What The Hell Am I Doing?

One thing is for sure. I'm riding a lot more than I normally do. Hours and miles. Even during the peak riding season, I don't ride this much. To be honest, even if I had the time, I don't think I could sustain it. Eventually I would burn out and find something else to do. Eventually my body would shut down and I would go into a tailspin. 
  
As I get older, I just can't do it. The body doesn't recover like it used to. Most riders my age got this out of their systems years ago, when their lives were less complicated and recovery meant a burger and a pitcher of beer. Well, I still think that sounds like my go-to strategy, but it's probably not all that effective.
  
So what exactly am I hoping to accomplish? I'm trying to follow a little advice.

   "Ride a bike. Ride a bike. Ride a bike." -Fausto Coppi, on how to improve.

   "Ride lots." -Eddy Merckx, on what advice he would give to aspiring riders.
  
I think those guys might know a thing or two about being a fair cyclist. 
  
I know a lot of coaches and athletes consider their advice old-school, and rely more on focused, high intensity workouts to make gains. I can't argue with that approach, because that's what I've done ever since I started actually trying to "train", as opposed to just riding around a lot. I made big gains that way, built on the back of my previous junk miles.
  
Last year I noticed I had no endurance. I had to rely more on peak power far more than I should have to close little gaps that should have never opened. I burned too many matches that way, instead of saving them for the moments when they really mattered. More often than not, I was cooked long before the finish, sprinting (or not) from far back in the line and rarely getting anything from it.
  
A big part of this was my focus on said peak power. I just didn't work on anything else. It's what interested me, and where I could see the biggest gains. Why should I hammer away at maintaining my functional threshold when I can boost my peak by hundreds of watts? It was also the sort of training I could jump into after my series of child-borne illnesses just about right where I left off. To be 100% honest, mentally I was cooked on the concept of "training". I was looking for fun, and steady-state intervals and long grinds aren't my idea of fun. I like my pain short and to the point.
 
This summer, after mangling my body, I did a little research and decided that I would use this trip to do mostly lower-intensity volume. I would kill a lot of hours, maybe lose a little weight, and create a base to build on- just like Eddy. I have plenty of time at home for short, intense workouts. What I don't have the ability to do is five hour grindfests multiple times a week. I like my family, and they would probably go away if I started demanding that sort of time to pursue my hobby.
  
What I have a lot of at the moment is free time. I have a bike. I have a specified time that I have to remain here, so I might as well make the best of it.
  
I have no idea if this will change anything, if all of the adaptations I make will be lost during the five months I will be off the pavement. I hope not. I hope I don't regain all of the ten pounds I've lost so far, and my "normal" will be reset in that arena as well.
  
In the meantime, I'm following Eddy's advice. As long as I keep it fairly measured, it really can't hurt. The worst that will happen is that I'll suck in a completely different way. At least it won't be the same old thing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sprint Intervals.

Nostalgia.

Uniform Suckiness.