Battle fatigue

November 18, 2019 § 5 Comments

Before he abandoned bicycling and took up tennis, Derek the Destroyer always used to say “You race best on tired legs.”

In which case I’m ready to win the fuggin’ Tour.

My analog Stravver shows that I rode 7.9 fucktons last week. My easy day was a 35-miler to LAX and back, and my legs feel it. More than that, my mind feels it.

To quote Baby Seal, “You look like you’ve been used harder than an old dishrag.”

I’ve been thinking about that all morning, contemplating today’s calendar: a 32-mile jaunt up to Dodger Stadium, a subsequent meeting over by UCLA (adds 20-ish), and then the 25+ miles home from Westwood.

As Baby Seal was observing my rather haggard countenance, he asked “Have you noticed any changes since you started doing all this commuting?”

My answer was immediate. “I’ve gotten strong as shit.”

Because as long as the riding is endurance as opposed to intensity, more miles make you stronger. It’s that simple.

And it’s that complex, because the single hardest thing that people encounter when it comes to riding a bicycle is, surprise, riding the bicycle. All of the #socmed, #stravver, #powermeter, #data, #virtualcycling, ALL OF IT, is an ersatz for getting out on your bike and actually riding. But it’s an ersatz with this caveat: none of it works unless you actually go out and ride your bike.

To put a finer point on it, you don’t need any of that stuff to get stronger, faster, fitter if you go out and ride a lot. But if you don’t ride a lot, none of that stuff will get you anything more than very marginal gains. And it’s why lots of riding is what professional road cyclists have as the core component of their job preparation. First they have to ride 25 hours a week. Then they have to tinker with the data and the drugs in order to eke out the gains in bodies that are already operating at near-peak efficiency under near-maximal loads.

To quote, and re-quote, and re-quote Eddy Merckx. “Ride your bicycle more.”

But back to me, my wig, my flat pedals, and my gallivanting around LA in lieu of sitting in traffic:

  1. Tired all time but I go faster, longer.
  2. I need more sleep.
  3. My conversation is monosyllabic, i.e. grunting.
  4. I cannot eat enough, and the corollary: I eat all the time.
  5. Don’t leave home without suspenders.
  6. Chamois cream. Thank dog for chamois cream.
  7. Legs constantly ache from fatigue.
  8. Monthly budget for bath salts through the roof.
  9. Stronger core and back from lugging massive u-lock and cable everywhere.
  10. Mentally okay with any and all road/traffic/weather conditions (as long as it’s sunny and warm).

Okay. Monday, here I come.


Bike-friendly LAX

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