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  1. #1
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    Lacking Motivation

    Last year, after six years of inactivity, I finally found the motivation to put in 4,000 miles. Over the winter, I thought that I had come to the realization that I'm going to stick with it for as long as I'm physically able. I bought a new Trek Damone 5.2, and Garmin 510 figuring that I might as well upgrade for the long haul. I was chomping at the bit during this miserable winter, and rode eight times in March, mostly in frigid, miserable conditions. I was starting to feel a little bit of fitness come around, and I shed about four pounds (always motivating). Last year I dropped 45 pounds, put 15 back on during winter. I'm 6'3", so my goal for this year is another 30 pounds to get down to about 195. Anyway, on April 6 I intended to ride about 30-35, but couldn't get my heart rate up, and felt pretty blah. The next evening, I was hit with a full case of the flu which turned into bronchitis, I was basically down hard for almost two weeks. This past Saturday, I got out for 21, and Sunday, 27 miles. I had to force myself to complete rides in nice weather, not because of fitness, but due to a lack of motivation. Usually I would be excited for this coming Tuesday, and Wednesday, my next scheduled rides, but I'm not, it seems more of a chore now.

    My question is, is this normal? Does anyone else experience this, and just push through it and find their motivation again? During this brutal winter, I had vowed to cherish every nice day, as a great day to ride, and accomplish my goals, I don't understand why I'm not feeling it. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Yes. It is normal.

    Ride shorter rides more often. See how slow you can go. Carry a camera and snap a bunch of pictures. Write amusing recaps of your rides here. Don't be afraid to embellish or out and out fabricate for artistic effect. Always state your average moving speed is 30% less than what you thought it really was.

    My favorite rides either end with a trip to Starbucks, or are out and backs to Dairy Queen. And don't sweat losing those last few pounds. You look fine as it is.

  3. #3
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Just get on the bike. Everything else will take care of itself. Spring conditioning is never easy.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

    '85 Trek 460 road racer

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  4. #4
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    this last winter beat everybody down...often in unexpected ways...it'll pass

  5. #5
    Ceiclwr Hapus Gerryattrick's Avatar
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    I sometimes get the same feeling, especially after a period of inactivity. Not sure why but possibly related to my occasional bouts of depression.
    I can't offer you specific advice as everyone is different, but what works for me is to "force" myself to ride on nice sunny days on some of my favourite rides, with no targets or timescales, and I realise how much better I feel for it and how much better it is than the alternative of doing nothing. It often takes a few rides before I get motivation back.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Dont give in, even if you have to force yourself. The plain fact is if you set you rust, and you will be in the old dirt bed far sooner.

  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    It's the cycle of positive reinforcement. We want to do the things for which we get reinforcement. Except that you can only get reinforcement by doing it. So yes, force yourself and you'll feel better about yourself and your cycling and you'll want to do it. It's not that complicated.

    OTOH, we get in the habit of responding that way and still have that response even when we're overdoing it, so one has to watch for that, too. But that's not your problem now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lenA View Post
    this last winter beat everybody down...often in unexpected ways...it'll pass
    Ya sure hope so. We're over in Mpls and it's been a hard on the gut winter. Maybe this should be "Just get on the bike" thread. Motivation is really hard this year...
    "Of course you eat too much" (Looigi) There are things people say that are so true you can never forget the wisdom. I still eat too much. Without denial.
    Awarded 2014 Billy Madison "Ultimate Insult" by jsharr. Must have been something about my rambling, incoherent response...

  9. #9
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Re-focus. As others have said just go out and spin around watching all that you go by or experience. No expectations other than a casual way to spend some time.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I bought a new Trek Damone 5.2, and ...

    new bikes do make you feel guilty to not be riding them enough ..


    A Bike day tour, isn't there some place to ride to for lunch and then ride back, from?

  11. #11
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Let's face it, with adequate motivation, we'd all be super-buff specimens of physical fitness, ready for any any riding, running, weightlifting or swimming challenge that came along. Since most of us don't fit that description, you can figure most people suffer from lack of motivation to SOME extent.

    Personally, I took up bicycling because it was a fun way to exercise, and I hated jogging. As incredible as it seems, there ARE people that enjoy running and have no interest in bicycling. I think the lesson is not to force yourself to do something that you don't want to do, but rather to find fun stuff to do that benefits you. Maybe that's cycling. Or maybe it isn't. But sitting on the sofa eating Cheetos sure isn't it.

    Consider changing your cycling up. If you approach it like an exercise routine, leave your heart rate monitor at home and just go ride and have fun. If that's what you're already doing, then take it the other direction and start seriously "training". Take a camera and take pictures. Ride with other people. Drive somewhere new and ride there- try the next state over, see what it's like to ride there. Explore new areas. If you wonder "Where does that road go anyway?", turn down it and see. Seek out a bike rally or two. Jog one day and ride the next. Ride your old bike part of the time. Log your miles on bikejournal.com, see how many you can rack up this year.

    Assuming you're up there near the north pole, take up snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter, whatever it takes to get you out of doors. Or get one of those fat-tire snow bikes.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  12. #12
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    Thanks to all for the replies, a lot of good advice, and encouragement. I have been mildly depressed lately, but I figured that was because I'm a biatch when I get sick. The new gear has definitely guilted me into riding, not sure that I would have ridden at all this past weekend without that guilt. Hopefully, that in turn starts the cycle of positive reinforcement that carbonfiberboy was talking about. It's just odd to go from enjoying a ride on a 28 degree day in March, to having to drag my arse out of the house when it's 73. Thanks again.

  13. #13
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    My thing is the motivation to go out and get the bike out to ride. Once I am on the bike I am all good. I have a new shop now with everything organized so it is easy to get the bike out and ride. Maybe you need to make it easier to get started?

  14. #14
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    OP, I had a similar experience coming back from my 4-stent procedure. The procedure was done last December and the doc told me to lay off the bike for about a month or so.

    At the end of the month I was chomping at the bit to go back to riding. Then after my first couple of rides something happened and I just had no desire to get back on the bike.

    Physically I was feeling great, it is just that mentally I had no desire to get back on the road.

    It was a struggle just to put on my riding clothes and jump on the bike.

    But I kept riding, albeit shorter rides than my usual rides just to get out on the road and get back the "feel" for my bike.

    I am now back to my old self, feeling motivated and good about my riding.

    As others have suggested, start with baby steps, do shorter rides and concentrate on how good it feels to be on a bike. This may be also a good time to do maintenance on your bike, clean the chain, etc. You may even want to do something seemingly unimportant, like get new bar tape (and learn to install yourself if you don't already know how).

    All of these things should help to rekindle your romance with the the bike and bike riding.

    Good luck and ride safely.
    My current stable:

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  15. #15
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Good luck determining why you're lacking motivation.

    Can't say what others are feeling or if this is a common issue among cyclist or anybody who participates in some form of exercise. Speaking for myself, there are days I should ride but just don't feel like going. Other days I start riding and feel like turning around within a couple blocks of the house. With me, deep down I know cycling involves work, it's going to involve suffering, pain, increased heart rate, heavy breathing, it just plain hurts at times. I have to convince myself all this is a good thing helping to stay healthy. But really, I just don't feel like doing the work some days. I'd rather take it easy and relax.

    This is where it helps to create a goal, no matter how small. Even if that means your just checking out what's new in the neighborhood. A trip to the hardware store. Commuting to work, groceries, or a doctors appointment. I also find a trip to the LBS to see what's new and hanging around other cyclist is motivating enough. Then of course buy something, even a pair of socks to find another reason to ride.

    My biggest motivator so far is my wife. Not that she encourages me to ride, because often she would rather have me stay home to work around the house. She works in the Hospital taking care of patients, she comes home telling me about complications with diabetes, obesity, strokes, alcoholism, drug addiction, lack of mobility, and regular exercise.

    So I ride to get and stay healthier. I also realize I don't always have to push it, that it's OK to just spin around and enjoy the sights. On some leisure rides, I start slowly spinning then after a few miles start feeling so good that I want to ride faster and it's fun again.

    I'd recommend you find other reasons to ride that make the bike fun. After all, riding a bike should be fun.

    best of luck....

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    My treatment for clinical depression was taking a multiple month bike tour in another country

    to get out of my old thinking patterns, and talking to strangers in their countries ..

  17. #17
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    The Trek is to big for me, so i won't mention sending it to me. Get out and enjoy that beautiful ride.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Just because you feel like doing something, doesn't mean you have to do it.
    I often feel like eating a dozen donuts...but I don't.
    just sayin'...

  19. #19
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Uh guy,
    Do the math.

    Sick on the 6th to 7th... for 2 weeks... puts you out to the 20th to 21st, at least outwardly physically recovered.

    Please consider we're organic beings.
    We can take quite a while to really get set to right...

    Rest up, try shorter rides and be gentle on yourself.

  20. #20
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    I agree with Null66... you probably pushed too hard in the dreary cold weather and it has taken a toll on your body. Rest, get well, and try again. It is still very early in our Wisconsin cycling season - plenty of time to enjoy the new bike. I had a similar experience in 2011 - hit the roads in March, had pneumonia in April and took a good three months to fully recover.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Sounds like your energy level is down from having been sick. You need to ride enough to rebuild some fitness. Look at it like putting money in the bank, only at this bank, the rate of return is really good.

    Oh, and the "scheduled ride" part. That would make me sick. Other than signing up to lead rides, out of hundreds of rides over a five year period I don't think I ever "scheduled" one. Having said that, I couldn't wait to get on my bike whenever I could.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  22. #22
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    It's a combination of things, but it will pass.

    I'm coming back from injuries and loss of fitness, and a few weeks ago my rides really left me nonplussed - as much as I tried to enjoy an unambitious ride, there were several for which I just couldn't wait for it to be over. That was tough, in part because I tell myself, "I love to ride - any ride, however short or slow is better than staying at home.", and so, to feel otherwise even in somewhat moderate weather (what little of that we had in March) seemed like self-betreyal.

    I'm over that hump and enjoying myself immensely, and what it took was to keep going out there, even if I didn't go far or hard, until I began to feel some progress. Then it felt much better.

    But now that I'm out and riding, including riding in groups, I'm finding that early spring malaise is a regional pandemic. Everybody in the upper midwest is shellshocked by that winter. Many who normally maintain quite a bit of fitness over the winter were demoralized and having a hard time getting back in the swing of things.

  23. #23
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    Try riding with other people. Join a cycling club, find organized groups that ride (LBS often sponsor or help organize rides from their stores), or just hook up with one or more riders.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  24. #24
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    just hook up with one or more riders.
    That's the trouble with us old folks. Phrases change their meaning and nobody sends us the memo.

  25. #25
    Senior Member h2oxtc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Yes. It is normal.

    Ride shorter rides more often. See how slow you can go. Carry a camera and snap a bunch of pictures. Write amusing recaps of your rides here. Don't be afraid to embellish or out and out fabricate for artistic effect. Always state your average moving speed is 30% less than what you thought it really was.

    My favorite rides either end with a trip to Starbucks, or are out and backs to Dairy Queen. And don't sweat losing those last few pounds. You look fine as it is.
    Haven't done the DQ treat after a ride, might have to try that ... but +1 on the stopping to take photos. I'll usually stop at least once during a ride, somewhere, just to smell the roses so to speak, and have the pictures to remind me of the good ride. Then get back on the bike and ride hard (or at least as hard as I can ride).

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    That's the trouble with us old folks. Phrases change their meaning and nobody sends us the memo.
    I agree, for me cycling is as much about health as it is social.

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