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Thread: Starting Over

  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Starting Over

    Have any of you been an active long distance cyclist and then gone through something where you completely lost your fitness and had to rebuild from scratch?


    This is exactly what has happened and is happening to me now ... and I am experiencing an incredible amount of frustration and defeat.

    Someone on a recent ride asked me what it was like to rebuild from scratch ... and prior to the past year I would have replied that it was easier than building up your distance as a newbie to cycling because you've got experience to draw from.

    Prior to the past year I have had one incident where I was off the bicycle, and off exercise entirely, for 3 months. On 1 Nov 2001, I burnt my foot to the bone, and three months later I had to go to physio to learn to walk again, and gradually started building up my cycling. By July 2002, I rode the Rocky Mountain 1200. Back then, I lost my muscular strength and muscle tone, but for some reason I did not lose my endurance.

    But this past year I have not only lost my muscular strength, I have also lost my endurance. I developed deep vein thrombosis a year ago on a flight to Australia, was diagnosed at the end of July when my symptoms increased from a sore leg to a sore and swollen leg that felt like I was dragging a tree stump around with me rather than a leg ... and difficulty breathing. I was admitted to hospital where I remained for the next two weeks ... and 25 abdominal injections to break up the clots. I was also put on Warfarin which apparently has the side effect of sapping energy.

    I was off the bicycle from the beginning of June to the middle of September ... a little over 3 months, and when I started riding again, it was a huge effort.

    I have done several long rides since then, but I feel like it is two steps forward and one step back. I do a successful 100K ... and then DNF the next one. I do a successful 300K ... and then DNF my next ride. I'm running about 50/50 on my successful vs. DNF rate now. I simply do not know if I'm going to successfully complete a ride or not anymore. Last weekend I successfully completed a 100K populaire (but was hoping to do a 200K brevet) on the Saturday, and then unsuccessfully completed a 100K populaire the next day ... I ran out of time.

    Prior to the past year I would have thought that rebuilding from scratch was easier than building up your distance as a newbie to cycling because you've got experience to draw from. But not any more.

    That past experience makes rebuilding from scratch so much more frustrating ... mentally defeating. When I was building up as a newbie, each longer distance was exciting and rewarding. Completing my first 50 km ride was great ... completing my first 100 km ride was an accomplishment ...

    But now, even when I do complete a 100 km ride successfully, it's not rewarding or an accomplishment, and instead is often very disappointing because of how slow I was and how tired out I felt at the end. I used to be able to knock off 100 km rides with no difficulty whatsoever. At my peak they took me 4 hours ... even slightly past my peak they'd only take 5 hours. Now I'm lucky to complete them within the 6 hour 40 minute time limit for a 100 km populaire. I used to finish that distance feeling good ... now I'm exhausted at the end of a distance like that.

    I was rediagnosed with a blood clot last week. I'm not sure if it is the same last remaining clot that was still there in December, the last time I had an ultrasound, or if it is a newly developed one. Nevertheless, we've discovered that I am genetically inclined to develop blood clots and that particular genetic mutation combined with a high homocystein level makes me prone to developing cardiac disease. We're working, relatively successfully, on lowering my homocystein levels ... and it appears I will be on Warfarin for the rest of my life to ward off the clots.

    I have to say that with my health difficulties and having Machak stolen, I've come the closest I've ever been to packing it in and giving up cycling. But I don't really want to do that. I want my strength and enduance back!!!! I want to be able to comfortably ride the long distances again!!!!


    Have you been here? After once being able to ride long distances, have you had to rebuild your strength and endurance?

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    I've done this to myself a couple of times. It takes a while to get everything back. I am working my way back right now, the after affects of a couple of crashes and a series of sinus infections has got my fitness down a lot.

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've had ups and downs, not with endurance cycling. When I was young, I was thin. I got out of college, went to work in an office, and gained weight. Then in 1993, we moved to Colorado, and I got started hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains. It was great exercise, and I built up my legs, lost a lot of weight. Then in 1998, we moved back to Texas, and I put that weight I'd lost back on. Now I'm trying to take it back off with bicycling, with reasonable success.

    One moral is "You can't go home again." I can gain weight or lose it, get faster or slower, but I'm not going to be 33 again, either. So it's tempting to compare how I am now with how I was years ago, but that's not really a profitable comparison, either. So I will do what I reasonably can (considering I do have a job and all), but can't really worry about whether I'm as good as I used to be. Similarly, I can compare myself to other people my age, but that's also pointless, as I'm not other people. There's people my age that can ride circles around me and others that are just about immobilized, and comparing them to me doesn't really help me much.

    I've heard the statement made several times about long-distance riding being largely mental. I think that is true in several respects. One is the willingness to get as fit as it takes to do the ride. One is putting up with discouragement when things don't go right. One is being willing to press on. It sounds like right now you're struggling with the mental aspect about as much as the physical.

    On your "Weekend Ride" thread, I mentioned that I just did a 200k brevet. What I didn't say there was that that was the same route I had tried to do twice last summer, and hadn't finished either time. I was on a better bike this time, but it was still a long hard hot day for me. I started off riding and hit a headwind right off, and that immediately broght back a lot of memories of the previous two tries. That's where the mental aspect comes in, because that just made the trip harder for me.

    I've read where randonneurs said they had never DNF'd a ride. That's great, but they're not me. If I was Lance Armstrong to begin with, it'd be different. But if I'm riding more or less at the limits of my capabilities, there's going to be rides I don't finish or don't finish on time, and the only way to avoid that is not to start those rides. So I've done 100 mile rides in the summer, then had to sag out of a 62 mile ride in the fall; done 200k brevets in the winter, but had to call off another winter ride after 20 miles. I figure to keep doing what I can. If I get better and ride 1200k routes, great. If not, and all I ever do is 200k, that's just going to have to do. But if I'm not doing what I used to, or not doing what somebody else does, I'm not going to let that stop me from doing what I can.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    4130 on 28's at 15 greaterbrown's Avatar
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    Machka, you don't know me personally and I don't post here very often, but I have read your words here and on your blog for several years. Years that saw me more than triple my yearly and single ride mileages. I have been inspired and informed by your words. If only there was a way of reversing that energy, I'd send it back your way.
    2013: quit counting2012 FG century count: 42011 century count: ~202010 mileage: 10,2392009 mileage: 81272008 mileage: 7157

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  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    "Life is hard and then you die" kind of sums it up. The only way I've found to deal with it is to stay in the present. Am I having fun? If not, what do I do to change that? Not how do I achieve some goal. Geezer strategy, I suppose. I'm the king of De Nile, but in the back of my mind, I realize what's going on.

    Last winter I decided it was time for my inner idiot to reassert himself and I started skiing again. 35 years ago I was a hotdog, so this time I took up backcountry skiing. First I hit a tree with my head. When I could sort of walk again I went back at it and because of the layoff, this time I did something horrible to my back. That was 6 months ago and I'm starting to walk without pain. I have been riding, though. I can balance better on the bike or skis than on my feet and the bike doesn't bother my back too much. Something about the position I suppose.

    So I quit leading A rides and took up tandeming with my sweetie. Good tradeoff, I think. In another year I might be able to get myself back into shape for rando or A rides, but I'm not sure I want to. I'm happy doing what I can. Sweetie and I have been running in the AM before breakfast. That's nice. This morning we went to a killer spin class and neither of us came apart, so that was nice, too. After 37 years, I'm relaxing into the idea that a relationship can be a team sport.

    Qualified for Medicare this month, thus fulfilling every American's dream. Safe at last.

  6. #6
    Senior Member oldride's Avatar
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    After a crash a month ago I'm going through something similar but to a lesser degree. I haven't been able to ride since the crash and it's uncertain when I'll be back on the bike. My fitness is dropping but I know I'll get it back but it will take time.

    Machka with all due respect your not as young as you used to be (me either) and it will take longer to get back to where you were fitness wise. Give yourself the time needed and don't judge or compare yourself to your past self. You'll be fine it will just take longer.

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    Machka,
    I once heard a good expression, "frustration is a function of your expectations".
    You might want to try to adjust your expectations. You have a health problem at the moment, and it seems pretty obvious that it's limiting you, yet you want to have the results that you had prior to the affliction. I know it's depressing. Once back in '01 I was hit by a car and couldn't walk for 2 years. I was in a deep depression, couldn't imagine cycling again, yet fortunately I made a complete recovery.
    I recommend that you try to accept what your body is capable of, and continue if you can get some enjoyment out of it, or take a break from cycling until you're healthy again.

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Not fully from scratch, but pretty darned close after a series of infections; influenza, bronchial, sinus, almost get better then go ride and make it worse again, now I'm building back up.

    It's no fun, but it happens. I went from doing 9hr 200k's and back to back 300k weekends, to strugging with finishing a relatively flat 200k in under 13 hours.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    On the mechanical side, you might try this:
    Forget about rando for a year. You know they say that every setback is an opportunity. Make this an opportunity to rebuild yourself as a cyclist. Work on strength and speed. Forget goals, other than continuous improvement in strength and speed.

    Try this:
    Sunday, 40-80 mile ride, gradually increasing within those limits over a year. Make it a hard ride. You should have difficulty walking after.

    Monday, 1-4 hour walk, preferably on trails. Zone 1.

    Tuesday, bike on rollers or trainer. 15 minutes zone 1 warmup and cooldown. Between, 15-45 minutes of FastPedal, continuous pedalling at 115-120 cadence but only in zone 2, so small gears. Do that for 6 months, then switch to the same workout but substituting OLP for the FastPedal. 2 minutes one leg, two minutes the other, two minutes legs together. After that workout, weights at the gym.

    Wednesday, 20 mile bike ride, zone 2.

    Thursday, 20 mile bike ride, zone 2. After, weights at the gym.

    Friday, 30 minutes to 1 hour, either zone 2 ride or stairmaster or elliptical trainer at the gym.

    Saturday, off.

    Over the course of the year, gradually increase the length of the midweek rides. Gradually include periodized intervals in the Thursday ride.

    At the gym do sets of 30. Over the first couple of months, add sets or reps until you can do three sets of 30, circuit style. Then start increasing weights, but stay with the 3 sets of 30 for 6 months, then drop back to 1 set of 30 and increase weights some more. Use the same weight for all three sets of each exercise. Do in this order: leg sled, horizontal row, back machine, barbell squats, benches, one legged calf raises, crunches with hips and knees at 90°, lat pulldowns, then back to the sled. Between exercises, let your HR drop down to 100, no further.

    This is a tough schedule. Be careful not to overdo it. Take a week off once in a while. It will make you a new rider. I guarantee it.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I took most of 2008 off randonneuring ... I only rode a 200K and a 300K brevet. And I took all of 2009 off randonneuring. In fact, in 2009 I rode a whopping 2 centuries ... way down from my usual annual totals. I thought that I would start building up in 2010 and get back into it ... and I have, sort of.

    I don't do too well with structured programs. I don't mind including some of the elements you've mentioned in a week, but to feel like I "have to" ride a 20 mile ride on a certain day, or whatever, takes away any element of the joy of cycling ... the whole thing becomes a slog. I've done that before, back when I was racing, and hated it.

    I had a bit of a chuckle reading about the 40-80 mile hard ride so I can hardly walk after ... right now a very, very slow 100 km ride (60 miles) renders me exhausted and struggling to do anything. It doesn't take much right now to make a ride hard. Poor Rowan is riding in Zone 1 all the time when he rides with me, while feel like I'm riding flat out and wheezing and struggling with legs burning to keep up anything over about 17 km/h. I had an idea while we were riding today which I might propose to him which might allow him to get a bit of a workout too.

    I think the first thing I need to do is to build up my base mileage. I had a nice 42 km ride today which was a little bit of a struggle, but not unmanageable. Since the sun sets about 5 pm these days, I've been riding my trainer inside, and I plan to do that for an hour a day, 3 days this week. I walk to and from work just about every work day and have done for the three weeks since we moved into town. The first week I walked about 10 km, the second week about 12 km and last week (a short week because of the holiday last weekend), I only managed about 9 km.

    Rowan has ordered or is ordering a weight bench. We already have weights which I've been using occasionally. I did a 30 minute weights workout last week, and was actually tired by the time I finished. Maddening!!

    I am getting more exercise since we moved to town and I'm hoping that's helping. I can walk to and from work, and really enjoy doing that (although I do need to wear compression stockings to do it), and we can cycle right out of our paved driveway onto a paved road rather than loading up the van with the bicycle and negotiating a mud track to get to a paved road where we can ride. We also have room to do things like ride my bicycle on the trainer, and do weights.

    Oh, I also have a new heart rate monitor which I need to start using.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Many will pooh-pooh HRMs because the criteria may not be accurate (maxHR, LTHR, and hence the zone prescriptions), but if you just want to know what was the heartrate for a given ride or a given level of difficulty, it's enough. That at least lets you recognize when improvement is real, and cut through some of the confounding variables in training.

  12. #12
    Senior Member adaminlc's Avatar
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    I know of bit of how you feel. Last fall I was riding my 10 mile commute with relative ease and doing 60 - 80 miles at least once each weekend. Then my last semester of grad school hit and I was reduced to riding maybe once every other week, if that. Now that I have graduated I am trying to get my endurance back. I knocked down a good 50 miles yesterday, and wasn't completely dead, but much longer would have left me hurting. I remember well that first attempt at my 10 mile commute after almost 3 months of almost complete inactivity. It took me 20 minutes longer than it used to and it was a few hours before I felt solid again. Granted I'm still young, but I'm still not enjoying the process of rebuilding my endurance. My goal is a 200K by the 4th of July.
    I like fat tires and I cannot lie...

  13. #13
    Randomhead
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    when I stopped riding in '95, I was just too busy working on my Ph.D. and having kids. I had the bad luck to run into a lot of rednecks at the wrong time. I just couldn't stand the stress caused by the people that harassed me (or worse) on the road, and it was happening with alarming frequency. So 15 years later, I started riding again, and I have never been so out of shape in the last 35 years. It's pretty frustrating, because I remember what it's like to be able to ride fast and long without much effort, but I can't do it now, and at times it feels like I'll never be able to do it again. I actually have suffered motivation problems because of this. I feel like I faked my way through a SR series this year. The good news is that I came through it with less physical problems than last year. I actually felt very listless after the 600k I rode last year. This year it was just another ride. I've gotten to the point where it's fun to finish a ride, even if I'm pushing the time limits. In fact, pushing the time limits has its entertainment value.

  14. #14
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    I have no advice but only hope that you get yourself well again.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    This story reminds me of when I started riding at the age of 66. If I did it, I think you can do it as well Machka. I wont get into everything I was fighting and still am, but it will come back. Good luck
    George

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I hear you. I have trouble keeping with my program, too. I know I improve much faster when I do stick to it and I have fun doing it, but it's hard to be like that and have a life, too. That's the program I used to be a geezer with an average (or worse) VO2max and still ride with the fast boys. I just worked harder than everyone except the real LD racer boys.

    What you're describing is exactly where Nancy and I were three years ago, except that her endurance was worse than yours is now. But stoking for some reason allows her to put out more watts for longer than she can on her single. We're not sure why that is. Her endurance is pretty good now. My guess is that I have enough power to smooth out the effort and take the peaks out of it for her, so she can apply her own effort more evenly. We both wear coded HRMs and keep our numbers about the same. It is pretty cool to ride a bike that can put out the watts of a Lance Armstrong, which doesn't mean we climb fast, duh, but it can be quite a sensation in the right terrain.

    Other than those suggestions - take pieces and apply as it suits you - it sounds like you are doing great, even though it doesn't seem that way to you. It's going to take time.

    It's hard to sort out what was more important and what less of the various exercises. I think I was at my most shocking when I was pretty religious about the 3 sets of 30. OLP helped my climbing more than any other exercise. But the weekend ride was by far the most important thing I did. I don't think midweek intervals ever did much for me. I was already at my training max, so they just robbed Peter to pay Paul.

    Post your HRM data when you get some. Good luck and good riding to you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    On the mechanical side, you might try this:
    Forget about rando for a year. You know they say that every setback is an opportunity. Make this an opportunity to rebuild yourself as a cyclist. Work on strength and speed. Forget goals, other than continuous improvement in strength and speed.

    Try this:
    Sunday, 40-80 mile ride, gradually increasing within those limits over a year. Make it a hard ride. You should have difficulty walking after.

    Monday, 1-4 hour walk, preferably on trails. Zone 1.

    Tuesday, bike on rollers or trainer. 15 minutes zone 1 warmup and cooldown. Between, 15-45 minutes of FastPedal, continuous pedalling at 115-120 cadence but only in zone 2, so small gears. Do that for 6 months, then switch to the same workout but substituting OLP for the FastPedal. 2 minutes one leg, two minutes the other, two minutes legs together. After that workout, weights at the gym.

    Wednesday, 20 mile bike ride, zone 2.

    Thursday, 20 mile bike ride, zone 2. After, weights at the gym.

    Friday, 30 minutes to 1 hour, either zone 2 ride or stairmaster or elliptical trainer at the gym.

    Saturday, off.

    Over the course of the year, gradually increase the length of the midweek rides. Gradually include periodized intervals in the Thursday ride.

    At the gym do sets of 30. Over the first couple of months, add sets or reps until you can do three sets of 30, circuit style. Then start increasing weights, but stay with the 3 sets of 30 for 6 months, then drop back to 1 set of 30 and increase weights some more. Use the same weight for all three sets of each exercise. Do in this order: leg sled, horizontal row, back machine, barbell squats, benches, one legged calf raises, crunches with hips and knees at 90°, lat pulldowns, then back to the sled. Between exercises, let your HR drop down to 100, no further.

    This is a tough schedule. Be careful not to overdo it. Take a week off once in a while. It will make you a new rider. I guarantee it.

    That type of regimented program is just what someone who is seeing their motivation dropping needs????

    Sounds like a Carmichael program and those are tough to take even when you're paying!!

    Just have fun again. Take some pressure off and ride for enjoyment. Go out in the rain and remember why you got hooked in the first place. Take off road rides. Then set a goal a year from now and give yourself time to enjoy riding again before your start ramping up again.

  18. #18
    In the wind mercator's Avatar
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    When you talk about the mental aspects, particularly the setting and meeting of goals that you previously had mastered, I hear a lot of frustration in your tone. Perhaps what you need is to build your fitness with a new and different sport, cycling only for pleasure and utility purposes. Maybe give volleyball or surfing a try? Once you are feeling fit and healthy, it's a lot easier to start pushing yourself to meet your targets again. Just my 2 cents.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mercator View Post
    When you talk about the mental aspects, particularly the setting and meeting of goals that you previously had mastered, I hear a lot of frustration in your tone. Perhaps what you need is to build your fitness with a new and different sport, cycling only for pleasure and utility purposes. Maybe give volleyball or surfing a try? Once you are feeling fit and healthy, it's a lot easier to start pushing yourself to meet your targets again. Just my 2 cents.
    Yes, there is a great deal of frustration going on!! My head keeps telling me what I should be able to do, and my body can't do it right now.

    As far as other activity goes ...

    Rowan and I bought a canoe shortly after Machak was stolen and we've gone out in it twice on the large dam on the property where we lived. I really enjoyed that, and we've talked about doing a canoe tour ... similar to a bicycle tour but with a canoe instead. We've moved now and we've got quite a large lake nearby, but we're working out a way to transport the canoe safely and legally to the lake.

    Also, since we've moved, I've been walking to and from work which I really enjoy ... I like a nice brisk walk.

    It's winter here and snow is falling on the mountains. The snowpack isn't very good yet, but we've also been talking about doing a bit of snowshoeing and/or cross-country skiing a little later in the season. Not only do we live quite near a fairly large lake, but we're also in the bottom end of the Great Dividing Range, and there are a couple popular downhill ski resorts nearby which also have cross-country ski trails and snowshoe areas, and which rent the necessary equipment.


    However, as far as cycling goes, here's my week so far ...

    Sunday - 42 km ride outside on a variety of terrain

    Monday - 1 hour ride on trainer (slow riding HR = 110; fast riding HR = 125) + about 1 km walk + light upper body workout including abs

    Tuesday - 1 hour ride on trainer (slow riding HR = 115; fast riding HR = 125) + 2.4 km walk + light upper body workout including abs

    Wednesday - 1 hour ride on the trainer + 3 km walk + light upper body workout including abs

    Thursday- 1 hour ride on the trainer + 3.2 km walk + light upper body workout including abs

    Friday - 3 km walk

    Saturday - 15 minutes on the trainer to test raised saddle + some walking

    Sunday - 106 km populaire completed in 6 hours 45 minutes.


    Weird as it may sound, I don't mind riding my trainer ... especially when it's dark and cold outside. Yesterday had the shortest amount of daylight of the year, with the sun setting at 5:08 pm, and when the sun goes down it gets quite chilly out there.

  20. #20
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    I'm not a doctor, nor am I an exercise physiologist, but I think that looking into cross-training (which it sounds you've made a start at) would be beneficial. When I took up riding in 2004, after a 20+ year layoff, I had been running a fair amount (playing soccer and refereeing). Six years on, my riding gains have slowed to a crawl, and in the mean-time, I've neglected running so much that it's a challenge to make 2 miles without taking walking breaks. There's more to the body than riding muscles, and neglecting them can have consequences. One of my goals is to be able to finish 10 km (running) by the end of summer. I expect this will compliment my cycling.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  21. #21
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    It doesn't have to be about "starting over." Your current cycling efforts can be about just a "new start."

    Unfortunately, each year, each season we bring along all of life's breaks, bumps and bruises along whether or not we notice if they are completely healed or not. For most of us, our good memories stick and the work and stress of getting to the physical level to create those "good memories" is forgotten.

    In your case, you've had experience with really bad breaks and still successfully used cycling to move past those limitations and back a considerable level of health. Now is the time to remember the positive aspects about your past successful cycling comeback and realize your goal now is not to recreate your cycling abiliity, but recreate your zest for life and good health in general.

    You effort now is to focus on the little steps, not the "big picture." Realize and enjoy your past accomplishments and frame your new found situation in a way that can make sense to your current ability.

    Its no longer about "how far you can ride" - now its all about "how you can ride far at all."

    Ask yourself - how did Lance do it? You wanna talk comebacks? And remember just riding at all puts you ahead of most of the crowd.

  22. #22
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Unfortunately, each year, each season we bring along all of life's breaks, bumps and bruises along whether or not we notice if they are completely healed or not. For most of us, our good memories stick and the work and stress of getting to the physical level to create those "good memories" is forgotten.

    In your case, you've had experience with really bad breaks and still successfully used cycling to move past those limitations and back a considerable level of health. Now is the time to remember the positive aspects about your past successful cycling comeback and realize your goal now is not to recreate your cycling abiliity, but recreate your zest for life and good health in general.

    most thoughtful and sensitive thing i've heard in a long time...
    and its coming from Mr. C.
    thanks for making my morning...

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    It doesn't have to be about "starting over." Your current cycling efforts can be about just a "new start."

    Unfortunately, each year, each season we bring along all of life's breaks, bumps and bruises along whether or not we notice if they are completely healed or not. For most of us, our good memories stick and the work and stress of getting to the physical level to create those "good memories" is forgotten.

    In your case, you've had experience with really bad breaks and still successfully used cycling to move past those limitations and back a considerable level of health. Now is the time to remember the positive aspects about your past successful cycling comeback and realize your goal now is not to recreate your cycling abiliity, but recreate your zest for life and good health in general.

    You effort now is to focus on the little steps, not the "big picture." Realize and enjoy your past accomplishments and frame your new found situation in a way that can make sense to your current ability.

    Its no longer about "how far you can ride" - now its all about "how you can ride far at all."

    Ask yourself - how did Lance do it? You wanna talk comebacks? And remember just riding at all puts you ahead of most of the crowd.

    Thanks for that RC ... I appreciate it.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I did another 100 km populaire today. I did it with the attitude that the time didn't matter ... I finished within the time limit, great ... if I didn't, that would be fine too. My goal was to ride 100 km as comfortably as possible.

    It was a lovely winter day - the temperature started out at 3C and topped at 11.5 C. There was bright sunshine most of the day, and very little wind. We cycled through a very pretty area and I took a few photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...detail/?page=9

    I made a point to ride at a pace that was comfortable for me, to eat and drink regularly, and just to enjoy the ride ... and it turned out to be a good ride! 100 km is about all I can do at this point ... I'm sore (muscles) and tired ... but it was a much better ride than I've had lately. And we finished the ride in time!!

    Three things that caught my attention on the ride ...

    1) The lamb walking along the side of the road. I thought for a moment it was a big wooly dog, and then it turned and looked at me. It was probably a "two-tooth" (about a year old) but cute as can be.

    2) The eagle with a massive wingspan that was flying quite low over me. They are incredible birds ... and incredibly big!!

    3) The rider who was riding a little bit ahead of Rowan and me. He was at the 50 km control, just getting ready to leave when we arrived. After he left, the person manning the control told us that rider is 81 years old. 81!!! He didn't look it and he was strong enough to be riding faster than me! We were told that he rode his first Ironman at the age of 70. When he completed it, he was asked why he would do something like an Ironman at that age, and his response was, "Because I can."

    If he can still be riding at 81, there are, potentially, a lot of years left!!

  25. #25
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Machka, I had missed this thread until now. You've been getting some good advice, I think. Most especially, I think you should avoid tormenting yourself with how good you used to be, and how pathetic you think your current efforts are, and just ride for the fun of it. You can have a pretty good time on a bike just pottering along and admiring the eagles, and the more you're enjoying it the more you'll feel like doing, and so on. Maybe one day you'll be back to 24-hour TTs, maybe you won't. But I'll bet you make more progress just riding for the pleasure of it than you will if you beat yourself up over what, for the present, is beyond you.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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