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cheeseflavor 08-10-06 01:22 PM

Some days...
 
I just don't get it...

How on some days, a person can feel like crap and perform well, and other days, feel unstoppable and perform so poorly? Yesterday, I was just about to make a post with a subject along the lines of "Is this all the better it gets?" referring to a physical slump that I've been fighting lately.

Tuesday's club ride was a mixed bag. Gorgeous weather, a bit on the windy side, but sunny and dry with a temp around 80. I felt I sucked. Tired, washed out feeling, no power on climbs, just not a lot of energy. Still, it was a decent ride. I dutifully took my turns pulling at the front of the group and sucked wheels the rest. Finished with a respectable 19.3 mph average - not great, but not bad either considering how I was feeling.

Yesterday, Linda had a prior commitment, so as I sometimes do, I decided to take a solo ride. I headed out on one of our usual routes (it's actually a reverse route of one of our club rides). The temp is confortable, though humid, light winds from the east (into my face on the way back, of course), it looks cloudy out, and the forecast is for rain, but there's nothing close on the radar so I get suited up, fill up the water bottles and tires and out I go.

I'm not feeling particularly strong again this day. The legs are feeling tired and burn when I try to hammer, so I think I'll resist the urge to hammer. But as I warm up, the legs are feeling better, so I start to push a bit. Speed is coming easy despite my legs' protesting. On the flats, I'm maintaining 22-23mph with spurts of 25-26mph. At the halfway point, I see my average is 20.3. I'm really surprised by this, because like I said, I'm not feeling real strong today. But, what the heck says I, I'll take it, and on I go.

At about the 2/3 point, I'm starting to feel it. My legs are getting tired, and sprinting uphill is getting more difficult. The wind has picked up a bit, and I'm heading straight into it. There are some rollers ahead, long hills with a few good descents on the backside coming up. I press on.

With a few miles left, I can see my average is still above 20 mph and I'm looking at a personal best here. I've cracked 20mph for an average before, but it was always with a group, never solo, and my all time best is 20.3mph earlier this year, on a club ride, with a handful of other riders. My legs are really getting tired, standing is more like rising and falling on the pedals so sprints are a real challenge, but hell, I'm almost home so let's go!

The last couple of miles of this route are usually fun ones. Almost completely flat, except for some nice, gradual, long decents where a person can hit 30+ mph, and let me tell you, I'm taking full advantage of it. At this point, my cyclometer is showing an average of 20.3 mph.

Finally, ride over, I roll into the driveway and hit stop on the cyclometer. I know it was at least my personal best solo, but I take a look at average, and there it is - 20.5 mph!

Don't know why, on this day, not feeling my best, I could achieve a personal best, but I'll take it!

Tonight, another club ride, and I'm planning on catching someone's wheel all night long :)

Take care,

Steve

http://bikenaked.net/photos/gen_ride...8/500x310.aspx

centexwoody 08-10-06 01:31 PM

some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you:

thanks for sharing the ride you ate the bear even when you started out 'not hungry'!

BTW, what is the program you're using to get such a graph? Is this a fancy cyclometer or HRM or what?

mollusk 08-10-06 01:39 PM

Been there and done that. I can't figure it out, either. Some days it feels like there is no chain on the bike and other days you keep checking the rear brake because you are sure it is dragging.

Nice ride, though! It sure feels good to come out of a slump, doesn't it? Any chance your slump was coincident with the ghastly hot weather up there?

cheeseflavor 08-10-06 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by centexwoody
BTW, what is the program you're using to get such a graph? Is this a fancy cyclometer or HRM or what?

I use a Polar all-in-one (HRM, speed, cadence) cylclometer, and it comes with a program called "Polar Precision Performance Software" which I use to download and chart my activities. Not a bad little program all in all.

Take care,

Steve

cheeseflavor 08-10-06 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mollusk
Been there and done that. I can't figure it out, either. Some days it feels like there is no chain on the bike and other days you keep checking the rear brake because you are sure it is dragging.

Nice ride, though! It sure feels good to come out of a slump, doesn't it? Any chance your slump was coincident with the ghastly hot weather up there?

It could be. It was beastly hot and humid for weeks (seemed like months), though I had some good rides, including my longest ride ever, during the midst of all of it. Funny thing is, I still feel like I'm in a slump at the moment. I'm not really looking forward to our club ride tonight as I've been feeling tired for days.

It's an oddity for sure. I just scratch my head and go along with it :) It is what it is!

Take care,

Steve

capejohn 08-10-06 02:06 PM

When your in a slump, keep shooting. Eventually the goals will come.

centexwoody 08-10-06 07:33 PM

very cool: my HRM is a Polar but it doesn't do cadence or speed, just calories, HR zones, time. But my wife bought me a Cateye cyclometer (?) that does avg speed, speed, etc. so between the two of them I can watch what I'm doing. But no superlative listing like your amazing graph. I like that a lot.

thnx,

Tom

Grampy™ 08-10-06 07:41 PM

I feel your pain.... I've been in a very bad slump do to some meds I was taking..... Wed. I had the first great ride in many weeks...... Keep hammering, don't let the bastard win. (Sorry for the bad word, but that's how I refer to Father time.... :D )

jppe 08-10-06 07:56 PM

Great, great ride! There must be something in the air as I had almost the identical experience tonight.

I rode hard last night with 4 guys and did lots of intervals and wound up a lot of time in my "red zone" and finished with a really high average heartrate. I played 18 holes of golf this afternoon and then rushed to ride with the Thursday night group of pretty strong riders. My plan was just to hang on as long as I could. As it turned out I felt really strong the whole ride and had a lot left at the end to finish in a 2 mile time trial like speed. For me, I think the cardio system is starting to come around plus the weight is dropping a little which is all good.......

Hey-we're just starting to see some of the rewards of all the base miles, chasing, intervals and other hard work we've been doing!!!! Hopefully there are even better days ahead!!

stonecrd 08-11-06 06:33 AM

That's a great ride! It fun when you get into a zone and everything seems effortless. The world just sails by and when you are finished you are exhausted but elated by your progress and feel sky high. It would be great if that could happen on every ride, you have to love it when it does.

On another note after my bonk on Sunday I seem to be back in form. Two days riding with no cramps or problems.

cheeseflavor 08-11-06 11:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jppe
I rode hard last night with 4 guys and did lots of intervals and wound up a lot of time in my "red zone" and finished with a really high average heartrate. I played 18 holes of golf this afternoon and then rushed to ride with the Thursday night group of pretty strong riders. My plan was just to hang on as long as I could. As it turned out I felt really strong the whole ride and had a lot left at the end to finish in a 2 mile time trial like speed. For me, I think the cardio system is starting to come around plus the weight is dropping a little which is all good.......

Hey-we're just starting to see some of the rewards of all the base miles, chasing, intervals and other hard work we've been doing!!!! Hopefully there are even better days ahead!!

I hope you're right about the "better days ahead", jppe! I mentioned in my original post that I was starting to wonder if this is all the better it gets and maybe I'm just expecting too much from this (almost) 52 yo body. I guess as long as I keep seeing improvement, I shouldn't be beating myself up so much over it :)

Last night's club ride was a good one. I was the strongest rider there on this particular night. Of the regulars, we have a good solid core of a 6-10 riders that are what I would consider fast. We're all equal enough that on any given night one might have the edge over the others. Also lately, I've been getting some nice recognition from some of the other riders as well. I'm starting to be one of the the wheels that folks want, which is pretty nice thing to hear.

I just need to work on hills. Dammed hills are still my weak point. I'm for sure not the last up the hills, but the best riders in the group can drop me on a long climb. I keep telling myself that, at 6'4" 195lbs, I may never be as strong on hills as my 140-160lb cohorts, but isn't it more about power to weight ratio than just weight alone?

Take care,

Steve

cheeseflavor 08-11-06 11:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stonecrd
It fun when you get into a zone and everything seems effortless. The world just sails by and when you are finished you are exhausted but elated by your progress and feel sky high. It would be great if that could happen on every ride, you have to love it when it does.

Wouldn't it? But yes, it makes it all worth while, especially after struggling for a bit.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stonecrd
On another note after my bonk on Sunday I seem to be back in form. Two days riding with no cramps or problems.

Great! I've never bonked quite that hard, but I've definately hit my share of "walls" on rides. You know, legs just about gone from under you, grimacing, panting like a dog in the hot summer sun.

What a great hobby :)

Take care,

Steve

Baggsy 08-11-06 12:03 PM

One of the old biking books I read (Wilhelm, Phinney?)...had a quote I have taken to heart. It was in a chapter on endurance riding, century training. Paraphrased, it said..."after x amount of miles, it's no longer about the pleasure, it's about the pain"

head_wind 08-11-06 12:07 PM

In the beginning,,, back when the glaciers roamed free,,, and my babies played H.S. basketball my wife who had no involvement in athletics at the time wondered how could the Chicago Bulls ever lose a game. Now that she is involved she knows all about good days and bad. At the beginning of a warm-up a glance at the HR will tell me how I'll do today. Did I eat too recently or too long ago?? Did I dump all my glycogen yesterday?? I'm way too old to recover in a day.

Some slumps are in the mind, but I am immune to that. As Ted Williams said 'If you don't think too good, don't think too much'.

jppe 08-11-06 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
I just need to work on hills. Dammed hills are still my weak point. I'm for sure not the last up the hills, but the best riders in the group can drop me on a long climb. I keep telling myself that, at 6'4" 195lbs, I may never be as strong on hills as my 140-160lb cohorts, but isn't it more about power to weight ratio than just weight alone?


Oh, do I know of what you speak........I've dropped 50+ lbs (220 to 167). I've dropped weight on the bike (22lbs to 16 lbs). I've changed cranks to a compact crank. I've ridden a number more miles (approx 16,000). And I still get challenged on the darn hills.

Some of what I'm now learning that for me I need a better "strategy" and to ride a lot smarter. If I'll stay patient and ride someone's wheels on a climb I can generally keep up with most--but not all. If I don't dig into the red zone too soon before a climb I can certainly do much, much better.

I still tend to jump at the bottom of a climb and go as hard as I can rather than riding a little smarter. I'll never be first at the top-at least with my group-but I will climb faster and be closer to the top riders.

If you get it figured out please let me know. I'm still searching for the answers on that one!!!

It sounds like you're really coming on though. Keep up the great riding!!

starship 08-11-06 05:48 PM

Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt.

No explaination. Go out not 100%, just get time in zone, and when I get back I've busted a record for the ride.

Let's enjoy those while we can!

I must check out BikeNaked, but not while I'm at work.

cheeseflavor 08-12-06 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starship
I must check out BikeNaked, but not while I'm at work.

No, no... it's nothing like that :)

I was looking for available, cyclling related domains one day, and thought this one to be a good one. It's just a site that Linda and I use for blogging, posting photos, etc., and I regret to inform there's nothing beyond a G-rating there.

Take care,

Steve


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