The Seven Year Itch
So I got on my bike for the first time in seven years this weekend. Everything was harder than Iíd remembered it:
- Felt like I was working way too hard to be going so slow
- Legs were already feeling the burn after 20 minutes (though I was able to stay in the saddle a total 45 minutes, 15 minutes longer than Iíd planned)
- Took almost 15 minutes to relearn shifting
- Balance is all off, riding with no-hands used to be a piece of cake, now itís wobbly and scary
- Paranoid around cars, fortunately didnít have to deal with too many as it was super early and stuck to side streets
- My keister is killing me, as is my lower back Ė Iíve forgotten how painful the seat, and that position, is when youíre not used to them
On the plus side, I was able to snap in and out of the clips ok without falling, and I never really lost my breath Ė while the muscles were weak and tired too easily, my cardio held up respectably.
I wasnít in unbearable pain or anything like that, but I definitely felt sore the rest of the day and into Sunday. Got it together to get on the bike again this morning for a 30 minute ride and was pleased to find that while the seat was still uncomfortable, it wasnít as bad as Saturdayís ride, so I guess Iím already starting to adapt. My hope is to do 2-3 more 30 minutes rides this week and then do a full hour on Saturday; ride most days next week (30 minutes) and gradually keep adding on till I can commute to and from work by mid-August (18-20 miles round trip).
Any one else come back to cycling after extended time off? How long before I get my groove back?
This spring I decided I really needed to do something about my total lack of fitness.. So after 9 years of not riding I decided to get back in the saddle! I'm not starting my 9th week back. I experienced a lot of what you have! I will say my fitness level as far as ride duration, speed, etc. is coming back much quicker than I imagined... In fact much to my surprise I did a pretty tough century ride yesterday...
So great job getting that bike out! Stick with it and it will come back to you! Maybe even quicker than you expect!
Yeah, stopped riding in 1984 (bought a car, sold the bike, yeah I know, stupid), started riding again in 2005, so 3 times as long. Found the old saying that you never really forget how to ride a bicycle is actually true. You probably were mashing in too high a gear, which is why it seemed like working too hard for the speed you were going. Leg burn, often attributed to lactic acid, although they are not so sure anymore about that anymore. I had no problems with shifting, came back pretty fast. Balance, comes back, I don't know how long though, I have two bicycles and the mountain bike, I can't ride no hands for more then a second or two, the road bike I can ride no hands for hours, it has a lot more trail though. I've had it a much shorter time though. Cars, there are a couple of ways to deal with the paranoia, a good mirror is one of them, wearing at least something high-viz also helps, if you want something inexpensive, visit a place that sells to construction, and pick up one of those construction vests, in some ways it's better as cagers are familiar with them on road crews. The seat if it was comfortable before, will probably be comfortable again, it takes a while to get your kester back into shape, after all that time on soft upholstery.
Originally Posted by Sr. Tortuga
Yep, I did something similar, stopped in about 2001, just started again in 2010 and holy CATS the first 5 miles were rough. Couldn't even make it up my street without stopping twice (hills... never did like 'em)
It'll come back, probably faster than you expect. :)
I started in March with 2.5-mile rides and I just did a 30-mile ride today - so you can definitely work up to commuting to work in a month or two.
(I was coming back after a 20+ year absence, basically - stopped cycling at age 17 when I got a car -- although I've made some less serious attempts to get back into cycling over the years.)
Just increase your time/mileage gradually and don't forget to take a day off every few days...
you are in good company; I stopped in 1982 with the birth of my first chid. That first time back on was a bit scary indeed.
This is my first year back as well. It's been 15 years or so, I guess, so long I can't really remember lol. But my bikes are a 1989 Bianchi, and a 1996 Trek so it must have been around that long.
Anyway, everything bike fitness took much longer to come back then I remember but I attribute it too being 15 years older. Speed really took the longest. I could ride 10 or 20 miles from the start really, but speed was really slow. I have around 1800 miles since March 7th and I am just now noticing that my speed is increasing and the hills and wind are not nearly as much of an issue as they were earlier in the year.
It took the arse a good month, month and a half to come out of it. I didn't think I was going to be able to ride anymore. I had to take a day or two off between rides to let my butt recover. I told my wife that I was likely going to have to sell the bikes - it just wasn't comfortable. Well, I persisted and a friend let me try several saddles that he had bought and rejected. To my surprise, the first one that I tried, felt much better then my old San Marco...however I also think that was about the time the arse begin to toughen up too.
I can ride 20-25 rolling miles and average between 14 and 15 miles per hour on my hybrid. That is an increase from 9-10 miles per hour on that same route in March.
In 2006 I suffered a spinal fracture. I took cycling in 2008 up as a form of rehabilitation that seemed cheaper (or so I thought) and less of a PITA than a gym membership. Today, 25 lbs. lighter, and with just as considerable a dent in my wallet, I own 3 bikes and cycling has become somewhat of an obsession for me. Now I understand my wife's addiction to handbags - I can't leave the LBS without a bag full of goodies. It had been close to 15 years since I'd owned a bike before I started again and now I find myself riding further than I ever did before, even as a kid. Best of all, it seems to have worked for my back; I have more mobility and feel stronger overall than I did before my accident.
Wow - I can see I am definitely not alone. It's been really heartning to read so many stories from folks who have been out of it as long, if not longer, than I have, and with great results too (9 weeks to a Century? Amazing!).
In July of 2003, I'd just made the decision to train for a triathlon (had been a marathon runner and distance swimmer for years, a rower in college and had been cycling for a year) when I was on my way to work and a woman ran a red light and laid me up for six months. That was her fault.
When I was able to work out again, I'd put on so much weight that I just gave up and kept packing the pounds - 100 of them. That was my fault.
It's taken me seven years to realize I can't change what she did to me, but I can do something about what I've done to myself.
Thanks for sharing stories and support, guys.
PS - Got on again this morning for another 30 minutes. The "arse" hurt but eventually subsided to a dull pain. I vaugely remember from my first time taking up riding that it took a good month or two to get acclimated to the seat. I guess time's a healer.
Been on and off the bike for the last 8 years. In all these years weight between 165 and 230 lbs and back to 165 and so on. I have three bikes and I'm heavy now. :) I try to ride very day but I cannot because of my butt. Tried several saddles some of them better than others. I need to take days off after a longer ride.Yes time's a healer and we have to remember that and do not give up.