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  1. #1
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Itz been a tough 8 years (physical-wise). Some 8 years back I just got burned out... from racin, from ridin bicycles and I guess just from the idea that I was only a few years away from the BIG 5 OH. So I stopped completely and in the period from late 97 to last year did under 150 miles on a bike (per my cyclecomputer) and many thousands on my motorbikes. Anyway, got fat and eventually, unhappy. Motorcycling has been a '2ndary' thing, that now became a focus. As fun and technical as it is, it still lacked something, something less removed from the environment, something more 'dependent' on me, something more in the 'speed of life', something more connecting to what I was riding thru and somehting less noisey.
    Last year, late in the summer I finally decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and change all that. Struggled thru many months of difficult progress, pedaling in squares, puffing hard over the smallest rises and 'trying' not to get discouraged. Things were slowly and steadily imrpoving. At least until this past Dec, when a Hummer driver almost hit me head-on while he was passing a group of cyclists around a blind turn.
    I avoided the deadly impact zone, but went off the road and suffered a broken shoulder socket, shattered shoulderblade, 5 broken ribs, punctured lug and the inevitable broken clavicle. It wasn't until mid April that I was able to resume ridin the bicycle.
    But I did with a vengence. Determined to not be put off or countered, I rode with new determination to not only find condition, but also find all the wonderful things cycling has/had given me over the years.

    This past weekend, unintentioned that it would be, became a 'coming' out. Sat. rode fairly strongly with a regular 'training' group in both hill and flat and fast 'race-pace' road work; then went off on my own for another 1 1/2 hours to accumulate a total of 60 miles.
    Decided, after waking yesterday (sunday) that the day would be a 'coming out' of climbing and descending. Now I've done climbing days every week, since May, but none to test me over almost 4 hours of riding. Yesterday was the day. A day to enjoy all the best our small valley had to offer.
    Out at 8am and easy 7 miles to the base of the 1st Climb - Old San Marcos Rd, up some 3.5 miles and 1500 ft., then up to East Camino Cielo and another 1,500 ft. Down Painted Cave Rd. a particularly steep and dirty path for most it length and then a highspeed rip down Rt 154 under fairly light morning traffic.
    And once again at the valley floor the slow and steady ascent of foothill road to the Toro Cyn area - another 2,000 ft of up and down and rolling climb. To hook up to what has always been my most feared climb. Feared not for length or ultimate steepness, but for its unforgiving 1 mile length. Ladera Rd jumps up from the ascent of foothill and goes over 1100 ft in a mile of straight roadway. Take a pool tabletop and tilt it to 9.5 gradient, never a slackening, never an increase, just brutal straight every inch uphill.
    The reward at the top is another uncomparable view of the valley AND the connection to Bella Vista Rd with its magical downhill swing. Tight and turny, Bella Vista, done east to west, is my cycling vision of powder skiing.
    With occasional breaks to take in views or quiet moments, the day was everything I had missed for almost 8 years. The swoop down Bella Vista was just short of heaven, accented by the short climb back up to and the roll along equally breathtaking Mountain Drive. Back down to the valley, a short stop to recoup and reflect and the easy roll home on the most perfect of days.
    All told, 64 miles of perfection for a wonderful morning of riding.
    For anyone who feels like I did, discouraged and lost of resolve. Don't give up. Whatever the result of your efforts, its all worth it. As good as the rides are we remember the most, it just doesn;t get any better than the one you're now on.
    Last edited by cyclezen; 08-29-05 at 04:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Cyclezen,

    Wow, right on!!!

    Your personal story should serve as an inspiration to us all...and especially those couch potatoes who need something to get them up and doing something.

    I just resumed cycling this last May and have to say it is a life-changing event. Lost 30 pounds so far and feel better than I have in years, although my knees aren't what they used to be.

    Congratulations!!!!

  3. #3
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Great story. Ride on, Cyclezen.....
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  4. #4
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Very cool. I wish I had such great climbs nearby. Back in 1985 I was in Ithaca, NY at Cornell for two weeks with my bike and I got to do a lot of riding in the hills around there and it was a blast. I'll never forget the ride I took from Ithaca to a friend's family farm south of Corning almost to the Pennsylvania border. Dang, some of those back roads had some hellaciously steep climbs! The worst one was a real b*tch and when I got to the top the pavement ended and it was "paved" with big rocks all the way down. I had to walk it down in my cleats. I also remember riding up Buffalo Street in Ithaca in my lowest gear (42 by 19) on a dare. Ah, to be young again. The biggest hills we have around Gainesville, Florida are only ~100 ft high. You can mash up them in the big ring if you are feeling fresh. In other words, there is no climbs around here.

    Welcome back to cycling! Cherish the days like you just have had. I have had days where it feels like there is no chain on the bike and the bike is propelled by magic. Then again some days I keep looking at my rear tire because I'm sure it must be flat.

  5. #5
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk
    ...
    Welcome back to cycling! Cherish the days like you just have had. I have had days where it feels like there is no chain on the bike and the bike is propelled by magic. Then again some days I keep looking at my rear tire because I'm sure it must be flat.
    thanks guys
    one of the great things about this forum is reading and learning that all of us are addressing personal challenges of one nature or other. I read all your stories and it keeps me motivated to reach a little further. KeithA - I understand the challenges of 'weight' and my left knee still accumulates fluid on a regular basis. Nice thing is that riding the bike helps my body 'reclaim' the fluid accumulation as long as I pay attention to not pushing past signs of fatigue in the knee area.
    Things I've learned. I've learned its not all about speed, or climbing, or distance. Its about what you happen to need at the moment you straddle the saddle and push off or what you need at any moment on the ride. I've learned that a social ride is as purposeful as hammering a PB on your favorite torture loop.
    I've recognized that even in a group, each ride offers a very personal and private time.
    More than anything else, the thing this forum makes clear are the limitless ways we all approach and enjoy the simple act of turning the pedals.
    looking forward to more tales from you all

  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Thank you CycleZen for sharing your personal thoughts!! I'm sure many of us can relate to many those all too well.

    For me, I still get those "moments" on a ride and they always come completely unexpected. Whether it's the view, the socializing, joining up with a well matched paceline or completing a ride where I had tremendous self doubts about my ability to even do it........I continue to treasure those moments that echo "Yes!!" , that's what cycling is all about........

    I can't tell you how wonderful it is to hear from someone who has been taken to "burn out" but has come back from the dark side to once again regain that personal enjoyment. Thanks againg for putting it out there for all of us to see!

    (and yes...I can very much relate to the 1 mile straight climb-Much harder than a 2 mile climb with lots of switchbacks!! I did one that averaged 11% last weekend and suffered immensely. But, boy it was terrific going off the backside!!)

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I keep trying to add to your posting, but so far have not been able to get the right words. At some time, we all get a little bored with our routine. I know that 4 years ago, I nearly gave up riding. Iwas losing my fitness, Things were not going right and I decided to give it a last ditch attempt to keep riding. I set myself a goal to hit in six months time. Had to get fit again so extra riding, different type of riding, down the gym and this was just to prove to myself that I could still get fit enough to do a long ride that was going to be hard. Did the ride, got the enthusiasm back but realised that I had a long way to go in the fitness stakes. Still go to the gym, still do the extra rides, but I live for those distance rides.

    If you feel like giving up, things are not going right, losing fitness- Fight back, set yourself a goal and go for it. Then if you give up cycling, you would not have gone down without a fight.

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