Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Time to ride

Date: 22
Mileage: 30.4
May Mileage: 317.8
Temperature upon departure: 53

Just the other day, I was complaining to a friend about the difficulties of training for a bicycle endurance race - mainly, finding the time to put in any significant mileage.

"Most weekdays I have about two hours, tops," I said.

She stopped me there. "Wait - exactly how much time do you spend riding each week?"

I thought about it, "Taking into account the weekends, probably 12 to 15 hours. I wish it was closer to twenty."

"Twenty hours?" she said and rolled her eyes. "You might as well get a part-time job." Then she said something about her family that implied that she was too busy having a life do something as frivolous as ride a bike for 20 hours a week.

I do understand that I'm blessed with a lifestyle more frivolous than others. I'm single, no kids, unhindered by debt. Regardless, I'm still not rolling in unmitigated free time. I do have a full-time job that can reach 50 hours a week. I have my part-time, freelance projects that I tend to push on the backburner. I have to change the cat litter box once in a while.

So, even for me, it can challenge to carve out time for a bike ride. So - how to make the time? The best thing I ever did for my free time was move to an apartment that didn't get TV reception of any kind. I have nothing against TV. I actually like it. But not having the option to watch forced me to give it up cold turkey. I've been virtually TV-free for a year and a half. I even have to option to watch network channels now, but I don't. Truth is, I don't even miss it. I highly recommend this lifestyle change.

Minor changes help, too. Another thing I don't do is cook ... much. Granted, I do have someone hanging around that is more than happy to cook up a fresh halibut dinner for me. But when I lived alone, I ate a lot of salads and sandwiches and cold cereal. I survived. And I didn't have to spend as much time doing dishes or grocery shopping.

Ask yourself small questions: Do I really need to make the bed every day? Am I really the type of person that needs eight hours of sleep every night? Can't I just feed the cat twice as much every other day? If I sold my car and bought a faster bike, wouldn't that actually save me time? Maybe I can get one of those automated voice activation systems to answer the phone.

All it takes is small changes. Soon you, too, can carve out 20 hours a week to ride without people even noticing or thinking you have a deeply embedded problem. What's that? You think that these suggestions are sign of a deeply embedded problem? Well ... hmmmm ... I guess I should probably get some sleep now.