Just because the summer racing season is over, doesn’t mean all the fun is over. In fact, this has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Racing is over, fitness is high, and the Fall weather is keeping things cool and crisp. All of this adds up to be the perfect recipe for an adventure ride.
The adventure ride is unique in that each person will have their own interpretation. At its essence though, the adventure ride is about losing the training structure, pushing yourself, and having fun.
For most of the year, we’ll tell you that structured training rides are the key to maximizing your fitness gains. This is one of those times in which that’s not the case. After a long season of racing, the mind (and body) need a break. Before taking time off the bike though, it’s a great time to take a step back and just get back to what got you into cycling in the first place. To keep the ride unstructured, ignore all of your usual data numbers – power, heart rate, and even time. Instead of looking at numbers, look around you and take it all in.
A good adventure ride should also push your limits. Plan a ride that’s longer than what you normally do. Plan a ride which involves more climbing than you normally do. Maybe plan a ride with both more miles and climbing than usual. The goal here isn’t training. Instead, it’s about finishing a ride you weren’t quite sure was feasible. A good adventure has to test your limits…
The most important part of a good adventure ride is to have fun. This is where you get to make the ride unique to you. You can stick to the paved roads. You can explore some dirt roads. You can make it a point-to-point destination ride. You can make it a loop out to your favorite donut shop in the next city. The possibilities are endless!
Recruiting friends for the adventure adds to the fun. As you’re pushing your limits, it’s great to have friends around to help you get through it (we at Catalyst have had our fair share of rides with severe bonking and reliance of friends to pull us all the way home). Friends can also liven up the miles. If it gets too lively and the conversation won’t move on from a dumb mistake you made during the season, drop them on the next climb. It’s all in the name of fun!
Last but not least, you must end an adventure ride by treating yourself. Following up the ride with a treat is just another way to give yourself a good mental break. If you’ve done it right, you should’ve worked up an appetite and can treat yourself to a big meal. You’ll likely spend a significant amount of time riding and thinking about what you’ll eat after the ride, but if you need inspiration, a good burrito has always been one of our favorites. Thanks for reading!