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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Dealing with slumps...

    I'd like to start a conversation about how you overcome cycling slumps. To be honest, I'm in the midst of one right now. The combination of that horrendous California heat wave and a bad summer cold (plus a few personal issues) got me off the bike and into a slump. I doubt I've ridden twenty miles in the past two weeks!

    I never see anyone talking about this on the Forum, but I have to believe you (or most of you!) go through slumps as well. What do you do to get over them? I know the quick answer is "get on your bike and ride!" but that begs the question.

    When the heat wave hit, it was absolutely miserable. I don't have a/c, so I spent most nights tossing, turning, and sweating. Never got much rest. The idea of getting out and riding in that heat was NOT compelling to me. Perhaps the lack of rest and exercise is how i got the cold, and when that hit, I was NOT up for a bike ride!

    Now it's cooled off, and I rode a little last night (and lost my virginity, as you know), and today I tooled over to the Post Office (woohoo -- 1.5 miles round trip!). But I still feel weird. The slump's not over.

    For the past year, I've ridden 3-4 times a week, enjoyed it immensely, just like all of you. Had some personal bests, but mostly, just had fun.

    But right now, getting on a bike for a long ride just seems like too much trouble. Maybe it's just a matter of waiting it out; the slump will pass. But perhaps you'd be willing to share your own stories about your slumps and how you overcame them.

    Am I making any sense? Am I alone in this?
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  2. #2
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    You are STILL da Man

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    When the heat wave hit, it was absolutely miserable.
    Listen, man, I feel your pain about the heat. For me, every July/August/September I start hating the climate where I live & vowing to move away from here if the opportunity ever arises. The heat falls like a hammer on the anvil and, as a guy who is trying to maintain his fitness by cycling, it becomes practically insurmountable and a true disincentive. These months I ONLY ride in the early early morning - like between 6 & 8 am - because otherwise the heat just drains me for the rest of the day. I feel fortunate that we do have A/C (paying $ 300+ / month for the privilege) but just walking outside is draining physically, emotionally & psychologically.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIGITAL GEE
    Am I alone in this?
    Not at all. As someone who has migrated through a whole series of exercise options over the past 25 years, I know that after a few years, I'll try something else. First it was pickup basketball full-court at lunch then weightlifting then a decade of step aerobics then spinning & 'BodyFlow' at the gym. About 15 mos. ago we started cycling & now I do some stretches, calisthenics & ride. My next phase may be getting a good enough bike to go on group rides because I miss the 'team' aspect & camaraderie. But variety is the spice & if the activity gets boring or tiresome, then it's time to find another or add in something else to vary the routine.

    For me, NOT exercising for 4 -5 days means that my stress levels build up, I get cranky at everyone in my household, just generally turn into a meanie. Evidently riding my bike holds a few minutes of psychological relief, physical exertion draining away the stress & emotionally lets me grind out issues while watching the tires turn & the countryside go by. Don't beat yourself up, my good man, just let it come back to you from the joyful memories and sense of satisfaction that it brings. And despite how you may be feeling right now, all those aspects of cycling are still part of it for you.

    Woody
    centexwoody
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  3. #3
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    Try putting the bike in the car and going somewhere new to ride. Make an adventure out of it using http://www.gmaps-pedometer.com to plan a route or go to rail trail you have never done before. Most times a change of scenery does wonders.
    Tim
    Singing Do Wah Ditty, Ditty Dum Ditty Do

  4. #4
    Semper Fidelis
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    yea I am in kind of a funk also, got one hell of a cold/sinus infection and they always go into my chest which compounds everything, i am on antibiotics.

    Two weeks ago i did 155 miles, last week two rides for a total of 55 miles, still kind of feeling the blah's.

    So what i usually do is just go out and spin in a recovery type ride, keeping the speed around 17-20 mph, no sprints no hard jams up any of these so called rolling hills here in Texas, or i go to the gym and do some lifting.
    since I plan on riding today the computer stays off as well as the heart rate monitor, it is about 100 degrees here in texas today so it will only be about 23 miles.
    for me any ride is better than no rides.
    Hang in there, get some rays and just do a slow easy ride with some miles
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  5. #5
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Why don't you go for a ride with your daughter? I remember how happy you were when you did that before.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  6. #6
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    + 1 great suggestion
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

  7. #7
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I know it's a cliche, but I force myself to go. Once on the bike, I'm glad I did it, especially if I'm with friends. I live in the San Fernando Valley and I work as a mechanic, so the heat takes a lot out of me.That Saturday when it was 115 at home I drove to the beach and rode around Palos Verdes.

  8. #8
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    Having gone through a massive slump from last Thanksgiving to the first of this July...walking pnemonia, a subborn saddle sore (rode with dirty shorts on time), and a period with bum wheels getting rebuilt...I just couldn't get in any rythum whatsoever. 30 miles here and there, but nothing consistant. Put on a bunch of weight, and lost my motivation. I can't have fun unless there's some kind of benefit beyond just ridng around the neighborhood. For me, weight loss/control has to be at least part of the equation.

    But come July, my bike was back together, I felt fine, and I started out riding every other day, 30 miles at first, and now up to 80. I feel great, lost some weight, and can't wait to get out on the road.

    I've been through this enough times in the past 10 years to understand that it happens, and the bike will always resurface as a postive force in my life, physically and emotionally.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Agree with Mollusk/Centex-- and Paulie. For a while, change your style of riding....find a nice place to ride to, take your daughter if possible, but go, not for the sake of riding, but for the sake of going somewhere. Or, take a few days off and do a city hike or, if available in San Diego, a nature hike. There is more to the world than is dreamt of in the BF philosophy. Or, read a book about cycling adventures-- not cycling fitness. Something like Two Wheels North: Bicycling the West Coast in 1909 - Evelyn McDaniel Gibb; And give yourself some time. Staleness affects all riders, all people who do anything.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Perhaps you need a goal, other than the total miles per year.'
    I had a couple of slumps this year and also some business trips that really cut into riding.
    What I figure is to break my year into several segments. I rode through the winter to build some base miles and stay in some sort of shape, then through the spring it was Metric centuries culminating in my first full century in July.
    From there I have signed onto an MS 150 weekend Sept 9,10. So for the rest of July I took it easy, no real hard rides, now that it is August I need to begin ramping up distance rides again so that on the 9th of Sept. I will manage 100 miles without too much trouble.
    From that point I will again cruise for a bit, just trying to maintain a level of fitness through the fall. I also have a heavy business schedule in the fall.
    Finally I want to get my son out riding to the point that on Jan 1, '07 we can ride the Polar Bear Challenge together.
    With these targets, I get some rest times, but then know I have to begin good riding again. On top of this is my desire to stay in decent shape and stay off of Lipitor etc. gives me incentive even during those times when my enthusiasm lags.

  11. #11
    Banned. Webb Diego's Avatar
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    Like honesty and whining about the weather, slumps are for sissies and panty waists. When General Eisenhower woke up on D-Day, do you think he said, "You know what fellows, I'm a little down today and it's cloudy. Let's shut it down for a week or two till I feel more like kicking some Nazi ass." No way, Jose! He sacked it up and hit the beaches. Speaking of which, how are things along the Coronado bike path, DG? Co-eds from San Diego State on roller blades not catching your eye these days? Do I have to put two and two together, Mister, and spell it out for you? You're looking a little limp in the wrist area, and Fella, that makes my want to puke last night's porterhouse and potatoes. Because when the girlies stop tickling your fancy, that what I really call a slump. Yeah, that's what I said, a slump. The kind that makes you want to blow your brains out with a .38 service revolver. Because when Mr. Mike isn't at attention, neither are you, Bucko. And being at attention is what it's all about. So the next time there's a little heat wave and you can't sleep and you have boo-boo from one of your sissy-biffs, remember this: "Slumps" and "sissy" are about three words apart in the dictionary.

  12. #12
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    And one more thing, DeeGee. The biggest reason for taking a break, as someone above points out, is that you realize how much better things are when the cycling dimension is active in your life. Since I antogonized my butt and perforated my (much discussed) 'pendage last week, I've not ridden much. Just 30 mins. a day on the garage trainer. Things are getting better, but this may take another week. I rode (sad to say) my butt off daily during the Big Heat to the point where I was on the verge of getting stale-- or at least toasted. Because my head was stubborn, my butt intervened and said, "Enough! you jerk".

    Except now, all thoughts of staleness are gone. I miss the sound of kildees and wind in the grass out on Old Sonora Rd., chugging Endurox as I leave a trail of cycling clothes across the house, etc. My friends are "out there" climbing hills and getting splashed by the 6:00 tallow truck and I'm stuck in the garage for a while. I want back out. So, Gary, take a few days and distract yourself....we all need it on occasion, then we re-discover what we really NEED. The ebb and flow of a human's life.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  13. #13
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Gary:

    The heat has been bad - but hopefully we are now catching a break in the weather so no excuses get out and ride!!

    Before when it was hot, I would wait until after 6 pm and then get on my bike. I'm in Orange County and like SD, we catch the afternoon breeze off the ocean. OK at 6 it was still hot and I would work up a sweat but by 7 it started to cool down and by the time I finished I felt great.

    I think everyone has a slump and I never fret - I think it's our body's way of saying - maybe you need to take time off. So I take it easy and next time on the bike I feel good, I can usually push a ride. Just don't get down on yourself for not riding, but also don't quit... like I said its nice out right now... hit the road!!!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    The heat will knock us on our asses. Commuting can get routine and boring. They usually work themselves out. Like a good striker in football. When in a slump, keep shooting. Eventually you get your touch back.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  15. #15
    Cadence Schmadence! BIGPAKO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    I'd like to start a conversation about how you overcome cycling slumps. To be honest, I'm in the midst of one right now. The combination of that horrendous California heat wave and a bad summer cold (plus a few personal issues) got me off the bike and into a slump. I doubt I've ridden twenty miles in the past two weeks!

    I never see anyone talking about this on the Forum, but I have to believe you (or most of you!) go through slumps as well. What do you do to get over them? I know the quick answer is "get on your bike and ride!" but that begs the question.

    When the heat wave hit, it was absolutely miserable. I don't have a/c, so I spent most nights tossing, turning, and sweating. Never got much rest. The idea of getting out and riding in that heat was NOT compelling to me. Perhaps the lack of rest and exercise is how i got the cold, and when that hit, I was NOT up for a bike ride!

    Now it's cooled off, and I rode a little last night (and lost my virginity, as you know), and today I tooled over to the Post Office (woohoo -- 1.5 miles round trip!). But I still feel weird. The slump's not over.

    For the past year, I've ridden 3-4 times a week, enjoyed it immensely, just like all of you. Had some personal bests, but mostly, just had fun.

    But right now, getting on a bike for a long ride just seems like too much trouble. Maybe it's just a matter of waiting it out; the slump will pass. But perhaps you'd be willing to share your own stories about your slumps and how you overcame them.

    Am I making any sense? Am I alone in this?
    I don't know how hot it got in San Diego, but here in Sacramento we were in the 110+ & I rode every day of the heat wave. I don't think I would've been able to do that last year, what I'm getting at is that you will reach a point, if you are constant, in which you're body will beg you to ride & slumps as you describe will be meaningless. Other crucial factors are of course, eating & sleeping healthy.
    - "cuz a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.." -

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webb Diego
    you have boo-boo from one of your sissy-biffs
    Uh-oh, are you REALLY having "boo-boos" from a sissy-biff? Whatever that may mean, it sounds pretty serious and it certainly is going to motivate ME to do....whatever...one does...to NOT have them...
    centexwoody
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  17. #17
    Senior Member JavaMan's Avatar
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    After riding several thousand miles every year since 1987, I am in a slump. Since last November I've logged 100 miles!

    I thought I would start jogging a little just to pass the time until I came out of my slump, but after a while I got into running. I would just look at my bike from time, but without any spark of recognition. So I trained for and ran a 5K race, then a 10K, then another...now I'm training for a half-marathon on Sept. 16th and a marathon on Jan. 7th. I have never run any kind of race in my life before this year, but I guess I might as well go for it while the feeling is upon me!

    I began to wonder, "Is this a slump, or the end of cycling for me?" Well, as luck would have it, I started coming across references to "cross-training" in many of the running sources I consulted. They said it was beneficial. So I started swimming a couple of days per week. Then I figured out that I could measure distances more accurately on some of the local running trails with the computer on my mountain bike. Cool, because I could cross-train at the same time!

    After a couple of weeks riding around on my mountain bike, it hit me. A few long-dead circuits in my brain coughed to life and caused me to notice my road bike. The computer needed a new battery, and the tires had about 10 psi in them, but by the next day it was ready. That was last Saturday, and after getting all my gear together (you need a lot of stuff to go riding!), I went for a 12 mile ride. The purpose of the ride was to accurately measure the distance around Missoin Viejo Lake before I run it next weekend, but it was really fun to ride such a smooth, fast machine up and down the hills. My legs felt great afterward.

    That's the story of my slump. Is the slump over? Don't know for sure yet, but I've actually caught myself thinking about how to maybe add a weekend ride or one day a week of commuting to work into my training schedule.
    JavaMan!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HopedaleHills
    Try putting the bike in the car and going somewhere new to ride. Make an adventure out of it using http://www.gmaps-pedometer.com to plan a route or go to rail trail you have never done before. Most times a change of scenery does wonders.
    +10. This is exactly what I was going to suggest. I recently went on a week long vacation with my wife through northern AZ and southern Utah. In the early mornings I would get on my bike and ride out of whatever small town we were in... in a direction we had already agreed upon. I had no destination... just "down the road..." She would eventually wake up (she loves to sleep in... so this worked great for us) and head down that same road and catch up to me.

    I had nice cool early morning rides in some very pretty country. The motorists were good to me along the way, and I saw some land that I had never seen before... and I wasn't in a hurry to get to work or anywhere else.

    Once the wife caught me, I did a quick sponge bath wipe down... and we went for brunch in the next town that looked suitable.

    Never repeated a road, so it really refreshed my cycling "jones," if you will.

    You can do the same thing touring, but doing it this way allowed us to both enjoy what we liked the most. Me, a nice bike ride in the early morning... her, sleeping in. Us... traveling to different places at our pace.

  19. #19
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Gary, I wish I had some advice for you, but I just don't. I can imagine what you're going through, but in the two+ years I've been cycling, I haven't experienced a slump like what you describe. Physical slumps? Plenty of 'em. But not wanting to ride, not ever yet. I imagine if I did, I'd just try to ride through it for the physical benefits if nothing else.

    I do go through these with weight training all the time. Seems like drudgery sometimes, but I loath myself when I don't workout, so the workouts win.

    Just get out there. You'll be glad you did.

    Take care,

    Steve

  20. #20
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Hey Java, you need to explore triathalons.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  21. #21
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Gary,

    I'm analytical so charting these things are greatest motivator for me:

    1. miles traveled
    2. average speed [uphill,downhill, total] for 25 rides always shows something good
    3. amount of money I have saved by not driving. Right now I have paid off original bike purchase and have $711 "banked" towards next bike.

    Course it doesn't hurt to get
    1-- lower weight from the scale
    2-- lower fat percentage from scale
    3-- kudos on looking better
    4-- feeling much more energy.

    Now this doesn't mean you have to be a mascochist. Riding in high 90's or 100's is not fun. Either grin and bear it, switch to cooler riding times, or be easier on yourself until the weather breaks a bit. Oct is not all that far away.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    With the heat that some of you are experiencing- I feel ashamed to say that the temperature over here is only in the high 80's, but I still don't feel like riding in it. My Sunday ride group has dwindeld down to just another 2 for the Summer and I do not like Riding with one of them. He is the competitive one that always has to get there first and although he cannot do distance- Neither can I when I try to stay at his pace. Then there are the trails round here. In the summer it is covered in tourists out for a days Walking or crowds of bikers out for a bit of fun on the hills. It gets too crowded and there is no way you can get in the only decent cafe on the rides if you are later than 5 minutes after they open. Then the trails are also rock hard and falling off on them is not a nice experience.

    To say that I am not enjoying my riding at present is an understatement. I am trying to get out to a different part of the country -or even a different country, (France) to try some different rides but that is not too successful right now. Still getting some riding in- well a lot really, but that is on the road bike, and that is only to keep the legs turning. Roll on the Autumn when the weather gets a bit nastier, with rain and Frost and a couple of inches of white stuff occasionally and I will get the enthusiasm back.

    I'll have to do a few rides that I used to do many years ago and see how that improves things. Might even start looking at the catalogues to see if there are any new parts that have come out in the last year that will improve my riding with the new "MUST HAVE WIDGET" that will improve my riding capabilities. See, I haven't even been keeping up with the latest trends on mountain bikes so I must be feeling off.

    Only one thing for it. Change the Gearing on the road bike and find that 20%er that I couldn't climb last year. Now where did I leave the spanners- Might even get the bikes out and give them a polish while I'm about it, and I ought to start checking that pile of tubes in the corner of the shed to see if any can stay up after being repaired. If not it's a trip to the LBS for more tubes and I'd better start looking at the new Powerful lamps to see what I cannot afford again this year. Better get in touch with the Wessex club to see if the Salisbury 100 is on in september and if it is I,d better get a couple of rides in to get the legs straight again.

    Think The enthusiasm is back.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  23. #23
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Gary,

    Your struggle with the heat remind me of our 5-6 months of winter. It really hits me hard sometime in March and remains an up and down struggle until Memorial Day. Distraction has been suggested as a good ploy to fool yourself out of your funk. May I suggest altitude, as in higher, where the temps should be lower and the breezes a bit cooler. You can't be too far from where you can drive to and gain a couple of 1000 feet. Take your MTB with the best gearing if you're not used to the hills. Give yourself plenty of rest stops, but pick a hill and climb it. You will really feel as if you have accomplished something when you reach the top--- and the ride back down--- woo hoo! Can they be fun!
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  24. #24
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Pack it in, Gary.

    That's all she wrote, the end of the line, the fire has gone out, never to be relighted.

    The BFN Motto is "NO SLUMPS ALLOWED!" and the punishment for violating the motto is TERMINATION by the TERMINATOR.

    So, keep your eyes open, look over your shoulder to see who is watching you.

    Your BF "Digital Gee" is about to be BANNED. FOREVER. RETIRED. DONE AWAY WITH!



















































    (Just a little joke there. Hope you get deslumped soon!)
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 08-01-06 at 05:15 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Brazos River valley, south central TX
    My Bikes
    2005 Surly LHT; 2006 Surly CrossCheck with Extracycle; 1987 Schwinn World Sport as urban cruiser
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    Dnvr - you didn't warn DG that this posting would require him to change his moniker & be reinstated like CrossChain did with GrannyGear! For that matter, I didn't know it either! Where is this in the by-laws? How come I wasn't issued The Rules when I was a newbie?

    Thinking about this is gonna put me in a slump...
    centexwoody
    They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.

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