Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Mileage Record For February

Last month was my all-time best February: 205 miles. If you live in a state with warmer weather—i.e., all of them except Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota—then 205 miles probably doesn’t sound like a lot. But in Wisconsin it is. And I didn’t even take advantage of Leap Day, as I didn’t feel like battling 20+ mph winds.

In my early years as a cyclist, only freakishly warm weather could tempt me outside in February. Now I try to ride whenever the temperature is at least 32° and the roads are dry. That’s not asking for much, but it’s hit-or-miss. Sometimes the warmest days of February are made unusable by high winds and rapidly melting snow that leaves the roads a wet, gritty mess. All of the miles I have ever ridden in February wouldn’t add up to an average total for one month in summer. Nonetheless, they are important miles because they are outside. They restore my spirits at a time of year when I otherwise would be confined indoors. Here’s the year-by-year breakdown:

2016 – 205
2015 – 50
2014 – 31
2013 – 82
2012 – 137
2011 – 55
2010 – 0
2009 – 25
2008 – 0
2007 – 0
2006 – 0
2005 – 51
2004 – 0

December now has the distinction of my lowest monthly PR: 175 miles, set in 2012. In most seasons I have hit my mileage goal for the year before December arrives, and I’m usually done with my racing calendar. Weather conditions decline, the days are short, and it’s hard to get motivated. By contrast, February—though it’s usually miserable—is a time to work on new goals.

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