After a very long layoff, I'm back to regular riding (well, so far, chiefly on the trainer, it's still winter in Minnesota). It feels so good to be getting real exercise, but so daunting to think how long it's going to take go get my strength back.
Brief history: I started riding for real in 2009 at age 48. 1500 miles in 2009, 4500 miles in 2010, 7000 miles in 2011. Yeah, too much too fast, but I was loving it- I was and again want to be a serious club rider, putting in 200 miles/week in the warm season, riding as fast and as hard as my body will let me. It's my bliss.
But I was out for the first 6 months of 2012 learning to deal with the onset of minor osteoarthritis in my hips. In the second half of 2012, I rode 3500 miles and toward the end of the road season, was back in good form. I rode all winter in 2012-2013 - slow base miles on studded tires, but riding just the same, but in the early spring last year, screwed up a tendon behind my knee and it took me 10 months, a pack of doctors, MRIs, cortisone (to no effect), and physio to get me (mostly) back.
But I had 10 months with very little riding or cardio. I was cleared to go back to it in January and I did elliptical training for about a month, I've been on the trainer and/or doing short outdoor rides on warmer days for about 6 weeks.
All good, right? Well yeah, but wow, I've lost so much cardio fitness and so much strength in my legs. I have good form - I can spin at high cadence, but at the moment a 20 mile ride at 14 MPH is about all I can muster -not so long ago I wouldn't have even considered that a real ride, even on a winter bike.
I know it will come, slowly, but it's clear it's going to take months - jeez, it's going to take all year - to get back to close to where I was. And that's if I avoid injury....
Yeah, I know I need to be patient. I know I need to think about tons of base miles and lowered expectations. Just being out riding makes me a happy man, believe me, I don't have to hammer any time soon. The last thing i need is to get injured again.
I'm not asking for advice and I certainly don't need to be told to "just enjoy the ride". I'm just venting.
Thanks for listening.