Progress in my return to cycling
I wrote earlier (in July or August) that I'm 56 years old and that I'd been "forced" to return to cycling after 12 years of a purely sedentary lifestyle by my now (almost) grown children. My first ride was July 1. I asked for training tips for returning cyclists and got a lot of good information. Thanks to all of you for that, and for the encouragement you gave me. I thought that it would be of interest if I gave an update after the first two months. As you read this, be aware that my writing style is sort of formal and it's hard to communicate the fact that riding again has been the incredibly joyous experience that it's been. I'm outside, I'm spending time with my kids, I'm improving my physical state. Can my mental state be far behind? (Joke, you're supposed to smile!
Overall, I've made a lot of progress. However, the progress has been mixed. In some areas, I'm very encouraged. In others, the progress has come slowly. I've tried hard to keep from overdoing things and trying to do too much, and then injuring myself. That part has been an unqualified success! I used to be a masters racer, and I am trying to keep perspective - I don't really want to try to compete with my former self and that would be a losing competition anyway.
Over July and August, I rode 410 miles. Most of those miles were in small increments, like 10 miles at a time. Yes, I rode fairly often. I am capable of riding at about 18 mph average on "gently rolling terrain" with no real climbs for about 25 miles now. I am not capable of climbing real hills with anything but pure agony written all over my face, so I avoid those rides for now (and I used to be a climber). I'd rather not push that and injure my knees, for example. I have enjoyed riding with my children. They've been my best and most frequent riding companions. For example, I did a 22-mile ride this morning with my son. Last weekend I rode with my daughter, a 24-miler. This weekend I pushed myself harder to see what kind of progress I'd made and did a 42-miler yesterday. Today I had no strength in my legs. Ha. There is no quick return to fitness.
I think that the best advice I got was 1) to take it slowly and 2) to find joy in other aspects of riding besides the competition I used to thrive on. So far, I have had no injuries, feel stronger and more energetic, get to spend a lot of time with my kids and enjoy the relatively cool summer we've had. I won't do any climbing training until next spring, I think, when I have accumulated enough base miles. My training goal is to reach a certain level (which is confidential at this time
) by the end of next August. No, it's not a competitive level, far from it. My riding goals are to keep enjoying myself, to keep from taking it too seriously and to keep riding with my kids.