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  1. #1
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    Now how did that happen?

    so I've really been suffering when climbing (San Jose area) for the past month. Rides that I normally can have a go at, I've just been suffering thru or haveng to just put it in the lowest gear and spin up...was it the holiday weight gain? the cooler weather? the week I took off to go back east? This past week, more of the same, two normal rides for me = suffer fest, nothing in the legs or lungs and really getting discouraged to the point that maybe I just need to take some time off? And then on Sunday I did one of my usual rides and presto, I fly to the top (for me) with my 3rd best time ever and had PLENTY in the tank afterwards, I could have beaten my best time np. How did I suddenly go from a month of suffering to a day of glory?!?! ;-)

    In all seriousness, any explanations or one of the mysteries of cycling? I'm betting when I go out tomorrow or Wed, back to the suffering...very positive of me.

  2. #2
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    It's all mental.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  3. #3
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    you lost weight or gained muscle or both or its all mental. Climbing is the second hardest thing to do on a bike (like anything is), next to riding track on streets (which is what my friends do to train for their roadies).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    It's all mental.
    Really? in all seriousness, its just been a mental block for more then a month? I've gone out feeling really good on some days, only to crash in the climbs. I do agree there is definitely a mental aspect to it but I've really felt like crap on the climbs and to suddenly wipe all that away in one day just has me really wondering what I did right/wrong? Maybe I just had a good dinner the night before or something similar and the legs appreciated it, and it is that simple?

    I guess I'll find out soon enough if it was a one and done day... thanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    It's all mental.
    90% of the game is half mental.


  6. #6
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Did you put more air in your tires?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaycb74 View Post
    so I've really been suffering when climbing (San Jose area) for the past month. Rides that I normally can have a go at, I've just been suffering thru or haveng to just put it in the lowest gear and spin up...was it the holiday weight gain? the cooler weather? the week I took off to go back east? This past week, more of the same, two normal rides for me = suffer fest, nothing in the legs or lungs and really getting discouraged to the point that maybe I just need to take some time off? And then on Sunday I did one of my usual rides and presto, I fly to the top (for me) with my 3rd best time ever and had PLENTY in the tank afterwards, I could have beaten my best time np. How did I suddenly go from a month of suffering to a day of glory?!?! ;-)

    In all seriousness, any explanations or one of the mysteries of cycling? I'm betting when I go out tomorrow or Wed, back to the suffering...very positive of me.
    I talked to my sports specialist and my doctor about this very issue. Many of your observations are more real than you might think. Weight gain over the holidays, combined with cold weather can have a lot to do with it. The mind can have a lot to do with it if it is a one time event for a person that normally climbs like a cat. But if it lasts n=more than once or twice look towards other reasons. Cold weather effects muscles and breathing, says both my doctor and gym trainer. To what degree depends on the person. Time off the bike effects different people differently. Need for rest and rebuilding is also a consideration. Why would I think this, because I have had exactly the same results as you after the first of the year. I figured it was the traditional winter let down and weight gain. Then last week I had one of the best rides in a long time and posted two of my personal bests on Strave one of which involves a climb, which I normally suck at. Two days later is was in the small ring and spinning again on hills I had motored up in the big ring only a month before. For me it happens every year at the same time or within a few weeks of the same time every year depending on when we get our coldest weather. My trainer said it was normal and would be a good time to cross train, get rid of the Christmas weight and give my legs time to recover. With the coming of warmer weather things should go back to normal. That is how it works in my case anyway. Just a thought, but maybe that is why they give racers an off season? None the less I don't think from the way you describe it that it is simply in your head, otherwise after the first successful recovery ride you should have been back to normal. Check out this site and see if it helps. http://hss.edu/onthemove/5-ways-weat.../#.UQgxmr-YuSo
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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    I do think the cold weather makes an impact, at least for me, feel like i can't take in as much air (minor asthma). Warm day yesterday, went out with friend, set 3 PR on 3 climbs...go figure? I usually ride solo so having someone on my tail definitely made a BIG difference but I felt strong on all the climbs, legs and lungs were ready to go...

  9. #9
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I've wondered about this for years.

    My best guess is that your body just has different states depending on how well you slept recently, what you've been eating, where you are in your digestive cycle, and what your mental state is.

    If your body thinks you haven't eaten enough lately, it's going to try to tell you, in the only way it knows, to slow down and conserve energy. It will make you tired.

    Sometimes I've found that when riding with someone slower, I'll get more tired, and when trying to go faster, as during an organized ride, I'll have more energy. It's a puzzle.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  10. #10
    Senior Member vwchad's Avatar
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    I think all of your guesses about the cause are likely. Another possibility, is that maybe you were sick, but not enough to notice in normal day to day activities. I've had that happen. I got dropped like a bad habit on a group ride one time very quickly (quicker that usual that is :-). I pretty much limped home. I just didn't have it in me to keep up but couldn't figure out why. I was sick a day later with a low grade fever. Also, if I've had a few days of little activity and maybe eating not as good as I should I feel it on the bike big time. I find that if I have a ride planned, I need to pay closer attention to what I'm eating/drinking at least a day in advance or it will negatively impact how I feel on the ride. Of course I should pay better attention to that all the time, but that is for a different thread.... Everyone is different. You just have to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Cycling has helped me learn a lot about how my body works best.

  11. #11
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Today I had a surprisingly good ride. Felt fresh the entire time.

    I think that in my Garmin ride records I'm going to make note of how I felt (1-10) as well as things like what I'd eaten, how I'd slept, weather, etc. so I can figure out what's going on.

    For example, today's 25 miler:

    RideRecord.jpg
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  12. #12
    Senior Member Salubrious's Avatar
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    I find that it helps to smile when I feel like my legs and breath are giving out.

    One time last summer I spent most of the day hang-gliding- which is strenuous enough. I flew for an hour and half in some nice thermals but by the time I had the glider back on the truck and headed home I was pretty beat. I loaded everything on the garage, which is not at my house and hopped on the bike to head home. Only, I decided to ride to my GF's house which is 13 miles away. I might have made the best time there ever, this on a day where I was already spent. But it was fun and I really got into it and despite some serious hills, could have easily done it again when I got there. Attitude.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Today I had a surprisingly good ride. Felt fresh the entire time.

    I think that in my Garmin ride records I'm going to make note of how I felt (1-10) as well as things like what I'd eaten, how I'd slept, weather, etc. so I can figure out what's going on.

    For example, today's 25 miler:

    RideRecord.jpg
    I like this idea... a little pre-ride "how do I think I feel today", how I "thought" I felt during the ride and then what the times actually tell. See if any patterns emerge.

  14. #14
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    The day after my "felt really good" ride, I rode an easy 16-mile ride with my wife -- part of the same route.

    I felt super weak and tired. Overtraining (age 59)?? Riding too slow?
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    90% of the game is half mental.

    What a completely half-assed answer!
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  16. #16
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    i've had the same experience.

    took a trip for three weeks, got out my regular schedule of riding, put on about 15 pounds, added about 8 pounds of clothes while riding in the cold weather, etc, etc. then tried a climb i am familiar with and felt like s h i t.

    i'm getting out more, losing some weight and feeling better. maybe a couple more months and i'll be fine..

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