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Losing fitness
 

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/19/19 6:35 AM

Losing fitness

No, not just because Iím getting older. But because I donít bike as much as I used to.

Iíve gotten into skiing a lot the last few years. My riding season shrunk as I kept on stretching my skiing season. I used to start riding in March and, changing to mtn bike in November till the trails got obliterated by snow in late December or January. Thatís a ~9 month season. Now, I ski till end of April, some years till mid-May and skiing again by Christmas. So the riding season is now only 6 months long.

Add to that, I used to hike a lot. Cycling took the time away from hiking. Now Iím getting back into it more too. There goes a few summer weekends.

Add white water kayaking to that, something I used to do before cycling took over my life. Now Iím back doing that. On top of sea kayaking which I took up about 10 years ago ďfor rainy daysĒ (except I also kayak on some sunny days too).

And sometimes, I want to read, go to museums etc.

You get the drift...

I missed doing other stuff when I rode every chance I had. Now I started doing those other things. Life is too short to live a 1-dimensional life, I decided at some point.

The problem came only after a couple of seasons. Iím finding it harder and harder to get back into riding shape each spring. Ok, the decline with age maybe contributing to that as well. But with a shorten season, I only got about 2-3 months to actually enjoy the riding before it got cold again! And even when Iím ďback in shapeĒ, I had to keep riding, or my fitness drops say, if I go away for a hiking or kayaking trip for more than a week! :(

(this rambling rant came when I realized I have 3 weekends of kayaking planned, fretting how I will feel when I get back on the bike)

Itís not fun to huff and puff up every small hill! Not all the time or most of the season.

Iím not trying to win a cat-1 race. Just ENJOY riding, beyond merely cruising the rail trail. But Iím having a hard time to keep from losing my cycling fitness without putting in a lot of saddle time.

I want to ride into my sunset years. But how to do it without being cycle-obsessed?

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2989
Location: Midland, MI

6/19/19 9:37 AM

Winter riding

Consider riding the rollers or a trainer in the winter. I don't know how many days a week it will take, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could keep most of your cycling fitness with only 2-3 days per week for an hour or less. Works for me, plus it is good for skiing - both leg strength and overall fitness.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17307
Location: Portland, OR

6/19/19 10:04 AM

Seems like you are just loosing endurance targeted fitness and not losing fitness so much. You are doing things that are certainly physical/athletic.

You are probably noticing more than anything [my guess] a lot less use of fast twitch muscle with your chosen activities.

Running and/or x-country skiing might be better augmentation of fast twitch muscle conditioning comparatively. And thus less miles to get to a more efficient state pedaling when you choose the start of your cycling for the season.

And then again, maybe we get tired of all that zone 4 shit. I don't guess unless you are pushing hills while hiking you approach the same levels and duration of higher zones we do pushing FTP on a go fast bike?

Perhaps some rollers or a cycling trainer of a sort for filling in over the non cycling season will keep the fast twitch closer in state for your seasonal cycling start.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/19/19 10:10 AM

An hour on roller is REALLY long and boring. :(

Not to mention I don't really have 3 hrs a week on top of all the skiing (and the traveling to and from the mountains -- for skiing, that is)

Additionally, I've been trying to hit the gym (and pool) to get some upper body work in the winter.

(oh, I forgot to mention, I also started to swim in the summer. Really just for upper body exercise on weeks when I'm not kayaking)

This business of having to go to work 9-5 on 5 days a week doesn't help either.

But you have a good point on keeping the fitness in the winter. I used to xc ski in the winter once I hang up my mtn bike. I think that helps in keeping the fitness. But lately, it's got replaced with more downhill skiing!

Have to think about that part. Food for thought. Thanks for the suggestion.

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sanrensho
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 822
Location: North Vancouver

6/19/19 10:19 AM

As Sparky suggested, mix in some trail running with your hiking and you'll get a nice crossover to your cycling fitness.

I'm currently 80 or 90% trail running and find that my fitness carries over reasonably well when I do go back to the bike.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17307
Location: Portland, OR

6/19/19 11:08 AM

Stay in mogul fields, if your body can take it. ;0


But a kicker or similar you can build watts and use for recovery as well as fast twitch muscle sustaining in my mind's eye.

I think an every other few day 30 minute high rpm roller session could go a long way for you for the task. And they fit under the bed and out of the way as a positive aspects of dealing with the hardware. Another, the balance aspects, probably help you on the slopes, or not hurt anyway. ;)

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/19/19 11:43 AM

Moguls

"Stay in mogul fields, if your body can take it. "

Sorry Sparky, contrary to popular believe, just "skiing" moguls don't need any more fitness than cruising groomers!

Many people got more tired when they ski moguls due to poor technique...

I can SKI moguls all day long and I'm no more tired than skiing groomers all day long. But there're moguls I don't ski, or CAN'T ski smoothly. I don't stay in those. Even if I want to improve my big mogul skiing, I practice on groomers and small moguls. There're no point in keep skiing moguls badly.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17307
Location: Portland, OR

6/19/19 3:50 PM

"Many people got more tired when they ski moguls due to poor technique... "

I guess that was me, I guess I never quite got there...

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/20/19 12:51 PM


quote:
Running and/or x-country skiing might be better augmentation of fast twitch muscle conditioning comparatively. And thus less miles to get to a more efficient state pedaling when you choose the start of your cycling for the season.

I've dabbled with trail running (can't run on pavement). And used to xc ski.

While I enjoy xc skiing (less so trail running but still better than running on pavement), if it's for the purpose of conditioning and short, I enjoy it even less.

It takes me a while to warm up, in whatever activity I do. So a 20 mile ride isn't as enjoyable as a 40 mile one. And I far prefer a 3 hr xc ski over a 1 hr one... you get my drift.

When I try to do a 1/2 hr workout, I just hate it. It's either I got to the point that I'm warmed up and want to continue on for another hour. Or, if I don't have the next hour free, I left and feeling tired and bored. Add the time it takes to change, shower etc, I simply couldn't get myself motivated to START a short workout. Trouble is, I don't have a lot of hour long (or two) free time to trail run/swim/xc ski...

Cycling had been the best short time duration exercise I've had. But that's getting old and I'm bored.

This week is an example. Monday was cloudy but dry. So I hauled my butt on the bike and went around the Park for a 12 mile spin. Felt good. Wish I could do one more loop but it got dark by then. Tue/Wed/Thu were wet. Next week looks to be wet as well.

The weekend is dry. Perfect, right? I could ride. Except I would LOVE to join a group going kayaking in Rhode Island instead. Next weekend is not even an option, I already committed to a full weekend of white water kayaking.

If I were competing, the solution is obvious. Drop everything non-cycling and ride! But I'd like to do other things besides cycling too.

The last hobby I dropped to start cycling was competitive badminton. The reason was I just didn't have the time needed to keep doing both at a level enjoyable (as opposed to suffering). I'm not ready to drop cycling yet. Not if I can keep it at a level that's still interesting and enjoyable.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17307
Location: Portland, OR

6/20/19 3:58 PM

"Ok, the decline with age maybe contributing to that as well."

And of course we don't ask ladies their age, etc. I think what that age is individually depends a lot on the seasons leading up to as well.

Or in my case the 3 years of knee pain from 50-53 yrs old that were not much of cycling seasons. More try and wait each time the doc said let's scope it. I wish I had gave up the ghost on the 39/53 that first year. It took the 34/50 with a 30 cog popped on an 12-27 cassette before I could stay on the bike. Point being now 10 years later I am sure I 'am' worse for the wear.

I have tried to ride yesterday and today, and wound up just doing short easy leg movers. Today better than yesterday fr sure. Yesterday my knees actually hurt for a few miles before warming up, that's new for me.

The 18) 80lb bags of cement I mixed and laid on Tuesday used up my muscles like a century would, if memory server that is...

Case in point, 10 yrs, 15yrs younger, yada...


Are we loosing fitness, or strength?

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/20/19 4:44 PM

I donít think we ever bother talking about strength when it comes to cycling.

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stan
Joined: 14 Feb 2004
Posts: 451

6/20/19 9:21 PM

Iíve been spending less time on the road and more time at the gym. It started last Fall when I figured out all the time I spending getting ready for cold weather rides. I can get in a tougher workout in less time or a longer workout for the same overall time. I do spinning classes, riding a spin bike without classes, doing an elliptical trainer or run on the treadmill. Thereís also an indoor pool. Iím probably in as good overall shape than with cycling.

To be honest though, I miss those long outdoor rides at a moderate pace just enjoying myself and taking in all the sights.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/21/19 7:54 AM


quote:
To be honest though, I miss those long outdoor rides at a moderate pace just enjoying myself and taking in all the sights.

In the summer, I ride outside, period.

There're days of rain that got in the way. But that's not a problem in the past, as it never rain non-stop for weeks on end. I simply ride when the weather is good, or even marginal days if need be.

But because I now have other activities I'm doing, there's less time for riding "regularly". So when my planned riding days got rained out, I miss the "regular" part of the EXERCISE. Except, I don't ride for exercise, not in the past, I ride for pleasure (got the exercise as a bonus). So that's starting to be a problem. If I don't ride for exercise, I lose fitness and end up not enjoy my "pleasure rides"! YET, I still HATE EXERCISE!

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6228
Location: Maine

6/23/19 1:39 PM

Commuting/errands help for me

Havenít been riding as much as Iíd like due to several reasons, but some commuting/errands on the bike seems to keep me in somewhat reasonable shape. I commute several days per week. I donít ride more than 3 miles at a time, but in a typical commuting day I ride slightly more than an hour and maybe 12-13 miles, making no effort to go fast or train. Iíve only been doing a harder ride maybe once on 2 out of 3 weekends, but I can still do a decent 2 1/2 hour hilly dirt road ride and enjoy it.

Of course your schedule may not allow for this, but a little bit of riding can go a long way. And everyone is different, of course. I think I have a decent baseline level of endurance (along with my many shortcomings)

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17307
Location: Portland, OR

6/23/19 2:13 PM

"road ride and enjoy it. "

Key IMO. And when it seems otherwise, change it up. I do get lost rides for this purpose. Get out of one side of your brain and into the other. If you have the time to just go get lost on the bike, it goes a long way IMO.

"a little bit of riding can go a long way"

I did 18) 80lb of pre mix cement Tues. And all the attached water, wheel barreling and rock base, forming blah blah.

Wed, it did not take long into the ride to see it would be a short one. But I still did a short one of 6 mile maybe. Thurs, 12 miles. So when I got to Friday the 40 miles was IME a lot more do-able than had I not spun the previous days rather than not.

Point being "can go a long way", or just in the right direction any amount of the right 'way' as opposed to no way...

I almost always wind up with a distance over reach with the getting lost methodology myself.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6228
Location: Maine

6/23/19 2:46 PM

Getting lost

I did a variation on that today. I figured Iíd improvise a bit and link into one of my loops about half way through for a fun ride home. But I didnít bother to look at a map before I left and overshot one turn, so I ended up in a place where I basically knew where I was but didnít know exactly where the road would come out. Fortuitously it linked into the loop at a later point.

However unfortunately the dirt road had been improved, so what had been fun mud and ruts was hard packed dirt. Zzzzzzzz. On road rides you love improvements, but not on dirt!

But youíre right, trying to figure out where the fork youíre going does change things up a bit, mentally.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6577
Location: Westchester/NYC

6/23/19 9:13 PM

Change it up, get lost ride...etc.

Been doing that for the past 2-3 years.

It works. It just takes time. Getting lost, especially.

I used to bike commute and definitely felt the benefit. But now my office is in the middle of heavy traffic. Also, itís too long time-wise, takes nearly 45 minutes. A good part of it waiting for traffic lights and slaloming through pedestrians.

In both case, itís time that I no longer want to devote to cycling.

Iíve been in this state of funk for several years now. Iíve tried all the above and I thought it worked ok. But between riding less, and probably the natural decline from getting old, the same hill I used to jump up started to feel like Mount Everest!

Today is another bad day. I thought I would try to squeeze in a short and invigorating ride after the kayakingís done, on some sweet carriage trail on the way home. How perfect can it be? On a beautiful weather day! I felt positively clever for my plan to fit both activities in. End up getting stuck in traffic (multi-car accident), on a stretch that normally has little traffic, for nearly an hr!!! The time slotted for the short bike ride was spent on the driverís seat.

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