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The devasting effects of a "Call of Shame". (A very long post.)

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The devasting effects of a "Call of Shame". (A very long post.)

Old 02-24-14, 12:27 PM
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volosong
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The devasting effects of a "Call of Shame". (A very long post.)

Every year, on one of the weekends that bracket my birthday, I endeavor to ride twice my age in miles and triple my age in kilometers. This August past, that meant that I needed to ride 124 miles or 186 kilometers. Neither distance has ever been particularly difficult for me in the past and even thought I'm not a “speed demon”, I can usually complete the ride with a 14-15 mph average, (not including stops).

I've never had to train for such rides, even for my cross-country ride in 1995. I rode myself into shape for that one. This past August, knowing that I hadn't ridden as much as I usually do, I elected to ride a route with minimal elevation loss/gain. No big, sustained hills this time. “No sweat”, I thought.

So, I woke up that morning, got dressed, loaded up the bike, and drove an hour and a half to the start point at the northern end of SART, (Santa Ana River Trail). The trail extends from San Bernardino to the beach, in two segments with about ten miles of suburban road in the middle.

Finally hit the trail mid-morning, which was probably a little late, and was on my way. Did well to the beach. Going through Norco/Corona wasn't very pleasurable. First time that specific route, and the roads were awful. The pavement was very broken up and the vehicular traffic went way too fast for roads without any type of shoulder. Goofed around for awhile at the beach before heading back. Probably dallied too much at the beach, but the beach being the beach, it was a pretty nice place to spend some time.

The return trip was a different story. The wind assist at the beginning is always welcomed, but after thirty miles or so, the body really started protesting. I had to take more and longer breaks. Had plenty of food with me, but for some reason, I needed the extra rest, (and water). Getting closer and closer to Corona/Norco, I really started running out of steam. And, it was starting to get to dusk also. My lights are good enough. I could have completed the ride in the dark, if necessary.

But, I just didn't feel like I wanted to ride those crappy streets with the high speed traffic in the dark. My body was drained also and I wasn't moving as fast as should have. Based on the Strava data, my speed dropped several miles per hour.

Entering Corona, I had it. I just couldn't move anymore, so I made the “Call of Shame”. Thankfully, my sweet lady friend, Jane, agreed to drop everything and come and get me. She always has a difficult time getting something for me as a birthday gift, and she wanted to do this for me. So, there I sit, on the grass across the street from the In-n-Out burger joint waiting for an hour and a half for Jane to come. (We had several phone conversations because she took a couple of wrong turns.)

Jane took me back to my car and we headed home. I had ridden right at 100 miles that day and the next day, early in the morning, I rode another 24 miles, so I got my 124 miles in within a 24-hour period. Does that count?

However, something happened to me emotionally. Never in my life, after thousands and thousands of miles on a bicycle, have I had to have someone come and fetch. Since that fateful August day, I've gone on exactly four rides, two of them pleasure rides with Jane. The latest and longest was just this past Saturday, at slightly more than twenty miles in length. And at that, I had to force myself to get out. I didn't want to go, but told myself that I absolutely had to get out there and start riding again.

It did feel good to be riding again. It felt awfully good. I really hope I can get excited about riding again. Not only is it good exercise, but it is also a good time to do some thinking. And the things one sees from the seat of a bicycle. Perhaps my schedule will make it difficult. In addition to my day-time mortgage-paying job, I'm teaching three nights a week at the local community college this semester.
To meet the vanpool for work, the alarm is set at 4:15 in the morning. On the nights I teach, it is not until midnight when I can finally slow down enough emotionally to fall asleep. Four and a half hours of sleep just isn't enough for me. Mid-week rides will be difficult, but I may be able to get in a few, short miles in the dark on Tuesday evenings. No reason I can't get in a 50km ride sometime on the weekends. If only I can get my motivation up.

The next birthday ride isn't far off. I do know that I will NEVER make the “Call of Shame” ever again, (baring a catastrophic mechanical failure). I'll walk if I have to. Maybe I really should go with a 24-hour limit and make it two metric centuries, back-to-back. This year, I'll have to ride 126 miles and 189 kilometers.

I don't know what happened to me emotionally after that August day. I did not bonk, as I ate often enough and drank continuously. One commenter on the Strava site said that is was an extremely hot day. Can't remember exactly, but it didn't feel all that hot, especially the middle part near the beach. The concluding part was in the late afternoon, so the head would have eased by then. I'm not going to try to dwell on it too much. Some things just can't be understood, or isn't worth the effort figuring out.

- - - - -

If you read this whole thing, bless you. How come you are not out riding?
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Old 02-24-14, 12:48 PM
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Because it is too damn cold!

As for you, perhaps a change of focus is in order. Ride more with Jane and worry less about quantity and go more for quality. By quality I'm not thinking hard and fast but more along the lines of "Hey this is fun". I hasten to add I never follow my own advice. Good luck in however you opt to deal with it.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:52 PM
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I ride for mood control. I try to avoid the mind set that says I have to reach a predetermined goal. My health is too precious
to risk injury that keeps me off my bike because if I can't ride I get depressed.

Charlie
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Old 02-24-14, 01:00 PM
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I read the whole thing on my morning break at work (while eating a yogurt and drinking coffee) and it was an enjoyable read while not being as long as some of my double century posts, so no worries there.

Regarding lack of motivation, it seems to me like you're working too much and not getting enough sleep. That would do me in for sure.

Plus, I've always found the SART to be boringly flat so I would advise some long mountain road climbs to break up the monotony of SART rides. Although I only know the western SART, the eastern bit may be less boring . . . I don't know.

Rick / OCRR
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Old 02-24-14, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rck View Post
Because it is too damn cold!
I don't mind the cold. The ice, however, I'm not such a big fan of...


Originally Posted by rck View Post
As for you, perhaps a change of focus is in order. Ride more with Jane and worry less about quantity and go more for quality. By quality I'm not thinking hard and fast but more along the lines of "Hey this is fun". I hasten to add I never follow my own advice. Good luck in however you opt to deal with it.
2012 was my big re-entry into cycling. With a friend, I trained for and road a metric century.

2013, my friend moved to California, so (somewhat) trained and road the ride by myself. I finished and the time wasn't that much worse, but:
  • Got calf cramps
  • got thigh cramps
  • Fell once going up hill
  • Fell three days before messing up my headset (I didn't realize headset was slightly messed up until I was riding the ride).
  • Seat angle on my recumbent was well lower than it had ever been before.
  • Didn't pace myself well (known problem).

Wow. Am I good at making up excuses or what?

I rode a couple times that month and didn't ride at all the next month. The ride just kicked my @$$.

Just get back out there and ride. Ride to have fun. Ride to go to the grocery store. Ride since I can't since the roads are still covered with ice. Ride with friends. Ride alone. Just make sure that, for now, you have fun while doing it.

I started back a few months afterwards and got back into it quickly.

Good luck!
Charles
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Old 02-24-14, 01:18 PM
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I haven't had to make that phone call yet......but then again I haven't done anything over 40 miles in one day.
Congrats to you for making it as far as you did! I plan to get there soon myself.

Best Regards,
John S
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Old 02-24-14, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by rck View Post
Because it is too damn cold!

As for you, perhaps a change of focus is in order. Ride more with Jane and worry less about quantity and go more for quality. By quality I'm not thinking hard and fast but more along the lines of "Hey this is fun". I hasten to add I never follow my own advice. Good luck in however you opt to deal with it.

This, except there is still too much snow, and pot holes I couldn't climb out of.
And dump Strava, nothing good comes of it.
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Old 02-24-14, 01:54 PM
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Volo-I too used to do the double birthday deal in my 50's but lately I've just been satisfied with a good ride of substantially less mileage than that. I just wasn't enjoying it as much as figured "Been there done that enough". To keep the interest level up I find that I need to do ride different route and go to different venues.......go to places I haven't been before. One year I even took the motivation to an extreme and bought a new bike that helped with the enthusiasm immensely.

I can't explain what caused you to lose "energy" on the August ride. I had it happen on a 100+ miler in December and it was all I could do to get back to the house. I too had eaten plenty and I thought I had drank plenty but for whatever reason I just didn't have it that day. I assume that we all have days that are not great on the bike. I don't have answers you are looking for. Just keep up the riding and you'll figure out what works best for you.
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Old 02-24-14, 01:57 PM
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j/k

Most of us would not consider bailing after 100 miles to be all that shameful.
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Old 02-24-14, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by volosong View Post
...

However, something happened to me emotionally. Never in my life, after thousands and thousands of miles on a bicycle, have I had to have someone come and fetch. Since that fateful August day, I've gone on exactly four rides, two of them pleasure rides with Jane. The latest and longest was just this past Saturday, at slightly more than twenty miles in length. And at that, I had to force myself to get out. I didn't want to go, but told myself that I absolutely had to get out there and start riding again....
I can sympathize with this. Last year I rode in the Atlanta Tour de Cure that ended miserably. At about 75 miles it began raining in earnest and at 80 it was hellish. Winds like I'd never been outside in. It was dark and the rain so heavy that I couldn't see the route markings, having no idea where to go I backtracked and came across a couple of guys waiting in the lee of a big tree. They said that the course had been closed because of tornado reports so I waited with them there for a sweep truck. Like you I never expected that to happen. It felt like a cold and miserable fail, and emotionally I still have no desire to repeat the event this year.

Other rides though, I realized that the fun hadn't gone out of them. I'd guess that if you don't think about building up to that ride again, or of anything as similar rides, that the emotional impact will be lessened. I just had to get out and ride. If it was only 15 miles fine, or if I felt like going 50 after a bit that's what I did. Or sprints and hills, whatever but once you're on the bike it's all good.
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Old 02-24-14, 02:34 PM
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First, thanks for the blessing and 'cause I already rode this morning.

Sure sounds like you're working very hard. I know, for sure I'd never be able to maintain getting 4 hours of sleep multiple nights/week.

It also sure sounds like you're a far more capable rider than I am, so feel free to toss this suggestion out the window.

I'm fortunate to have two bikes, one with electronics and one without. The stripped down, no frills bike gets the nod for rides on a 4 to 1 ratio. It's care-free, I'm not slaving to attain any goal other than enjoying my ride that day. I ride until it's not fun, until I've thought out all those things on my mind, or until I feel guilty about being gone for so long. Usually I'm out much longer on the no frills bike, and when I hit the driveway at the end, I'm refreshed and not exhausted having to meet numerical expectations.I feel like I did when I rode as a kid.

Just a thought. Hope your concerns subside.
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Old 02-24-14, 02:40 PM
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I've made the call of shame owing to mechanicals from which I could not extract myself. That's a different psychology, but very embarrassing from a different perspective.

As to the lack of motivation following your trauma, I think you've already received some good advice. If you have lost a lot of fitness and the idea of even approaching your "regular" ride gives you bad feelings, then find some other way to get out there- you know you'll enjoy it once you get yourself out the door. Cycling with a friend - particularly one who is generally less ambitious than your normal self - is a great idea.

Also, think about leaving the cyclometer off the handlebars. If you have no idea how far you've gone or what your average speed is, you can just enjoy the ride. That's the most important thing.
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Old 02-24-14, 04:02 PM
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You've set yourself up for eventual failure by planning to ride farther and farther the older you get. You're obviously tremendously fit or you wouldn't be able to ride 100 plus miles at 62 years old, but you're only human; as people get older they generally, eventually become less able to meet great physical challenges. Maybe that's why you've lost some of your drive - you're facing your own mortality.
Also, regular nights of 4 and a half hours of sleep is way too little for good mental and physical functioning. Why are you driving yourself so hard?
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Old 02-24-14, 04:40 PM
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Only on this site would a 62 year old be ashamed of riding "only" 100 miles.

If you push your abilities, you gotta fail sometime. And like TR said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 02-24-14, 04:52 PM
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Inconceivable , that you should be upset after accomplishing a ride that many can only dream of doing. Your putting fingers to keyboard and giving me a description of the activities that day put me in the place of being the stoker on your journey. Thank you for the trip and please look deep within for the embers still smoldering and waiting to burst into roaring glory allowing you many more miles of pleasurable relaxation or muscle aching agony that awaits on the trusty steed.

A rethinking of future mileage awaits all of us as we age so please do not despair.
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Old 02-24-14, 06:29 PM
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What a wonderful quote Biker395! Its perfect.

Charlie
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Old 02-24-14, 07:41 PM
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Everybody makes that dreaded call. As if you dont already hurt bad enough as it is, then comes the adding of personal insult to injury. It happens. It is commendable to ride to the edge of your limits in this activity. But it just doesnt feel good to quit. For me, barring a crash/injury....it's the only thing worse than walking up a hill.

ETA: But I gotta add, getting up for some "hair of the dog" and riding 24mi the next morning...man, that's sprouting a pair!!
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Old 02-24-14, 10:24 PM
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I've done the "ride of shame" (Catch a bus or train, or take a shortcut) several times. No real shame in it. My first attempt at an organized century ended in a short cut at mile 80. I picked myself up and did a more manageable century with less climbing six weeks later.

For me, waking up in the morning is a victory, so it's all good.
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Old 02-24-14, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by sunnyone View Post
You've set yourself up for eventual failure by planning to ride farther and farther the older you get. You're obviously tremendously fit or you wouldn't be able to ride 100 plus miles at 62 years old, but you're only human; as people get older they generally, eventually become less able to meet great physical challenges. Maybe that's why you've lost some of your drive - you're facing your own mortality.
Also, regular nights of 4 and a half hours of sleep is way too little for good mental and physical functioning. Why are you driving yourself so hard?
That is true.

I planned to run my age until I turned 50 then start counting down each year after reaching the half century mark. Unfortunately, when I was 50, I was injured in an accident which ended my running, and never had the chance to count down The plus side was that it put me back on the bike full time again.
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Old 02-25-14, 12:14 AM
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For me, it was "the ride of pride"
My five year old had his training wheels off for about a year and I asked him if he would like to ride part of the Kettle Valley Railroad with me. My wife said "Call when you get tired" and off we went.
About half way between Grand Forks, BC and Christina Lake my son, who was riding a BMX style bike with 16 inch tires and a hard vinyl seat said to me, " You know what Dad, I'm not a quitter." It brought tears to my eyes. We rode past Christina Lake and up the hill to Fife, where we looked at the Bison on a ranch and then returned to Christina lake to phone to be picked up. We sat together drinking real milkshakes in an old fashioned Cafe, and waited to be picked up. Total distance, 20 kms on rough gravel and sand.
Total time - priceless.
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Old 02-25-14, 12:20 AM
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Volo, your post reminds me of the saying, "pain is temporary, quitting is forever."

You are a strong and accomplished rider; but this event, as you have recognized, will stay with you forever...or at least until you do your next double-your-age ride.

I will turn 58 this year...come to Ventura and help me do a double-my-age ride.
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Old 02-25-14, 03:58 AM
  #22  
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Unless you are Superman everyone has an off day now and again. Nothing to be ashamed of and certainly not after riding 100 miles.

When I used to play a lot of competitive sport there were some matches where for some reason I just couldn't perform as normal - no energy. Could never explain it, just had to go for the next game

Sounds like your job(s) give you a lot of stress and little free time. I think you're doing great just to be disappointed at feeling pooped after 100 miles.

Keep on riding and enjoying that Californian weather, and don't beat yourself up about it.
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Old 02-25-14, 11:56 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Only on this site would a 62 year old be ashamed of riding "only" 100 miles.

If you push your abilities, you gotta fail sometime. And like TR said:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

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Old 02-25-14, 12:12 PM
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volvosong we have all been there rather a century + ride or even a small ride. Sometimes what we expect to accomplish and have a mind set on just dosen't always happen regardless of circumstances or situations.

You should look at what you accomplished as a gift, not as a failure. we all have great days, good days, and bad days when it comes to everyday life events.

I applaud your tenacity, strenght and discipline to set out on a ride with a goal in mind and still accomplish a century. Not many can do that and get up the next morning and ride 24 miles young or old, { how about middle-age** I am 62 and more than once I have felt the same as you and didn't finsih the way I expected.. The difference is you got back out there and finished what you started. Your goal was 124 miles. It stil got completed!

2nd thought. At our age sleep and recovery is more essential than it ever has been as we just don't recover like we did when we were younger. Sometimes it is neccessary that recovery andrest or much more importantthan the ride.
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Old 02-25-14, 12:20 PM
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NOS88
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I've always liked the concept behind, "Live to fight another day." It's not reasonable to think that every attempt to reach a goal will be successful. The smart person knows when they need to fold the hand they are dealt and wait for a better one.
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