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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    How do you get over a plateau?

    I think I've hit some kind of psychological plateau with regard to riding my bike. As most of you know, I was sort of "down and out" for a few weeks working on some personal problems, and got very little time in the saddle. Now I'm back (although most of what was bothering me is still bothering me), and I've gotten in two short rides (10 or so miles each).

    But something's been missing in the rides so far. They aren't as much fun as they usually are. They aren't exactly a chore, like going to the gym, but they do feel a little like I'm riding more out of obligation than to experience joy. I plug along, I get to sort out my thoughts, but I feel like I'm riding through molasses (even though my speed is the same as always). Seems like there's more inconsiderate drivers out there as well, but that's got to be my imagination.

    I'm just sort of in a biking funk, and I don't like it. I'm pressing a little bit because I'm behind on my mileage goals for the year, but even when I dismiss them as not terribly important in the grand scheme of things, I can't find the sheer delight of gliding along the pavement on two wheels that I am so attached to. I've resigned myself to the likely possibility I won't hit even last year's mileage, and I truly think I've let go of that. So it's not about personal disappointment with my performance.

    It just feels like I'm riding because I'm "supposed" to ride, or something.

    I think I'm dealing with some kind of plateau. I don't even have an interest, even a passing interest, in new gear or clothes or whatever, despite a post to that effect recently. I think that post was an attempt to get my own juices stirring, and it didn't work. I just don't seem to care right now.

    Can anyone relate? Do you have any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    DG,

    Yeah, what's going on in your life can affect your biking. It's not surprising that the riding might not be as fun. This too shall pass. My cycling has seen peaks and valleys. At one time I commuted 17 miles each way. When I was self-employed, I did very little riding. Now I'm commuting a short distance, riding all over town and active in the bicycle advocacy group.

    Nothing wrong with short rides. Don't worry about your goals. It's not like there is a $1,000.00 prize attached. Understand that your frustration with not attaining them may be linked to irritation from the problems that took you off the saddle anyway. Cut back the goal to an achieveable one, knowing that you were thrown from the bike for a while.

    I think that perhaps its time to look for some new things to knock the cobwebs out. Maybe after you get a little back into shape, it's time to tackle Texas Canyon, just to be stubborn. Or go to the Velodrome in Balboa Park. There are recreational riding, Open Riding and Classes on Wednesdays, or just go watch the races and have a cold beer . Check out the link to the Velodrome for more details. Take your bike out to Boulevard, have some chocolate at the Wisteria Candy Cottage and ride in some completely new area. Start training to ride in the Tour De Palm Springs next February. Find someone to ride with to take your attention off your self. Join the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Lots of good bicycle people and you probably won't have to ride with them, but you can absorb their enthusiasm.

    Or, put the bike down. There will be a day when you are driving when you see a cyclist and you will be so jealous of them that it will impell you back onto the saddle.

    Good luck, and good riding.
    Last edited by Artkansas; 12-03-07 at 08:46 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    DG,
    There will be a day when you are driving when you see a cyclist and you will be so jealous of them that it will impell you back onto the saddle.
    I got burned out on riding in 2000, and even sold my Lemond. One day I was playing baseball with some older guys, and I looked across the field and saw 3 or 4 roadies saling past, and I had the strongest craving to be out there with them. One the way home that evening I stopped at a local bike shop and poked around. A couple of days later I bought a Canndondale sport frame and started riding again. After a few fun (but harsh riding!) years, I got my Rivendell. I haven't gotten burned out since.

    This will pass, my son.
    Last edited by Big Paulie; 12-03-07 at 08:50 PM.

  4. #4
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Hi DG. Sounds like a touch of depression to me. This too, shall pass. Just keep doing it because it's good for you and it will make you feel proud of yourself for hanging in there you are past this funk. Don't fall into "emotional reasoning" -- just because it doesn't feel good, that doesn't mean it isn't good. Been there. Trust me.

  5. #5
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I think it more likely that you need a break from it rather than being plateaued. I go through up & down cycles of interest on all of my hobbies/activities. Could be from a need to do something else for a while, could be a product of you feeling mentally worn down. Or any of a number of other reasons.

    Maybe you need to do something different in your riding habits. Ride a different road, maybe take a 3-day weekend into one of those famous California valleys and ride in the wide open spaces. Ride with some friends instead of alone.

    Or go somewhere and take a hike along the ocean or in the mountains.

    We're in our 50s, we are supposed to have little mid-life crisis now & then and that usually means inducing some variety into our everyday lives.

    Perhaps you miss winter ... you should visit Minnesota or Wisconsin and go ice fishing.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  6. #6
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Last year (2006) I was a biking fiend. I did 10 centuries, could do most of the epic mountain bike rides, was really strong. But then I had surgery and everything fell apart. Now it's not like I haven't had surgery before. The last 4 years I've had 4 surgeries (3 for injuries and 1 for cancer). I'm just not bounding back like before. I can barely ride. This weekend I did a really easy MTB ride and was totally exhausted after. I am in poor shape but frankly don't care.

    Am I worried? Alittle bit. I know it's better to be in shape than not. But I do know sometimes our bodies speak to us in loud and obnoxious ways. I needed to take a break. I wouldn't let my body rest. It is punishing me as we speak. I know when it's time, my body will let me train again. I haven't lost my love for cycling I've just lost the mojo and need to get it back. Stressing about it is not going to help. In the meantime I keep trying. At least I get on the bike once a week. That's better than nothing. Now I need to think about going to spin classes again. I never missed spin before but this last year I haven't gone. I know it's time and I will get back to it.

    DG - let your body and mind relax and calm itself. When it's ready again you will be a riding like before.
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  7. #7
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    For a while, pick more scenic routes for your rides. Then dump your worries and cares in the first ditch you pass. Ride for the pleasure of ridilng on a beautiful route, and be inspired by what you see. The important things will still be waiting for you when you get home. But you will be amazed at how much stuff we worry about that isn't important. Leave all of that back in the ditch. It will lighten your load. bk

  8. #8
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Sounds like you got a touch of depression, maybe more than a touch. I go through that sometimes myself. You get to the point you don't want to get out of bed. I don't mind leaving the bike sit and doing something else for a while. Then when I'm ready to ride, it's there and I feel stronger when I do start riding. I like what Tom said, just take a break. If you force yourself into it, you will just hate it more. Don't do that please. I remember when I joined this forum and I got a lot of inspiration from you. Now I hope we can give you enough. Just sit back read a book or something. You'll need something to keep your mind on something, so stinky thinking wont put you down.

    I just got back from the hospital AGAIN and I sure wish I could have half the spirit my wife has. Sometimes driving home from the doctors or hospital and have to leave her there, I feel like smashing the dashboard. I just have to deal with it just as you have too as well and I wish you good luck, from the bottom of my heart. I know everybody needs a break and I'm right there with you.
    George

  9. #9
    My other car is a bike TruF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I just got back from the hospital AGAIN and I sure wish I could have half the spirit my wife has. Sometimes driving home from the doctors or hospital and have to leave her there, I feel like smashing the dashboard. I just have to deal with it just as you have too as well and I wish you good luck, from the bottom of my heart. I know everybody needs a break and I'm right there with you.
    George, so sorry to hear about your wife's health problems That sucks. Take care.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tntom's Avatar
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    D G you took some time away because of a personal problem and it is still a problem I have been there many times. Do you have someone you can talk to openly about it? If you don't you need to find someone a friend , a pastor someone you turst. I know for me sometimes it helps to just talk about what is going on. Anyway hang in there give it time things will get better. I will pray for you as soon as I am done with this post. God bless you.
    Tom

  11. #11
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    You might look around for a laid-back cycling group like the bunch I ride with during civilized weather (late spring, summer, early fall). We're old, young, male, female, roadie, MTB, recumbent, hammerheads and non-hammerheads. Our rides are social rides with lots of chit-chat, stops etc. Sometimes some of us hammer ahead for a mile or two, but then we stop and regroup. I enjoy these rides and look forward to the fellowship and some good-natured harassment from the crew. When you're with a group like this, you're not alone with your thoughts, and the miles pass by with little effort. I too will pray for you.

  12. #12
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    A few free ideas, worth everything you're paying for them
    1. New route
    2. New fun people to ride with
    3. New bike
    4. New bike shorts
    5. Any new bike toy
    6. Find slower people to ride with so you'll feel faster
    7. Ride different than however you ride now, faster or slower, stop more or never stop. Look around more or stop looking around


    Or, maybe yo should stop riding and send me all your bikes and bike stuff.... yeah.....
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
    Website at curtis.corlew.com Bicycle blog at ccorlew.blogspot.com

  13. #13
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    Please be thankful that you have the choice or riding or not riding. If you take a little time and think you probably have many things to be thankful for. As far a problems go thank God that there are things out of our control. I know that I sure would not want the responsibility for what others do.

    Keep praying and never give up.

  14. #14
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    D.G. We're all different of course. Speaking for myself, I try not to make goals
    centered around hobbies I enjoy (i.e. cycling, model railroading). For me, goals
    tend to turn a fun, relaxing activity into a task or chore. I guess that's why I
    don't belong to any clubs or participate in many (any) group rides. My bike is
    there for my enjoyment, nothing more. Improved health and fuel savings
    are merely additional side benefits to riding and/or commuting. I've
    stated this previously in other threads, I ride simply for the enjoyment of the ride.
    Commuting has helped me stay tuned to the bike somewhat and does help me to
    stay less goal oriented.

    Sometimes my hobbies are able to help me past difficult times, sometimes they're
    not. Sometimes I just put my "toys" away for a while until I get beyond whatever it is
    that I'm dealing with. When I finally do resume riding or playing with my trains,
    the "wow" factor is back and the hobbies are again serving me well.

    But then again, that's just me and I'm kinda wired differently than most folks,
    or so I'm told. Maybe some of these tactics will work for you, maybe
    not. Or maybe your just reaching an equilibrium. Non cyclist to avid cyclist to
    somewhere in between with your downturn coincidentaly coinciding with other life issues.

    Hang in there D.G. I wish you well and hope for the best.







    Oh yes, I almost forgot...my bike was white yesterday....'till I started peddaling
    and all the snow blew off.
    Last edited by cranky old dude; 12-04-07 at 06:10 AM.

  15. #15
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    DG,
    It could just be the color of your bike. Heh Heh.

    I have found that changing the riding patterns have helped me when I just do not feel like riding. Usually that means to just ride slower, look around at the beauty that is all around. The other thing is to always look at biking as a privilege. I have had to deal with the first freezing up of brake and der. cables here in SE Ohio. Have many weeks of this type of crap to deal with. The joy of riding bit comes about in 2 fashions for me, the first overcoming the obstacles (Newtons theory of "my" body at rest wants to remain at rest is one of the biggest), the second knowing there are people out there that just cannot ride for health reasons. I think of my friend that has a muscle deterioration(sp) disease that exercise causes greater muscle loss and will soon be in a wheel chair permanently. So I count every ride as a blessing.

    Good luck and as they say "this to shall pass".
    Gary

  16. #16
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Perhaps your "psychic energy" is already fully utilized in handling the personal problems you have been mentioning. To add on the weight of meeting a cycling goal, or even of going a set distance seems to me unwise at this point in your life. You even mentioned "10 miles."

    Unclip your computer, take the battery out and let it reset to zero, and put it in some hiding place. Go for a relaxed ride to a nearby cafe and enjoy coffee or something else and ride back. Go to the beach and ride slowly along the shore, watching the waves and boats and ladies, if you like. Don't even THINK about mileage or your 2007 goals.

    Right now, your bike should be serving only one purpose - as a weapon in your arsenal of activities/actions to help cope with and heal your spirit, which appears to have taken a rather heavy jolt. Your biking should not add a burden, it should relieve stress. You can't do that while measuring the miles or the time on the bike.

  17. #17
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    It may help to just ride. Don't think about how you feel or your goals or anything else. Just ride until you've ridden past the plateau. Just keep riding.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I just got back from the hospital AGAIN and I sure wish I could have half the spirit my wife has. Sometimes driving home from the doctors or hospital and have to leave her there, I feel like smashing the dashboard. I just have to deal with it just as you have too as well and I wish you good luck, from the bottom of my heart. I know everybody needs a break and I'm right there with you.
    I'm sorry to hear about your wife, George.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    Don't overthink it. I felt similarly this past season-didn't really feel like riding for a while, and when I would get the bike out, felt like it was because I felt like I should, not because I really wanted to. It passed, no idea what caused it. Sometimes I guess we just get in a funk, and trying to figure it out seems to make us dwell on it even more. Don't sweat it, just ride it out (no pun intended) and let it pass. Could be the holidays, lots of emotions stirring around this time of year.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Focus on finding a more beach bunny enhanced route. When you have success with that effort, you will have new found joy again in your daily rides. Don't give up Gee, if anyone can do that, it's got to be you.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice here, DG. I hope you find something to work through this period. When dieters reach a plateau they're often advised to "shake things up".

    I've skipped a couple rides recently because I didn't want to dress for the cold. Instead I stayed at home and did some house repairs. Now I can't wait to get back on the bike....house repairs suck We're expecting our first snow of the season tonight and I'm thinking about dragging out the mountain bike and seeing how it handles.
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  22. #22
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    [*]New bike
    I saw that one coming. And if you do, DG, make it a red bike or something with some color!
    Dennis T

  23. #23
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    What keeps me going is my circle of riding friends. I joined the San Fernando Vallley Bicycle Club in 1989. My wife and I moved out of the area for a few years and I sort of lost touch with them. Well, my wife left in 2001 and I sought comfort on the road bike, re-joining the bike club. I have made some new friends and even found some of the old ones still around. Many are faster than me, but riding with them is one of my favorite parts of life.
    I think joining a bike club is a great idea. I'm sure there is a big one in San Diego.

  24. #24
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    DG, We all sometimes get overwhelmed with things in our lives. Part of being overwhelmed is a loss of interest in those things that normally make us feel better, like cycling. IMHO its a bit like over training. My solution is to ride if I feel like it, but don't ride if you don't. Are you subject to seasonal affect disorder? There is light therapy that really helps that, I used to sit in front of my computer with daylight spectrum lights blazing away. Helped me cope with the lack of strong sunlight in the winter.

    At any rate, I think its a terrible mistake to force yourself to ride, you'll end up hating it. I spent a few years back when I raced forcing myself to ride even if I was too busy with other things to have the time. My result was I gave up riding for many years until I was able to get back to riding for the joy of it. Don't let it get that bad, shelve the goals, take a break and ride when you want to. Good Luck.
    Recycle, Reclaim, Reuse and Repair
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  25. #25
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    DG maybe start cruising craigslist again.. look for a deal on a fixed or ss bike or cheap mtb. That may get the juices flowing again.

    Joe

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