out of your pocket together while talking about what’s going on in your lives).

Forget about the GPS tracking, mileage, calories burned and mph.  Enjoy!


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