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Thread: Brick by brick

  1. #1
    Yen
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    Brick by brick

    This is mostly for newbies, like myself, who are trying to build strength and wondering when everything will fall into place.

    I'm trying to ride at least 3 evenings per week in addition to our long weekend ride(s). Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in the time. This week I made several excuses to myself until I finally forced myself to get off the couch in the middle of CSI Miami, change into my cycling clothes, and just go. I decided that 30 minutes, or even 20 minutes, is better than nothing at all for that one evening. So I headed out and ended up riding for an hour. During my ride I pondered this issue (my mind never stops ) and the phrase "brick by brick" came to mind. A house is built brick by brick, not all at once. Similarly, endurance and strength are built ride by ride, mile by mile, one ride at a time.

    Today we rode 24 miles. We cut it short due to the heat, and my legs weren't into it anyway from the start. In spite of that and pushing myself to keep going in a comfortable gear, my legs feel terrific tonight. I attribute that to the "little" evening rides of any length that I can fit in during the week. Brick by brick, week by week, it happens.
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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    That's how you eat a whale, one bite at a time. Anyhow I do that, I'm not into TV that much, but I start reading and before I know it, I wonder what happened to the time. So before I sit to long, I go riding first, anywhere from 10 to 40 miles, depends on the mood. Did I ever say it's hot in Texas.
    George

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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Hmm!

    As I remember, there was a house of straw, and a house of sticks, and a house of bricks.

    Build your endurance brick by brick, and the old nasty wolf won't bother you a bit!
    Gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for fun new group of 50+ folks

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    This is mostly for newbies, like myself, who are trying to build strength and wondering when everything will fall into place.

    Today we rode 24 miles. We cut it short due to the heat, and my legs weren't into it anyway from the start. In spite of that and pushing myself to keep going in a comfortable gear, my legs feel terrific tonight. I attribute that to the "little" evening rides of any length that I can fit in during the week. Brick by brick, week by week, it happens.
    Yesterday, Saturday, I rode and it was indeed hot. On top of that, the headwinds were extra punishment. Luckily I had extra hydration with Hawaiian sea salt. The legs didn't want to go but the GU gel worked wonders.

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    Senior Member mulchie's Avatar
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    Hi, Yen:
    definitely better than being a kid again.

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    tsl
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    I read somewhere on one of the forums that it takes up to five years to achieve maximum speed, strength and endurance--provided of course one is consistently training for those things.

    Whether it's true or not, it took a lot of the pressure and worry from me during my first year last year.

    Past the midway point of my second year, what I can report is that improvements continue on all fronts. I seem to plateau for a few weeks, even though I chip away at it every week. Then suddenly, something happens and I'm up to a new plateau. In other words, even though I work at it on every ride, improvement seems to come in jumps every so often.

    And I know exactly what you mean when you say sometimes your legs aren't into it. Those are the days I stick to my commute and just sort of poke along at whatever level feels okay. Then there are the days when I feel like I'm 20 again. Those days are hammertime! (I actually passed an old geezer in a Buick at over 30 MPH on the way to work one day. I think he was as surprised to see an old geezer on a bike as he was to be passed by a bike in the left lane.) There are also days when I feel like I could climb the Rockies or ride cross-country non-stop.

    Most of the time, I'm somewhere in between, chipping away at it.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    For sure, I started feel better as soon as I started up last April. Well, once I got past the initial brick wall of inertia and suffering that comes with doing nothing for 20 years. So, in my case I started out tearing it down brick-by-brick. But I can say it wasn't until maybe a couple of months ago that all of a sudden I really felt like I started getting some where. I feel better than I did when I was 30 and NOW I really have something to build on.

    As for forcing myself to go out, no... more like I have to talk myself into NOT taking a ride and get some recovery time in. Anyway, don't analyze it so much, just do it.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

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    Life style choices:
    My wife is same age as I and exercises 1.5 to 2 hours per day. She eats moderately balanced diet and takes it easy with alcohol. Her scale is stuck at 140# for her 5'3" and she is not happy about that.
    OTOH she has no health problems we know of at age 66.
    I exercise 3.5 hours per day at a higher intensity than she can. I eat pretty much what I want and drink way too much wine. (on my list of things to change soon)
    I can control my weight easy with just dropping wine and meat off my diet. I am satisfied with my weight at 185# at 6'1".
    The above mentioned exercise duration would not be possible without the discipline of exercise equipment like Trainers, Treadmill and Curves. That is in addition to biking.
    Time management issues are critical. We both decided to prioritise exercise/biking for this stage in our life.

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    A slightly different perspective, perhaps because I'm working on a curriculum for a course called "Understanding Your Own Aging Process and the Implications for Your Professional Practice."

    For many of us when we first started riding we reached a point where we were pre-occupied with getting faster, stronger, going longer distances, etc. I suspect this happens regardless of the age at which one starts. Granted the extent to which this happens to a given person can vary a great deal. However, might it not be more realistic to change the way we think about this? I offer two reasons.

    First, the goals of riding should really have the biggest impact on how we think about our performance. If I ride to drop some weight, then it doesn't really matter how many miles or how fast I ride as long as the pounds are dropping. If I ride to improve cardio, then my measure should be related to resting heart rate and/or recovery times, etc. If I ride for fun, then I need to have some way to know if my riding is still fun. As I've read comments on this forum, I know that these reasons to ride exist for many of us. I suspect, however, that we sometimes take the original reasons for our riding and translate them into miles, speed, days ridden, which then becomes the new, but perhaps faulty goal. I know I'm guilty of this. On a weekly basis I check my mileage for the week and cumulative for the year and compare it with the last two years. Why? Because I make the mistaken assumption that more miles will help me reach my goals. This, in fact, is only partially true and can be very misleading if I focus too much on it.

    Reason number two is much less fun for me to think about or write about. Eventually (and I hope this is a few years off yet), I'll be riding not to improve, but in an attempt to maintain. It's just the nature of the game. If we're lucky and don't get taken out by a drunk driver, we'll all reach a point of steady decline. Then the effort becomes one of trying to slow this down as much as possible. There will come a point when, to use George's words, I can't "eat a whale" any longer.... despite the number of small bites I take. I share this knowing from a recent experience that it's true. For the first time in my life, I am unable to bench press more weight than my adult sons. Yes, they are getting stronger, while I'm trying to hold on to where I was last year.

    But now going full circle back to my first reason. I'm pretty OK with this loss, and will continue to ride, stretch, lift weights, etc. And I'll do it because I know what my primary goals are as opposed to the false ones of faster, longer, harder, more, more, more. Heck, if I try to bench press as much as my oldest son, I'll snap/strain/tear something and not be able to lift for weeks or months. I must remember the original reason I do what I do.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

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    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    share this knowing from a recent experience that it's true. For the first time in my life, I am unable to bench press more weight than my adult sons. Yes, they are getting stronger, while I'm trying to hold on to where I was last year.

    But now going full circle back to my first reason. I'm pretty OK with this loss, and will continue to ride, stretch, lift weights, etc. And I'll do it because I know what my primary goals are as opposed to the false ones of faster, longer, harder, more, more, more. Heck, if I try to bench press as much as my oldest son, I'll snap/strain/tear something and not be able to lift for weeks or months. I must remember the original reason I do what I do.
    At almost 68yo, I feel like I am at the "maintaining" stage at the moment. However, I am just terribly happy when I can increase my weights or reps. One of my exercises is, while standing, lifting a bar with weights from a shoulder level rest up to full extension of my arms over my head. I am pleased to state that I am continuing to add weights (2.5 pounds at a time) and then after adding to build my reps up to where they were previously.

    This is a wonderful exercise as it uses a while lot of muscles. It makes me feel as if I am not declining when I can see continued upward progress.
    Gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for fun new group of 50+ folks

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    .................................................................................................... .................For the first time in my life, I am unable to bench press more weight than my adult sons. Yes, they are getting stronger, while I'm trying to hold on to where I was last year.

    But now going full circle back to my first reason. I'm pretty OK with this loss, and will continue to ride, stretch, lift weights, etc. And I'll do it because I know what my primary goals are as opposed to the false ones of faster, longer, harder, more, more, more. Heck, if I try to bench press as much as my oldest son, I'll snap/strain/tear something and not be able to lift for weeks or months. I must remember the original reason I do what I do.
    I am in agreement with all of this. Getting older and have a decline in ability is not avoidable no matter what we do.
    My issue is this:
    I am observing an increasing proportion of my neighbors, friends and relatives with increasing impaired mobility due to weight gain and lack of fitness (activity).

    On occasion I run into folks who have that under control. These are the very few but they are there. I just met a guy, still working, he is a marathon runner at age 60. Met a guy who bikes 135 miles/day at age 76. I know of bikers who bike centuries after age 80. There are cross country bikers older than 60 on many tours. (I checked)

    We all make choices. I choose to be in the latter group rather than the former.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    At almost 68yo, I feel like I am at the "maintaining" stage at the moment. However, I am just terribly happy when I can increase my weights or reps. One of my exercises is, while standing, lifting a bar with weights from a shoulder level rest up to full extension of my arms over my head. I am pleased to state that I am continuing to add weights (2.5 pounds at a time) and then after adding to build my reps up to where they were previously.

    This is a wonderful exercise as it uses a while lot of muscles. It makes me feel as if I am not declining when I can see continued upward progress.
    Dnvr: Cudos on the continued improvement with the extensions. I know it's a minor point, but one perhaps worth thinking about. I'm not sure how functional it is to think of this as a "stage". I suspect that the word stage implies a definitive point at which change is permanent. I think the process of decline is much more gradual and situational in nature. For example, my mental agility and speed is slowing, but my ability to assimilate complex ideas seems to be holding steady and my ability to synthesize seems to be growing. So, I see some things in decline, others holding steady and some improving. As another example on the physical side, my ability to spend long hours in the saddle have continued to grow over the years. My top speed and average speed are currently holding still. Climbing continues to get harder each season. Am I at a stage? I don't like to think about it this way.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  13. #13
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    Dnvr: Cudos on the continued improvement with the extensions. I know it's a minor point, but one perhaps worth thinking about. I'm not sure how functional it is to think of this as a "stage". I suspect that the word stage implies a definitive point at which change is permanent.
    Heck. And I always thought a stage was one of those things carrying gold bullion pulled by horses that the robbers held up in those 50's westerns!

    I guess I am not concerned about what it is called or the permanency. My dad died at 61yo, all my high school buddies are dead. I am just glad to be in the "alive" stage!
    Gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for fun new group of 50+ folks

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