Setting goals

It’s good to have goals; even better to achieve them.

For the past 12 years, my July’s have been defined by my goal to ride 1,000 kilometres in the month.

I came up short in 2009, a sweltering July, and in 2014, for some unknown reason.

But otherwise, it’s been pretty achievable.

Especially as I tend to take two weeks off to get up early to watch the Tour de France then, suitably inspired, spend the rest of the day riding my own bike.

In 2008  I must have been particularly inspired, as I achieved 1,600 km, including 608 in one incredible week!

Eight days ago, my beloved 1,000 seemed out of reach.

The demise of my newspaper meant I’d seen the last of my six weeks’ annual vacation that I’d toiled 20 years to attain. In fact, the beginning of a new job meant no vacation at all.

But two unexpected gift rides last week, and a favourable calendar with a long weekend to close the month, opened the door to the possibility of reaching that 1,000. Good legs, recovered from the gruelling Triple Crown, put me over the top.

To ride those 1,095 km took me 44 hours and 53 minutes; that’s like a full work week plus half a day of overtime!

Of course in the Strava universe, 1,000 km in a month is but a molehill. The month’s distance champion was a woman from Florida, who clocked more than 11,000 km! That means she rode more than 370 km a day, 12 hours of every day of the month!

My legs wilt just at the thought.

As does my brain. Because she did her rides covering laps of the same 20 km circuit, over and over and over again. I can only imagine the mental fatigue and boredom of watching the same countryside roll past hour after hour, day after day, week after week.

Her Strava profile says she has a goal to set a new record for ultra marathon cycling. To achieve that, she’ll have to ride more than 122,432 km by next July 1. Because this was the first month of her challenge.

I am humbled.

We all are.

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