What makes you long distance riders want to ride so much?
I really admire folks who do long distance riding/training.
Was wondering what it is that makes you want to be on the bike so long and in all conditions year after year, day after day.
The obvious answer would be that you love riding, but I wonder what the other reasons are that keep you going.
I trained solo for the Century I did this year. I had a great time, but felt a little nervous being so far from home and on my own out there on the training rides.
I would love to do some longer Rando type riding, but I think I would need a training/riding buddy to make it more fun and less scary doing it on my own, but I don't know of any Rando groups around me and I don't think I could keep up with anyone anyway as I would probably be considered pokey on the bike (~15mph).
REALLY long distance riding....
"Was wondering what it is that makes you want to be on the bike so long and in all conditions year after year, day after day".
I wasn't gifted with the genetics that makes exercise 'enjoyable' and it takes a cattle prod or threat of death to keep me at it. As a consequence I gained almost 100lbs working a sedentary job. I discovered that loosing the weight was easier than keeping it off long term. Randonneuring became the best possible solution. I sign up for a 1200k or two every year- each one a harder and more daring ride than the year before. I'm not a strong rider and having something so monstrous dangling over my head keeps me training in one form or another year around in a highly structured way. I have to train progressively year after year and I'm constantly working on my alpha weakness which is climbing. To maintain the kind of training demands I have gotten really discliplined about eating a clean and appropriate diet. Even with riding 7-10K miles/yr, I still find that I have to manage my weight and health and keep the naughtiness to a minimum.
Yes there are good and occasionally great days on the bike. Riding a historic route through France or Spain is certainly worthy of envy. But frankly it's a heck of a lot of grinding work. I've learned more through this process - cycling, sports physiology, tactical planning, you name it- than it would have been possible to learn if I was just riding centuries or riding for 'fun'. The up side has been learning the discipline of the lifestyle, learning to take outrageous risks and of course the feeling of having accomplished a 1200K ride. I think it's true that it's impossible to communicate that feeling unless you've accomplished something like it. It changes the reference for a typical day.
best wishes on your journey