Every year at this time, after my first few rides of the season, I start moaning about how I've "lost it all" until my wife reminds me about how often I've said it. But at 66 and counting, it does get harder to get it back. I rode my hybrid on some soft trails Friday, then took the road bike out on Saturday for some much faster riding, but with hills and a headwind. My legs felt it for sure! So I started analyzing why this is so hard every spring even though I stay in good shape overall.
I'm more of a runner than a cyclist and have a runner's build, including skinny legs. Winter cuts my running down by maybe 1/3, but I stay in good enough condition to ramp back up quickly; 2-3 weeks of training and I'm ready to do a sub-2-hour half-marathon. Riding is another matter: put me on level ground and I have the endurance to go a long way, but add hills or a headwind and I quickly run out of steam. It's a matter of not having the strength -- not the aerobic capacity.
Another example is a friend who's 74 and was a far better athlete than I've ever been. Now I can outrun him for speed and distance, but put us on bikes and he can run away and hide. He has a more compact, stocky build, with real "biker's legs" compared to me.
Anyone else find it hard to get back in shape at this time of year? Ever notice the difference in cyclists physiques and how it affects their riding or training?