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Thread: In a Slump...

  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I'm in the midst of a few weeks of too much business travel. A bit stressed, but nothing I can't handle. But I'm also sort of in a cycling slump. Wasn't on the bike yesterday, or Monday, both VERY long days. (Monday had to drive 180 miles each direction to meet with a client, and both times through L.A. rush hour, Thursday flew to Bay area in the morning, drove fifty miles to a client, drove back, flew home and arrived at 11:00 p.m.).

    You'd think I'd be itching to squeeze in a ride today, but I'm not. And I leave Sunday night for two more days on the road, and then next Friday another two days with the first client, and so on.

    I know I'll ride this weekend. But for whatever reason, I just have NO ambition today. The end of the month is almost here and I'd love to pile on a lot of miles just to stay ahead of my annual goal, but that's not motivating me either. The weather isn't bad, cool, but not bad.

    I just feel like I'm in a slump. You guys ever get like that?

    EDIT: Let me add that I try to ride every day of the year that it's possible to ride, even if it's only five miles. That's because I know there will be travel days, long client delivery days, bad rainy days, maybe even (perish the thought) sick days. So any other day that it's possible to ride, I ride.
    Last edited by Digital Gee; 01-27-06 at 02:47 PM.
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    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    As you note in your signature, all athletic endeavors are one part physical and two parts mental. Sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak -- and sometimes it's the other way around. A slump can result from any number of things and even affects world-class athletes. Hey, give yourself a break, DG -- it's winter and a difficult season for most of us to negotiate at "wide open throttle". Don't sweat it and you will be "back in the zone" in no time!!
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  3. #3
    Touring senior
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    Gary.....So....your body is telling you that it doesn't want a workout today; hmmm....... and you're getting down on yourself for not feeling up to it. Seems to me that you're giving yourself a double whammy of negativity. Kinda compounding the negative energy here.

    Plus....(here's the armchair psychologist coming out again), sounds like your schedule is very demanding right now, especially realizing that each of those trips also involve a lot of preparation and perhaps tension........hmmmm. Do you suppose your body's cry for some rest is legitimate? Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is sit down and relax with a good book; or, believe it or not, have a snooze.

    So, take care of yourself, relax and enjoy the downtime.

    Regards, Murray

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    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Boy, have I been there before. Luckily I have a great support system, a wife who enjoys cycling as much as I, and we often encourage eachother. However, if you don't have someone to goad you along, let me encourage you with the following thought. I can't think of a time that I was talked into going for a ride, even though the spirit wasn't there, that I didn't say to myself, after a few miles; "Boy, am I glad I did this..." Getting started is 90%. OHB

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    Boy, I sure do remember that feeling from when I used to run. I never really enjoyed the first mile or 2, no matter how much I was looking forward to the run. But, usually about the end of mile #2, I would start feeling pretty good & be glad that I went out for a run even on those rainy days that I didn't want to. So, Gary, I think you are wise to try to stick with the goal of riding, even if it is a short ride. Don't let the temporary blues knock you of your overall goal. PS. Please ride an extra mile for me right now as I am not able to get out much either becuase of work & weather considerations. Bob

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    Life is short so you do what you can and then thats all she wrote. That said we all know that there is a limited time we are here on earth, so to me when I ride it is because I would rather spend some time really feeling alive, it's the human factor: the heart pumping, muscles flexing, lungs breathing intensely, and so on. And the interesting thing that I have come to notice is that once you get out there no matter what your mood is, your lack of interest or motivation changes, especially when you run into someone giving you a boost of competition. Just by the fact that I'm on the road and moving along inspires me. That' to me is what cycling is all about, finding your motivation each time your out there and cranking it. But if you think that you need more inpiration than just do it then maybe you should take up something else that will aloud you to get more in touch with your innerself, like yoga, kung fu, or something. Just for a change of pace. That's my two cents. Happy trails to you.
    Last edited by rmwun54; 01-27-06 at 04:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I am not as lucky as you where normally you can get on a bike for a 5 mile leg stretch whenever possible. My rides are planned for sundays and wednesdays. Surprising how many times I tell the others that I just want a gentle ride this time. Or that I do not even want to ride, but the others are relying on me to make up the numbers.

    Within a few miles, I am raring to pick up speed, or I am working out how that easy ride can take a diversion to find a stiffer hill, or an extra few miles. All it takes is a mile or so on the bike and the enthusiasm comes back.

    What I have found though is that a hard day at the offfice, or after I have had a night mare of a day, and all I want to do is get out on the bike. That is time for a gym trip as it is not easy to ride unprepared in zero temperature and when it is chucking it down. I may have those conditions on wednesday nights, but I am prepared mentally for that.

    Then again, I only ride twice a week. Perhaps you ought to get in longer rides and less rides a week. Or perhaps I ought to be better prepared and get out more often.
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    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Think of it this way. When was the last time you went for a ride that you wish you had
    not rode? I didnít want to ride to work this morning, mainly because I have to get up
    earlier. But now looking back at the day. It was a great ride.

    I only rode 5 days in December. The time off was good. Now with good weather in
    January I am thinking of getting up real early and driving out into the country and riding
    tomorrow. I am going to take a camera and look for interesting photos.

  9. #9
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    My thoughts are similar to Stapfam's. What you might find is if you can make just a little time to go out and plan to do a few easy miles (even 5 miles), the exercise will help rejuvenate you. Once you're out there you will probably do a few more than you even planned, and be patting yourself on the back for exceeding what you planned to do. When you get back reward yourself with some blackberry cobbler. Makes me feel a LOT better.....

  10. #10
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    My thoughts are similar to Stapfam's. What you might find is if you can make just a little time to go out and plan to do a few easy miles (even 5 miles), the exercise will help rejuvenate you. Once you're out there you will probably do a few more than you even planned, and be patting yourself on the back for exceeding what you planned to do. When you get back reward yourself with some blackberry cobbler. Makes me feel a LOT better.....
    Well, once again this forum came through for me! You are all such good coaches. I read the first few responses and took the advice to stop beating myself up, and just relax. Then I must have taken the advice of the next couple of posters, because I said to myself -- just go out for a mile or two, so at least you can say you rode today.

    Then I set out, going for an easy five miles, and of course, when I got to the target, I was having too much fun to come back, so I went for ten, and then I found a couple of roads I hadn't explored in a while, so before it was all said and done, I'd gotten in fifteen miles.

    But this time, it's not so much about the distance as it is about just going out and riding (and/or giving myself permission to NOT ride every once in a while). I would be just as happy with myself if I'd only gotten five (of course, I'm delighted with the fifteen instead!).

    I think at the core I was just slightly alarmed that a sense of slump might mean I was going to start giving up biking altogether by losing interest. That was a terrible thought, and it was quickly put to rest when I got on the bike and immediately started having fun. Somehow, in the midst of working at the computer and thinking about clients, and all that, I'd forgotten it momentarily.

    The air was cool and crisp and the wind was good -- it blew some cobwebs from my brain. My legs are thanking me now, as is my heart and lungs. And I'll get the professional work done tonight, when it is dark and I can't ride anyway.

    So thanks everyone!
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    awwwww....i hate to feel that way and I'm sorry you do. I didn't go out today as I usually do. And, as you know, I'm very new to this whole exercise/bike thing. And, basically I don't love exercise in general, never have. BUT, one thing that quickly came to me is this: don't think about it, just do it. While some days may not be a great feeling, afterward IS a good feeling of accomplishment. If you think about it for more than, like, 2 minutes, you may not go. Of course, when you can't go, you can't go, but when you can go, I'd say, just do it!

    I'm the biggest overthinker of everything and anything. Trust me, this works, lol.

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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Shades of De'ja vu



    What to do about boredom?

    But here's the rub. I've done all the rides in my neck of the woods and the necks nearby many times now. Sure, they're great destinations, but it feels like I've explored almost every nook and cranny. Yes, each ride is unique because it's a different day, different wind, different temperature, different time, and so on, but I think you know what i mean -- when I start thinking about where I'll ride today, I have the same reaction I have when i start thinking about what to have for dinner today -- oh no, not that again! Isn't there something different????

    So, who's got some tips I can use to push through the "boredom" barrier
    ?
    You got through that, you will get through this!

    Good luck.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 01-27-06 at 06:08 PM.
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  13. #13
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Terrific Gary!!! I think most of us have probably been there a time or two. Are you beginning to understand and appreciate how "mental" this activity can be????

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe
    Terrific Gary!!! I think most of us have probably been there a time or two. Are you beginning to understand and appreciate how "mental" this activity can be????
    Ayup!
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    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    DG.....despite the fact we all want to Psychically merge with our sport and become "one with the bike", let's face it: the bike is mechanical and we are organic. We ebb, we flow. We can resist slacking off, make ourselves ride when circumstances or feelings whisper "Don't go, its easier today not to".......and good for us for being so disciplined....but, in the end, we are not mechanistic objects and trying to force ourselves into that mold will only bring obsession, dissatisfaction and unhappiness--which will probably keep us off the bike permanently.

    So, young stalwart, buck up and persevere. Even the Cannible put his feet up. Even GrannyGear here, during his many year cycling "career", has taken days off, weeks off, etc. because of illness, injury, child rearing, job stuff, vacation stuff, or general malaise and cycling boredom (yes, even dedicated cyclists get a bit bored with the whole thing and watch Friends reruns instead).

    Lifetime cycling is like a good marriage....long happy stretches, flat interludes, times of passion, times of ho-hum.......but, in the end, you always come back and would never leave her and would be devastated without her.

    So, Grasshopper, go ride the couch-- then, like the immortal Phoenix, rise up anew and hit the road again.

    It's OK to be human........your kids wouldn't find you huggable were you carbon fiber, titanium, or (shudder) cold steel.

    A new troll-thread idea.....were you buying a new body, would it be cf, alu, tite, or steel?
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    Perpetually lost
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    This might be fodder for another thread, but what about taking a bike with you on your trips? Instead of taking a couple of days off riding, look for new places to bike--even if it's only for a few miles.

    After my last trip out of town I decided that I wanted a bike next time I travelled (I had found a number of places I'd like to ride and actually started looking for a used bike but couldn't find a decent one). So trying to get started again after I got home--in one of the worst winters Oregon has had in years--well, after 35 days back, I still haven't got out yet (and that trainer is getting real old). So I decided that I wouldn't travel again without a bike.

    It's good to nip them slumps in the butt if you can.

    John in Oregon
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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Look at the bright side - you could be me next week. I gotta spend the entire week in Jersey of all places, cooped up, no bike. OMG I AM SPENDING A WEEK IN HELL!!!
    "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

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    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    (Jan 16)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).
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    (Jan 27)
    But this time, it's not so much about the distance as it is about just going out and riding (and/or giving myself permission to NOT ride every once in a while). I would be just as happy with myself if I'd only gotten five (of course, I'm delighted with the fifteen instead!).
    Are we learning something here?

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    Senior Member Raketmensch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Look at the bright side - you could be me next week. I gotta spend the entire week in Jersey of all places, cooped up, no bike. OMG I AM SPENDING A WEEK IN HELL!!!
    New Jersey born and bred, and still, I sympathize.

    I really resonated with Gary's complaint about travel messing with your cycling rhythm... you just start to get into a groove, and then you've gotta go spend a week in Wabash or whatever. It knocks everything out of kilter. Same thing happened to me today. Just got back from two nights in DC. Bad sleep while I was gone, and I was too dragged out to get on the trainer this evening. I'll make up for it tomorrow.

    Cycling is one of the truly great forms of exercise, and its equipment-intensive nature is a big part of its charm. But that same characteristic can make it a real problem for frequent travelers, and I really don't know what the answer is.

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    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Look at the bright side - you could be me next week. I gotta spend the entire week in Jersey of all places, cooped up, no bike. OMG I AM SPENDING A WEEK IN HELL!!!
    Thinks could be worse. What if you had to spend a week on a Greek island, or in Tahiti, or in Switzerland, or in Maui, or in the arms of a beautiful starlet. What then, huh?

  21. #21
    jcm
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    Get a folder.
    Fits in suitcase, always there.
    Yoda not too short.

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    Senior Moment Litespeed's Avatar
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    I find that sometimes I have to drag myself out of the house to get on the bike. I think my problem is knowing there will be a lot of traffic to deal with. To often I actually talk myself out of riding all together (it's to cold, it's cloudy, to windy etc etc). Poor excuses to say the least. Once I am actually on the road and pedaling I find I LOVE it and by the time I get back I'm thinking what a great time I had. Now that I have found a couple of friends to ride with, that makes it all the more exciting to ride. I have even set challenges for myself (getting better at going downhill).
    There are some days though that I KNOW I have to rest. Sometimes instead of riding I may walk my dog in Mission Trails or my husband and I will go do some hiking. Forcing yourself to ride everyday is NEVER good, I think it defeats the purpose of having fun. Take a break now and then and don't feel guilty, it does no good.

  23. #23
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    When I need a pick me up I visit the LBS without my wallet. Just looking and looking and looking. I bet you have bike shops in Caliy that are hugh and could spend hours just looking.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    You might want to start cross training. Do what the triathletes do, swim, run, bike, and even walk. That way you're doing something that's aerobic. With walking and running you're using the leg muscles but different groups. Swimming is the most restrictive because you got to find a pool with the schedule permitting.

  25. #25
    Hypoxic Member head_wind's Avatar
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    Perhaps this will be helpful. Riding during the week in winter is hopeless
    for me but I can get to the gym. What I've found (and fwiw trainers I've
    spoken to believe that this is true) an occasional week off for recovery
    allows you to come back stronger. I take a week off (the gym) every quarter.

    motto: start slow, then ease off.....

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