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more whining about riding(37 posts)

more whining about ridingDougSloan
Sep 16, 2002 6:38 AM
Two months ago I got on here whining about what bad shape I was in.

This year, recently I planned on doing the 508 as a 2 man team. When my team mate decided not to, I decided I would do a 200 mile time trial on a route (Fresno-Pacheco Pass-Fresno) I've ridden dozens of times to test my fitness.

Since July, I've been training like a mad man, focusing on intensity, rather than endurance like last year, thinking intensity was more important for the 30-60 minute sessions in the 508 leap frog style relay. Been doing hard pseudo-race group rides and hard Computrainer sessions. That apparently paid off, as my fitness returned to fast enough to match many of the racers up hills and hard pacelines that dropped my like a rock in July and even last spring.

So, I set out on my 200 mile time trial yesterday on my Cervelo, hoping to break 11 hours total, which would include 3-4 convenience store stops. The course is mostly flat, with one big hill, but some hellacious headwinds on the first half of the out and back. I had improved comfort on the Cervelo by switching from an integrated aerobar/handlebar/stem combo to a Look Ergo stem and cowhorns/clip-ons. This allows almost infinite adjustment, perfect for endurance riding.

Much to my surprise, holding 19-20 mph on the first half wasn't that hard, even into the headwinds. I thought I might blow, but that was the idea -- test the limits. After Los Banos, on the western side of the valley, there were good 30 mph headwinds, reducing the pace to 10-12 mph on flat ground. I thought I might be getting tired, but it's hard to tell for sure in that kind of headwind.

On the return leg I confirmed the winds were really strong. In the same place where I was at 10-12 mph on the flats, I was now going 35-40 mph (yes, that's what that 11 cog is for). Wheeee! Over the next 50 miles, the average speed climbed back over 20, despite some really rough roads, where the shoulder is cracked and buldged up a couple of inches, feeling like you are running over 2x2's every 10 feet. Very irritating.

Finished well-nourished and hydrated, not hardly tired, in 10 hours 25 minutes total, with an indicated average of 20.2 mph. After and this morning hardly felt tired at all. Great, wouldn't you think?

Here's the thing, though. I just felt crappy the whole way. Everything was irritating, from the saddle, to shoes, hands, arm postion, neck, low back, etc. Could not get comfortable. It made the ride no fun at all. While the pedaling was relatively easy this time, the whole experience sucked. Didn't help that I got a flat tire on the return; ever try to change a disc tubular in a 30 mph wind? While the tire was pre-stretched, you can't stick your feet in a disc and pull on the tire. The wheel wants to become a kite, which is a bad thing. BTW, you must need to re-inject the Tufo sealant every few months, as the stuff I put in last spring didn't do squat. Very frustrating.

It also didn't help that there were so many jerk drivers on the road. While 999 of 1000 people are very kind, a few can spoil your whole day. Aside from the idiots passing lines of cars coming at me on two lane roads, this one guy in a pick up really got to me. While riding on the main thoroughfare in Las Banos, the guy pulls up along side me with his right turn signal on. I saw what he was planning, and covered the brakes. Then, after slowing to my speed, he speeds up again and starts to turn. I yelled at him, as he was certain to cut me off. He comes to a stop, as I was slowing, too. Then, he speeds up again, actually turning right into me. I skid to a stop, this time really letting him hear about it (some four letter words and something about "right of way" thrown in). He leans out the window and shouts "go around me." Huh? Enough. I ride off, with an extra dose of adrenaline and disgust for the human race raging through my veins. Is it too much to ask to be able to ride without being in fear of my life from idiots?
too long, here's the restDougSloan
Sep 16, 2002 6:39 AM
The ride sucked, despite meeting my goal. I feel like quitting cycling all together, selling everything, and having nothing to do with it. Ironic. Just when the fitness really comes on, the mind says "screw it." Possibly a sign of overtraining, but then only mentally, not physically. Who knows.

I got home and decided not to do the 508 at all. The comfort and fun level I had last year just isn't close, despite possibly better fitness. It seems that the intensity provided speed, but at the expense of butt time, which conditions the body to be comfortable on the bike for long periods.

Then I get an e-mail from a RAAM'ster suggesting we do the 508 as a 4 man team (keep in mind that this is leap frog, so you would only ride 1/4th the distance). Hmm. Damn. I already decided to quit cycling, but this might be ideal. Life is weird, or at least too complex for me to understand. The timing is eerie.

So, there you have it. A good time (performance), but a bad time (mentally -- maybe some guilt is part of it). Can't decide what to do -- take advantage of the fitness, or hang it up and attribute it to mental blowout. As they say, "be careful what you wish for..."

Anyone else ever want to hang it up and having nothing to do with riding? Anyone so disgusted with the human race you want to crawl in a hole and not come out? Is this what burnout is? Man. Thanks for listening to the whining.

were you ever having fun?off roadie
Sep 16, 2002 6:52 AM
If you worried about training intensely for a 200 mile time trial, I have to wonder- was having a good time riding ever one of your goals?

Maybe you were focusing to intensely on this one event. Now that its over, what's the point of riding? Even if the ride had been great, without any continual goals (like just having fun), reaching a "milestone" like that can actually be a let-down, because you loose the motivation you had to reach that goal.

The answer is probably to find a new goal, preferably one that is open ended. I suspect that takes time and an open mind- I think it is best to the quest find you, not the other way.
were you ever having fun?rbb
Sep 16, 2002 7:20 AM
I've experienced the same thing, just not ever at your level of riding, and agree you need to take some time off the bike, and have fun again!! Perhaps the mountain bike (or cyclo-x bike) is calling for you. Just go out with your riding partners and have fun! Or better yet, take on a new cyclist and try to teach them the sport!!! They'll more than likely get you excited about riding again!! Take care and good luck!!

It's Monday, you need to get back to
Sep 16, 2002 6:54 AM
I'm not in your league as a rider, but I would say that you are suffering from overtraining. As strange as it may sound (unless you are a workaholic), getting back to the office on Monday often can cure the ills brought on by a weekend or holiday (riding or otherwise). Crank out anything upon which you have procrastining, spend a lot of time at your desk. You'll be ready to get back on the bike soon enough.
hang it upmr_spin
Sep 16, 2002 6:58 AM
I would. Seriously.

Not forever, of course.

Be like Lance. They interviewed him after the San Francisco race yesterday and he said a few things that seem to apply. First, he said he was in great form physically but not mentally, so he lacked the killer instinct. Second, he said he's now going to drive his kid to preschool, water ski, hike, mountain bike, etc., but he won't get on the road bike for a month.

Sometimes you have to learn to love it again.
Sep 16, 2002 7:43 AM
How many of us have taken time off the bike because of a bit of burn out? It sounds like that might do you some good. I've been off my road bike (basically) for three weeks after several months training for the Mt. Washington Hill Climb. But there always seems to be a spot in the yer where I just bail for a few weeks and then get back into it with renewed vigor.

With regards to the jerk in the pick up. Been there too. Screaming helps me, even hours later.

Be well,

Like LanceDougSloan
Sep 16, 2002 2:18 PM
Ya, that's the ticket! I'm just like Lance. (We do share the same birthday.)

I see what you mean, though.

Maybe take a brief brake but do the team 508!jtferraro
Sep 16, 2002 7:17 AM
First, sit back and be incredibly proud of your fitness achievement! 200 miles in 10 hours, 25 mins!!?!? Second, maybe it would be smart to take a break from riding - like a week or more? Third, I would take advantage of your incredible physical shape and do the 508 again this year. You learned a lot from last years experience and this year the "leap frog" would enable you to go at it w/exactly what you've been training for - intensity! My .02...fwiw!

"BREAK", not brake!! Must have my other hobby on my mind! (nm)jtferraro
Sep 16, 2002 7:19 AM
Doug - you're Human!!!rollo tommassi
Sep 16, 2002 7:18 AM
An impressive and well written 'whine', but really, Doug, am I gonna have to come over there an give you a hug?

Honestly - you had a bad day. You had a really crappy day. And you were all alone when you had a crappy day. At least it wasn't raining? It's September, and the personal frustration level goes off the mark this time of the year.

I took over a year off from racing and serious riding this past year. I was dead set to win a race in August of 01, and when I didn't win I was so dejected..."I'm old, I'm slow, I suck" looped thru my head. Then 9/11. Then my cat died in November. Then my Mom's cancer came back in December, and much of my emotional strength was spent on her and her terminal illness. Everything around me was dying...All of this combined to just drag me down in to a spiral of dread and self-reproach.

I've had the best fortune of having loved ones around me, and I didn't lose the passion for riding. Somehow I did get the passion back for racing, and I've gotten a new lease on competition.

I don't have a simple answer, except to say Don't Be so Hard on Yourself and Don't Quit. Go easy on yourself. Maybe do a mountain bike ride, get some peace and quiet on the trail. Don't toss aside a passion because it causes you pain one single day.
Sep 16, 2002 7:32 AM
Rest is what you need. Your attitude sounds like classic overtraining. I'm sure you have some speed from the intensity work you did, but intensity alone doesn't build the strong foundation you need to be fast, and feel good on the bike. I would take a little time off the bike. Any time you feel like riding is work or not fun, it is a bad sign. You may just be burned out, or this is your body's way of telling you to take a rest. Maybe sit around and watch the Vuelta. Don't ride though. By the time you watch the rest of the last Grand Tour of the year you will probably find yourself WANTING to ride. Don't set any goals for the rest of the season. Just ride and enjoy it for what it is. And if you don't feel like riding then, give it another week if that is what it takes. Then if you want to get competitive, get back into the swing of it next year early when you can build a base and feel good about your performances. Suffering it out and hating it is only going to make you hate riding. Do you really want to hate cycling?
The Warrior's PrayerAllisonHayes
Sep 16, 2002 8:11 AM
The Warrior's Prayer

i ...adapted from "The Warrior's Prayer" by Manowar

It was a mid-September day, and, as I was watching a
200 mile time trial, I heard the sounds of riders
and men in pickups.

I felt compelled to find the source of these sounds,
and soon on a hill before me stood all the cyclists
of the world.

Standing, waiting.

Then a gust of wind came from the North.
And there appeared a lone rider, riding
a Litespeed. From the South came
another, riding a Pinarello, from the East
came a third riding a Colnago, and
finally from the West, a rider who wielded
the great hammer of war, a Cervelo.

With them came others. They were few in number
but the look in their eyes told all who
beheld them that they would leave this day
only in victory, or death.

And there was a great silence...

My heart began to pound, a hot dry wind
filled the sky with choking dust, and
the four winds blew with such anger that I
held fast to a tree.

Withour warning the four riders screamed their war
cry as they led the attack, into the fray they rode,
200 miles across heat and wind and pounding pavement,
battling forces and cars and pickups.

Pure agony. Their bodies began to shake; the earth
drank much sweat that day. Each of the four was unto
himself a whirlwind of doom!

When the riders finished, they lay broken and humbled
by the 11 hour ordeal. Their bodies spent like brown
leaves blown by the wind.

And then I saw the four ride together to the top of
the hill, while below them the cyclists of the world
assembled, all those who would now swear allegiance
to them.

And the four spoke the words of The Warrior's Prayer.


And as I stood and looked on, I heard the
cyclists of the world hail them without
end, and their voices of victory carried
long and far throughout the land!
you're incredibleDougSloan
Sep 16, 2002 2:20 PM
You really should put all that creative energy to use as a writer. For all we know you already are...

Thanks. :-)

time for a lager, a big one......Little Debbie
Sep 17, 2002 4:14 AM

I have been a lurker here for a while and would only suggest a break. Perhaops a 2 week drunken binge?

But really, I have just achieved a fitness goal that was far more modest than yours. Mine was a sub 5 solo century which I got by 1min:10secs. Of course, this did not count the call to nature as it were.

Right now I have decided on a 2 year adventure ih helll as it were as I want a sub 4 hour solo with no stops. I own a 1999 Bianchi Brava with aero bars and my state of the art machine (sarcasm) has served me well, very well.

I firmly believe that focus and dedication in any goal are admirable, however, when the fun goes, so should you. May be a whole month until you cant wait to hammer the bb off your bike, but thats all you.

Well done Doug and remember, if you have any spare component sets, throw them my way....
lol, here's another. The Roadie's Creed:fbg111
Sep 16, 2002 3:12 PM
Adopted from the US Marine Corps' Rifleman's Creed.

Roadie's Creed

This is my bicycle. There are many like it but this one is mine. My bicycle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life.

My bicycle without me is useless. Without my bicycle, I am useless. I must drive my bicycle true. I must drive harder and faster than the wind and the hills and anyone who is trying to beat me. I must beat them before they beat me. I will....

My bicycle and myself know that what counts in this sport is not the weight of our components, the brand of our gruppo, or the design of our frame. We know that it is the strength of the engine that counts. We will be strong...

My bicycle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weakness, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its cogs and its derailleurs. I will keep my bicycle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...

Before God I swear this creed. My bicycle and myself are the physical incarnation of my Will. We are the masters of the roads, the hills, the winds, and our competitors. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is ours and there is no pain, but Peace........................
How much for the C40, and what size is it? n/mfracisco
Sep 16, 2002 9:15 AM
You're just overtrained. nmLeroy
Sep 16, 2002 10:38 AM
too long, here's the restaliensporebomb
Sep 16, 2002 12:10 PM
Take some time for yourself off the bike.

There will always be idiots in the world but we don't
have to let their dark actions pollute our enjoyment of
what it is that we do.

Maybe spend some time taking a walk, or do something
totally different that has nothing to do with cycling
(read a book, spend time with the kid, whatever works).

Take a couple week break and then just ride for fun.
It doesn't always have to be a death-ridden hammer-

I find that sometimes that riding is my little escape
from the annoyances of reality. Maybe lack of sleep or
the change in routine is like moving into a new house
and the floor is cold and you don't know where everything
is yet.

Realize that you've got a talent here and you shouldn't
just put it away permanently, but get some rest and wait
a couple of weeks and then try riding again.

Burnout can happen when it comes to even things you love -
I've played guitar for almost 25 years and I stopped playing
for a while when a group situation got too much like work
rather than the exuberant fun that music can be.

Good luck.
Why ultra?BipedZed
Sep 16, 2002 7:20 AM
Training and racing ultra events are perhaps the most time consuming disciplines in competitive cycling, which doesn't make sense for your time constrained life.

If you feel the need to compete why not focus on Masters 4/5 racing which may require only 6-10hrs of training a week to be competent.

For myself, a high training week is 15hrs and single solo rides seldom go over 5hrs. Anything longer and companionship is a huge moral boost.

In short, why ultra vs. road racing?
gotta agree herelonefrontranger
Sep 16, 2002 7:52 AM
Rollo tommasi made some great points, too.

Doug, did I ever mention that I started out as an ultra rider too? I worked nights as a bartender and that gave me 8 hours a day to do nothing but ride. After a year and well over 27,000 miles on the bike (no car), I was burned out, depressed and hating the bike. It totally sucked, because I was so into the sport to begin with. That was 10 years ago. On a whim I hooked up with a bunch of roadie racers, and the rest is history. I even became a crit specialist. This from someone who categorically despised crits and couldn't sprint their way out of a wet paper bag to begin with.

It helps that every so often I seem to mentally "reinvent" the sport of cycling for myself by taking on some new project; managing a team, coaching, promoting, 'cross, doing an MTB series as focus for a year instead of worrying so much about road racing, whatever.
So what you are saying is...DougSloan
Sep 16, 2002 2:23 PM
...I should become a bartender? ;-)


My thinking too...DINOSAUR
Sep 16, 2002 8:00 AM
Why concentrate on the ultras? A 200 mile time trial and something is bound to hurt. Why not zero in on century rides? You could probably do one of those every weekend. I find the older I get I aim for intensity and cut back on the mileage. I can't do both. I try to make it as fun as possible and a 200 mile solo time trial does not sound like fun to me. Most the old guys I know get burned out with high mileage unless they ride with companions. Sounds like you need to slow down and smell the flowers. I'm in it for the fun. I gotta say you are outta my league as a cyclist, wish I had your problem (mine is motivation)...
I think you need some time off the bike DougColnagoFE
Sep 16, 2002 7:27 AM
The stress of the new kid and/or lack of sleep seem to be affecting you. I don't even know if I could ride a double now due to time commitments so I think you need to be a little easier on yourself and lighten up a bit. Go on some shorter rides maybe? I've found that even some 1-2 hour rides can be my most enjoyable these days. My opinion of course--no offense meant.
You went from Hibernation to Hammerfest...biknben
Sep 16, 2002 7:50 AM
Two months ago you said you had barely been riding. Now your training for 508s. There's got to be a happy medium for you that will allow you to keep your sanity.

Riding is not always "Fun". You have off days, conditions are less than ideal, etc. That's normal isn't it? If it becomes a trend, you need to recognize it and reevaluate. If this lack of "fun" was a one time deal then just push ahead. If it is something that you felt building and now you're mentally fried, then you need to step back.

To be frank, I think Fatherhood has really F'ed your schedule. Treat you're time off the bike being a dad as an injury. You can come back stronger than ever but you need to plan carefully and not try to make up for lost time.
re: more whining about ridingSilas_Greenback
Sep 16, 2002 7:51 AM
The suggestions that you take time off make sense. But bear in mind that you were riding at a higher intensity than before, and that means less comfort. If you are going to set a high goal, then you have to be prepared to suffer. Time trials, if you are doing them really hard, are obvious not as enjoyable as they are when you are not pushing your limits. You put up with discomfort for 10 and a half hours, which is a lot. NOw allow yourself time to recover, physically as well as mentally.
Time off won't workscottfree
Sep 16, 2002 8:30 AM
Despite all this well-intended advice to take time off, it really misses the point. You TOOK time of before/after the baby and it drove you to the brink of madness (just exaggerating). You were even desperately floating crazed notions like riding the "Month-old baby trailer 508" or whatever. It was worse when you weren't getting to ride.

Time off's not the answer, but I have to admit I'm stumped as to what is.
Follow your blissMe Dot Org
Sep 16, 2002 8:46 AM
Sorry to get too Joseph Campbell on you, but what is your joy in riding? From what you have shared of yourself on this board, I get the feeling that you felt a lot of anxiety about not being able to ride much after you and your wife had a baby. Who knows, this is a big life change, and a baby is a pretty open-ended proposition in life.

So now that you are able to, you return to your cycling with a vengeance, because it represents disciple with quantifiable results, i.e., if I train x hard I will get y results.

Riding is different things to different people. I sense from your posts that you are a very goal oriented person. But if there is no joy in pursuing your goals, what is the point?

If I were to make a suggestion, it would be for you to throw away your cyclometer, your watch, and your heart monitor for a month. Forget about quantifying results for awhile. What does riding a bicycle feel like without those things? Just go ride, and if you don't feel like riding then don't do it. Rediscover what is intrinsic about cycling that you enjoy.

If these sounds like I'm getting on your case unecessarily, I apoligize. Yours is one of the voices I most admire on this board. I wish I could approach many things in life with the discipline you posess.
Good advice. Dump the computer and HRM for a while! -nmTig
Sep 16, 2002 2:47 PM
Sep 16, 2002 10:03 AM
Don't know what to think. Maybe doing the relay will be fun vs. slogging out the whole thing alone. Comfort on the bike will be much lesser concern.

Despite how it sounds, normally long distance riding really is "fun" for me. I like pushing the envelope, and for some odd reason, just sitting on a bike all day long. That, to me, is more fun than the anaerobic pain of shorter road races. Plus, I'm relatively better at it. I think fast road racing depends more on talent (but hard training too, of course), and ultra is more training and preparation. Just a theory.

This mentality hits me a few times a year. Don't know why. Maybe it's a form of burn out or frustration, but usually follows a poor performance, not a good one that just isn't fun.

Maybe a short vacation from the bike is in order, without total abandonment. Don't know.

Actually, I'm where I am because I've been training more like a road racer instead of an ultra rider. I'm down to about 8 hours a week, other than this last double, because Computrainer sessions are extremely efficient. But, you sacrafice seat time doing that, which counts for something.

But, training this way allows more time at home. I have the baby all day every Saturday, and I jump on the trainer when he's napping or in the mood to lie there and watch Dad. But, as I said, only time in the saddle can help you tolerate long rides. Everything has a trade-off.

Maybe the answer is to get through the 508, doing a relay, and then take time off.

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts. It's nice to know we have a great group of friends here, isn't it? Sometimes it's hard to get through this stuff without feedback. I really appreciate it.

Coming in late with one other thought.Len J
Sep 16, 2002 10:21 AM
Any chance that the discomfort was more related to the cervelo on the bike position compared to your c-40?

Just a thought as I think it is a much different position.

Sep 16, 2002 10:28 AM
That may be part of it, but I thought I would have "cured" the problem with the adjustments to the Ergo stem and bars. The Cervelo has, as set up, about a 80 degree effective seat tube angle, which really opens up the hips and allows freer breathing, but at the cost of putting more weight on the upper body and rolling the crotch forward a bit. It may not be a "bad" position, but just different enough to require some more getting used to. Good point. That may have been a large part of both the good speed and discomfort.

Good point, I think Doug needs a Rivendell....MB1
Sep 16, 2002 10:56 AM
and someone to ride with. That is just too long to be alone face down on the pavement.
Keep riding, but change it up?bigdave
Sep 16, 2002 10:51 AM

I had the same thing last year... only I stayed off the bike for months, ate ice cream and gained my hard-fought 30 lbs back. I don't think you have the same body type as me to duplicate that astounding feat, but I really think that a little time off is good. Then, for your next rides, just do some totally relaxed "recovery" or "LSD" (long, slow distance) rides with some friends. Keep the company mixed (some fast riders, some slow) and just do a social ride. A few of these will recharge your batteries... at least they always do mine.

Then, just do something different. Ride the Milano everywhere. Ride fixed gear. Ride a Mountain/cross bike. Seeing the same asphalt in the same way can make you stale. Spice it up a little.

Also, as a new dad, I know that lack of consistent sleep can affect you in ways you're not even aware of. How is your little one sleeping?

When you said "intensity" that's what set up a red flag for me.

My little guy is on/off... if he's sick, he doesn't sleep and neither do we. When I got burned out last year, it was when I was sleeping only 6 hours or so, yet still getting up to train hard. I was putting in high-intensity training, but following up on that with sub-standard sleep. For me, I think it had a negative (read, burnout) affect in the long term.

Intensity does some great things for performance, but I think you have to use it wisely... and get plenty of sleep. If you can't get that sleep, dial back the intensity... because if you try to do both, something's got to give.

So I don't know if any of it applies to you, but I just thought I'd pitch in my .02.

words words words words wordsJS Haiku Shop
Sep 16, 2002 10:54 AM
take a few days off.
do something else. or do nothing.
leave the bikes alone and don't even look at them.
eat some ice cream--lots of it.
then, do the 508 solo.
let us know how it goes.

you may not get another opportunity for many years.
Try this:aeon
Sep 16, 2002 8:46 PM
Sell the Cervelo, and pick up a steel bike from an artist. Sachs, Rivendell, etc. Or buy a vintage Italian roadie with friction shifters. Don't put a computer on it. Do centuries, or shorter group rides, just for enjoyment, not for a time. Try track, or singlespeed, or mountain biking, or a 'bent.

PS As much as I love new technology and sleek carbon lines, the most beautiful bike I have ever seen in person was a steel Pinarello. The whole thing was chromed, and had this clear-black paint on it. Gorgeous. Of course, it didn't hurt that the guy had 30 OTHER vintage road rides, mostly Italian, all in perfect condition (A couple campy 50th groups, and another Pinarello, this one with gold plating) plus 4 Ducati's, 4 Parelli's, and 3 Alpha Romeo's...
going to do the relayDougSloan
Sep 17, 2002 1:29 PM
The Penguin called last night and talked me into doing the 4 man relay. This requires the least consumption of time for training and 4 guys to share in the logistics preparation. It's only 125 miles of riding, probably something like twelve 30 minute time trials over 24 hours. Comfort on the bike is fairly irrelevant, as there is plenty of time to loosen up again between turns. At least this is something different and novel for me, and therefore sort of exciting in a way.

After, I'll take some time off the bike or just do something fun.

Thanks again for the input.