When you are young and you are a cyclist, you ride a bunch and get tired, then you rest. You might get off your bike a week, maybe two, to give your muscles and your mind a chance to recuperate.
But when you are old, and especially when you are a new rider, and especially when you are on the Wanky Training Protocol, it’s a little bit different. When she started off, I had my wife on a modest plan based on lots of sciencey stuff that I made up as I went along, but two of the main points were these:
- Mostly short and easy.
- One “stretch” day a week.
- Tons of rest.
She followed the plan and like anyone else who follows a reasonable training plan, she got fit pretty quick. Three months in she did her first ride up Mandeville, which was pretty gnarly because at the end of the ride she still had to do the 1,200-foot climb up to the cheap seats back home.
Every month I’d throw in a solid week of no cycling at all, and she hardly ever had more than four riding days a week. After about six months, though, she finished a week of riding, took a week off, but when she started up again she felt flat as a pancake.
“Time to take a big break,” I said, and that went over like putting a book on Trump’s desk.
You know how people who spent fifty years not cycling suddenly treat a missed week like the end of the world? But I was convinced she needed more than just a couple of weeks off because even though a two-week break sounds like forever to a fit, habituated cyclist, I think that beginners, especially old ones, really need more than that.
For one, when they ride they aren’t simply tearing down muscle. They are tearing down and rebuilding entire organ systems. Digestion, elimination, endocrine, not to mention cardiovascular systems, all of which are being thrown into chaos with the sudden conversion from sedentary to cyclist.
Unlike young people who can go from two packs a day and a case of beer to a three-hour marathon in twelve months, old people … can’t. Whether it’s their joints, their digestive tract, or the capillary network they have to beef up to cope with the demands of sustained exertion, it takes a huge toll, one that is far beyond what they can recover from in a few days.
This is Week Three. Seems like it’s working.
Free, unproven, unscientific training plans at your fingertips! Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you