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Old 01-12-08, 06:42 PM   #1
zacster
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I should have kept riding in December

I went out today for the first time since early November and my legs felt like lead. I did my usual loops of Prospect Park, where by mid-summer I was doing 20+mph average, and today I couldn't get the bike past 17 on the flats, never mind on the little hill. I had to use the small ring to get up, where I never used to leave the big ring in the park, in fact I almost never use the small 36t ring except on big climbs. A few guys came zipping past and I tried to jump with them but I couldn't hold it like I always did.

At 52 I'm starting to doubt my ability to get back into shape, but I know I felt the same way last year and was ready to race by early summer. But it isn't getting any easier. I'm going to have to stay on the trainer through the rest of the winter, since the weather won't cooperate.

I'm also taking a compu-trainer class that I started this week and didn't feel like I was doing any worse than anyone else, and I easily had 20 years on the entire group. I think the next youngest was 31.

How does everyone else feel when they ride after a break?
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Old 01-12-08, 07:01 PM   #2
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You'll be fine. The time off will help in more way than you can imagine. Besides, part of the fun is gearing back up to where you really want to be. The time of the year has a little to do with it as well.
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Old 01-12-08, 07:17 PM   #3
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I just rode for the first time since mid October.Yeah, I got tired easier and the hills were tougher, but it wasn't like starting from scratch which I thought I'd be doing.
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Old 01-12-08, 08:42 PM   #4
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You'll be fine. The time off will help in more way than you can imagine.
True that, as many (including myself) have learned the hard way.
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Old 01-12-08, 09:20 PM   #5
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Happily, I haven't stopped. Been feeling too good since mid-summer and haven't wanted to lose what I've built up. Put down almost 5400 miles last year, already have 195 in for the first twelve days of this year. Even got to the point where I keep a bike at work so I can ride during lunch, since the morning rides are toast until we start seeing daylight at a reasonable time again.
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Old 01-12-08, 09:29 PM   #6
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I suppose I will recover. I have this fantasy that I'll be able to keep up with the young'uns forever, but days like this tell me otherwise. I actually have to work at keeping up.

Once I was in shape last year I didn't feel like I was any older than the rest of the people I ride with.
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Old 01-12-08, 09:31 PM   #7
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Happily, I haven't stopped. Been feeling too good since mid-summer and haven't wanted to lose what I've built up. Put down almost 5400 miles last year, already have 195 in for the first twelve days of this year. Even got to the point where I keep a bike at work so I can ride during lunch, since the morning rides are toast until we start seeing daylight at a reasonable time again.
You ride in Vermont in the winter???? That just seems crazy.

Maybe I misread your profile, VA not VT? Montpelier VT is just frigid in the winter.
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Old 01-12-08, 09:39 PM   #8
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It took me a long time to realize that nobody is always at his or her peak. To keep up with the youngsters, we old timers have got to work smarter not harder. That means giving yourself some recovery time with easier rides and/or alternative aerobic activities in the fall in early winter (might also be a good time for some weight training). Then build back gradually to your cycling peak. By June and July, you'll be kicking butts and taking names.
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Old 01-12-08, 10:39 PM   #9
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Still, the older we get, we can less afford becoming less regular in our training w/o expecting the road back to be somewhat harder and longer. In fact, while it is good (more likely very wise) to ease off and ride in "cycles", it is probably best not to "take a winter off" from at least nominal riding. But then, at 60, I'm a little more attuned to aging questions than the youthful, 52'ish OP.
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Old 01-12-08, 11:18 PM   #10
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I guess that is my point, it is getting harder to get back into shape each year, and letting myself get out of shape is really taking it's toll, especially since I really built myself up this past year. 20+mph average is pretty good, and I was riding with the 'A' group, if not the cat I/II riders. I wasn't the oldest guy in the A's but the few older guys were long time riders and I'm not.

The other thing I know will be a challenge is doing a long-distance ride. I only did about 15 miles today, but by the end of the summer I was doing 60+ miles without giving it any thought, and a few centuries. I know that the only way to do longer distance though is to just do it.

And maybe I should accept the fact that I'm not a cold weather rider. It was only about 45 today, not frigid, but much colder than any other ride I did last year. It takes a long time to warm up. I just heard the forecast is for snow, so that'll be the end of any outdoor riding anyway.
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Old 01-12-08, 11:22 PM   #11
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Cold weather makes you tired, no matter what you're out doing in it.
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Old 01-12-08, 11:59 PM   #12
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Cold days make me "tight" on the bike as I gather myself in. Also probably a little constant muscle tension and stiffness that nibble at energy, plus keeping warm, plus generally a stronger wind in your kisser (and down your neck) ...all contribute to wear one down faster. January days are good days for long, slow rides enjoying the scenery. Not the time or weather, not the time of year or time of training cycle to push hard. Save it for sweet April and beyond. But stay out there--- makes that postride hot shower all the better.
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Old 01-13-08, 03:00 AM   #13
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One of the reasons I try to keep riding through the winter is that I do not wish to lose the fitness I have gained after a long warm Summer (Did we have one this year?) No matter what the weather, I try to get out at the weekends- even if it is just for a short ride for coffee and pie. The midweek rides are harder to get in- Raining- Cold and after a long day at work and the enthusiasm just isn't there.

Luckily- I also have a mountain bike- so if I don't feel like falling on the black ice on the road- I can do it on the trails instead. It does take a bit of enthusiasm to get out sometimes- Or a wife that wants some time to herself but I have to keep a ride in every week- Other wise it will be hard to get back to a level that I enjoy riding at. I only have to miss a a week and I feel like you do- so take it easy- take a gentle ride and go for a coffee- about 10 miles away and get the legs turning. Do it on a wet misearable day and you get to the cafe faster- to get out of the cold. And the gentle meander back home gets a bit more put into it to get out the wet clothes and have a bath.
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Old 01-13-08, 07:06 AM   #14
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Lay offs over 10 days or so are about all I can take without facing a serious effort to get back where I was. I no longer like that "serious effort" as much as I used to. When younger, there was something exciting about getting in shape for whatever sport season was approaching (track, baseball, basketball, etc.) These days, however, I find it better to keep a general level of bike fitness by not going long spells without riding. I do cut back a bit in nasty winter weather, but I still get out and ride the trainer more. As I ranted before: I hate the trainer! But, I hate feeling like I'm never going to "get back in shape" even more.
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Old 01-13-08, 07:19 AM   #15
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I haven't stopped cummuting yet, and I've squeezed out a couple of rides
since New Years as we've had a bit of a thaw and our 45 inches of snow
has disappeared completely. I will admit though that I ride much more
conservatively in the cold weather. Though I've logged 160 miles
since Jan 1st, they've been slower miles and my riding fitness has
certainly deteriorated. Hopefully when the warmer weather arrives my
stubborn winter commuting will help me to regain my previous level of
riding fitness quicker.
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Old 01-13-08, 11:43 AM   #16
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You ride in Vermont in the winter???? That just seems crazy.

Maybe I misread your profile, VA not VT? Montpelier VT is just frigid in the winter.
Yeah, Virginia. Same name, different town, much smaller and we may get our first traffic light in the new year. I moved from western PA because I got tired of being limited to four wheels five months of the year.

Now, if I lived in VT, I'd probably be happy - I used to be as manic on cross country skiing as I was about cycling. Haven't touched the skiis since I moved down here.

Oh yeah, you're far from the first on this board to make that mistake.
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