Getting Old sucks

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Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon May 27, 2019 12:10 am

2015 - compression fracture in my low back due to hill repeats as I was going to do some "fun" half marathon trail races. When I finally recovered from that injury, I decide to not do anything. Gained a ton of weight and was told given everything, I had about a 25% chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years. So to lose that weight and gain health, I walked. A lot. I then started to run. Hurt my back again but did manage to run a odd 29 K race up to the peak of a mountain and back down in 2016. Decided running was too hard on my body so bought a road bike in July 2016. Did my first 100 K "event" in September. Did a 10 K race in 2017 and ran well above my expectations. Problem is, the wear and tear was no longer worth it and that is likely the last "race" I will ever do. I never want to say never but fast forward in 2019, anytime I run even several hundred meters, my left calf acts up and so I no longer run. Did several rides in 2017 and finished with a 100 mile ride. It was oddly unsatisfying and seemed to be more self torture than a glorious achievement. I had bought a mountain bike earlier in the year as there were a few events I figured I could quickly get in shape to ride. But I lack the basic skills and as it turned out, any real desire to become a shredder. I was happy exploring here and there for an hour or so.


The winter of 2017, I bought a fat bike. I rode it a lot. Both on snow and later in the summer to conquer some hills I had trouble with my mountain bike. In the process, I tore my rotator cuff. So this winter, I cut back on the riding but still managed to mess up my knee when I bailed into what I thought was a snow bank but was actually a pile of rocks with a thin layer of snow.


Recovered from the knee injury, the rotator cuff injury and even a back injury during the last big snow fall. The calf was sore but what can you do. I was ahead of schedule, feeling good so went on a 93 K ride. I was not pushing hard as my longest ride this year was around 60 K. It was a hilly ride and around 30 K, not really pushing it, I felt a twinge in the back. The next day, I would barely move. Rested two days, went for a hard 60 K ride and again, could not move the next day. Felt better but a 25 K ride and again, could not move. Over did the stretching to rush my recovery and back to physio. The first treatment was good. So tried to swing a golf club as I had nine holes booked. Got in about 10 swings before you guessed it, I could not move.


I never really appreciated what one of my dad's friends told me about 10 years ago until now. He said if anyone tells you that these are the golden years and he was talking about 60 something, tell them that they are a f*cking liar. I have abused and misused my body to achieve arbitrary and right now seems like meaningless goals so I may have a much finer line between healthy and injured. But this does not mean getting older and having the line become finer and finer is any less acceptable.


Given all of this, I will figure a way to patch my body together and do a 159 K ride in July and a 100 K ride in September. Today was the Calgary marathon. I am going to say Stubborn, my wife stupid, but I believe that if I devote next year to actually allowing my body to rest and recover, in 5 years when the Calgary marathon will turn 60 as will I, I can jog that marathon with a very lofty goal of doing so in around 5 hours or so. The so being more than 5 hours.

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wantmeback
Bill Crothers
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Location: St. Albert, AB

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby wantmeback » Mon May 27, 2019 12:25 pm

Hi! Nice to see you!

Yes, getting old certainly sucks at times. I just got back into running again last year and it's amazing how much a few years does to a body. I wish I had some good advice but since I'm a work in progress as well, all I can say is hang in there and don't be afraid to adjust your efforts to what your body can handle. Pushing it doesn't have to mean exceeding what you have done before. It might just mean doing something active (walk, easy ride) the day after a hard workout rather than trying another, slightly less hard, workout. More than I did 15 years ago I am putting emphasis on what a rest day is for. :)
Jen

*The maniac formerly known as gjennifer*

Back at it! 2019 goal Edmonton Hypo Half February 3rd

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:59 pm

I did a 153 K Fondo last September. It is actually quite fun and rewarding for about 132 K of that ride or so. I had been part of a 4 - 6 man ad hoc team and a couple of these guys who passed on my a last huge and 2 K long climb stuck around to thank me for doing most of the work - I had been feeling good for most of ride and would get impatient when the pace slowed too much for my liking so I had ended up doing more than my fair share of the lead. So that lead me to register for a 159 K Fondo this July. The other side of the coin was the training was miserable and I faded badly in the last few kilometers and I was stiff and sore for weeks following the event. Thus I figured my body had one more long ride in it and this time, I would "train" hard but not to a point where I would over do it. A winter of fat biking had my legs strong and I was far ahead of schedule so took on a long ride of 95 with a ton of climbing - strained my back on that ride. No problem, a couple of days rest and I felt good on my 65 K ride until I got off the back and had aggravated the strain. Then got too aggressive stretching to deal with strain and muscle spasms and reignited an old SI injury from a self inflicted compression fracture. A short ride would cure that or so I thought but it aggravated that. So off the physio and finally was making some good progress. Had a business trip and what could be safer than swimming - problem is it really put my SI and hip out of place and now the back pain was radiating down into my foot. The odd thing is no pain on the bike but off, I can barely walk. No regrets signing up for the fondo and I continue to train but if this is not my body telling me I am too old, have too many hard miles, then I am not sure what sign I need to see. The funny thing is I was doing a long ride and had finished the hard climbing and thought to myself, if it were not for the Fondo in about a month, I would have turned around and rode back home with one hell of a good workout. But instead I continued on. At the 50 K mark I stopped at TIms - my back had seized up and so there I am in a small patch of grass doing my physio exercises. The back loosened up enough to finish the ride very strong and the severe pain and stiffness only lasted a day but again, 50 K is not a short or terrible ride and something I start to need to restrict myself to once July had passed.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:36 pm

Went to Penticton and the back was sore but the pain was manageable. I was even able to swing a golf club. Had a nice 45 k ride then cold pool/ hot tub combo worked. Same after 18 holes of golf. Then went what was to be a 75 K ride. At the key intersections, it was right and then left. I went left and then right. Long story, 120 K with stops at each town or gas station I could find as 31 degrees. I would down a mini coke and then buy two gatorades. My back was great after that, I just could not move my upper back near the shoulders. The back was a little sore the next day but I felt good on ride and managed to do the 75 K ride I had wanted to do - high desert prairie on quiet and recently paved roads made for a very nice ride. I tweaked the back and it was okay that night and the next morning. Drove about five hours to Golden and could barely move. As it turns out, had a heat belt and heated seat on and the inflamed SI joint really did not like that. By the end of the total 8 or so hours of driving, I looked like the letter C. Some chiro and physio and home exercises and a lot of icing/heating and I was able to do a spinner bike on Thursday. Then 50 K on Sat, 25 K Sunday and 28 K today. The back is finally functional - a little stiff and sore but good.

Mentally and physically I am ready for the 159 K ride a week Saturday. I have zero performance goals and the only thing I looked at are the time limits. I am not racing but at a good solid pace with 5 minutes at each aid station, I should have more than enough time to finish. I am strangely grateful for the pain and misery in this training. It is so easy for ego and vanity to dictate one's actions or even to fight against father time but this has reinforced some observations. I enjoy cycling but … 70 K with one rest stop if good if not great. 80 - 90 K become a struggle for the last 10 or so K. Over 100 K - more misery and questions of why the hell am I riding for so long. And if one cannot do a "long" ride, the 150 + K fondos are no longer practical. This years ride is a neat and cool route I would never do on my own so no regrets. But it will be been there and done that. Where I have always had fun is preparing for and riding 100 K or so rides. I am not good enough to compete but it is fun to ride your guts out for 100 K and finish at the front of the second tier. It is hard but not punishing, torture or damaging as the longer rides tend to be for me.

So getting old does suck on a number of levels. But it also has allowed me to focus on what I really enjoy doing and to put aside the more "foolish" options.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:39 pm

Physio, chiro, massage, home exercises, tens machine, ointments and gels, medication and saunas have finally resolved most of the back issues. Because of the shoulder, knee and calf issues I had to deal with, I have used up most of my coverage so this little Fondo is now starting to become very expensive. Running tubeless tires and they are great. Got a puncture but the sealant worked as it should. Some Gorilla tape and the tire did not lose any PSI but … did I want to risk something going wrong on a 159 K ride. With at least one steep hill where I suspect I will be going at least 60 kph. So another little expense. All of a sudden, this ride is going to cost me close to $1,000 when everything is considered.

Physically I am doing great. My back is a little sore but did a 60 K ride on Friday and felt great. Then on Sunday, did a 90 K ride and felt as if I could have gone much further. The issue is now emotional, for lack of a better word. To borrow a saying from marathoning, to run the next marathon you have to forget about the last one - how much pain and suffering went into that race. Having done some very hard 25 - 40 K rides, I had fun and I was even starting to lose weight. Even after the 60 K ride, I was feeling good the next day. But when I start to get around the 90 K mark, the end of the ride is usually not to pleasant. This last ride was as pleasant exception but what was normal is two days later, the aches and pains that emerged the next day are still hanging around. If not for this Fondo, I would have likely made that a 60 or 70 K ride. But I decided I needed one last long ride to find a good pace and to get in some hours on the bike. In short, I love "fast" [for me] cycling in the 25 - 60 K range. I can still have some fun doing longer rides but over 80 k, it gets tiresome, even boring by the end. Never mind the physical aches and pain. Thus from an emotional or psychological perspective, I am really questioning why in the hell did I sign up to do 159 K.

At the time I registered, it was a neat ride I would not do on my own - for one thing, there are a ton of grizzly bears near the top of the pass. And I also thought this might be the last time I can physically and emotionally squeeze out the necessary mileage in training to do such a ride. With my body falling apart and being held together with treatment and literally tape, I was correct in my assessment that this could be the last Fondo of over 100 K I can or would want to do. Another factor is that these organized rides seem to be disappearing. When I bought my first road bike in the summer of 2016, there were 7 one day rides of 100 K or more within a one hour drive of Calgary. A new event was added this year but 5 events are gone. And of the three left, all are within a four week period. The event I signed up for was very late in confirming it was a go. My guess is that the route goes through a provincial park and they likely had a very hard time getting a permit. Thus I am not sure if this event will survive due to government issues and that they continue to expand the mountain bike and trail racing events.

The problem for me is that although I love to go out and spend hours on the road whether on foot or my bike, it seems it is taking less and less to create an injury and more and more time to recover. There was a time when I would do a 40 K training run with the last 5 K at marathon pace and some advil, four ice packs and a day of rest, it was as good as new. Forget running and this year, my back injury that cascaded out of control started with a small tweak about half way through a 90 K ride when I was actually taking it relatively easy.

I have a 100 K ride in about two months. Looking back at my training logs, when I was still recording them, I noticed my fastest times at or around that distance did not have a lot of long rides. In fact, I might have one ride at or around 100 K but the vast majority was 30 - 60 K with the shorter the distance, the faster the pace. So I am cautiously optimistic that once this 159 k ride is over, after some rest and recovery, I will excited to do the 100 K ride. The other thing is I will be able to add in mountain biking and maybe even some jogging as less miles means less pain, quicker recovery and thus have the time and energy and ability to do other things. Which brings up the other issue: My approach in the past has been a single minded pursuit of a race objective or goal. Everything else, work, friends and even family was second. I become fully immersed in the training and I was good with that. But now find myself questioning why I am doing this. Almost resentful at having no time or energy to read the books I have or … I would love to go mountain biking but I cannot risk the strain on the back. Or golf but I have to get in that ride on the one good day or … there is no doubt the law of diminishing returns is also at play. I have done a 100 mile ride in 2017. Did a 150 K ride last fall. At a certain point, the question arises of what do I hope to accomplish or to achieve or to prove. The question starts to become can I once again inflict torture and drudgery on myself to such a level that very few others can or would do. It would be one thing if I loved to do rides of 100 K or more on a regular basis but I do not. And clearly the wear and tear on my body is evident this is not a healthy pursuit. But there is little joy or fun in such rides so … this begs the question of why do it. But that is now going forward for after all of the money, time and energy put into this endeavour, I am oddly looking forward to the experience.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:06 pm

Had a bit of a panic attack or maybe it was an overwhelming sense of dread. What if … the seal on the tubeless tire does not hold or there is snow at the pass or … I took some deep breathes and went through each scenario I had in my head and there was nothing I could not handle. The absolute worst case, doomsday scenario is I do get to finish the ride and if that happens, it was not meant to be. It is not as if I have any objective other than to finish. To be fair, with the risk of severe thunderstorms in the afternoon, the new plan is to finish before they hit but the forecast has that anywhere from noon to 4 and they will be isolated/ scattered enough I just need the gods on my side for a few extra hours.

Had a great massage and so physically, I am as good as shape as I could hope for going into the ride. My legs are strong, my back is holding up and although my endurance is somewhat iffy, I seem to be good to around 120 - 130 k no matter what I do so nothing I could have done more, given my circumstances.

Go to pick up the timing chip and bike plate. As noted, when registration, treatment, tires, medicines and ointments are all added up, the cost of this ride is going to be around $1,000 or so. With that in mind, I got my timing chip, my bike plate, one sample sized of chain lube and one wafer that would retail for around $2. Talk about anti climatic. Which then once again had me down the path of why in the hell am I doing this.

The training could be fun and I would still be able to play golf and mountain bike and do weights. After I hurt my back during my first long ride, all I could do was rest, recovery, treat and then ride the road bike.

The bike had been making so odd sounds and just when that was fixed, got a puncture in the tire. So wait a couple of days to get new tires as no one is carrying tubeless road bike tires in stock. Have that installed and then they forgot to double tape the front tire and it went flat. For someone as anxious as me, this is playing on my mind.

And as noted, there is weather which will likely suck no matter what for one reason I wanted to do this ride was for the incredible scenery. And no matter what, said scenery will be behind clouds.

If I can find some like minded and ability riders, I have found I am good for around 120 - 130 K. At 159 K, this means there will be pain, suffering and misery. I instinctively knew this but this reality only really hit me this week. It is not so much I will be sad for not making any performance goals. If I was riding great and with a pace line, I would likely finish an hour behind those top riders in my age group. And even if I were to ride way above my head, it is not like it matters in reality. As this is a Fondo, aside from the top 3 on some timed segments, finish 4th or last, you get the same medal, meal and mead.

I did raise the question of should I even do this ride. But given everything, this is my last big ride and I am trying to treat this as an adventure. I have my rain gear ready and so if necessary, I will go slower to be safer. The interesting thing is if I was doing the 84 K ride, I am on the road for 3 - 3.5 hours so most all of my concerns would not even arise. The issue with 159 V 84 K is that it seems to be magnitudes more difficult. Twice the distance but four or five times the struggle and the worries.

Last year, I did the 84 K ride. 60 kph headwinds that were mitigated by a good group of five riders. And as an out and back, the struggle out made the trip back with that tail wind even more sweet. I was tired and spent to a degree but it was fun. Tomorrow, so much longer and seemingly so many more things that can go wrong … good idea at the time. I have told my wife but I should announce this to the universe, this is my last long ride. Nothing over 115 K for sure and even then.


I almost forgot the best part about doing a fondo of more than 130 K. I am on edge, miserable. Tired and sore from the training. Some issues with sleep due to pain and other considerations such as close to over training or at least over doing it. Plus worried about a ton of factors, none of which are under my control. So I can go from bored and disinterested and fly into a rage over some comment or opinion expressed by someone else. This is my only focus and so the concerns of others are less than irrelevant, they are annoying. My poor wife has had to put up with this with other fondos and marathons and we both deserve a permanent break from this insanity. I can say it will be fun and my approach will be relaxed without any expectations or goals but to follow through with the illusion there is some purpose or meaning to this event, my mind treats it as such. Not some arbitrary distance determined by going from the closet town to the pass and going there and back. I have to accept the fact that the longer the event, foot or bike, the more I am invested in it and thus the more psychologically I have to treat it as if it matters, if it is serious. More so when you have put in so much time, energy and in this case, money to finish said event. I fully expect that I might be one of the last ones to finish. There are some time cut off points that I am not too worried about but that was my only objective. When talking to my wife, I realized I love going for 25 - 50 K rides where I am riding as hard as I can. So I can do that at least five consecutive days and then take some time off. Great of health and fitness, not so much to finish a 159 K ride. So logically and rationally, if I "have" to continue doing rides, ones that work with this sort of "training". I did that for a couple of 100 K events - throw in the odd longer ride but stop for ice cream so this is not hypothetical or a theory but something I can do and obviously should be doing.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:29 pm

Woke up before the alarm went off. I have to apply anti inflammatory, muscle relaxant ointments and then apply tape to the back and hip. Everything went well and arrived at the start with loads of time. It had rained and the roads were wet. The serious or as a Race Director once called them, the angry riders took off. The starting chute seemed to be half empty as the terrible forecast had obviously discharged more than a few riders from registering or showing up. I had put in the appropriate requests to my gods, shout out to Odin, and a nice surprise was clear skies over the mountains.

The roads were wet for the first few kilometers so the spray from the rear wheels I was following made for some fun trying to see out of my glasses. At first I was able to keep up with the lead group but I knew there would a lot of climbing today and at 205 or so, I was going to have to save my energy. 1,500 meters of climbing to be specific.

I eventually found three riders going a little slower than I would have liked but they did not let me go the front and so it was a very easy 27 K to the first aid station. Those riders were in no rush to leave but I saw three guys my weight and build so tagged along with them - for a kilometer. So I thus had about 20 K of fighting a head wind on my own.

As this was not a race but a ride, one could turn around at any point. At 50 K I was almost tempted - a saw someone who knew it was not going to be their day and they had turned around. As good as the first 27 K was, the next was painfully slow. But I was turning over the legs and each hill and climb was a new challenge and adventure. The predicted clouds and rain in the road up to the pass did not materialize. But to be honest, after several hours on a bike, I quick glance and nice mountain was all I could muster. There were a lot of trees and the road but I saw some cows, a deer and a big horn sheep. The park rangers were monitoring to make sure the resident grizzlies were not too curious about the ride.

The higher I got, the colder. And the further into provincial land, the shoulder was disintegrating asphalt. Part of the park permit was to ride on the shoulder or risk being disqualified and removed. There was a ton of gravel and worse, this grit that made weird sounds and some of the riders with more expensive bikes were none too impressed.

One surprise was that this ride last year turned around before the pass due to bears and there was a logical site about 5 K short. This year it was announced as we were in the chute that the 154 K ride they advertised at 159 was actually going to be 164 K or 100 miles. As an aside, I vowed I would never ride another 100 miles again but 150 - 155 K was okay for some strange psychological reason. There was another temptation to turn around at the aid station but what is 10 more kilometers.

So I made it to the highest paved point in Canada and then started down hill. Although there is a net loss 1,500 M, there are a number of hills between the pass and the town and fortunately, I had made sure I had plenty in the tank. And very good for me, instead of chasing people down or attacking hills, if my legs started to talk, I would back off.

The West head wind turned not a S headwind coming back down from the pass to the 3rd aid station. Before I had got there, I was informed the west wind turned to south and the increased to a nice gusty SE wind or a head wind for around 44 K. Last year I did the shorter 86 K ride. A nasty 60 kph wind out of the west made the ride out brutal but on the ride back to the town, I averaged as most people did, over 40 kph. I had psychologically prepared myself for this and so at one point I yelled, "F*CK" at the wind. As it turns out, I could not complain for this combination resulted in no rain or the nasty and severe thunderstorm that hit Calgary as I was driving home.

I passed four people as although I had thought if hitching a ride with one of the volunteers driving the course, I resisted. I put my head down and at one point my entire focus was making a good pedal stroke. I ended up passing 5 people in the last 5 K for the extra distance and the nearly 40 K of a constant and strong head wind clearly had defeated several people. A guy who had abandoned the ride had stopped with 2 K to go and his wife gave me some very cold and refreshing water. I had ridden 162 K but it was the boast I needed.

Thus far, my back seems to have survived the ride. I made several stops just to stretch and make sure the back was not in the same position for too long. My legs are tired and sore but only when I do stairs. The brunt of the pain is in between the shoulder blades but easily enough to deal with.


I had thought with a very conservative approach, I would finish in 6.5 hours. I never pushed it into the red zone and stopped to stretch and would back off if I felt I was pushing my body. Combined with the winds, the total time was around 7.5 hours - forgot to push start on my watch but my time was irrelevant, finishing was the only goal. Although that also changed to finish and not cripple myself so I accomplished both of those goals.

Was it worth it? No and yes.

I am glad I now have the Highwood Pass from the North and South. But I was not able to enjoy the scenery that much. Most of the time it was a glimpse between trees. It was fun at first and may have been were I to have "only" done 100 K or so. The odd thing is I did not suffer that much. There was no extended period of misery or even drudgery or torture. It was more I spent a ton of time and money to get my body to do this ride and there was a huge sense of been there, done that and it was not really that much fun nor oddly enough, rewarding. To paraphrase Stephen Wright, anywhere is riding distance if you have enough time. Add in this was not particularly healthy for me and prevented me from pursuing other hobbies, the reward was not anywhere close to the price I paid. Still glad I did that as one thought was I am not giving longer riding enough time. That how many very long rides do I have and will I miss out on the life altering one. The answer is likely no more or at least that I am willing to sacrifice to complete. And it was not as much fun as I have doing a really hard 40 - 60 K ride.

The one collateral benefit is with my 100 K ride in September, I have taken care of the endurance part and so I can now focus on speed.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3316
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:20 pm

The day after:

My back is actually quite good. Almost the best it has been in weeks or if not longer. It was very slightly aggravated by the ride but hardly noticeable. The legs are stiff and a little sore but they just did a 100 mile ride. Although I was slow - finished 126 out of 151 riders - I was amazed I did as well as I did given I had a 2 X 60, 75, 3 X 90 and a 120 K rides as preparation. I am going to credit at least part of that to no longer using a GPS device. If I am really curious, there is a GPS map app to see how far + there are a number of familiar routes but there is no log to see weekly or monthly mileage and most importantly speed. It is my body that will determine how fast I go and the one advantage to getting older is my need to reach certain paces is gone. I know if I am going to ride "X" number of miles, that my pace has to be around "Y". Same as yesterday at the Fondo - I would have loved to stay with certain groups but to be able to not only finish but do so and not cripple myself, I had to pull back.

Getting older sucks in that this has to be my last 100 mile ride. But on the other hand, getting older has given me the wisdom to see that does not matter. That anything over 100 K or so it not going to be fun. And as much as I would like to believe one can do a ride to enjoy the scenery, at a certain point in time all you are doing is looking at the road for hazards and focusing on pedal strokes and form. That what is important for a ride of any distance is not scenery that matters but the road conditions. And having done it twice now, there is no need to wonder if I can do it for it has been done.

The other advantage of being old and having no expectations as a combination of my age, my lack of ability and a slightly less fast bike [the least important factor] is I can better accept what I can and cannot do. I can now admit that a third goal to finishing, finishing without crippling myself and that was a combination of beating the predicted thunderstorm and menacing cloud hanging over the finish area and not finishing last. I have to admit I was surprised I beat as many people as I did. This was not a ride for the faint of heart or inexperienced and there was at least 10 riders who abandoned the ride and I did not count those in the final tally.

One thing about these official events I like is being able to ride with others. I am not part of any club or riding group. Part of the reason is I like to ride where, when and how I like and that does not work with a group. At one point I was almost too fast for the average recreational or fun group and now I might be a little too slow. But you get a certain critical mass in these events and I have been able to find 4 or 5 others I can work with in a paceline. As an aside, forget about scenery as when not in front, your entire focus has to be the rear wheel in front of you. But there is something magical about having a ad hoc group come together and work. The first ride last year, I was on my own for most of a 100 K ride. 60 - 80 kph cross winds did not make the experience any more enjoyable. The next ride, the shorter version of what I did yesterday, 86 K, I found a group of 5 - 6 to battle the 60 kph head winds going out. That made the ride "fun" and rewarding as there was the extra dimension of working as part of a team. On the way back, it was very rider for themselves as that tail wind made the ride a hoot. And then there was a 150 k ride. I worked with three different groups between zero and 30 K. But then a solid core of 4 of us came together from 30 - 132 K. My training had come together and I was one of the youngest in the group so had a blast carrying most of the load. I faded badly at around the 132 K ride and finished on my own but overall the experience was good.

The 100 mile rides I have done are a different beast. They have tended to have much smaller fields. There are a ton of people who know what they are doing, a tiny few who have no idea and then my group. As a result, I am on my own for most of the ride. In the later stages, there were points in the ride I could not see anyone in front or behind me. The only nice thing were some tremendous volunteers who were going back and forth on the course who would yell encouragement to me as they passed. For someone who is a lone wolf and enjoys riding on their own, this oddly enough really diminished my experience. Instead of being part of something bigger, there was the feel of just another "training" ride.

I am glad I did not fall to the temptation of turning around at the 50, 60 or 75 K mark but it did show that anything over a 100 K becomes more of a grind than a fun or challenging adventure. I was happy to see how well I fell back into survival mode but … $130 at least to register. For me, there is at least another $100 - 200 in bike issues that have to be addressed if one is going to ride that far. And back to the aging sucks, several hundreds of dollars to deal with aches and pains from training to ride that far. And to do longer rides that neither my body or mind might be inclined to do otherwise.

I have to admit I have fond myself giggling at the thought of doing a second 100 mile ride. Although I could have ridden further even at the end as I had managed my output very well, there were times when I thought about how easy it would have been to waive down a volunteer and admit defeat. There was no physical pain during the ride aside from between the shoulder blades and at times my back was starting to seize up and that was easily dealt with by a quick stop and stretch. It was not like it was torture, misery or even drudgery as this sort of course kept one's attention and there was always a new mental challenge. It was more why in the hell am I doing this. As my wife will answer for me when someone asks why anyone would do a 100 mile ride, because he is an idiot and that thought went through my head on several occasions. I will be able to look back fondly and forget about how meaningless and stupid an endeavour it was. How much pain and suffering lead up to the ride. And to say that I have done two of these things and even in the cycling community, not many can say that.


Overall, a good and interesting endeavour. I did confirm I can inflict a lot of pain on myself, recovery well and do what I set out to do. Again. But my body has told me that is really enough and my mind has finally caught up and agreed. So I am looking forward to some golf, some hiking, some mountain biking and some very hard but shorter rides in between now and my 100 K September ride. That ride is in Cranbrook and the reason I registered is that 100 K part of the ride has wonderful bike paths that are closed to public and road ways that are sweep before the ride. There is something about racing down a winding bike path at 40 - 50 kph in a dense pine forest. Or the rolling hills. And I really do have to lose weight as there is a nasty 2 Km long and timed hill climb about 20 K from the finish line. Most of the riders tend to be my vintage and so I suspect I will be able to find a fun and fast group and interested to see just how well I can do. And to be happy to finish that ride a couple of hours sooner than if I did the 150 K ride - a 25 K out and back with less desirable roads.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3316
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:27 pm

The psychological and physiological high from completing an unexpected 100 mile ride - the race director added a few extra kilometers the day before the ride and only announced in when we in the chute - is wearing off. In its place, DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. So where yesterday I was looking for rides/ fondos to do in 2020, today I am much more selective.

There is always this weird combination of feelings after my first and what I had thought might be my one and only 100 mile ride. The training was miserable and the ride was miserable. I had one month of 1,000 K and I was in a constant state of exhaustion. The last 40 - 50 K was pure hell as I was tired, sore and the drudgery of the event had me bored to tears. But for some reason I thought this time, I can reduce the number of miles, take it easier in the actual fondo and it might be fun. Because I struggled so much the first time, there was a part of me that wanted to try again. Maybe I was just having a bad day, peaked too early or so other such factor. And 159 K is not 100 miles so as strange as it seems in retrospect, the task did not seem as daunting. The last time, it took me months to recover. So there this general sense I could do better.


Most "fondos" charge between $150 - 250 for the ride. You can get literally nothing to a full kit. I already have several kits so the higher priced rides are off the list. So are rides on routes that I do on a regular basis. Or rides that require me to spend a night in a hotel. I am travel to Penticton in the middle of June so my wife can play bridge. Add in I did do better - I was stronger physically and more importantly mentally. The little breaks worked well for me and in retrospect, a great strategy. Especially when one considers I was close to three hours behind the person who finished first and was an hour behind the person who finished in the middle of the pack. Not stopping and losing a few minutes was totally irrelevant in terms of performance but essentially to limiting the damage I inflicted on myself. And despite that, for the last 40 K I was questioning my decision not to turn around even though I am glad I did not do so. And the last 10 - 15 K, I thought I was an idiot. Thus any ride of more than 100 or so K is off the list. So the grand enthusiasm to do another event was tempered by all of the above and it turns out, there is one ride that works. That is the Highwood Pass Gran Fondo Lite or 87 k. The 87 K has nice roads and shoulders. You even get to venture into the front range of the Rockies. And it is something I can do in around 3 - 3.5 hours. Long enough to know I did something but still short enough it would only take a day or two to recover. Add in training better suited to me physically and psychologically - 30 - 50 k very hard rides with the odd longer ride through in and this would seem to be the prefect ride. Plus given the date, early July, no need to rush to get in mileage when my body may not be quite as ready as this time and thus the weeks of back pain. One other factor: LUCK. My physiotherapist today told me they were not sure I would be healthy enough to do the ride. That I seem to be able to recover quicker than expected. I may have complained about the wind but it kept some nasty thunderstorms away until I was driving home. I had thought a little rain would not have killed me but when I was driving home, the rain was so hard I had my flashers on and going 60 kph in a 100 kph zone. And there have been year with 100 kph winds give it is a mountain pass and last September, one event was cut short because of snow. So I would be really pressing my luck not to get hurt again in training and to have much worse conditions to ride. With age, yes I am slower and can more easily hurt myself but there is some wisdom, for lack of a better word, that allows me to accept that and say, a single 87 K Fondo in early July is great.

I have to add that there is a certain liberation, freedom by accepting my limitations and thus reducing my expectations. If a epic adventure is not that much fun and takes away from things I enjoy, then to hell with the recognition and prestige that comes with such an event. One nice mitigating factor is I was very pleased with myself in doing this ride but for most people, there is a question of my sanity. At one time, I would puff up my ego and vanity by telling myself, that is what separated me from the unwashed masses. It was an expression of my individuality. But I have also come to the realization that holding your hand over a candle until your flesh burns can also differentiate one from the herd. There are many who love long rides. Even a few where 100 K is a good warm up. But I am not one of those - I am 80 to 90 K every so often is good enough and even then, I need a nice break half way through the ride. If I had anything to prove to myself, any question left unanswered or any doubt of what I could or could not do, this ride answered that. So I am now emotionally free to do what I like, what is fun and what is much more healthy for me as well. And although it does suck I am not as fast, cannot go as far the nice thing with age is that does not really matter to me.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3316
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:30 pm

Unable to sleep, I have had time to reflect upon this accomplishment. I did a 150 k ride last year and although I felt good about it, it was "only" 150 K. The ride I did on Saturday was officially to be 159 but in my experience, it likely would have been at least 5 K and again, a nice long distance but not 100 miles. Akin to running 40 K instead of a marathon. The marathon, one hundred miles on a bike have a certain prestige and recognition that even slightly shorter distances do not. Thus the distance I rode was special and "meaningful" and thus I am special and meaningful or so I concluded. That I had to capture that feeling again.

But my system is out of whack. Fatigued, a general sense of aches and pains. Lack of focus and concentration. Even some vertigo. In other words, my body is sending me a message that this is not something I should do again. In thinking about why despite the pain and misery from the back pain during the training. The feelings that arose once the post race high disappeared, why would I even contemplate doing anything again. I have golfed once this year. It has been months since I have been able to jog or lift weights. I have yet to do a mountain bike ride. I have not read anything of substance of months. Ego, vanity and pride are motivating factors but there had to be something else at play. I realized the indoctrination of my father and reinforced by communities such as this.

Do not get me wrong, that philosophy got me to Boston running and to complete some incredible rides. NO PAIN, NO GAIN. PAIN is temporary but PRIDE IS FOREVER. If my average speed on the last ten rides was 28 kph, then the next ten rides, it had to be faster. If I did a 5 out of 10 on scale of difficulty on a mountain bike trail, then I had to work on being able to master the 6 out of 10. All fine and good when you are having fun doing that and you are not inflicting too much damage. The problem for me is that as I have aged, when I try to push out the envelope too far, it ceases to be fun and starts to be unhealthy. At a certain point, the emphasis moves from the first part to the second part of : "I ride to add life to my days, not days to my life" . And "life" starts to get sucked into the vortex of reaching a goal no matter what.

Thus not only is it time to accept my limitations but to embrace them. Such as not enter any event where I would have to train. And by train I mean do something different - faster, longer and/or more frequently then I would otherwise do. I have already taken this approach with running given at best, my body can tolerate jogging. And for cycling, nothing over 100 K.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3316
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:24 pm

After the ride on Saturday, I was on a high after the surprise 100 mile ride, I was on a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual high. I had to be an elite athlete because how many people could climb over 1,500 meters and ride over 100 miles with a truncated training regime due to an on going low back issue. Still feeling very good about myself and my grand accomplish on Sunday. Monday, the fatigue, a lack of motivation and lethargy had started to creep in. 100 miles is still very cool but I was not setting any land speed records. I was near the back of the pack and was actually surprised as many people were slower than me because I was so slow. Then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, just about everything hurt to one degree of another. I am not sure how I did it, but someone I "hurt" one of my eyes. My guess is no sun glasses with mostly sunny skies despite the forecast for clouds and rain plus rubbing my eye.

Friday, back on the bike for a 30 K time trial. I knew my legs would be little tired and sore still but I was surprised by how weak they felt at times. For me, it is one of the more fun rides but I could never quit get going. A large part was me but a share has to go to the bike. I have an "endurance" bike that it is built so that someone like me who is going to be 7.5 hours to finish a 100 mile ride can do so in comfort. The bike was in fact quite comfortable but when I needed so pick up, I power I put into the pedals was not transferred into speed. At times it felt as if the bike was actually bouncing instead of moving forward.

I had already decided to sell the fat bike. I am not going to do any official rides/ fondos of over 100 K. My current bike has a dent in the wheel which has caused some issues with my tubeless set up. The front and rear hubs are starting to show some wear and the brakes as well. I found a pure 2018 road bike that retails for over $5,000 suddenly reduced to $3,250. I went out today and not only could I not catch several riders, a couple of guys passed me. So I have decided to sell the Anyroad. I have used it to go down to the main office twice in the last year. I have tried riding gravel and did not like it. So I have a good gravel/ endurance bike where all of my riding is going to be short and fast road rides. So I am also selling the Anyroad and with the sales of the two bikes, I may actually break even.

To use the running analogy a great coach once used, a 10 K race is like burning your hand on an open flame and a marathon is akin to being burned to death over a bed of hot coals. There is the prestige, the recognition hard wired into our DNA that also comes with a marathon or a 100 mile ride but what is fun and just as importantly, healthy for me is the shorter and less praise worthy, for lack of a better word, distances. Heart pounding, lungs gasping for air but then such an effort is over, there is a great feeling. Short term, a better emotional and psychological high from a marathon or a 100 mile ride but that quickly fades and is replaced by a feeling of fatigue, weakness and general malaise. And at this point my life in particular, not even close to worth the price to pay. Glad I did that last ride for one regrets, no wondering if I could have done more one long Fondo and still had fun.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3316
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:30 am

In 2015, I suffered a compression fracture in my lower back from doing too many hard hill repeats. Running on the road was been there and done that. Combined with my body would not take the abuse and punishment of running another marathon. Thus I as going to do trail half marathons and thus the hard hill repeats. And the back injury. My conclusion was exercise sucked and so no more running, no more hard workouts. The occasional round of golf and if I played 18 holes, I would ride a cart. Not dispute getting old sucked.

In any event, I went from 185 - 190 to over 210 pounds. From the misuse and abuse I had inflicted on my body, I had caused my heart to grow and also suffered from bradycardia although when I had sworn off exercise, I did not know that. Went to the doctor and was told I had at least a 25% or higher chance of a heart attack or stroke when everything was combined. In my youth, some unhealthy choices could be overcome or would not pose a significant risk but as aged, that was no longer the case.

I ate a little better, did some moderate resistance training several times a week and went for at least one daily walk of about a mile. Sometimes more than once a day and sometimes for up to ten miles. Down to less than 185 pounds and by the time I saw the cardiologist, I had reduced my risk factor down to below my peers.

To celebrate, did a 29 K run up to the top of a mountain and back down. Crushed my expectations and finished well against the field but in doing so, had a miserable last 5 K and almost every muscle in my legs seized up or spasmed as I sat in my car changing out the running gear. No problem, I can switch to road 10 Ks. They were hard but not hard enough to do any real damage. My performance was very good but both my mind and body both concluded that running races sucked.

We are now into the summer of 2016, watching the Tour De France, I bought my first real road back in decades. I loved road biking as no matter how much I trained or worked, I was never going to be more than middle of the pack. So it was not about results or performance but go out and explore the world with a healthy activity. So I had to love mountain biking as well. Turns out, not so much. I like it but I could do without it.

If I loved road biking, liked mountain biking then fat biking naturally followed. It was very, very , very, very hard for me at first. I had to walk the bike up most hills. To merely survive the ride was a victory. I worked on my skills and eventually it was only very, very hard. I wrote these long ride reports and took a ton of pictures of the scenery and trails. I actually developed a bit of a fan base that my ego and vanity loved. But it was so hard my daily walks slowly started to fade. At first, if I was going to ride, I would not walk. Then there were rest and recovery days. Eventually I was doing less and less. This seeped into the summer. To add to the misery, to appease my "fans", I would be as superficial as an instragram model as I was looking for the best shot of the trail, of the scenery. As I was riding, I was writing reports instead of being in the moment. I was becoming an Avatar of myself.

210 pounds with a torn rotator cuff, significant knee injury and aggravation of calf, hip and back all courtesy of fat biking. But I could deal with that. In the summer with my comfortable road bike, I would go for nice relaxing rides. In the winter, pick and chose my ride opportunities and no reports. But I was not having much fun on the road. I could never get up to or maintain a "fun" speed for me. It did not help that I was working very hard and being passed easily. The 100 mile ride was something both good and bad. Still a cool thing and glad I did it. BUT … it was too damn long, too damn hard still on my body and at the end of the day, not as much fun had I done a very, very hard 87 K version.

So I sold my fat bike last night. The Anyroad is up for sale. And I bought a 2018 Cervelo R 3 or their pure road bike at essentially cost - list price $4,700 and I got it for $3,290. The first ride far exceeded expectations. And today, for the first time in forever, went for my mile walk. It is interesting how bad of shape I am in. Strange to say out loud - I just finished riding 7.5 hours and doing 100 miles last week and yet I am in poor shape. The good news is the shorter and harder rides, more walking and slightly better eating, I have lost around 5 pounds. The nice thing about getting older is finally acquiring some wisdom and to be able to put things into perspective, eventually. To do what I want but also to do so in fun and more importantly healthy way. To start to make better choice and to admit my mistakes and move on.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3316
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:29 am

Getting older would suck even harder for me if not for legal weed. To make a long story short, I found there capsules that reduce my anxiety, make me sleepy and also seem to have an anti inflammatory effect. I have not had a descent nights sleep since the Fondo and so last night, I had to take one of those pills at around 12:30. It did put me to sleep and I woke up as rested as I have been for two weeks.

The problem for me is in doing the longer endurance events, I get this incredible high immediately following the completion of the event. It is almost as if I am incredulous that I actually finished. This was never more evident that after the Fondo given the lack of training, the notion my back my prevent me from even getting to the start line or if I did, at some point it would not hold up. Or it would be a completely miserable and painful ride, at least physically. So when I was able to finish upright and smiling. To be even able to walk without much difficulty, I was high as a kite. But at least I am experienced enough to temper that high as during the last 40 K, my mantra was try to enjoy this as much as you can and not hurt yourself because this will be the last very long ride - long ride defined as over 100 K.

Instead of rushing out to find another event, I rushed out and bought a pure road bike. The reason was I was never going to do rides of much more than four hours so comfort was not going to be an issue. They are now officially calling them "endurance" road bikes and that was something I was not going to do. For errands, I have a nice hard tail that is fun to ride. And although everyone is riding gravel and dirt roads, I do not like that sort of riding. Thus the road bike.

We all need some help at some time but my fear and concern is if I am doing something where I need to take pills - whether it be cannabis or Advil on a regular basis, this is something I should stop doing. I get that some people are willing to pay that price, take the risk of long term use of various pain killers and anti inflammatory medication despite the heart issues that seem to be associated with such use. But these are people that really enjoy, love even a six hour ride or a 4 hour run or more. For them, it is adding life to their days, not days to their life. I can or could at least do marathons and long Fondos but in both, there was a "wall" or a barrier that once I crossed it, the activity went from fun and challenging to "survival" for lack of a better term. There was a reward but that was a couple of days at best. A moment or two when I think back. Against that, the weeks and months or longer of full recovery. Right now, I love riding my road bike. Before the Fondo, I did a hard 30 K ride, I would be energized. Now, after, I am tired and need rest. So … obvious conclusion is to skip Fondos.


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