Last year I decided that I was going to cap my riding at ten hours a week. I figured that if I’m getting older and tireder and can’t recover, then why the hell am I riding so much?
You’d be amazed at how hard it is to go from riding 5-6 days a week down to four, or sometimes three. But what’s really amazing is how hard it is to get in ten hours once you make that your limit, especially in only four days.
The other thing is how pent up I get, in a good way. Good-bye groaning legs. Good-bye to the “don’t wanna ride but have to” blues. Good-bye “easy day.”
Instead, all I want to do is go hard. Of course I always used to want to go hard but often couldn’t, or what I thought was hard no one else did. Friday Coffee Cruises used to be the best because I could cruise, coffily. Now I’m counting the hours between rides, or what’s worse, the days.
And what’s odd about that is now having three days during the week where cycling doesn’t happen. I haven’t had so many consecutive bike-free weekends in decades. Whichever day I don’t ride is like an extra day in the weekend because it’s not only a day off work, it’s a day off from having groany legs. And when Monday comes around, there’s no epic anything to recover from.
My last ride was on Saturday, doing a new fetish I call time trailing. If someone told you “Hey, Freddie, from now on we’re going to do one 60-minute all out effort every week!” what would you say? Aside from a New York hello, that is. I’m so pent up that I can’t wait.
We rode so hard on Saturday that two people got physically ill afterwards and have remained so. I felt so wobbly the rest of the day that even sitting hurt. And there were new areas I’ve never felt pain in before, in this case my eyelids. You are doing something wrong when your eyelids hurt. How in the world do you tire out an eyelid?
I slept nine hours whereas I usually sleep seven. I slept through my alarm the next day even though I usually bound out of bed at five. But you know what? By midday Sunday I was feeling pretty good. That’s weird. We even dashed over to the site of the Lake Elizabeth Massacre and snapped some poppy photos. Me spending Sunday looking at flowers? Who have I become?
What’s weirder is that when the Monday spinaround invite came on Sunday evening I had to tap out my regrets and my finger was trembling. That’s how bad I wanted to ride. Now it’s Monday and I want to go smash. There is so much energy coursing through my legs right now that every ten minutes I have to take a deep breath and say, “Only x more hours until Telo.”
I think that when you do a little bit and it’s intense, and you don’t follow it up with a bunch of long miles or other stuff, it makes you a lot fresher than just riding a lot, particularly when you are a worn out old shoe to begin with. As Richard Meeker used to say, “Masters racers train too much.” I’m not sure he’s the best person to quote when you’re trying to up your racing game, but even a rotten apple can have a good seed or two.
The down side to riding less is that you have less fun. But the up side is that when you’re on the bike, it is miserable as hell.
For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!