Covid-19 Pandemic and Endurance Cycling
It’s interesting to see how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected training patterns for cyclists. With group riding outdoors being pretty much eliminated, and the Spring weather conditions being kind of lousy, most cyclists seem to be putting their training on hold. I, for one, am part of that group. I have found it very difficult to get motivated to hop over a bike top tube and pedal for any duration.
It usually takes me about 900 to 1000 miles of riding to get in reasonable cycling shape. That typically takes a month or less to achieve. So I expect when the warmer, less wet, weather comes in a few weeks I’ll be back in riding shape pretty quick. Nothing to worry about.
The sad thing is where I live, i.e., NJ, has been hit exceptionally hard by Covid-19. So many residents are out of work, losing money, and going broke. Will convenience stores be able to rebound? Will they be open when I need them on my long rides? Will my club mates in the local bike clubs want to start riding again? Can they financially afford to? Will they be able to get in shape as quickly as I expect I’ll be able to?
I guess the biggest question I’ve got is whether Randonneurs USA (RUSA.org) will rebound. So many of the members of that organization ride because they are caught up in the various “awards” they can earn doing RUSA rides. And many of the awards require monthly riding, or you have to start over to earn the award. I’m currently in the middle of earning an award that can take up to 2 years to earn. But Covid-19 has eaten into that 2-year window and also disrupted the availability of rides needed to earn the award. Sure, the window can be expanded. But one might think that cheapens the award if you can earn it “with a little help.”
I know my enthusiasm for RUSA has lessened considerably over the past year. Seems like I’m more interested in creating long routes for the local RUSA regions than I am riding the routes. When I joined RUSA in January, 2017 it quickly became apparent that the Northeast was not a hotbed for RUSA cycling. If you wanted to do a 1000k or 1200k RUSA event you were going to have to travel. That bothered me. Sure, I traveled. But ever since then I have been developing my route design skills so I could (or maybe, can) get the Northeast caught up to the 2 or 3 hotbed regions in the US.
Initially I was under the impression that the lack of long routes was due to a lack of riders able to design and create those routes. And that certainly is partly true. But RUSA has an organizational problem with regard to its RBA’s. They are the only ones allowed to “officially” create the routes. And they decide whether or not they like a route before it can be submitted for approval. A lot of time, energy, and mental gymnastics goes into the design and creation of a long bike route. And when there is no guarantee that the RBA for the region in which the route exists will like it, most riders take the “why bother” approach. And as a result, few if any long routes are created. Bummer.
Maybe it’s time to move on? Maybe just design routes for me and my friends? We’ll see after this Covid-19 pandemic passes.