Where does your mind wonder?
I have been asked numerous times "What do you think about when you bike for 4 hours?" When I tell people about my trainning and the time that I spend in the saddle, or out on a run people seem to wonder what it is that I think about. In reality, this question can be answered in several different ways.
When I first got interested in biking, I would head north outside the city of Milwaukee on Lake Drive to find the newest road to tear up on my bike. Not much, if anything would enter my mind. Those bike rides at first were a type of relaxtion and place of "zen" if you want to call it that, where I would bike to escape life and the city that surrounded it. While I would be on my bike I would tune out life and just enjoy the scenary that would pass by, and always look for a new desolate road that I could claim mine for the time that I was on that. These are the rides that I have truly enjoy the most, they help me unwind and go into my own little world where no one can get in touch with me as long as I'm in my saddle. Now that I have started to use my bike in a more competitive setting those rides do not happen nearly as often since I mix in lactate threshold rides, tempo rides, hill climbs, intervals, etc. All of those rides never really amount to more then 2 hours in full and since those rides are much more intense my mind doesn't seem to wonder, but more or less focus on my heart rate and enjoy the suffering that I put my body through. I still do get away plenty fo times for those long ride of 3, 4, 5+ hours to escape life. What do I think about on those rides you ask? Everything and anything really. My mind seems to wonder endlessy and any thought that my mind can think of can cross my mind in those rides. I feel as if I am having a long conversation with myself where no topic is off limits, and no one else gets to listen in on it. It's a great thing to do sometimes, especially when you catch a nice sunset on the ride in the middle of summer, or crank out a 50 mile effort through the country before most people step foot out of their house for the day.
Before last year running was always a struggle for me. I hated it, never pushed myself with it, and was always frustrated with it. I don't know what clicked inside me or where I started to find joy in running, but it happened and now those long runs that I have are just as therapeutic as my long rides in the saddle. My mind acts the same way on those runs as it does on those long rides. So the next time I hop on my bike for a 60 mile ride out in the country and you want to know what I am thinking about...well try it yourself and see where your mind wonders!
Enjoy the ride!