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get back on the bike after an extended sabbatical

Old 12-24-20, 05:09 PM
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Getting back on the bike after an extended sabbatical

I sharply stopped my healthy cycling habit in 2019. Two events influenced my shift away from cycling: The purchase of a sailboat in 2019 and Covid. I was in very good cycling shape during the winter of 2017/2018 and was cycling 300-500 miles per month. 2019 started strong, but I stopped cycling during the summer.

Any advice & encouragement? I've been gaining weight and need to restart. I have a high tech TACX direct drive trainer and normally I'll ride when the weather is above freezing and the pavement is dry and clear.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:05 PM
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I went through a similar experience a couple of years ago. Outcome has been mixed. I pretty much stopped riding from 06/18 through about 03/19. I was bored with my riding group, having trouble with the heat, felt as if I was aging out, etc. Anyway, my enthusiasm returned and I started again in 04/19. I bonked on a couple of my first group rides but it didn't take too long to regain some reasonable fitness. I finished that truncated year with about 7000 miles and several centuries. And then came 2020.... No group rides since spring. When I ride alone I just putter, look at the birds and wildflowers, ease up the hills in granny. Not the way to build fitness or mileage. This year will be only 5000 miles and one century. I do feel as if I could regain my cycling fitness if I actually trained. At 72 I just don't have that much enthusiasm for structure and hard work. With at least the first half of 2021 seeing more of the same, I'm kind of resigned to staying what I would call a casual rider. What I would want to convey is that physically you can probably get back in a few months but you may not regain the enthusiasm you need to fully embrace cycling again. tl;dr- you may not want to work as hard as is necessary to get back. Good luck!
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Old 12-24-20, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I went through a similar experience a couple of years ago. Outcome has been mixed. I pretty much stopped riding from 06/18 through about 03/19. I was bored with my riding group, having trouble with the heat, felt as if I was aging out, etc. Anyway, my enthusiasm returned and I started again in 04/19. I bonked on a couple of my first group rides but it didn't take too long to regain some reasonable fitness. I finished that truncated year with about 7000 miles and several centuries. And then came 2020.... No group rides since spring. When I ride alone I just putter, look at the birds and wildflowers, ease up the hills in granny. Not the way to build fitness or mileage. This year will be only 5000 miles and one century. I do feel as if I could regain my cycling fitness if I actually trained. At 72 I just don't have that much enthusiasm for structure and hard work. With at least the first half of 2021 seeing more of the same, I'm kind of resigned to staying what I would call a casual rider. What I would want to convey is that physically you can probably get back in a few months but you may not regain the enthusiasm you need to fully embrace cycling again. tl;dr- you may not want to work as hard as is necessary to get back. Good luck!
A sincere report and a fair expectation. I'd be happy with 4000 miles a year and the completion of a hilly metric.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-24-20 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:26 PM
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I didn't take a long time off but work interfered with my riding for the last 3 years before I retired. I hoped to jump back up to previous mileage and fitness but was quickly disappointed and frustrated and considered an e-bike so I could ride with my friends. Slowly it started to come back and I can feel a real improvement from a year ago.

If I could offer any advice it would be to keep it fun, have realistic expectations, and be patient. I also like to switch between mtb and road.
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Old 12-25-20, 02:33 AM
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Ride when you can.
Your bikes will make you happy.

No ice cream - for weight loss.

edit : New, expensive tires for 2 most regular riders. Or better yet = convert the fleet to tubular over the summer. you need a higher cycling goal.

Last edited by Wildwood; 12-25-20 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 12-25-20, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Ride when you can.
Your bikes will make you happy.

No ice cream - for weight loss.

edit : New, expensive tires for 2 most regular riders. Or better yet = convert the fleet to tubular over the summer. you need a higher cycling goal.
I'm chuckling, I've actually used some new item as a stimulant to increase my cycling activity before. Adding a gravel bike and then an disc brake endurance bike made cycling more interesting, without a doubt.

One secondary reason my cycling declined is that three years ago I lived in a county that had a massive bike path system, more than 100 miles total. I also had easy access to hundreds of miles of very quiet rural roads, all without using a vehicle. Then I relocated. My new location is scenic, but with fewer bike paths and more traffic.

I'm planning to invite some long-term cycling friends to enjoy a multi-day cycling trip in 2022. Once I commit to that, there will be an urgent need to get back in shape.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-25-20 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-25-20, 01:44 PM
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I suspect most folks who have been riding long enough experience something that alters the amount of riding they do. I’ve seen it a number of times with people I’m familiar with.

Just know going in that initially you’ll be slower and not able to ride as far and avoid getting frustrated about it. Just do what motivates you and maximize the enjoyment of riding. Over time you’ll regain most of all of your old fitness. Now if something happens like you change your desires and shoot for something like Dairyland Dare that’s a whole different ballgame! Then it’s more about a structured training program. Personally, for me the motivation has been exploring new roads and areas along with including a food stop for lunch or breakfast. It always helps me having a destination to ride too. My inlaws live 50 miles away from our house and I use that as a good tool to ride to their house using different routes. Most of the time I meet my wife there and she brings me back home. That ride can be as little as 50 miles and as long as 120 miles. It also greatly helps that they live in ground zero for the best Western NC style BBQ that you can find so there’s always a good meal either along the way or waiting for me at the end.

I try and make it a point to ride over and back to the start of organized rides. I look at those as free miles and provides a good reason to be on the bike longer.

Are you close enough to where you used to live you can ride over to those areas to visit some old favorite areas and roads?

Like you, I’ve enjoyed doing different things and added a gravel bike and a disc brake road bike. Riding dirt roads has opened up an entirely different venue of riding places and areas. That’s also allowed me to add some bags and do some 1-2 night overnight rides staying in hotels and B&B’s. Is that something that might appeal to you? I also live for weeklong supported rides and spend time planning for those. I usually go into those with fairly decent fitness. I think you’d absolutely love riding the Natchez Trace Parkway if you ever think about it. I’ve ridden a lot of places across the US but that’s right up there just from a cycling experience.

Good luck with your new journey!
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Old 12-25-20, 02:11 PM
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I had got overweight by about 15 lbs. I very slowly lost about half of that by watcing what I ate and then just gave up sugar. Now I read all labels and find sugar is added to everything. With no further effort, pounds have been melting off. After a good many years I'm back to a flat stomach.

As a life long sailor and boat builder, your new passion is understandable. I've met people here in Bristol who combine the two activities. They sail into a harbor, unload their folding bikes and go explore the area.
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Old 12-25-20, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post

As a life long sailor and boat builder, your new passion is understandable. I've met people here in Bristol who combine the two activities. They sail into a harbor, unload their folding bikes and go explore the area.
I sailed a Sunfish on Lake Michigan when I was a teenager. Two years ago a buoy became available on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin, the buoy location was less than a mile from my home. I didnít even own a boat, but I accepted the buoy lease knowing that I had to put a boat on the water in 30 days to meet the conditions written in the lease. Fortunately, I found a 1989 SeaWard Fox, complete with trailer for an affordable price. As you know, even a complete and properly maintained sailboat requires attention. I should have continued to cycle, but it fell by the wayside. 2021 will be different, sailing twice a week and cycling 3 times a week is the plan.

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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
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Old 12-25-20, 03:11 PM
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Ride without any speed indicator. Go interesting places. Ride as hard or easy as you like. Go for a ride when the weather looks less inviting - just dress appropriately. Accumulate miles and smiles; the rest will come back.
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Old 12-25-20, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
I suspect most folks who have been riding long enough experience something that alters the amount of riding they do. I’ve seen it a number of times with people I’m familiar with.

Just know going in that initially you’ll be slower and not able to ride as far and avoid getting frustrated about it. Just do what motivates you and maximize the enjoyment of riding. Over time you’ll regain most of all of your old fitness. Now if something happens like you change your desires and shoot for something like Dairyland Dare that’s a whole different ballgame! Then it’s more about a structured training program. Personally, for me the motivation has been exploring new roads and areas along with including a food stop for lunch or breakfast. It always helps me having a destination to ride too. My inlaws live 50 miles away from our house and I use that as a good tool to ride to their house using different routes. Most of the time I meet my wife there and she brings me back home. That ride can be as little as 50 miles and as long as 120 miles. It also greatly helps that they live in ground zero for the best Western NC style BBQ that you can find so there’s always a good meal either along the way or waiting for me at the end.

I try and make it a point to ride over and back to the start of organized rides. I look at those as free miles and provides a good reason to be on the bike longer.

Are you close enough to where you used to live you can ride over to those areas to visit some old favorite areas and roads?

Like you, I’ve enjoyed doing different things and added a gravel bike and a disc brake road bike. Riding dirt roads has opened up an entirely different venue of riding places and areas. That’s also allowed me to add some bags and do some 1-2 night overnight rides staying in hotels and B&B’s. Is that something that might appeal to you? I also live for weeklong supported rides and spend time planning for those. I usually go into those with fairly decent fitness. I think you’d absolutely love riding the Natchez Trace Parkway if you ever think about it. I’ve ridden a lot of places across the US but that’s right up there just from a cycling experience.

Good luck with your new journey!
Unfortunately, I moved from SW Illinois near St Louis to southern Wisconsin. My prior location is 5 hours further south. I'll have to just throw the bike in the car and drive to a network of trails in southern Wisconsin.

The truth is I need to get over myself and make cycling a priority. I have several friends who are 5-10 years older than me riding 5000 miles a year. I'm happy to ride solo at my own pace, I really don't have an excuse.

I would like to invite you and several kindred spirits to a tour of the Italian lakes in 2022 (covid permitting). It's very easy to ride 50 miles a day and visit all the major lakes of northern Italy in a week. We would use the ferries to help cover the distance. Getting ready for that should be doable.
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When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-25-20 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 12-25-20, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I sailed a Sunfish on Lake Michigan when I was a teenager. Two years ago a buoy became available on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin, the buoy location was less than a mile from my home. I didnít even own a boat, but I accepted the buoy lease knowing that I had to put a boat on the water in 30 days to meet the conditions written in the lease. Fortunately, I found a 1989 SeaWard Fox, complete with trailer for an affordable price. As you know, even a complete and properly maintained sailboat requires attention. I should have continued to cycle, but it fell by the wayside. 2021 will be different, sailing twice a week and cycling 3 times a week is the plan.
SeaWard always made fine boats but they were a little too rich for my budget. I cruised a Compac 19 on the Chesapeake Bay for many years but, my experience is the reverse of yours. I found as I got older, it was more and more difficult for me to balance on the foredeck while making sail changes to the point where I didn't feel safe anymore. So I drifted away from sailing and began devoting more time cycling. So far, I don't have any issues balancing my bikes or maintaining my enthusiasm for riding. And, I've partially filled the sailboat void with a sea kayak.
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Old 12-25-20, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GeezyRider View Post
SeaWard always made fine boats but they were a little too rich for my budget. I cruised a Compac 19 on the Chesapeake Bay for many years but, my experience is the reverse of yours. I found as I got older, it was more and more difficult for me to balance on the foredeck while making sail changes to the point where I didn't feel safe anymore. So I drifted away from sailing and began devoting more time cycling. So far, I don't have any issues balancing my bikes or maintaining my enthusiasm for riding. And, I've partially filled the sailboat void with a sea kayak.
My sailing is basic and Geneva Lake is probably easier to manage than Chesapeake Bay. I've sailed out of Annapolis, a very memorable experience. Your Compac 19 is the same size as my Fox. I only go forward of the cockpit if something is very wrong and that happens once or twice a year. I enjoy "getting it right" while sailing solo, but like every sailer crisis management is sometimes needed.

My plan is to sail two more years and move on. Another chapter written and closed.
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Old 12-25-20, 07:11 PM
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I was west county St Louis, hence the screen name. Riding was excellent without a trail system. I never ventured East much to ride the other side of the River.

Now i I live in a better Place, but the mountain road home is 2km with 170m climbing. So I think twice about gearing and duration of ride. Call me wimpy, but that’s reality.
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Old 12-26-20, 12:19 AM
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If you need inspiration, just keep reading your signature line until it sinks in and remember the old days when that was you. The really good news is that you can become that again, but the timing with winter upon us is not quite as inspiring.

I was a serious recreational long distance rider for 20 years. I abandoned road biking about 15 years ago and got into sports cars, mtn biking and hiking. With everyone on mobile phones while driving I just didn’t feel safe. As a result, I put on 15 lbs, because driving a car doesn’t burn any calories and after a couple hours of mtn biking I was toast.

Enter COVID with greatly reduced traffic and hiking trails and mtn biking exploding in popularity. With the pandemic, I am not into crowds or running across people breathing heavily, except me. So I bought a new carbon road bike and absolutely fell in love again with road biking, pushing my limits, feeling strong. The new bike is so superior to my old steel bike, it’s a pleasure to ride. As a bonus, I also lost those 15 lbs in one Summer and have kept them off.

Get some new equipment you can get excited about, and start training so when Spring hits you too can start to relive your past glories and really enjoy yourself, and look and feel better doing it. And read and believe your signature!
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Old 12-26-20, 09:56 AM
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Cyclists are built like a T Rex with tiny arms and massive thighs. Sailors of old were built the opposite with massive arms and thin legs. Sails then were cotton which absorbed water. I don't know how they did it but on some ships a sail would hang from a yard maybe 70 or 80 feet long and weigh tons when soaked.

I enjoy accounts on sailing in those days based on diaries and ship logs of the time. Yankee women were as tough as the men. In those days it was common on American ships for wives to sail with husbands or daughters with fathers or other family. Seafaring families were moderately prosperous so their girls were not taken out of school to hoe vegetables or churn butter. They could stay in school and learn algebra and logrithmys for navigation. I imagine conversation around the supper table frequently consisted of cargo and ship handleing and much other lore. In one account I read, the young woman, Hattie Atwood was the daughter of one such family from Maine that owned their own shipyard as well as operate their own ships. Two of her sisters were born at sea.

In several other accounts of wives sailing, the husband became severely ill or actually died. It was common in those days on American ships for the captain to own a share of ownership. When the captain becomes incapacitated, the wife becomes the owner. In at least one such situation, the wife was the only one who knew celestial navigation.

The video is much more recent then the clipper ship era but it does show different attitudes about kids and safety.
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Old 12-26-20, 01:01 PM
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Well, I've come up with a sufficient goal to help me regain my fitness by 2022.

I'm considering a tour of the Italian lakes in 2022. The tour would include the floating bike path of Lake Garda. I would make use of the many ferrys that transport bikes and passengers from one town to the next. Please click on all the links ;-)

https://vimeo.com/278996876





Cycling day one: Arona to Baveno, 30 miles & 3550 ft of climbing. This route takes in Logo d' Orta, one of the most scenic small lakes in northern Italy. It would be easy to add a rest day here and visit the Borromeo Islands on Lago Maggiore.

https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/3848512579

Cycling day two: Luino to Menaggio, 33 miles & 2700 ft of climbing. After taking a Lago Maggiore ferry to Luino, the route passes into Lugano and terminates at Menaggio on Lago Como. It would be tempting to add a rest day here and visit the Bellagio and Varenna on Lago Como.

https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/3859795864

Cycling day three: Lecco to Isola, 46 miles and 3500 ft of climbing. After taking a ferry to Lecco, the route crosses north of Bergamo and terminates at Sarnico on Lago Isola.

https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/3848740339

Cycling Day four: Lago Iseo to Lago Garda. The route crosses north of Brescia and terminates at Maderno on Lago Garda

https://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/3860411923

Cycling day five: The floating bike path of Garda. Please see the links below.

https://www.italymagazine.com/news/e...lys-lake-garda

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/italy-lake-garda-bike-trail?fbclid=IwAR3mslxNVHUVjB8fxk9aU5mmZIheeFbtp5JJqphLISoraxhVW4-fpght6_U&utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook
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Old 12-26-20, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I was west county St Louis, hence the screen name. Riding was excellent without a trail system. I never ventured East much to ride the other side of the River.

Now i I live in a better Place, but the mountain road home is 2km with 170m climbing. So I think twice about gearing and duration of ride. Call me wimpy, but thatís reality.
Cycling in the west county is really superb. I rode with a group that had rides in Wildwood. We would park near Six Flags and put in some great rides. Madison County Illinois was more tame. However, I could grab a bike and ride 30 to 60 miles with either zero traffic on the MCT Trails or with minimal traffic on the rural roads. The system below is 85 miles of paved trails and another 40 of crushed granite. It's a converted light rail rails-to-trail system.





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Old 12-26-20, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
Cyclists are built like a T Rex with tiny arms and massive thighs. Sailors of old were built the opposite with massive arms and thin legs. Sails then were cotton which absorbed water. I don't know how they did it but on some ships a sail would hang from a yard maybe 70 or 80 feet long and weigh tons when soaked.

I enjoy accounts on sailing in those days based on diaries and ship logs of the time. Yankee women were as tough as the men. In those days it was common on American ships for wives to sail with husbands or daughters with fathers or other family. Seafaring families were moderately prosperous so their girls were not taken out of school to hoe vegetables or churn butter. They could stay in school and learn algebra and logrithmys for navigation. I imagine conversation around the supper table frequently consisted of cargo and ship handleing and much other lore. In one account I read, the young woman, Hattie Atwood was the daughter of one such family from Maine that owned their own shipyard as well as operate their own ships. Two of her sisters were born at sea.

In several other accounts of wives sailing, the husband became severely ill or actually died. It was common in those days on American ships for the captain to own a share of ownership. When the captain becomes incapacitated, the wife becomes the owner. In at least one such situation, the wife was the only one who knew celestial navigation.

The video is much more recent then the clipper ship era but it does show different attitudes about kids and safety.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKS-...?v=WKS-bGcoZW4
One thing I've learned as a solo sailor is keep it simple. A 18 ft keel boat is slow, dry and relatively safe. The only time I've been adrift is with the sails down and a motor that died. However, sailing does require greater physical and mental skill that I would have expected. Keeping costs down is also a key skill. Four years with a boat will satisfy me. I have no urge to upgrade.
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Old 12-30-20, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
However, sailing does require greater physical and mental skill that I would have expected.
I had a little Laser when we lived on the Gulf of Mexico. Sailing that was like doing a bunch of sit-ups. Stayed wet as well. Also had sail boards, another constant work out and frequent dunks. No sitting back with a beer and enjoying the sunset with either.
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Old 12-30-20, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I had a little Laser when we lived on the Gulf of Mexico. Sailing that was like doing a bunch of sit-ups. Stayed wet as well. Also had sail boards, another constant work out and frequent dunks. No sitting back with a beer and enjoying the sunset with either.
Anyone who has sailed a Laser on salt water will quickly learn skills the rest of us admire!
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Old 12-30-20, 06:17 AM
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That was 30 years ago. I couldn't possibly sail one now.
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Old 12-30-20, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
That was 30 years ago. I couldn't possibly sail one now.
I started on a Sunfish on Lake Michigan. Ahhh, to be a teenager again!
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Old 12-30-20, 08:16 AM
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I sailed Lake Michigan and Superior and Florida and Kentucky lake. I just got tired of the hassle and the cost. I sailed in Galveston for a while too. Iím glad to just ride now, besides going out to the Hill Country.
Anyhow working on the bottom should help you to stay in shape.
Have fun, lake Geneva is a pretty lake.
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Old 12-30-20, 11:03 AM
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I may be wrong, but it sounds like you could sail and ride too. One hour on the trainer costs me about 1.5 hours. I can usually find an hour and a half somewhere in my day. Those hours on the trainer are huge for me. I picked up riding again in September. Since restarting, I've been outside 3 times. I'm at ~94 total hours, almost all on my rollers and maybe in my best December shape in years.
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