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

Carmaggeddon Day #44: Path to destruction

November 8, 2019 § 10 Comments

I tried to figure out how much I’ve been riding since I quit driving back on August 17. Closest I could figure was, “A bunch.”

But how bunchy?

Before going to bed I whipped out my analog Stravver and wrote down the most recent rides I could remember. I’m sure I’ve left several off, but the total is about 620 miles in the last 15 days, or a touch over 300 miles/week. It also leaves off my epic commute to Rancho Cucamonga and a slew of other rides before that.

That is nothing if you are Napoleon Moore, who rides 100 miles+ per day, or if you’re Shirtless Keith, who logs over 18,000 miles a year.

But if you are me, it is a lot of miles and it means you are tired and dragging around bags under your eyes that look like you’ve lost a bad fistfight. I suspect it’s because I’m slow, old, weak, riding a heavy bike with fat tires and lugging a Kryponite + cable, but it’s probably also got to do with the fact that in addition to all that bike riding there is a pile of work that goes along with it. Another thing about commuting in LA: You hit lots of lights and so there is a bunch of starting.

Today I only have about 30 miles on the menu, but I’ve got 150+ coming up over the weekend. I don’t hate my bike yet, but I look at her differently.

Here are some #fakestats:

  1. Daily calories burned: 3,000-5,000
  2. Daily hours on bike: 2-6.
  3. Daily calories consumed: As many as I can get in my mouth.
  4. Tires replaced: 1.
  5. Flats: 0.
  6. Mechanicals: 1/2, when my rear derailleur got badly out of whack and Boozy P. had to fix ‘er up.
  7. Number of times hit in shin by rock: 1.
  8. Late appointments: 0.
  9. Miserable commutes: 0.
  10. Cups of ice cream at Union Station: 6
  11. Bicycle falling off incidents: 0.
  12. Pants waist: 30.
  13. Weight: Nothing fits.
  14. Riding lights: 9.
  15. Regrets: 0.


Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Commuting category at Cycling in the South Bay.