I'm upset with myself.
I've been cycling inconsistently for the past two years. However, for the last two months I've buckled down to regular rides on a Saturday and Sunday. My Saturday rides are usually shorter (20-25 miles average speed 17mph). On the Sunday rides I've peaked at about 50 miles, same average speed.
During the week I use an indoor trainer or ride depending on the responsibilities at home. (I've two kids under 3). I'd say that the trainer is great for allowing me to focus on improving spinning/breathing, however its not the same as being on the road. I'm doing the best I can given my time constraints.
For the last couple of weeks I've introduced hills, and it has been hard. I've a 50/34 crankset with a 12-25T cassette.
I am 5'9" at 228 lbs. I've lost 10 lbs since I've been riding regularly this last time and made the necessary changes to my diet. No sugar etc. This is my first real focused effort at improving on the hills. I think I'm making slow, but sure, progress.
Now, here comes the rant.
I have this idea that one day I can ride with a group, but every time I get together with someone else to ride, that person puts on some type of 'coaching hat', thinking that I can do "this" or "that" to improve. Now, don't get me wrong, I love listening to how I can improve, but I am F#@... fed up of people not understanding that "if i could ride faster I would" or "If I could climb faster I would".
I am also tired of planning on a type of ride a week before, then the night before plans (which usually means intensity and distance) change. When hills are involved, this becomes a nightmare. There is a tremendous psychological defeat that usually follows.
The guys in the group are fitter than me. It seems that they are trying to set a progress rate for me that I just can't keep up with. Today was my lowest in point in terms of discouragement and frustration.
As usual the plans changed last night, and the hill was THE LONGEST AND HIGHEST I HAVE EVER NOT SEEN. I say "not seen", because I never saw the end of it. I quit after I'd had enough, turned around and returned home.
That's right. I quit. I've never quit a ride before. I found myself at this place where I was thrashing about and hating the fact that I was not riding alone, as I should be.
However, it's my fault because I agreed to go on the ride. I could have changed my mind. I have only myself to blame.
The good news is, that I am certain now that my best way forward is to rediscover cycling...alone.
I'm not interested in the competitiveness and the "coaches".
The concept of group rides and camaraderie will have to remain just that for a while.
Now that I'm looking at it more objectively, I'm seeing how I could have dissected the hill, found areas to recover etc. However, my body is saying that I'm doing too much too fast. I don't think I will improve by throwing myself into the deep end like this.
Planning and structure is important to me, not impressing other people.
So, I'm still here, looking forward to tomorrow...literally.
I've worked out a ten week, "newbie friendly" training plan, that allows me to build on the best that I've achieved, while being mindful of my weaker areas.
Cycling as a sport may be nearing rocket science, but having fun should never be.