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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Bummed, And I Should Know Better

    Today I set out for a long ride, given it was a holiday. My goal was to do at least thirty miles, aim for sixty-two, and if I got there and still had energy, then go for seventy five.

    I was riding a six mile loop, with considerable headwind on half of it. When I started, it was 44 degrees, and I wore two teeshirts and a windbreaker. After thirty seven miles, I gave up. Only four laps to go and I would have had my second metric, but I just couldn't keep going. Although the temperature had risen to about 58 degrees, and I could remove the windbreaker, the two teeshirts were soaked with perspiration and I felt too cold.

    But the real problem is I felt I let myself down. I could have finished the metric with just a little more ooomph. I wasn't that tired, I certainly wasn't dehydrated nor undernourished. I just reached a point where the ride wasn't fun, and I couldn't talk myself in keeping going.

    So, I came home, looking at the half empty glass, when the reality was it was half full (37 miles is 37 miles, after all).

    Part of my problem today was that my head would simply not stop working the math. How many miles had I gone -- how many remained? What time was it? How long had I been in the saddle? How much longer would it be? What's 62 miles minus 27 miles which means how many do I have left? So on, and so forth.

    The first lap was murder -- cold and sluggish. It wasn't until I reached the 20's in terms of miles that I began to feel I was getting somewhere -- and then my brain reminded me that even at 25 miles, I was still 50 miles shy of 75. And I was already tiring!

    So, I'm bummed that I gave up on myself too quickly, even though I know I should be happy with what I did accomplish. I've got to learn how to turn off my brain on these long rides, and enjoy the scenary more. The biggest problem with this ride is it almost never felt like fun. When it's no fun, it's hard to keep going.
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  2. #2
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Gary...you're the 90% mental guy, right? Sounds like your mental wore out before your body. A few things: maybe a wicking layer under your windbreaker so you don't intemittently freeze and/or drown in your own sweat. Also, maybe expand that loop from 6 miles....awful lot of repetition--try a new route that will occupy your mind beyond boredom and discomfort. Be great if you could find a riding partner(s). Don't forget the old chestnut of only focusing on a short term stage of a long way ride. Earn that mocha or whatever at the end!

    Finally, jeez Gary, forgive yourself and acknowledge that even Serious Cyclists have their off-days. Why, even Jan Ulrich's had a few! Most days it clicks and all goes well, some days is REALLY clicks and you fly, and some days better to take the dog for a walk. But, Serious Cyclists are always back out the next day--probably flying. [Oh, the relief, they haven't "lost it".]

    Gary, you can admit it to the Forum, you are, after all, only human after all.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  3. #3
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Dude, don't be hard on yourself, some days you ride the bull, some days you get the horn. Mind if I throw my two-cents in on a couple of points?

    1. Part of what took it out of you was how you were dressed, IMO. You can wear pretty much anything for casual short rides, but when you are pushing for distance and endurance, being comfortable is a must. Loose the cotton tee shirts, they are like sweat sponges, they get heavy and they get cold. Find some shirts with a fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin and does not suck it up like a sponge either, wool, polyester, polypro, etc. - wool is pricy, but poly can be found at any Target pretty cheap. My personal favorite is bellana wool, which is a mixture of wool and viscose. From 0-80 it keeps me cool and dry. Nashbar also carries some Terramar shirts that I really like in the summer. You also want to watch the kind of windbreakers you wear, you need to block wind, but also have a way to let more air in...and out! Front zip will let air in, pit zips are great for letting the warm moist air out. I highly recommend this jacket, which I use year round - http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Wind-Jackets.html or you can have the wife cut out the pits for you, add some velcro or zippers, or even rip the sleeves off and use as a vest.

    2. You say it in your sig - 90% mental. Quit thinking about how far you've gone and how far you have to go and just enjoy the ride...IMO much easier if you go exploring rather than sticking to laps around the same course. I've also found that music helps...darn MP3 players are the best invention since peanut butter...but a lot of folks will disagree about the wisdom of riding with headphones. I usually put one in my right ear, leaving the left open to hear the traffic on my left.

    3. Cycling aint about numbers, targets and such, it's about having fun...you said it yourself, when it's no fun, it aint no fun.

    4. Be happy you ain't riding up here where it was 24F when I rode to work this morning and will be raining when I ride tomorrow, snowing when I ride Wednesday.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  4. #4
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    Sounds tough DG, but don't let it get you down. Some days just aren't meant to break records, or reach goals. Other days when you might have to kick yourself to get out of the house you will wind up having great rides. If it is no fun though, take a break either for the day or an hour. I also agree with GGear that a 6 mile loop may be holding you back. Venture forth!! Hit those unknown roads. Look to some of the other threads in here about guys heading whichever way looks interesting. jppe seems to do that with some regularity and comes in with interesting riding reports.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trek Al's Avatar
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    Like they said Gary, you are being too hard on yourself. I had a bummer on Sunday as I went on a 30 mile ride with my local club. Thought I was getting in decent shape and could do ok, as I had done a tough 30 mile ride last Thursday. Six young bucks and one young buckette showed up for ride. I started at the back and was warming
    up doing 16 mph in these East Tennessee hills with my legs a bit sore and burning on the steep uphills. Not sure how fast they were going but I last saw them going over a hill about a quarter mile ahead at milepost 3. I guess they were all at home having a beer after their hot shower by the time I finished.

    Al

  6. #6
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    I was riding a six mile loop, with considerable headwind on half of it. When I started, it was 44 degrees,
    So Gary, you had three problems (plus the t-shirt thing) and you needed three solutions. Six mile loop--no, no, no--if you want to do a metric, ride 31 miles away from home, then you will have to ride the other 31 miles back ; wind, of course, sucks (or is it blows), but if you choose a course into the wind on your outbound leg, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to ride coming home; and finally and most important, 44 degrees in SoCal is the same as -10 degrees in the East/Midwest. You obviously had wind driven, hypothermia-induced brain freeze. 37 miles is nearly twice as far as I went today and I came home feeling pretty good about my trip. You would not let any other 50+ beat up on him/her self like you just did to yourself, so fagidaboudit. Have some pie. Ride tomorrow.

    Tim

  7. #7
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Who's got pie? Do I smell pie? Yup I smell pie. Oh goodie, I really do smell pie! L8R
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Gary,

    About the cold. Living in NH where it was -3 and a windchill of -25 this morning, I know about how to stay warm. The crucial thing is to move the sweat away from your body. Go to Old Navy and look in the men's athletic section. They sell 100% synthetic t-shirts in long and short sleaves for between $10-$20. They even come in bright safety minded vivid colors! When I rode last Friday it was 45 when I started and 39 when I came home. I wore 3 shirts (one short sleave) and a nylon vest (bright orange and I even had my blinky lights on). Only the tips of my toes were cold--- and only at the end of the ride. Ditch the cotton even in the warm weather. You won't regret it.

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  9. #9
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    A word in defense of cotton. Summers in the foothills of the Sierra are HOT! and, importantly, DRY not humid. My best summer "jersey" is an old, cotton T-shirt with sleeves and tail torn off and bib shorts. Lots of ventilation. The damp cotton dries very quickly but provides some cooling as it goes. Works for me better than polyester...and keeps my Fred credentials valid and no "farmer tan" which, to all native Californians, is socially toxic.

    Fall comes, I go to wool, then wool with a wicking long sleeve beneath, then windbreaker, then jacket....then the cycle reverses itself to cotton T-shirt again. Can't begin to imagine Chipcom and other snow bunny types. Brrrrrrrr!
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  10. #10
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    A word in defense of cotton. Summers in the foothills of the Sierra are HOT! and, importantly, DRY not humid. My best summer "jersey" is an old, cotton T-shirt with sleeves and tail torn off and bib shorts. Lots of ventilation. The damp cotton dries very quickly but provides some cooling as it goes. Works for me better than polyester...and keeps my Fred credentials valid and no "farmer tan" which, to all native Californians, is socially toxic.

    Fall comes, I go to wool, then wool with a wicking long sleeve beneath, then windbreaker, then jacket....then the cycle reverses itself to cotton T-shirt again. Can't begin to imagine Chipcom and other snow bunny types. Brrrrrrrr!
    To be perfectly honest, until I moved back here to the humid north coast, my usual summer garb were sleeveless cotton shirts. I spent 10 years in New Mexico prior to coming back here. I still wear cotton/poly sweatshirts as my outer layer sometimes in early fall...wool was always too expensive until I discovered you could get merino wool sweaters cheap at the thrift shop! My favorite summer shirt is now a $79 bellana wool shirt that I ripped the sleeves off.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the ideas re: clothing, changing the route, and so on. Very helpful. I think I'm most disappointed today because my MIND let me down, not my body. Yes, I was a little tired, but my MIND gave up long before my body would have, and as you know, I believe cycling is 50% physical and 90% mental. I even sort of watched myself cave in mentally -- I could see/hear my own inner debate and I let myself fall for it.

    Falling for my own BS is NOT supposed to happen! I also know if I'd gone one more lap, I would have done the rest. I would have been in the forties, and that's so darn close to the fifties that it's not even funny, and that's right next door to sixty. So I would have kept going. I wanted to leave it all there on the road today, not bring anything home. I wouldn't have been any more tired / sore than I am now.

    Reason I was doing those loops was it was the same place (Coronado) that I'd done my first metric, last October, way before I thought I was ready, and I did that one on KNOBBIES. I wanted to compare the first to the second. So to go out there on slicks, in much better shape, and with a metric already under my belt, and then to let myself talk myself into quitting, was just too much.

    But I'm trying to reframe. I keep telling myself I went 7 miles farther than my minimum goal. That helps, but no one remembers who finished second.
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  12. #12
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Man, DG, ya gotta rent "American Flyers" where Kevin Costner made his more or less film debut. About this guy who cracks in a race but there's a brain aneurism thing in his family and then he and his reluctant little brother decide to battle back toward victory in the Hell of the North race. Whoa, dude. Won't spoil the ending but its bittersweet happy sort of. Also hokey and unreal, but good for a bachelor at home evening. Inspirational a little. No "Breaking Away" which is a truly gotta see cycling movie, but Flyers will do as an "I cracked" movie. Besides, you can watch Rae Dawn Chong and dream.............................

    New to cycling and more callow in those days, I ran out and bought a Specialized Allez just like Kevin's in the flick. But my career didn't take off like his. Go rent 'em both for a cycling double feature. And DG, lighten up dude.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I agree with those that wouldn't wear cotton as the base layer, especially in cooler temperatures. Wool seems to be about as good as it gets, and is still thought much better than synthetic materials in areas where you can run into serious trouble.
    Set up a route that goes by a lot of convenience stores. Then you can say you were supported by the 7-Eleven team.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    Gary, laps are the toughest possible way to put on miles, 'cause it's so easy to pack it in, once every six miles. It's possible to get into a kind of meditative state when you're cycling laps, but given the temperatures, the cotton undershirts (big mistake, as you realize) and the discomfort, that wasn't going to happen.

    A metric century loop, where the only way to get home is to finish, would serve you better. Don't be discouraged!
    Last edited by bernmart; 01-17-06 at 07:28 AM.
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  15. #15
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    DG,

    I am of Bern's persuasion. I don't do laps because I can resist anything . . . but temptation! I always go WAAAYYY out and then back.

    BTW . . . have beer and forget about it! Tomorrow's waiting. It's not like your Tour de France race training is all screwed up now!

    Tyson

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    Nev
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    Hi,
    I never ride 'laps' but have a goal & just head off.
    Here on the north side of Brisbane, we ride a large ciruit with a 65km 'lap' that can be extended to 85kms, after about 10km; at 30km,s it can be extended further; and so it goes on.
    Nothing repeated, forever something new, and is very satisfying.
    Another out & back is a great 100km, with an excellent finish.
    I was living out in Roma, western Queensland - for a while - a great spot to live.
    Cool in the winter, warm in summer; lots of 'roos & other wild life - plus bird-life by the millions.
    Head off, keep something in reserve, stay safe & enjoy...

  17. #17
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    But I'm trying to reframe. I keep telling myself I went 7 miles farther than my minimum goal. That helps, but no one remembers who finished second.
    You were riding alone I gather. That means you came in first. Clocks and computers mean nothing. What did you see on the ride. Did you enjoy breathing and the feel of your legs pushing the pedals?

    Be Here Now.

    Nuff said.

  18. #18
    Touring senior
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    DG - I'm sold on the "out-&-back" loop too (out into the wind), but one reason that hasn't been mentioned yet is the psych. I keep telling myself that when I finally get to turn around it's going to be cruisin time, all the way home! That's almost as good as a piece of pie!

  19. #19
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Everyone keeps on about a wicking layer and how good it is and where you can buy it---BUT no-one has said the obvious. Cycling tops !!!! Excepting the cheap ones- these are made of the right material- Do work- and come in a variety of sizes. On top of that, they are comfortable.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  20. #20
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Everyone keeps on about a wicking layer and how good it is and where you can buy it---BUT no-one has said the obvious. Cycling tops !!!! Excepting the cheap ones- these are made of the right material- Do work- and come in a variety of sizes. On top of that, they are comfortable.
    Stapfam,

    I was appealing to Gary's sense of "Fred" and frugality. Old Navy ($) seems to be more Gary's type than Pearl Izumi ($$$$)!

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  21. #21
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Fred, we're both in So Calif and live and ride practically next to the Pacific Ocean. You can save on bike wear by going to the surf shops and getting rash guards. I think they work very well for bike riding. They have some spandex material mixed with other synthetics. They're fast drying and have some sunlight protection. I use both long sleeve and short sleeve rash guards. These mornings it gets pretty cold and windy so I start with a short sleeve, then arm warmers from Performance, then a long sleeve rash guard. No wind jacket but sometimes I do cheat a bit and use a plastic bag from the produce dept and sandwich that in between the two rash guards so that the wind does not penetrate the chest.

    The price of the rash guards are around $15.00 for short sleeve and $20.00 for the long sleeve when on sale. Since I live in Huntington Beach, I go to Jack's and Huntington Surf. Jacks has their warehouse in town and that's where I get the sale prices.

    Also in Huntington Beach is the company, TYR which makes swimwear, like Body Glove, Speedo, etc. The interesting thing about TYR is that they also carry a line for triathletes. So twice a year they have a factory close out sale, July and Decembeer.

    Other tidbits: The size I buy is not for surfing. I get a size larger because its for biking. Because there's no pouch to these type shirts, I buy an extra large bag for under the saddle. If you go to Hawaii, there are surf shops there and you get some nice rash guards with Hawaiian logos. I have noticed at some sports stores like Sports Chalet and REI, that they're selling shirts similar to bike shirts and rash guards but are an all purpose type microfiber T shirt but tight. That too is good for our weather conditions.

    I had a tough ride on Sunday as well. It was very windy and cold on Pacific Coast Highway. I had to keep the cadence high and sacrificed speed. Its one of those days when I'm glad just to finish at get home. Towards the end as I approached the Huntington Beach pier, I decided to stop by the Jamba Juice store and get an ounce of wheat grass extract. That plus some water actually helped me recover.

  22. #22
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    Gary, wonder if that headwind thing was significant? I just have never enjoyed doing anything when there's a lot of wind (and here I am living in one of the higher wind density states) and now, new to road biking, I find I still don't have much of an appreciation for the wind. I'll take hills any day over wind. Now a tailwind is kinda fun but you always have to do an equal amount against it. Must be some life lesson in that for the introspective.

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    Gary, I think it's time for a long walk on the beach.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rule's Avatar
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    Great points about wearing the right clothing. That can definitely kill a ride in a hurry. We've all done it though, so don't feel too bad.

    You are definitely right about another thing...it's a whole lot better not to get too mental on a ride, especially a long one. You have to learn to zone that kind of stuff out. If you are like me and sometimes can't, think positive and reinforcing stuff, not negative 'this is killing me' kind of stuff. That won't get you anywhere but disappointed.

    Remember that old trick that the pros use...tell yourself, I am going to make it to the next ______________. Even if its the next stop sign, once you get there give yourself a pat on the back, even shout a woo-hoo if you want to, then pick out another target. Keep doing this to get you through the low spots. I broke up the last 20 miles of a hilly metric that turned windy and cold last spring by pretending that each mile was a football game, and that my goal was to take my team to the Super Bowl. I broke each mile down into four quarters, picked the opponent for each game, and then played the victory out in my head as I completed each mile. By the time that I got to the last mile, I probably looked demented because I was grinning and chuckling about the crazy stuff that I was coming up with in the games. I had the Pope skydiving into the stadium to Britney Spears in the Super Bowl halftime extravaganza.

    Another thing that I'll do on loops is to play little mental games with the people and stuff that I pass. I'll try and see how many different ways I can wave to a jogger that I keep passing, or see how many languages that I can say hello in. I've tried predicting what the next kind and color of car will be. I'll try out different barks to see if I can get one of the block dogs barking at me from behind their fences. I've asked kids to be ready to squirt me with the hose the next time that I come around. It sounds goofy I know, but it takes your mind off of the miles you are packing in.

    If goofy isn't your thing, you can also break up the parts of a loop ride by varying the way that you are going to complete each loop. Do one at a cadence of 50, then add 5rpm on the next one. Keep doing that until you are gassing yourself with pedal speed. Finish that loop and start dialing it back down 5 rpm at a time. Do a minute out of the saddle for every five that you ride seated. Alternate loops between the large and small chain ring. You can chew up a lot of miles in this way too.

    There are all kinds of things that you can do. Just use your imagination...but in a good way.

  25. #25
    Senior Member geraldatwork's Avatar
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    You have received some good advise and support. Doing a loop as mentioned can be very boring especially when there are other factors going against you. There is a good map program which I linked below, which you may of seen. I use it to plan rides from my house. So far I have made 10,16,20 and 35 mile rides to cover distances I am most likely to ride when I am not out with the local club.

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

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