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  1. #1
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    A bittersweet nostalgic hill ride

    Many years ago I had this morning routine, roll out of bed and ride about 8-10 miles round trip with a 700-800 foot climb, before breakfast

    now, 30 years later, 50 pounds heavier, and riding for 6 months after a 20 year layover, I thought I'd built my legs up to the point of trying my old daily ride again.

    good news, I made it. Beautiful ride, and funny how I remembered all the curves, remembered the views, remembered the smell of the eucalyptus trees on the way.

    but the road must be much steeper than it used to be, as I used to ride it with a tight 10 speed, 42 front 23 rear low gear. now with all the grades they've added it requires a triple with 30 up front, 26 behind. and about a half dozen riders passed me on the way up, no one used to pass me. and what used to be a 50 minute round trip was now almost 1 hour on the uphill alone.

    Glad to be riding, glad I'm getting stronger, but when I go back to an objective measure, a ride I used to do routinely, it's a mix of depression and pride

    thanks for listening!

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
    Glad to be riding, glad I'm getting stronger, but when I go back to an objective measure, a ride I used to do routinely, it's a mix of depression and pride

    thanks for listening!
    Forget the depression, and look at the pride. To be back riding after 20 years and you will have lost something. I actually have a hill that I climbed, or rather did not, 15 years ago when I started riding. I still dread that hill, and don't do it very often, perhaps once a year. Why I don't like it now is beyond me- it is not the tallest hill- not the steepest and in fact I climb it with ease every time I do it. Thing to do is stay away from that hill for a month or so, then do it again. The extra riding in between will have improved the legs and body and it will be easier. Perhaps not up to the style you used to do it in, but keep going back to it every couple of months or so and see how you improve over the next few years.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    The curve of life is undeniable. What our BF community here expresses is the pride in digging in the heels, slowing that downhill curve, sometimes creeping back up a little....all the while sadly watching too many of our peers slip sliding away helplessly downwards. The pride is in accepting yet resisting age, finding pleasure in doing so, and showing ourselves and others (younger ones?) how to live a whole life through. Not being Pollyanna here I hope, but I think that Life is the biggest hill of all...and affirmation through personal action at whatever level is the best gear for getting to the top of it. Uphill speed is about vanity....style of living and finally getting to the top is pride.

    Back to my Christmas cookies.....
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
    .

  4. #4
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Truth be told, I look at things a bit differently. I think many here are more fit overall than many much younger than us. It's all about how far we are up the ladder of individual potential. Our potential might be lower than it once was, but if we optimize ourselves as much as possible, I think we'll out distance many a young 'un who lies around all day eating fast food and watching TV. Ooh, I was one of those myself, but I'm trying to keep the ship righted.

  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
    Many years ago I had this morning routine, roll out of bed and ride about 8-10 miles round trip with a 700-800 foot climb, before breakfast

    now, 30 years later, 50 pounds heavier, and riding for 6 months after a 20 year layover, I thought I'd built my legs up to the point of trying my old daily ride again.

    good news, I made it. Beautiful ride, and funny how I remembered all the curves, remembered the views, remembered the smell of the eucalyptus trees on the way.

    but the road must be much steeper than it used to be, as I used to ride it with a tight 10 speed, 42 front 23 rear low gear. now with all the grades they've added it requires a triple with 30 up front, 26 behind. and about a half dozen riders passed me on the way up, no one used to pass me. and what used to be a 50 minute round trip was now almost 1 hour on the uphill alone.

    Glad to be riding, glad I'm getting stronger, but when I go back to an objective measure, a ride I used to do routinely, it's a mix of depression and pride

    thanks for listening!
    Can't speak for others but I hear a lot of determination here!! For gosh sakes most folks would not even have even attempted what you did. Congratulations on conquering the hill this time. Please don't let the fact that you once did it a little faster and probably in a harder gear deter you from continuing to improve. You know what your potential can be and probably know the time and effort needed to get back to a point that you're taking an immense amount of pride and satisfaction from not only just riding but your overall performance.

    Keep pedaling and the pounds will gradually slip away if that is what you wish. And also if you wish, you'll see your times continues to improve to a point you'll be bragging to the rest of us how that hill seems easier than it did 30 years ago.

    Thanks for sharing your ride and keep us posted on how you're doing!!!

  6. #6
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    I went on Al's ride out of Newark across the Dumbarton Bridge and hammering up Alpine Dr. There were a bunch of fast guys and they were slowly but surely getting away from me. A regroup and we started again up a hill and they slowly pulled away. Then a downhill and old fat guy closed it back down. Again a regroup and I started off last or so and ended up more or less in the front group leading into the rest stop.

    A soy latte with a mixed berry tart and we were off again. Doddling along I got tired of that and picked up the pace just a tad. I looked back and I must have made a series of lights just right and the large group was nowhere to be seen.

    I carried it for about 10 miles up over the bridge again and back on the 3 mile straight to the Audabon Center. About 1/4 mile out a paceline with the fastest guys came tearing by but they'd blown themselves up to catch me and they slowed dramatically so I was only 4 or 5 seconds behind at the top of the rise where we regrouped yet again.

    Then it was a spin for a couple more miles back to the parking lot where everyone wished everyone else merry Christmas and before we knew it we were home after a 35 mile ride in fairly nice conditions.

    It's supposed to rain on Christmas day but if it isn't pouring I'll do a 25 mile ride I keep in reserve for bad days. I have to do another 95 miles this coming week to get my 5500 miles in for the year.

    Anyone living in Alameda ought to ride with Cherry City you know.

    http://www.cherrycitycyclists.org

  7. #7
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    I've been out with Cherry City, but even on the leisurely rides I've been the slow one way in the back...

    The point is I'm still plugging, and in 6 months I've made a lot of progress. So I'll be back with the group come spring.

    But I'm also aware of how far I am from what I used to do, and how much it cost me physically and healthwise to lay off for 20 yrs.

    so that's why it's bittersweet...

  8. #8
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    I like that idea, I'll use that ride as my measuring stick, maybe try it quarterly, Ill set a time goal and hope there's an improvement!

  9. #9
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    well said, thanks for the deep thoughts!

  10. #10
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    Well, everyone is welcome on the Cherry City rides. Be aware that there's nothing wrong with being slow and building up. Everyone has to go through the same pain. I won't bore you with my own progress over the years.

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