This is mostly for newbies, like myself, who are trying to build strength and wondering when everything will fall into place.
I'm trying to ride at least 3 evenings per week in addition to our long weekend ride(s). Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in the time. This week I made several excuses to myself until I finally forced myself to get off the couch in the middle of CSI Miami, change into my cycling clothes, and just go. I decided that 30 minutes, or even 20 minutes, is better than nothing at all for that one evening. So I headed out and ended up riding for an hour. During my ride I pondered this issue (my mind never stops ) and the phrase "brick by brick" came to mind. A house is built brick by brick, not all at once. Similarly, endurance and strength are built ride by ride, mile by mile, one ride at a time.
Today we rode 24 miles. We cut it short due to the heat, and my legs weren't into it anyway from the start. In spite of that and pushing myself to keep going in a comfortable gear, my legs feel terrific tonight. I attribute that to the "little" evening rides of any length that I can fit in during the week. Brick by brick, week by week, it happens.