For yesterday’s mountain biking session I decided to do a mix of road and trail riding. For the paved portion of my workout I focused on all-out riding for as long as I could go followed by brief sections of active recovery at about 60% exertion. For example, I’d go all out for a mile (which, depending on the elevation changes, takes me about 2.5 – 3 minutes) and then I’d do 1/2 mile at around 60% of my maximum effort. I maxed my heart rate (196 BPM) at least 5 times doing these intervals yesterday (I always wear my Timex Ironman while I’m training).
As difficult as those all-out miles were, the most challenging part of my ride was a long, steep off-road hill that I discovered. This climb is steeper than Sugar Sand Hill (AKA “Heart Rate Hill”) at Wekiwa, and I think it’s a little longer, too. There is some sugar sand, but it’s not as bad as Sugar Sand Hill at Wekiwa. I’m not sure which of the two I find most challenging, but from a cardio-vascular standpoint they are probably about equal. I maxed my heart rate before I even reached the top of the hill, and pushing on for those last 10-15 meters when your heart already feels like it’s about to come out of your chest is a real challenge! Pushing through the pain when attempting these kinds of challenges is where growth and improvement occurs, and so giving up is never an option. No matter how much it hurts my mindset is always, “You will not stop – period”. The only excuse for not cresting the hill is complete muscular failure or passing out and falling off the bike.
As much as I love mountain biking, my enjoyment of it has increased even more since taking up photography. I love being able to hop on my bike with some water and a camera and then go explore the world around me. It’s amazing how much incredible stuff we miss out on as we rush around in our daily lives. Ever since I started bringing a camera along on my mountain biking trips I’ve found that I’ve become much more perceptive, and I’ve seen things that I’ve never noticed in the past. Everyone knows that regular exercise is an important part of staying healthy, but there are other aspects to health as well. These morning mountain biking/photography trips have been good for my soul, and they help keep me positive and centered. Contrasting these fun and exciting mountain biking excursions with all those mindless and boring cardio sessions I’ve done over the years really drives the point home. No wonder so many people hate exercise. Get off the treadmill and go outside–there’s no law that says exercise has to suck!
For more pictures from yesterday’s ride check out this post in my photography journal.