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  1. #1
    Big Girl Biking isara's Avatar
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    Getting back into shape after time off

    I'm really curious about how quickly it takes some of you to recover your training if you haven't been on a bike in a while.

    I was out of town for two weeks and wasn't able to ride. When I got back, I tried to ride my usual 10 miles around the island (nice and flat) and I couldn't without everything hurting, being winded, and dropping into a much lower gear. I was stunned, since it's such an easy ride! I figured it had something to do with being off a bike for a few days.

    Is this sudden decrease in ability common? How long does it take you to recover?
    Last edited by isara; 08-16-09 at 10:35 PM.

  2. #2
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Yup and takes about a week if you ride regularly (4x a week). You'll get it back.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  3. #3
    Senior Member Bigboxeraf's Avatar
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    Two weeks is a long time. You've gone a bit slack. You'll be better in tomorrow and back to pace by mid week.

  4. #4
    Big Girl Biking isara's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. It was pretty disheartening to come back and find that my favorite ride hurt! And it didn't seem like that long of a time to be off the bike.

    Does make me worried for winter, though. I'm famous for blowing off the outdoors when it's cold, rain, or windy out. What do you folks do to combat the winter cold and downtime?

  5. #5
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    I dunno what winter's like in Alameda, but in NYC, it gets cold and sometimes snows. To combat winter cold, I put on long johns, wear wool socks and wool pullovers and keep riding.

    If that doesn't work for you and you're resigned to exercising indoors, try rollers or a trainer. Personally, I dislike exercising indoors hence the extra layers and the continuous riding all year long. I'd just rather be outside.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  6. #6
    Big Girl Biking isara's Avatar
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    Oh, I'm lucky here, but I'm, admittedly, a wimp We don't really have seasons in the Bay Area, but it does rain and can get pretty cold.

    Still, I'm considering a move to DC, and I don't want to lose all of my hard work, so good to know about what I'm getting myself in for

  7. #7
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Get some stylish wool garments and keep riding. It actually feels nice. Less sweaty anyway. And you can wear the wool stuff off the bike and not look like a bike geek.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  8. #8
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isara View Post
    I'm really curious about how quickly it takes some of you to recover your training if you haven't been on a bike in a while.

    I was out of town for two weeks and wasn't able to ride. When I got back, I tried to ride my usual 10 miles around the island (nice and flat) and I couldn't without everything hurting, being winded, and dropping into a much lower gear. I was stunned, since it's such an easy ride! I figured it had something to do with being off a bike for a few days.

    Is this sudden decrease in ability common? How long does it take you to recover?
    For a number of reasons I hadn't been on my bike for almost two weeks, and my first time out (yesterday) was for a metric century. Two weeks is plenty of time to lose the "fine tune". I'm hoping for a quick recovery, 'cause I'm scheduled for Livestrong Philly this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by isara View Post
    Does make me worried for winter, though. I'm famous for blowing off the outdoors when it's cold, rain, or windy out. What do you folks do to combat the winter cold and downtime?
    I hate cold weather. Last winter I tried base layer under armour, long sleeve jersey and cycling jacket, balaclava along with leg warmers or tights. Even with all that I wasn't having any fun much below about forty degrees. I was much more likely to ride a trainer with a Spinervals DVD (although indoor riding on a trainer isn't much fun either).
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bigboxeraf's Avatar
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    I become a utility cyclist in the winter. I put the Trek into storage and take out an old hybrid (brand unknown) my wrench reckons it was a specialized and use it to go grocery shopping everyday.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ghoulardi's Avatar
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    I actually did OK riding last winter, and I did what you did. Frequent, short rides. Three miles here and there did seem to at least keep me in somewhat of shape by spring.

    Granted, in spring, I ended up slacking off again and needed a bigger restart this summer. But I'm back in the full swing of things again.

  11. #11
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Just a couple of days. Two weeks isn't all that long to have been away from the bike. I regularly do that year round, however, in the time away from my bike I tend to focus on other cardio activities be it basketball, racquet ball, tread mill, etc. Generally I come back stronger than when I left off.

  12. #12
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    That's a good point bautieri. If you replace two weeks of riding with two weeks of other activities like jogging, roller blading, or some other sport where you're moving around a lot, the impact on your cycling fitness is much less than if you didn't do anything those two weeks.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  13. #13
    Senior Member Riverside_Guy's Avatar
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    The kind of weather we have this week in NYC is kinda keeping me off my bike (bad ticker so I might get away with it, but it's risky), but I do 2 miles of power walking to compensate. Actually, that also points to my ankles and calves not being in near as good a shape as the quads...
    1991 Trek 750 Multitrack Hybrid

  14. #14
    Big Girl Biking isara's Avatar
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    That's a great idea bautieri and Riverside Guy. Winter (and really hot or muggy days) is a good time to work on other muscle groups when going somewhere at distance is too distasteful or difficult.

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