04 October 2008

on riding and running

every week i try to make myself ride at least 100 miles and run at least 10. even though i usually find myself doing the lion's share on saturdays, i've managed to meet my goal for the past few weeks. therefore i've learned that its a reasonable goal - the kind that is best defeated by sheer laziness.

i'm about a month into living in northern virginia, having spent the past two years living just down i-95 in richmond. the differences between fairfax and richmond in riding and running is pretty drastic. when i was training for the marathon in richmond, each run was a defiance of death by auto. there are almost no available sidewalks outside of richmond proper - leaving runners such as myself in henrico county to amble along the very shallow shoulders of three-lane highways. riding in richmond, however, is great - there's a strong cycling community and lots of people ride, and though i'd often be on huge divided highways, the traffic is generally light and drivers friendly.

northern virginia is a runner's paradise. there are paths along every major road, sidewalks nearly everywhere, and plenty of company. riding, unfortunately, is another story. while there are lots of "bike paths" available, they're really not suitable for road bikes (and definitely not for my rather worn front tire). fairfax county has done a very nice job trying to accomodate cyclists but the traffic defeats me. there are so many drivers at every hour of the day, and they expect riders to be on the paths. perhaps i've just lost some confidence since this summer, but i end up riding almost all of my 100 miles on a stationary because the roads are too intimidating for me. i suppose if i had a hybrid or a commuting bike i'd be much happier on the paths, but i think i'm more likely to invest in a trainer and continue watching tv while i ride. perhaps a group would help me get over my crowded suburban riding anxiety? or maybe this is a great opportunity to switch back into more running?

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