#bikeschool: ‘Joining the Century Club’ by Aaron Madrid
As promised, we have some brilliantly inspirational stories coming up in a series of posts from the #bikeschool & LovingTheBike.com communities. First up is Part 1 of ‘Century’ by Aaron Madrid (@Aaronthestrong). Our thanks go out to Aaron for putting a load of effort into his writing, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy what he has to say.
Joining the Century Club- Part 1
This past Saturday I accomplished one of my major cycling goals… I rode a century. For those that might not be up on the “lingo” a century means 100 miles. Yes, I know…I am awesome. Forgive me if I sound a bit egotistical, but as I write this it is still only a couple days since the big ride, and I feel like I am pretty much invincible. Those that have been there will likely understand, and the rest of you can just think I’m egotistical for a bit. For me it wasn’t just 100 miles that made it such an accomplishment and memorable day, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m writing this for you for two reasons; 1) everyone can and should feel like I did crossing the finish line that day. 2) If I write this out then maybe I will quit talking about it to everyone I know and some of my friends will hang around me again (but probably not).
So you want to ride a century, huh? Well I have news for you, my friend, you can…and you will. I would like to first take this time to remind you of who I am. My name is Aaron and I started riding a bike the week I became a father. I had been talking about needing to get in shape ever since my wife got pregnant. When my daughter was born in February of 2011 I weighed 320 pounds. I started a blog called TheVerbingNoun.Tumblr.com that I don’t keep up much anymore, but if you go to that site and dig you can find my first posts where I talk about how exciting it was to ride my first 10 miles at 12 miles an hour. Now I weigh 230 pounds and I’m writing to you today to talk about the 100 miles that I just rode at an average speed of 20 miles per hour. My wife and I both work full time jobs and enjoy all the stresses that come with them as well as being new parents. I am telling you all of this so that you don’t try to give any excuses as to why you can’t accomplish this, or any other goal. The first step is just wanting it bad enough.
I know, I know… you are saying “Aaron, that’s all fine and good with the positive thinking, but get real!” There are some simple things to do to help you along the way. You know you want to do this, but you don’t want to just go out and ride 100 miles on your own, that’s no fun! Find an event! A quick search on Google should provide you with some local or at least close, sponsored rides. I find that most clubs hold sponsored rides at some point during the year which provides a great opportunity to meet your local club anyways. Building a support group is truly critical to long term goal accomplishment, in my opinion. I have recently discovered, with much glee, that many breweries also hold or are affiliated with some truly amazing rides. Let me tell you this, nothing is better than a delicious craft beer after a long ride! Ok nothing is more delicious than a craft beer period…but I digress, this isn’t LovingtheBeer (though I would totally write for that site too, Darryl). Events will provide you with pre-planned routes. Your route can really make a difference because 100 miles of climbing is a lot different from 100 miles of flat roads. Most of the time these pre-planned routes will contain detailed profiles of the entire route, so take advantage of them!
I chose the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure because their cause is one that is close to my heart. There are countless charities that offer similar such rides all over the country. Not only are you given an opportunity to ride, but you can raise money and awareness for a cause you believe in along the way. Taking this approach is a great way to give yourself an extra push, because once you sign up for something like that, it’s not just about you anymore, it’s about something bigger. Take your time and choose an event that means something to you. As you have undoubtedly already learned (or will soon as you ride more) mental power and heart are almost as important as physical training. A ride you truly believe in will only help you focus and dig deep for that extra power. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the event. My training plans will be useless to you if you don’t get out much and you choose a ride that takes place tomorrow. The nice thing about many of these events is that they often offer multiple routes for various levels or riders. I actually rode the Tour de Cure in 2011, but only did about 20 miles. Trying the event last year allowed me to know what I was getting myself into this year and helped me visualize my goal.
Look out for the next part of Aaron’s write up coming soon. Leave any comment’s you have for Aaron below or catch him over on Twitter – @Aaronthestrong