You know that feeling when you go out for a “long steady” ride? The effort is a little higher than your usual effort but it is not verging on tempo or close to threshold. An effort that is just enough to remind you that you’re doing some work but it is not an effort that you can’t sustain. At the end of the ride you have a deep feeling of satisfaction that reminds you how much you appreciate your bike, your fitness and the opportunities you have to ride your bike.
I think the best thing about the long steady ride is how it gives me a chance to ride with others. Pretty much anyone can come out on a long steady ride – riding two by two or in a pace line or simply sitting on – each option is perfect. That’s the thing about a long steady ride, you can make it what you want, it is your ride after all.
Long steady rides offer coffee shop stops where we can hang out, much cookies, guzzle Coke and wonder out loud about the wind. The second half of the long steady ride can have a few struggles with sore bums and heavy legs but this is the stuff that makes the long steady ride so worthwhile. Pushing through the hard spots makes you appreciate the descents and the tailwind.
Getting home after a long steady ride and sitting outside in the sun is simply brilliant. The ride is discussed with plans for another one next weekend. Maybe the route will change or some new people will come out. Or maybe you’ll decided to squeeze in a solo long steady ride – just because you can and want to.
Yes, there is no better feeling than that of the long steady ride. The sensations remind you why you do the hard training in the rain and the cold, the threshold and VO2max efforts are all worthwhile when it means you get out for a long steady ride. The hard stuff all comes into perspective during a long steady ride.
Thanks long steady ride for reminding me that the hard moments will definitely be softened by the good.