That’s my goal.
Not my resolution, my goal.
And it will be a hard one but that is okay. I like it hard.
A couple of weeks ago I was riding with a pro woman cyclist. “How much do you train these days?” I asked. I had known her when she took up cycling and logged huge miles.
“About eleven hours a week,” she said.
I waited for her to add the “just kidding” part. “Eleven hours?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “But they are eleven very hard, high quality hours.” And she began speaking Trainese, a language spoken by real athletes who ride bikes for a living. I understood none of it.
In other words, I know there is a lot more to it than eleven hours.
But here’s something else I know. Although I don’t track all my rides, I’m guessing that I spend about 15 hours on my bike each week. And you know what? That’s a lot of hours. I’ll tell you something else. Anything more than that and I cannot recover. More to the point: I’m not really even recovering from that.
Here is how I know I haven’t recovered:
- Can’t concentrate.
- Legs ache.
In the last three or four years I have accepted the grinding, relentless reality of time and slashed my riding back a lot, going from 12k to 10k to 8k miles annually. Each year has brought with it more rest. I’ve stayed at about the same level of mediocrity simply by riding less.
Fact is that my body, never fast, is getting ever slower. Fact is that I like to ride hard and my body can’t recover from it. Fact is that if a pro woman cyclist trains eleven hours a week, then fifteen hours for a leaky prostate, worn out old shoe like me is nutso.
Last week I did thirteen hours. Knowing I was shooting for ten made me try to squeeze out quality instead of logging saddle time. Riding four days instead of five or six meant I was more productive everywhere, not tired (much), and able to pound through my daily Practical Chinese Reader homework quickly and efficiently. I memorized the lesson vocabulary for “fraud, swindler, and leading man” and even got the tones right. It is pretty practical; I’m hoping there will soon be a lesson on porn.
It’s hard to look at all the monster hours and giga-miles that my friends throw up on Strava and not feel like I’m slacking, but I have to remember THEY’RE NOT ME.
My legs feel super and I can already tell I’m on course for another mediocre year with flashes of uncontrolled delusions. But at least I won’t be tired.
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