June is Bike Month.
But July is cycling month.
It’s the month when Le Tour takes over the TV; the news and other regular programming goes unwatched.
It’s the month of long days and longer rides.
It’s the month of big mileage, sore legs, new routes.
Last year, July was a bit of a letdown.
The Tour was lame. And for the first time since 2009, I didn’t achieve 1,000 km in July’s 31 days.
This year I was determined to right that ship.
The weather helped. Aside from a couple of light sprinkles, and a rainy morning that scuttled our group ride on the month’s last Sunday, every day was dry, usually sunny, mostly warm.
The company of other riders helped. Two of our FR Fuggitivi rides in the month topped 100 km. And the summer of Grant meant there was always someone to answer the request; “wanna ride?”
In fact, Grant’s mileage made my modest accomplishment look like a medio fondo.
Still, it was a good month; I was on the bike 17 times for a total of 1,312.6 km.
That made it my best July since 2008, when I just nudged over 1,600 km in the month, also in 17 rides.
But then, 11 of those rides were longer than 100 km.
The metric century seems harder to achieve now. I don’t know why.
I doubt it’s a question of fitness or commitment.
I think it’s about time.
In 2008, with no family, no Little Ring to drop off and pick up from daycare, no errands like groceries or laundry to tend to on an almost daily basis, spending seven or eight hours on the bike didn’t feel like stealing time from other duties.
Now, those duties call constantly.
Six hours on the bike instead means a couple of hours leftover to answer those commitments of life, to ensure everything is in order when Princess of Pavement returns from school, Little Ring gets home hungry for food and attention.
It’s a good shift of ride-life balance.
The mileage may not be as extreme. But the experience is richer.