Getting Old sucks

A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:23 pm

My body decided to voice its opinion as to whether I should even consider doing anything other than a 87 Fondo "lite" next July. My legs felt like two lead weights this morning. A simple 5 block walk between two meetings was brutal. My back ached, my shoulder blades alternated between spasms and tight. I keep on telling myself, but I only did 87 K instead of 163 K and proportionally less training, I can do two events. Now all of this might be moot given there is now only one event in September and I have a feeling it will not go well - $250 but not well advertised and although it includes a full kit, no pictures and one has to search to find out why the price is so high.

More generally, I am not over trained or burnt out but close. At one time, my ride tomorrow was going to be a nice easy 60 K with a couple of options to go up to 80K. Now it is 60 K with a number of escape options to keep it lower. Rest day today, ride tomorrow and when the rain hits Sunday and Monday, really rest. One small ride on Tuesday and then rest until the ride in Cranbrook.

With race day inside of the ten day forecast, the fun activity of reading the various weather forecasts has started. I cannot control the weather and these long term forecasts are notorious inaccurate but still I search and look. Sunny with north winds at 10 kph. Ya. Sunny and South winds at 30 kph, boo.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:15 pm

9.5 of a deep sleep aided by some CBD and my mental attitude and mood is much improved. When I am fatigued, exhausted I tend to drift into an existential void fueled by an inherent sense of nihilism.

Last night I pulled up the result of the 2018 Kootenay Gran Fondo ride. My training was near perfect with only one truly miserable but great training ride. It was a 120 K that included a ton of hills, a scary section on a very busy rural connecting highway without shoulders and I was totally spent so a useless and good sort of misery. During the ride, I was in some very good pace lines. To use a cliché , I did not leave anything out on the road. I finished in 5:34 over 100 K, 37 out 84 overall, 32 out of 60 males and 12 out of 21 in my age group. So tired, sore and grumpy me last night forgot about the intangibles - racing down a twisty closed bike path surrounded by forest and going close to 50 kph. Or the series of rollers or … where I had a ton of fun. Or how I did most of the pace setting for the first 130 K but because of that, faded at the end. I had two guys thank me for my efforts and that was worth exponentially more had I saved myself more earlier in the ride and finished quicker - although the later point is debatable. So with the pain and misery I was in last night, I was asking myself why would I do any more rides between now and Saturday. And next Saturday, if the going gets a little tough, I should back off. And if that happens, why I am even bothering to drive 4.5 hours, spend a night alone in a hotel room killing time so that I can get up the next day, ride for 3.5 - 4 hours and then drive 4.5 hours back home. The reply is because when I am in the moment it will be fun and interesting and today I strongly believe that.

However, as much as the mind was willing, the body was not. I got out of bed very stiff and achy. The temperature was 10 degrees - I have the grear to ride with that temperature and actually much lower but the way I felt, that was not going to happen. And the weather prediction of partly cloudy with late afternoon thunderstorms changed to scattered showers throughout the day and then the potential thunderstorms. So it looks like one more day of rest and recovery. Setting aside taper madness, as a runner this was a nice part of the training cycle. The long runs, that I absolutely detested were done. The speed work was done. In fact at this time, it almost did not matter how fast, how far or how often. It was merely a matter of maintenance with the goal of preserving the work one had done. It was an approach/ lesson I did not take last year before another 100 K ride. I had to get in one last long ride of 80 K and my legs never did completely recover in time for the actual "fondo". So right now, less is more and I have to fight off the demons that suggest otherwise. But on the other hand, if there is a nice sunny afternoon with light winds and 26 degrees as is the new forecast, a nice 60 K ride with a long break for a coffee would be worth it. If there is no real point, I am going to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, then yes there is an argument it is pointless and meaningless but that can be both a good and bad thing. A bad thing in why spend over $500 on registration, travel, food and accommodation for something that does not matter. But on the other hand, if it does not matter but one can have some fun, speed around just to see what happens with no consequence if one "fails", then is this not living?

Look at the things that 'matter': Hong Kong, Afghanistan, ISIS, the threat of a global recession, climate change, automation and yet how helpless we are as individuals to change or affect such things. So having a fun and completely frivolous fantasy or illusion that I am a real athlete competing in an official event is important, is meaningful in the escape from this reality. How much is the rush of flying down a hill because of the new bike, wheels and tires worth in terms of cash. Or the point of pushing yourself, digging a little deeper and having the fastest strava segment for a month, a week or even a day. The pointlessness of it all may be the point. That I do not have to do any of these things. I easily could have stayed with the Anyroad and finished somewhere in the middle of the pack on the 100 K ride. That more recreational riders go for that distance so I may even appear to be better than I am. But this is something where I have at least some control, some impact. The miles I have put on my legs. The expense I went to in order to upgrade my ride. Maybe it will work out, maybe it will not. There is one very long and relatively open portion of the course. A good north wind will result in a faster time. But a strong south wind will slow it down. Thus where there is some fun, some interest, some "spice" in having performance goals, from a purely objective perspective, none of that matters. I cannot "qualify" for anything. There is only one award and that is for a long climb and I am not a climber. And even if I were to "win" the distance, there is no medal or prize for that. As they say, this is not a race. And as hinted at, most people who do 100 K have the proper perspective. They are riding because it is a hard but manageable challenge for a good cause, a local charity organization. So you have people who have not "trained" at all. Or you will see a buddy or spouse guiding someone else along without the slightest care for how fast they are going. So if 150 people do this event, I am not sure I can say more than 25 - 50 are "racing".

And thinking about it, knowing all of this, I will be racing as I have in past but not for ego, vanity or prestige/recognition but because racing 100 K is fun and enjoyable. When the legs get a little tired and suggest I may want to slow down and I respond, no we can even go harder and I do without too much pain or suffering, that is a thrill I cannot put into words.

My very first 100 K ride was with run by MEC. $45 and a great post ride pasta dinner with aid stations as good as any other ride charging over $150. For a good portion of the tough part of the ride, a very strong rider who belonged to a club was leading his friend. He set a wonderful pace and it was clear he could do that all day. I was very happy to follow as was the other ten or so riders that eventually became part of this group. The group stopped at the 50 K aid station to relax and rest. I was still in runner mode so gobbled some stuff, topped off the water bottles and race out of there. I was doing great and finished strong. As I crossed the finish line, I asked how fast I had done the ride. The volunteer shook her head in mild disgust, we do not time these events. How many people finished ahead of me. Again, a lack of distain, they are only making sure everyone who crossed the start line crosses the finish line. The first three get a small prize but after that, whether you finished 4th or last, no medal, no time just the self satisfaction of doing the ride and then having a nice pasta meal that followed. So when I remember that and train and ride accordingly, there can be a great deal of reward, pride and accomplishment in "racing" yourself. Can I beat 2016, 2017 or the 2018 version of myself - different courses and conditions but fun to see where I am now. And with the knowledge these "event" may only last another year or so before the younger versions cannot be challenged.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:14 pm

The legs were not 100% this morning and so I decided to change up my route. I am extremely fortunate to live right next to a series of rural highways/ roads with shoulders and good pavement and includes a ton of side roads. I can ride due west for around 20 K and in between there and my starting point there are six major cross routes to the north and a couple to the south. One can thus mix and match and add on other roads from there and one can easily go from 25 K to 50 K very easily and even have option to tag on a few more K to that. So the plan was to do a 40 K ride and see if I wanted to add or subtract.

But once again, a bad forecast. Rain and cold in the morning and they were accurate about that. But the fog and mist that was to leave over two hours ago is lingering and I continue to wait for it to improve. Knock on wood, whatever issues were caused by the previous tire seem to have resolved as previously, the 105 psi at the start of a ride would be 70 on the rear tire a day or two later. Today, it was down to 90 and quite expected given I am not a slow guy or light on my pedals combined with no matter what, they is going to be a little loss of air.

I am pleased I am in the right frame of mind and when I whined to my wife about not being able to go out yet, her reply was as usual, on point and that was in a sarcastic tone, "too bad you have not been able to ride over the last few weeks". The good news for me is I want to ride in part because of the event now less than a week away but I also just want to ride.

Official events are now a double edged sword for me. I am very reluctant to give them up completely as it does add a little motivation. Over the years, there have been countless occasions when I did not want to do a workout but "forced" myself to do so and glad I did. I felt great after. And it does add some spice, something to look forward to. It breaks the monotony of a life of quiet desperation. There is work that one does to provide food and shelter. But it also allows one to have fun and buy toys. But as I have gotten older, all of my previous "dreams" seem to be dying off.

I work hard, make some money and then I can retire and play golf 4 or 5 times a week. If lucky, be able to afford golf vacations and if really lucky, to St Andrews of Pebble Beach. At one time, I always had the newest and sometimes in the upper tier of expensive equipment if not on a yearly basis, no more than 2 or 3 years would go by before I had a completely new set of golf clubs. I am happy to play local courses and do nine holes once or twice a week. Nothing I cannot fit in and still work and thus no need to retire to engage in that hobby.

Then there was running - I could train full time and run destination marathons. New York, Chicago, Big Sur were the top of the list. But my approach to marathons allowed me to qualify for Boston twice but also left with a ton of chronic injuries that makes even running 1 mile difficult. A 6 K jog once or twice a week is now good enough for me.

I learned my lesson with cycling or so I thought. I ran the Calgary marathon for my first one and broke the 4 hour barrier. Then I qualified for Boston the year after that. Ran Boston but did not come close to my dream goal - break 3:15. And then if only to prove to myself and what were likely imaginary internet critics that the first qualifying attempt was not a fluke, I ran again. Had a stopped there and limited myself to 10 K or shorter races with maybe one half thrown in once a year at most, I have to wonder how much better my body would be.

So … I rode a 134 K Fondo that I survived without any issues. I was struggling near the end but finished before the breaking point. I got cocky and trained even harder, was completely burnt out and then finished my first 100 mile race literally on auto pilot. In many 100 K rides, I am going to finish in the top 10% - not because I am a tremendous cyclist but more because the real cyclists will generally ride full Fondos or participate in the local road races. So the vast majority of people are very recreational riders and for most people, 100 K is beyond their comprehension. My full out 100 K pace is a good training pace for real cyclists but as noted, I forgot that and paid a price. When I was doing the longer events, on my best day I would finish a good hour behind those who won my age group. So instead of having a false sense of accomplishment and achievement but actual and true fun and excitement doing 100 K rides, I made it much more important than it should.

I should have realized this as in the spring of 2018, I pushed way too hard to get ready for a 100 k ride in May. The big boys who had been killing it on their indoor cycling and great road bikes used that as a tune up. I had been doing fat biking and that did not necessarily transfer or translate onto the road. Plus, I had gravel tires and the end result was I finished near the back of the pack. I did a little better in a 87 K ride a few weeks later and finished near the front of the pack. And for reasons I do not know other than an addictive personality that can be a little obsessive, I decided the 150 k ride that had been cancelled in 2017 due to forest fires, I had to ride. It was a tremendous experience but it was not perfect. I drove 4.5 hours - was able to have a business related meeting so the company paid my mileage. But then I went to a Boston Pizza and ate alone. I went back to the tiny little motel room and killed time until I finally fell asleep. Too nervous to read or concentrate, it was a matter of killing time. I had a great ride and loved 100 K of the 150 course And I had been doing well until 132 K and then I limped to the finish line. It was a terrible post ride meal and I could barely finish that. The guys I had formed an ad hoc group with had gone their separate ways so I raced home in my car. The experience was enough to have me come back and do the 100 K ride this year but this is more an itch to scratch than anything. As was the 100 mile ride I did earlier this year. As I have stated before, I thought I could do that like I did the 50 K ultra I ran. The whole process would be "fun" and everything kept in perspective. The one and only goal was to finish. But a series of injuries completely derailed that and the 150 K route I knew I could handle and still see what I wanted to see became 163 K and I found out about that in the chute. It was a minor miracle I made it to the start line but the road passed the turn around point for the 87 K ride was lousy. My bike was slow. And I had to stop and stretch a number of times.

And that is the other side of the sword - doing training I should not be doing and that in turns creates new injuries, aggravates chronic issues and earlier this spring I somehow managed to do both. And where everything else is set aside and the event is the one and only focus of my life. Where in September I wonder where my year has gone. Where I am too tired and sore to pursue other hobbies.

So to get back to my point, I am not working to be able to enjoy endless golf in my retirement. I am not working to enjoy endless running in my retirement. I love road cycling but 2 or 3 rides of around 30 - 50 K or less than 120 minutes per week with the odd long ride thrown in over the weekend, again, not something I need to retire to do. I have a hard tail mountain bike and it is more than capable of meeting what I am ability to do. I am never going to be racing down some technical trails. Or bush whack in the back country. Hell, I am not even that thrilled with going on a gravel road with this bike never mind a narrow "gravel" bike - tired that and immediately sold that bike. Sold the fat bike and if anything, after doing a couple of longer rides in the mountains, I have come to a tentative conclusion that is not for me. So after a year or two, sell that bike and buy a neat looking bike from Giant - the fastroad or a faster bike for city use. So again, I do not need to retire to pursue my more modest goals nor can I justify working by buying expensive toys for myself.


My concern or anxiety is that I work full time for another ten years. There are the normal things - new furnace, new hot water tank, car, etc but most of the money will be set aside to live on when I do retire. But then what? My body is not suddenly going to improve in ten years where I can play much more golf than I do now. Or run or even bike to the same level. So then what? What is the greater purpose or point of working other than just to survive. But perspective - it has only been since 2003 to present, aside from 2011 and 2015, that I participated in more than one official event. If I take off my rose coloured glasses, the last five run races between the middle of 2014 to early 2017 all could be considered "successful" and yet there was little joy in the accomplishment. Aside from the 100 mile rides, I have enjoyed the cycling events and there are enough right now to provide me with two or three opportunities to do so but the way I feel right now, one a year is more than enough. The cost to put on these events and what appears to be declining attendance, one cannot count on the same opportunities over the long term. But more to the point, I survived most of my life without having the slightest clue such events even existed and will survive after. The nice thing is I actually enjoy my job and so if my life is a little less "spicy" because of a lack of official events, I will survive that as well. Plus what did people do before Fondos that seem to have only come to this area around 2012. They did the same sort of rides but on their own. So why would it be any different for me. One the best rides I had was up the Sheep River Falls and back on a nice weekday afternoon I took off from work. The difference was I did it when I was mentally and physical keen to do so. There was not $150 or more to do so. I did not have to show up on a designated day and time. At any point I could have said enough and turned around. I lingered at the actual falls and took several photos. So talking this through, one official ride a year will suffice and even then, that might be some sprinkles as it were.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:27 pm

When the rain finally stopped yesterday, I was going to go for a short jog. But then I realized I did not have any potatoes and so on the mountain bike and over the Safeway. It is around 6 K return but it was encouraging as I constantly going harder than my gears could handle and on one little steep pitch, felt so strong and powerful I did not have shift to a lower gear for the first time. I was drenched in sweat and realized it would be dumb to sell my mountain bike. I will be using it more and there are a number of good trails in the city and well suited for me so for I could get, not worth it. I may see how things look financially in 2021 and my get a "urban' bike - Giant makes a Carbon flat handle but with 700 tires and so good for bike paths but would allow me to have some fun where appropriate.

This morning was cold and cloud. Then the rain came, AGAN. But by around 2:00 pm, the sun was out. The 40 kph predicted winds were a nice 10 kph out of the west. So I had to ride. At first, my left thigh was very tight and not cooperating. With a slight uphill and a slight head wind, I felt slow. But as the ride went on the thigh improved. So much so I started to set some personal bests. I with the slight tail wind, there is a very nice 1.28 km, - 1 grade finishing segment. I was flying when I hit that and although I knew I was fast, it turns out I am 10th out of 632 riders all time.

Post ride, the upper back is a little stiff and sore but nothing a good sauna will not treat.

I have to admit I was asking myself just how silly is it to driver over 9 hours in total, spend over $500 just to ride a bike 100 K. In the grander scheme of things, very silly and yet after a ride like the one today, perfectly justifiable. It is hard to put into words but I have had some issues with front derailer and going from small to large Chain ring. Today as I was climbing, I saw an opportunity and it worked perfectly. Here is something so mundane, simple and devoid of any meaning and yet brought me great joy. I have read a ton on happiness and just how transitory that is and so for me, maybe it is not about finishing medals for longer events and podium placement on the short races but capturing or even stumbling upon those little moments of joy. A good shift, doing a 500 M climb just a little faster or on a jog, maybe noticing some nice flowers and the like.

There seem to be a consumer mentality that applies to everything. There is material aspect: you need the better shoe, bike or golf club. But also you have to fun faster, further and /or more often. The idea that if you are standing still, content you are actually going backwards. One must always strive to do better and/or more. But lately and not necessarily out of choice, I have found myself staying the same or even cutting back. I have not bought a new golf club in years. I would hit the driving range at least once a week and year round with indoor facilities. I went to the range a couple of times this spring and once to test out my back. I have not bought new running shoes for years. I have toyed with the idea of running and then racing but have quickly abandoned that. I have a fancy new bike, wheels and tires but I have not gone over 70 K on this bike. The only time I see myself going over 100 K is for a very special occasion - the September Fondo and I would like to ride Banff to Lake Louise once. I sold my gravel and fat bikes. Gave away my show shoes and cross country skis. Sometimes less is better. Contentment is just fine.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:32 pm

Hot, sunny and no wind and yet here I sit "recovering". Last night after the cyclist high wore off, I could not walk very well. A general sense of malaise overcame me. Tired, sore, achy, stiff and almost depressed or melancholy. The thrill and reward of that ride made it worth it but again had me questioning just how frequently should I do such a ride. And needless to say, how much temptation I should allow in the form of a formal event that allows me to justify or rationalize my actions. Yes, I am tired, sore and miserable but the next event will set me back $500, I have put in thousands of kilometers to participate and thus why act sensible or reasonable now. The how much damage can I really do or think about how much fun it is to ride really fast was not aided when I walked into my bathroom and saw bottles of medications to reduce inflammation or deal with muscle spasms. Gels to ice, cool or heat or loosen up. Braces, compression selves and tensor bandages with tape to hold the various body parts together and to allow me to function.

I have no regrets: I have experimented by riding very fast and 100 K or so rides. I have ridden hard in training and then a 100 mile ride. Thought I could have "fun" training an riding a 100 mile ride and although it was good in theory but not in practice But until I actually tried, I did not know. Now I am back to riding really fast and although it has been great when on my bike, the accumulated damage for cycling without a significant break for the last two plus years has worn me down. So take a couple of months off this winter and rebuild or reinforce the weak foundation. And when I start again, only have long rides - 80 - 90 K on special occasions. And keep any event to in the 100 K area and maybe even limit that to one event.


Tomorrow is a 25 K ride without any significant hills and I want to keep it to a moderate pace. Not necessarily slow but no pushing it either. Then Thursday is massage. Friday, transit day. And Saturday the race. It is already odd that after Saturday, I am not looking at the weather. For the last few months, I looked at it to see when I could get in the necessary rides. But after Saturday, the next training cycle will not start in earnest until next May. There mere thought of that brings both relief and an odd sense of dread.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:23 pm

So that was interesting.

The day looked nice and I had accomplished my to do list for work so off I went on my last ride before the Fondo. The legs did not feel great and I was a little slow. Turns out, I was fighting a head wind of 33 kph gusting to 38. So it was not bad. Left thing a little tight but it quickly loosened up. Made it to the turn around point or 12.5 and back home. Slight downhill, down wind and I was flying. Then wasp hit my glasses so hard it was the same as if it hit my windshield. Problem is, the thing did not die and was crawling on my glasses. So at 40 kph, I am trying to flick the bug off but instead, knocked my sun glasses off. I finally decided to stop and get the wasp off before it stung me in the eye. Could not find the sun glasses as I hit them hard and when combined with a side wind at 38 kph and no idea where they flew off, that slowed the average speed down. I had to stop twice where if I am lucky, I can ride through. Thus by the very end, I still had a ton of energy left and I was surprised to see post ride that the segment where all time I was 10th, I am 9th out of 634 all time. A nice average speed of 47 kph and had fun passing an SUV.

The bike is great, the legs are great and clearly, I am great and wonderful. But then the universe always seems to have a way of humbling me. I am finishing off the ride. There is a new intersection as the ring road is being built in my back yard. I have been very good of taking the right shoe out of the pedal and leaning right when I have had to stop. So I start to do that but I start to look to my left to see how the navigate the new intersection and next thing I know, I lean left is now getting steeper. No chance to pull out the shoe and so I brace myself for impact as I tip over in slow motion. There are a number of cars and the guy in the truck next to me leans over to ask if I am okay. Just my pride was bruised I replied. The good news is nothing wrong with the bike as my elbow took most of the hit and although it is bruised and scraped, I should survive.

Went back to Strava and noticed not a personal best but there was a segment I averaged 50 kph. 1.79 km with a slight 1 % downhill and nicely wind aided. I was the fastest today, this week and so my chest if starting to puff out. Then I made the "mistake" of looking for the year and I am 54th out of 858. This is near perfection for me: I am fast and can "win" certain segments that suit my skill set for a day or week and maybe even a month so that is both fun, cool and exciting but then I can keep things in perspective when I match up against the best people on Strava in my area. So any notion of me quitting my day job to qualify for the Tour De France are quickly dashed. As are any notions that this is anything other than a fun hobby and once a year, neat to see how I stack up in a timed and official event.

I cannot say enough good things about the bike, the wheels and the tires. It was one of those things in theory should generate 3 - 4 kph more but there are times it is getting up to 9 kph. I cannot put into words how much more fun and exhilarating it is to be flying down a very slight down hill and going 40 + kph hour when compared to 32. Or going up a slight incline at 32 kph when otherwise is was 27. It was worth every penny and despite the really, really, really bad customer service and attitude, I would still buy my Cervelo if given the option for a redo.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:19 pm

The fun part about being older is there is a sort of random pain generator in one's body and so you never know what part will ache first thing in the morning. The winning part was my neck. Given my ride in two sleeps now, that is not a bad body part to be sore. An Aleve and it was gone.

Had a nice massage. I could really feel just how tight the left thigh is. Something I need to work on over the winter. I suspect that does not help the left calf issues. Just as my right hip does not help the right lower back, etc. I always say I need to do stretching, start with good intentions but then as soon as I start to feel better and more flexible, I go away from that. Although with my sauna, something I can do on a daily basis if just the basics and it feel so much better doing it hot then cold.

I also love having anxiety: I have looked at my bike about 5 times since yesterday. Examined the wheels and tires. Played with the gears - the bike had been running near perfect and I had that little fall. My elbow took most of the impact and even that was not too bad but there is just enough to trigger the anxiety demons to torment me. Thus far I have resisted the temptation to ride to test out the bike but I may do one quick lap of the block just the calm those voices down.

Having noted my unfounded worries, I am actually in a great frame of mind. There is the nagging issue of driving all of that way "just" to ride 100 K but then I think about the route in my mind and it is fun and cool so I can easily not only rationalize but justify the trip. Maybe not ever year but …

The one negative is that with an official event, I worry about the bike. Something will happen to my car on the drive. That something will go wrong when I pick up the timing chip. Or with the hotel room. From 14 days out, the constant looking at the weather forecast as if I could somehow influence the same. I packed arm warmers in case it was too cold in the morning and a rain jacket in case of rain. As an aside, I looked at six different weather websites and the scary part is, knock on wood to prevent a jinx, one could not ask for a better day. Almost warm to start but not too hot by the time I finish. Sun and cloud with no almost no chance of rain. And light cross winds, maybe a slight head wind but under 10 kph, I cannot complain. As opposed to getting up, looking at the weather and then deciding if the semi planned route is practical that day, entering an official event takes that control away and that bothers me.

he only good thing about all of this anxiety and worry is it actually builds up as an almost frantic energy. Over the years I have learned how to let it build and then tap into it when the race starts. But oddly, in a nice controlled way where I hear the voice of my dad and the best advice I ever heard about racing - make sure you always have a little something left in the tank for the very last part of the race. So I will visual that energy as going into the legs - when running as springs and so I let a little out when needed.

The one nice thing about being older and having gone through this over 70 times now with various running and cycling events, if I have a good day that is merely a bonus. But if it is not my day, the legs are heavy, I get a flat, it is not the end of the world. Out of all of these events, there were only 2 where the result actually mattered, had a real world implication. That is the two times I qualified to run the Boston Marathon. There was an objective standard I had to run or I would not be able to run Boston. There were races I was trying to podium against the field on occasion but mostly against my peers. Or to collect points in a race series. But having won my age category twice and finished second another time, by the end of the series it did not even really mean that much to me. It is nice to have a little trophy but on the other hand, I would be exhausted both physically and mentally after a five race series and was happy to have it done with. Hard not to get some perspective when after three hours after the final race, after almost everyone has long gone aside from a few people who finished in the top three in their category, the timer screws up on the final results and when that is sorted out, you get a piece of ordinary paper that says you finished second the series and here is a code for 10% off the races next year. To say I felt empty and unsatisfied is an understatement. But also silly and even stupid to sit around for that long, to maybe have 20 - 30 people who were there merely to get their piece of paper and could care less about you, to have something that could have just as easily been emailed to you. If that did not properly illustrate just how empty and pointless the entire ego and pride driven enterprise was - where the first race was great, the second I started to question my life choices in entering such races and by the third race, I was mentally checked out half way through - than I do not know what would do so. So there is the nervous excitement about the ride. To see if I can have a good tactical and strategic ride and see how I stack up. But knowing whether I finished 4th or 24th or 44th, it does not really matter.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:38 am

Now I remember why I have reservations about destination events. Given the time and money involved, I have taken two vacation days. One to rest and recover, today and a day to drive to the event site. I had a massage and ate out but that was the full extent of my day. Tomorrow, or technically today, I will sleep and rest for the morning and then drive. Check in, have some pasta, hit the hot tub and then kill time until I fall asleep. Get up, do the ride and then drive home. If this were a local event, I would not have to use any vacation days. I would only completely rested the day before. I get to sleep in my own bed and do the ride and come home with maybe an hours drive at most. Again, this ride is hopefully worth the effort but on an one off and exception basis. Especially when looking at the six forecasts, sunny and a light breeze. One could not order a more perfect day so of course I am concerned they have all gotten it wrong. :D

The thing is about my age and the physical issues I have faced by the way I have attacked my activities, I do have to look at the cost in terms of time and missed opportunities. Not a day goes by where I wish I could have listened to my wife and stopped running marathons after I had run Boston and then a few weeks later qualified again. That I had done everything I could do and I was not going to recapture the magic of the first Boston. The reason is I had a list of hikes my dad and I were going to do. But that could wait. We were able to golf the summer of 2016 as my body would not let me run over 15 K - a huge hint I missed. But then it was the spring marathon training. Then I ran Boston in April. And then there were the five races in the 5 Peaks. And the next year, those races plus another trail race. And in December 2008, the diagnosis of brain cancer and a year later, he was gone. I still have that list of hikes but to this day, I cannot read that list as it is too painful.

The other thing is I went from loving to run to almost being crippled by it. 2009 was a lousy year where I was hurt and had 3 DNS. 2010 was not much better. I could not run in 2011. So not only do I fear not mountain biking or missing golf that cannot be made up later, but I push and push so hard I lose my love or just as bad, my ability to ride the way I want. One event of less than 100 K and early ish in the summer is likely the best way to deal with all of the potential issues. To be sitting alone in a hotel room is almost pathetic but in this instance, at least I am actually very excited and ready to go. But at a certain point and I believe I am there, it is time to say Been there, Done that.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:46 am

To the extent I have a performance goal, it was 3:30 and top 25. It was where I thought I was given everything and nice round numbers. Having finished in 3:20 and 17th, I can say been there, accomplished that. The training may not have been ideal with the bruised and battered body from the 100 mile ride and the bike issues but it did come together. An easy drive there and back. I actually was even excited in a good way to pick up the timing chip. Nice accommodations with a hot tub and steam room that worked their magic. Weather was good. My first 87 K, my average speed was over 32 kph. I am not letting these "achievements" go to my head for out of the 16 people ahead of me, 6 men and 1 woman were 50 -59. 5 were 60 - 69 with one finishing second and the other, passed me on the big 8% hill near the end and I could not close the gap. 2 20-29 and 1 40-49 rounded out the rest so I cannot say I was beaten by a bunch of young studs.

Had I not gone out quite as fast, had I pushed a little harder, I might have been able to squeeze out 5 minutes or so but then again, who knows for sure and it would not have had one bit of difference.

The first 16 K were a mad rush and I likely went out too fast. The next 14 was hang on and grind my way to the highest point on the course. During that 14 K, I did have thoughts of this the 100 mile ride again and the rest of the ride will also be a miserable and dull grind. But I actually went to a happy place. I kept a nice steady pace and even took a few moments to glance around at the scenery. I may have been slightly tempted to turn off and make the ride 60 K but I am glad I did not. At around 30 - 32 K, my legs came to life and I was having fun. I was racing a few other cyclists when I easily could have just become part of a group. I was in the break away at the Tour De France I told myself - not technically as there were 15 or so riders ahead of me but the idea as that.

This did confirm that 100 miles is a torturous and miserable experience merely to be survived. 100 kilometers, one can actually have some fun and try different tactics and strategy. Where I can really go hard at times and not worry I will completely blow up well before the finish line. The training, the riding are hard and a challenge. I am still basking in the glow of a well done ride but it was not boring, miserable, drudgery, dull, punishing, damaging but just hard enough to make it interesting but not too hard.

I am not likely to have too many opportunities next year. The only down side of the Kootenay Grand Fondo is that it is 8 + hours of driving. I never really liked driving that much and now, that hurt my body more than the ride. Add in the cost to get there, the hotel, etc, etc and as much fun as it was, I cannot justify the costs. And there is my normal pre race anxiety made worse because I had to drive a considerable distance. How is the car going to do - there is absolutely nothing wrong but a coworker tells me a nail was found in her tire just before her road trip and you can guess where my mind went. 2 hours in, I stop for coffee and did I pack my cycling shoes. I am pretty sure I did but with the bike on the trunk, it is a pain to look. Did I pack my helmet. Will I have a room, will something go wrong with the registration. It all becomes such a huge production that as much fun and joy I had with this ride, I cannot justify doing it again. It is akin to the Boston Marathon. The first time it was magical and wonderful. The second time, it became just another run. Nothing wrong with just another run but when you also have to pay what you pay and the cost of getting there and staying combined with the "loss" of vacation time, to this day regret not listening to my wife that I should have been satisfied I qualified again and left it at that. This was different as the 150 K was fun and interesting in its own right as was the ride yesterday but now I can say, done there and done that. There is a 58 K ride that if I rode as well as I did yesterday, I could actually challenge to "win" but $500 is way too much money to appease my ego. And a couple of local real cyclists decide to do the shortest ride next year, I have travelled all of that way and spent all of that time and money not to "win".

I have to add I have zero regrets about the bike or the wheels or the tires. For the very briefest of moments, I was the fastest person at my distance. I am not sure it would have been more than 30 seconds or so but still, I could not have done that with my previous bikes. And when I really wanted to pull away from a group, this bike and wheel set allowed me to do so. It is a very, very fun bike to ride. So if I never do another fondo again, so be it. As I have said before, I cannot really compete with my peers, the true and real cyclists. Nothing is quite some humbling as to look at the results and see a 70 - 79 year old finishing in around 3:30 and the same time I had originally aimed for.

All of this has also confirmed/ taught me that I do love road cycling. Not long grinding it out rides but get out there and see how fast I can go from point A to B and back again. That if my longest rides are in the 60 - 70 K mark, I can live with that. But for a special treat a very few times I year, go further and up to 90 - 100 K or so.

Now my focus is getting in those last few rounds of golf this year. Maybe a mountain bike ride or two. I had toyed with the idea of doing a couple of 4 + hour rides on my wish list but they are going to have to wait until next summer unless the weather holds for at least another month. I have not really made up my mind about that bike. Going down a road hill at 60 kph or faster is thrilling and fun. Going down a mountain bike trail at 30 kph is frightening and scary and not in a good way. I did not mind the grinding up hills at first as I saw the benefit to leg strength but now … I was going to buy $300 + in studded tires for the mountain bike to extend the season but now … I wonder how much of the residual suffering from the 100 mile ride is impacting my thoughts about the mountain bike so I am not going to make any rash or rush judgements. But I do have to admit I am very tempted to go to a Fastroad. It looks like a really fun "urban" bike meant for city streets and bike paths. Right now the mountain bike is actually more of that sort of bike - to run errands, etc than a mountain bike so … on the other hand, the mountain bike can still be a mountain bike whereas the Fastroad cannot. So I would really want to make sure I am done with mountain biking. Plus, the window for me to mountain bike is slowly but surely closing. My legs have never felt stronger for cycling and so maybe it is more psychological but the mere thought of some of the climbs I would have to do to ride the mountain bike makes me cringe. Plus, several rides are 90 - 120 minute one way drive. With an urban bike, I hop on and ride. Way too late in the season to make such a change. And time to try other things - more jogging and weights for example.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:04 am

I am a little achy and stiff this morning. My internal system is, for lack of a better term, "off". I am not sleeping well and my head is a little fuzzy. I am not sure how much can be attributed to the 100 mile ride, the 100 K ride and to the 8.5 hours of driving in less than 24 hours. My thought is the 100 mile training and ride plus the drive are behind how I am feeling right now. It is not terrible and I suspect it will pass in a few days at most but enough to "suggest" I give careful consideration as to how I proceed in the future.

Riding 100 K in a Fondo is akin to running a half marathon. The training for my fourth marathon was brutal. It was torturous drudgery where I developed a nasty dry and hacking cough following ever single long run. Three months after the marathon, I ran a half marathon. If I put in half the number of miles I would have been shocked. I am not sure I could call the training "fun" but rather more non descript. My focus at the time was on short trail races so the long run would have not been more than 18-19 K and not ever week. Come race day, my mind and body is ready to run a marathon. I am careful not to go out too quick, etc. I am going just a little faster than the people I would normally be running with had I been running a marathon and so that felt good - at the time, the full and half went off at the same time. In any event, at the 14 K mark, the marathoners continued straight, the half marathoners made a left hand turn. At the moment I veered to the left, I was overcome by a intense feeling of elation and pure joy. I looked at the faces of those poor souls who "had" to continue for another 28 K more and they were ONLY one third of the way done and felt sorry and pity for them. For although I was a little tired, I was two thirds of the way through and would be finished before I had to face my demons and an existential crisis I always did at some point after 25 K or so. I picked up the pace free of the oppression of having to break through, climb over or otherwise navigate the "WALL".

On Saturday, I had caught up the tail end of the 150 K riders. I had skipped the first aid station and made a very, very quick stop at the second one when combined with the fact I did not have to be some careful with how I used my energy, I was with riders I would have otherwise been with. Plus a few others outside of the lead pack doing my distance. At around the 75-80 K mark, it really hit me that I had less than an hour in the saddle. That I was feeling strong and good and did not have to hold back much. I could not sprint but nor did I have to carefully figure out how much I had to save. And the other riders I was with were only about half way through. There was this sense of joy and liberation as I increased the pace as I was not going to have to face my cycling "WALL" that hits me around 120 - 130 K. And once I cruised up the King of Mountain hill, it was only a matter of how quick was I going to finish. Then can I hold off anyone behind me and finally, can I catch anyone.

100 K is a tough and rewarding challenge. 100 miles is brutal and whatever little more reward, the price seems to be exponentially higher. Add in the cost of a destination event, I can now be quite content and happy to just stay local. The only caveat is if I won the lottery and could fly out to Vancouver two days before and then stay an extra day or two to recover, I would consider doin the Whistler Gran Fondo. But to do it the way I would really want to and enjoy everything, that would cost $1,000 and so that is not going to happen. Plus, the anxious part of my brain just chirped in that what if it was like that one year when it was cold and rained the entire time. Good point anxiety, good point. With the 100 K events and early bird, the cost if around $125 or so and if the weather is terrible, a price I can eat. So maybe not even with a lottery would I ride Whister.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:55 am

One of the best investments I have ever made was to buy a infra red sauna. Yesterday, I could never quite seem to get my metal focus. There were even a few times I felt light headed, even a little dizzy. As with a car, you can only push your body into the red line so often before - unfortunately there are no gauges with a body to look at but there is a check engine light. Finally started to feel better in my head when my body started to ache with oddly, the left calf leading the charge. Had a nice sauna and felt okay. Even had a decent night sleep.

I have asked myself, self why do you insist on doing such events. A clue was I went back to the fondo website looking for event photos, I noticed some links for other such rides in that region. To be more accurate, rides 1 to 2 more hours drive further from me. This also included one where you get to the finish line before 7;30 am, ride on a bus for 90 minutes and then cycle 80 miles. That I would even click on the link when I have concluded 100 K is best for me. When I have concluded the 4.5+ hour drive immediately following the conclusion of the event is the main culprit as to why I feel the way I do is an indication that I am, for lack of a better term, ADDICTED to whatever chemical reaction my body has after finishing such an event. No matter how boring or punishing or tiring any of this is, I still get a rush, a high from completing the event. So my mind immediately seeks out the next fix.

As a side note, I seem to have lost that "high" after a running race both road and trail. The last two races, I had crushed my performance expectations and when I saw that, shrugged my shoulders and thought nice but was I worth the pain after the second last race and the last race I ran, even worth the small inconvenience of riding a bike to and from the race site on a nice Sunday morning. So it is nice I still get that rush, that sensation after a cycling event but need to be careful I do not "over dose" on that to a point there is almost no sensation.

The good news for me is that I seem to be recovering very quickly. A good nights sleep is the first sign. I feel much better this morning than I did yesterday. The logical and rational part of my brain seems to have control over the decision making. Such as drive 7 plus hours where I need to take a rest break every two hours with my back so that I can then get up at the crack of dawn to do a 130 K ride and then hang around for a day so that I can then do the 7 + hour drive back home is clearly insane. That I can not only recognize that but have already pushed any idea of doing that ride out of my head is a good sign.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:57 pm

Great race on Saturday where I exceed my wildest expectations. I thought if I had a absolutely perfect race where I was at exactly 100% efficiency and did not make a single pacing error, I just might be able to squeeze out a 3:15 if I were lucky. I had hoped I might be in the 3:25 range but 3:30 was realistic and if anything went wrong, 3:45 was not out of the realm of the possible. So my 3:20 was a pleasant surprise and essentially tied the fastest I had ever ridden before from two years before when I was at least 10 pounds lighter, much, much fresher, had more help from ad hoc pace lines and without any lingering chronic injuries. When a 4 :30 drive was added on top, I there were so many different chemicals surging through my body, I got to sleep around 2:00 am and was up at 7:00 am. There was no real pain, just the residual effects of the cyclist high.

Fast forward to today and the most I have done over the last few days is a 15 minute walk and a 20 minute sauna. I am less distracted and mentally I am improving. But yesterday in the middle of a meeting, I got bored and checked out so badly it was noticed by the other participants. I had to drive a coworker back to her office and made a wrong turn. Better today but still not 100%.

Physically, I am achy and tired. There is a part of me that wants to get back on the bike and recapture the feelings I had from that ride but also from the rides on the new and fast bike. Fortunately, with work and rain, I have been forced to take it easy. Off for a business trip tonight and tomorrow so at least one more day of recovery.

The nice thing for me is that I am really hoping the 87 K ride scheduled for next July will happen. 102 K was a fine distance and did not really have to hold back much. Coincidently, the first timing mat was at 87 K and at that point, I had been averaging over 32 kph. I had ridden to the highest point on the course and back to the lowest so it was not just flat or overly down hill. The last portion had one nasty 1.2 K 8% hill and then some sneaky other pitches so I ended up really dialing back the pace until just a few kilometers to go and when I caught and passed a 20 something. In other words, 87 K in an official event, if I continue down the path I am on, a new personal best could be possible. And not one I need to struggle to achieve but rather just focus on fast and fun rides that I enjoy. Without any longer rides to aim for, I can do a few longer rides for endurance and stamina but not so many as to take any away energy for the actual event as happened in the past. Where is I am not feeling it as I did on the ride where I first injured my back, instead of pushing through and hurting myself, I can afford to turn around or even stop and rest in a preventative measure. Thus I am really looking forward to next year. I am also looking forward to some fall and even early winter riding as conditions permit.

The only downside to this might be my mountain bike. I have really enjoyed my golf this year. I have loved the road cycling, especially on the new bike. And then there is the grind and struggle of mountain biking without an apparent reward other than maybe a nice view or two. It is hard going up and scary going down. There are a few rides I might want to do to reach viewpoints easier and quicker than hiking or trail jogging. But I have to admit right now I am tempted to sell the mountain bike and buy a Giant Fastroad - an urban bike but with road bike tires and a lighter frame so I can race down the quiet city streets and still go fine on the bike paths. Fortunately, it is so late in the season that such a change would be silly so I have several months to figure this out. I hope to get in some fall mountain bike rides and maybe I will appreciate that when I am healthier and recovered, cross of the wish list or decide it is not for me.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:08 pm

I had a meeting in Lethbridge today starting at 10:00 am. Just a few years ago, I would have been on the road around 7:00 am, arrived in Lethbridge around 9:15, had time for a coffee and to collect my thoughts. Finish the meeting and get back into my car and drive straight back home.

Now, I left my home the day before at 5:30 pm. I no longer like driving in the dark so I had to make sure I arrived before sunset. My back was a little stiff and sore so I immediately hit the hot tub. Then a pill at night, one in the morning to deal with the inflammation and a gel on the legs and back before I went to bed. Attended the meeting and left the city around 4:00 pm. Had to stop about an hour from Calgary to stretch and get a coffee. The sauna in my basement is heating up and there will be more pills and gels tonight. At one point when I went to get up, my body cracked in several different places and was noticeable by others. Someone asked me was the Saturday bike ride, the trip or sitting all day and my reply was, yes, plus I am just getting old.

If things go well, I 45 minute or so bike ride tomorrow. I hope to get in a 60 K ride on Saturday. I am also hoping to get in a mountain bike ride next week. Just a few weeks ago, I was looking at buying $300 + worth of studded tires for my mountain bike to extend the season. Now, I am not sure how much "cross training" I would need or enjoy. With the enjoy being a bigger part of the equation. Although … looking at the Blue book value, I would have to list it at $900 and would be lucky to get $700 - 800. I may ride on some dirt, it just might be in the City limits dirt. So I have to ask myself, why bother. But the other question is should I buy the studded tires and a few fall rides will give me that answer.

I have to admit that from an emotional/ psychological perspective I am really enjoying not having any events to prepare or train for. So if work and weather permitting, I hope to get out for a quick ride tomorrow but I do not need to do that ride. Same as the semi planned Saturday ride. I have no set distances or paces to meet. I am already getting psyched about the ride next July I plan to register for but also enjoying it is not until next July. There is something liberating and also confirms what I REALLY like and want to do. There is zero thought, notion, idea or intention of putting the road bike into storage. If anything, the only decision is when do I switch the tubeless "training" wheel set but that is down the road as I am really digging the speed right now. But I have found I can come up with a number of excuses why I should not mountain bike. I also I looking to see when I can start jogging again and add back in regular weight training. I suppose the advantage of getting old is those things everyone else is doing, things you "should" be doing may be put aside to do those things you want to do.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:23 pm

I went to bed last night and the only rational explanation as to why I felt the way I did this morning is that sometime during the night, I was involved in a full body UFC match and I lost. The much less likely and alternative explanation is that I am getting old.

I did have a theory that highway driving of over 60 - 90 minutes can have the same impact on my body as a long bike ride and that does seem to have been proven. There is also no doubt the residual and accumulated "damage" from virtually non stop cycling, other than recovering from cycling injuries over the last few years does not help. The good news is that with this pain and suffering, there has been no temptation to do any ride of over 100 k. I did look at several rides in the "region" and even if my conscious mind would say, that looks neat, the logical and rational part of my brain would immediately respond, yes but the ride distance is 130 K and so is a no go.

The interesting thing, to me, is that even a 100 K ride about 90 minutes drive is intriguing but I am not likely to register. You get to ride through the badlands and use a ferry river crossing and some other interesting features. But it is during the wet time of year and a little too early to properly prepare if there is a late spring. So as tempting as it is, the logical and rational part of my brain is winning. That is a weird sensation.

It is cool, it is windy, there is a chance of showers and my body is stiff, sore and tired. So it is also weird for me to decide I do not really need to do the ride I had hoped I could do today. I may try a nice easy jog in addition to the early morning walk I did. But there is no really long term plan. I will do a ride next July but beyond that, it is wait and see. One thing that has always driven me is that to get ready for marathons or long rides, there has literally been blood, sweat and tears involved in the process. So I have resisted cutting back too much as I have resented the mere thought that I would "lose" those hard earned gains. When I have cut back, it was due to injury or I finally burned out. It was not always this way. Many times I would rest and recover, sometimes for months. But then when [fill in the blank] season was close at hand or there was a specific event, I would ramp things up. But then I developed the destructive pattern of pushing until I literally could not push anymore. So it is also time to go back and keep active but for health first, fitness second and without any consideration for "performance".

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:30 pm

I woke up this morning feeling old. There was a mix of sun and cloud but it looked cold. I was a little depressed as well. The same old political arguments with people who parrot what political pundits have to say. Our tribe is right, your tribe is wrong. Even if the other tribe has some policies the person I am talking to agrees with. It was one of the those morning where although I am very happy where I am cycling, etc, there was a bit of nostalgia or grief/ mourning over the loss of my ability to do longer events. Even though I do not really like training for or participating. And I had a great result at work. But I was told it was too good and so I have to be careful how I present the report on the results. Plus, I was too enthusiastic in my praise of my coworkers. All of this lead me to ask what sort of world do we live in.

And then I went for a nice walk to clear my head and felt better. After that, mowed the lawn and saw how nice it looked and decided a quick bike ride was in order.

It was the one of the strangest bike rides I have ever done. At first the bike seemed to be as stiff and unresponsive as I was. Every small pitch seemed like a long hill. It was tough and a struggle. Any thought of going over 25 k was quickly killed. So I decided to go as hard as I could. At times it felt like I was fast but mostly, it was tough. Then I got home, down loaded the data and confirmed I did not set one personal best all ride. But whatever gears I was using that made it feel slow, as it turns out it was the fastest ride I have ever done. 33.6 kph over 25 K.

A nice walk, being able to push myself very hard even when no one is watching and it means nothing. A birdie in golf or not having to hike a mountain bike up a particularly steep pitch. These are the important things for me now and I am very slowly starting to actually understand and appreciate this. It seems with social media and timing chips and the like, it is almost a sense or feeling that if it not photographed, recorded and shared, it did not really happen. And given the audience, one has to at the very least maintain if not improve. 10 K are not enough, you have to do half marathons. Then half marathons are not enough so do a marathon. Then an ultra and when that does not work, then multiple marathons. If one does not cause any harm and they enjoy these sort of events more power to them but the problem is the social expectation of always bigger and better. Or at least it is a problem when someone such as myself caves into that.

I should have stopped running marathons after my 4th one. I should have stopped doing trial race series after my first one. Had I been more reasonable and sensible instead of chasing the horizon for a multitude of reasons that in retrospect all seem rather silly right now, my guess is that I would still be running and doing the odd 10 K road race or 5 K trail race and enjoying that. Maybe my age has given me some wisdom for pulling the plug on longer cycling events, today showed what I can do just for fun. I though 32 kph was my top end. So today was a pleasant surprise and oddly very satisfying the more I think about it. It was hard and gruelling 44 minute ride but I did some upper body work. After I finish this post, I feel like reading which on the longer rides, I may be too tired and distracted to do.


There is a great book I read and although it spoke to me, I have yet to fully embrace the concept. The title is the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. The basic premise is that with everything at our finger tips, we are exposed to so much, we believe we are being informed, being involved and engaged but at best we are scratching the surface. So what we need to do is to pick and chose our focus, especially our battles or what we give a f*ck about. That we have to set priorities and for certain things, we may not have the time and energy even if the media and society tells us it should be important. One example for me was fat biking. A cool novelty at first. It was fun to learn how to ride on the snow and tackle certain pitches. Then to get studded tires and ride on ice. But once that wore off, most rides were just a grind. At one time it was rewarding just to finish but after the 70th ride, that is not enough. Add in shoulder, knee and back injuries all requiring treatment. And the wear and tear on the car including the paint job as a fat bike is large and tended it hit my car in transit. And how did not have the time and energy for my home gym. And yet with all of that, I was told how good it was to fat bike by "society". That my ride reports were good and entertaining. But I realized I did not really give a f*ck about fat biking and would rather work out in my home gym over the winter. So I sold my that bike. I almost had to justify that - I wanted a nice road bike and so had to sell the fat bike to afford that. But I would have sold the fat bike regardless. I seem to have gotten away from such analysis and can fall back into old habits. But I really do need to learn how not to give a f*ck or at least about certain things.

The top thing on my list is work. I actually enjoy my job but hate all of the politics around it. As I noted, it gets frustrating when realistically you can expect result "X", but at times everything works better than expected and you get "Y" or a much better result. So to have to explain and justify why you got Y instead of X is frustrating and deflating. I am fortunate to be at a stage where I do not want to go any higher in the hierarchy. I am quite happy to stay where I am and if anything, maybe gently slide back a spot or three in the depth chart as it were. To not give a f*ck about recognition or praise but to do my job without any fanfare and as quietly and in the shadows as much as practical. The benefit of that is less pressure, less stress from lower expectations and an ability to sneak out for a quick ride or jog.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
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Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:45 am

The left lower back and right calf are sore this morning and given the chronic issues are right lower back and left calf, at least this was a nice change of pace. The pain is more achy than anything so good to see I survived the bike ride of yesterday.

Went for what is becoming a very good and normal routine of walk as soon as I rise. It helps with the mental as well as physical health. The problem when I am training is once I really start to get into it, there is pain, suffering and exhaustion or fatigue. As a result, there is not a lot of time or energy for quiet reflection. But if I go for a walk, my mind seems to clear and rather than rely upon the emotional part of my brain, the logical and rational side is dominant. It is almost as if the blood that goes to the muscles for the activity and recovery is taken away from that part of the brain that uses logic and reason. I am sure that is not the scientific reason but does more of a way to describe what happens.

I tend to be much more content, one might even use the term at peace or even happy when I am walking. So for example this morning, the thought of a fast carbon urban bike to do errands or go for coffee arose. Right now, I love the road bike. I would like to do a little more mountain biking. There is still golf and running during the spring to fall. So how many times would I use this urban bike that would cost around $2,500? Once every two or three weeks, maybe. The mountain bike is good enough to fit the bill for now. At some time in the future my abilities may decline or my interest in road cycling diminish to the point where I nice urban bike is a good option but not now. There is no rational or logical reason to satisfy a need that is not practical or functional but because I need a toy, a reward for mere being alive.

The other problem when I am training is that I am the primary cleaner of the house. I actually enjoy cleaning - it is physical and I am like a shark in that I seem to require constant motion. As an aside, I sometimes confuse that need for constant motion for the need to run or do 100 mile rides, etc whereas going for a walk, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house will suffice. But I get too tired and so will look at things and say that can wait. Or there is a very quiet surface clean with attention provided to only very key areas - shower, toilets and the like. But generally, the rest of the house can be a mess. Or I will find piles of cloths in various rooms. I have noticed this but as I have been training or recovering for most of this year, the situation was ignored. That is until we were told an out of town visitor wanted to view our house and given less than 24 hours notice. The house was made presentable and we passed inspection. The thing is I look around at this relatively tidy and neat house and it makes me feel better than the alternative we have been living in.

And speaking of emotional and mental health, when in training I am so tired and lacking energy or motivation, books and magazines start to pile up. Instead of reading I surf the internet. In reading about this, I found that websites are designed in a way to promote a dopamine or other such chemical reaction. This is usually based upon outrage at some real or perceived injustice or wrong. The way a article is constructed is to create and dichotomy and thus to promote conflict and of course clicks that in turn leads to ad revenue. The topic is irrelevant but last night, a little tired and sore and needing to fix the need for whatever chemical reaction comes from reading an article and then participating in the ensuing melee, I found such an article. I had noticed this before but I launched my bombs and waited for the carriage and counter attacks. It was a "hot" issue and so when I went to look, there had literally been hundreds of posts in just a few minutes. So I wondered why I would do such a silly thing and as noted, found an article that not only addressed the why but what to do about it. Like any other addiction one has to realize the need for the "drug" is as much physical as emotional. So one cannot merely view with interest as I thought I could. It is like just taking a little heroin. And if one does indulge, to take a step back and really assess how it makes one feel. For me, frustrated those do not see how my opinion is right. How stupid and silly they are to be so easily manipulated. Stress is high and I am oddly energized but not in a good way. And as noted, on a hot topic, within hours your thoughts are overwhelmed by thousands of other posts. And in a day or two, the topic is gone. I suppose this creates the illusion we are being heard, we have a voice and that matters when in reality, it is fantasy. Now that I am not training, I see this and will have to address this issue on its own but especially when I start to train for something as I will next year.

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

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:10 pm

Got what I needed to be done at work, the weather was cooperating and I felt the need to get out and to something. So off I went with my mountain bike. I was not in a great frame of mind. Maybe I should go for a road bike ride or a jog instead. Or instead of the foothills, ride Nose Hill in the city. But I decided this ride would be a great test. If I hated it and was fully prepared to do so, then I would sell the mountain bike. I was not really sure I would not so there was no alternative.

There was two cars in the parking lot and so I knew I would have the trails to myself. It was a crisp fall morning but fairly pleasant, especially when I started to move. The nasty roots and rocks were not as bad as I remembered. The legs were strong and powerful so I was going faster and able to conquer those obstacles easier than before. There was something nice about being part of nature.

I told myself that I would turn around at the 45 minute mark or so. I was starting to get tired and some soreness was arising just as I hit a hill that forced me to walk at the 45 minute mark. I had not completed the full trail, Sugar Daddy and had no idea how much further. The older version of me said I was actually having a very nice time. It was a hard workout, I was drenched in sweat so why push on to reach and artificial and arbitrary "end" point. So I turned around and made it back down the hill in about 20 minutes.

The good thing about Facebook is you can read about trail conditions. And there are some great suggestions to be found as to where to ride. The problem is you see yourself relative to others. So I am 56, bought my first mountain bike at age 55 and lack the essential skills and abilities to fully embrace the sport. Nor do I want to take lessons or upgrade the bike because what I enjoy doing, I can do. I have tried some longer and/or more difficult mountain bike rides and not necessarily really enjoyed the activity. I actually hate rocky and rooty technical trails and no desire to learn how to ride them. Today showed that if I ride within myself on moderately hard trails and not worry or be afraid to say I have had enough, it is a great hobby. That I cannot judge myself against some 24 year kid with skills and abilities on a $10,000 bike. And when I just go out there for a fun workout, it is great.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:51 pm

Mountain biking has mountains and bikes so what more could one ask for. I had been quite excited for with my last mountain biking ride , I thought I have figured out a way to have a good workout but without too much damage or punishment. As it turns out, even an hour of riding with some moderately difficult climbs had my entire back stiff and sore with an occasional shot of pain in the lower back. The legs were not much better. Although I am not overly happy or pleased with this, on the other hand I have alternatives. There are even gentler trails, most within the city limits and 15 - 25 minutes away from my house. So I can get that workout that challenges my muscles in a different way. The even better news is that if there was even the slightest inclination to buy a better mountain bike, that is not crushed.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:10 pm

This getting old is really starting to get old.

I would better understand and accept the current state of my body had I attempted to do much more than I was capable of doing. Had a tackled a much harder trail and/or gone much further or for a longer period of time. So when I turned around when I did. When I have attempted to actually rest and recovery and here I am three days later and more stiff and sore and achy and miserable than I was 1 day later, 2 days later, I am starting to get pissed off. The funny thing is for a moment or two, I was sitting watching tv and thinking about some possible mountain bike rides I could do before fall really hits hard as it is predicted to do later next week. One or two of my old fat bike loops that although could be a little tough depending upon the snow conditions, in the summer that much easier. But as I feel right now, there is a huge temptation to take some photos of my mountain bike and put an ad to sell the damn thing. But it is too late in the year to get a decent price and no time to enjoy a fast urban bike.

My rational and logical mind is telling me I have not explored all of the options available to me for the mountain bike. Although I am achy and miserable, with the fat bike there were actual physical and objective injuries I needed physio to address. This is more I am whining and complaining but there is not much I could or even really need to do other than endure. With the fat bike, I had over 90 rides in total. The two sets of tires, etc might the total cost was around $5,000. As it was over $60 to rent a fat bike, given the number of rides I had, I was not worse off than had a rented. That I then got $2,000, a nice bonus. I was thinking had I bought the $2,000 fat bike, why sell it. The expensive fat bike required special servicing but cheaper one would not. And my mountain bike is in the later category. It can go months without being used or serviced and no issue. I bought it for around $2,500 and to sell it, I may only get $700. I have likely used it that much and thus for the little return why not see if I can continue to use it. Maybe stick to Nose Hill, Fish Creek and Bowmount. Maybe Snowy Owl in West Bragg.

After this long and hard year, it is likely best to fully recover over the winter. Build up a good base and foundation and then see. Maybe mountain biking will suck no matter where I ride. So why not sell a bike not because of the return but more so that someone can actually use and enjoy it. It may be a very good thing all of this happening just when there the weather for biking has changed?

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:17 pm

I am a little tired, a little sore but … the opportunity to ride with my summer kit is quickly fading. There is even a talk of snow by this time next week. And so why not get on the road bike and cycle out of a coffee. The only problem with this is that I am a little tired, a little sore and going to ride a route I have now done countless times. And yet I am looking forward to this ride. And given the weather and my internal debate, had thought about doing a mountain bike ride but I am a little tired, a little sore and on a route I have done a few times but no where as many times as the road route I am doing today. And I am highly unmotivated to do so. Intellectually, the mountain bike is a nice "spare" bike as it were. That the only real reason to sell it is that I would use it so infrequently it would be a shame not to have someone enjoy it. But emotionally right now, the urge is to sell.

Had to kill some time so wondered into a bike shop. I came across a few fat bikes. One by Giant, the first year they made one for $1,600. Nice big wide tires and really more suited to my needs and abilities. The only emotion I felt was I wish they had this model when I first bought my fat bike as I would still likely have had a fat bike. And I would not have ridden as much and tackle less demanding trails and less injuries. But having said that, my wife is convinced I will or have bought a fat bike. But the mere thought of loading it up, driving out to ride it and hoping for favorable conditions has no appeal. Although fall weather is just around the corner, if the very long term forecast is right, it will not be until later in December when there would even be enough snow to justify a fat bike. Add in I am not sure if the issues I have with my back after mountain/fat biking are temporary and or more permanent thing. I do not think I really appreciated how much strain I am putting on my back and shoulders doing those climbs until recently when I would feel the tug/pull during the climb and as noted, the pain and stiffness for days. And it seems after each such ride, the pain is a little more intense and lasts a little longer. So if I do pull the trigger and sell the mountain bike and buy a fat urban or fitness bike, the added advantage is that I can get on the bike and ride. There is no transit time, no gas or wear and tear on the car. No matter where I ride, I am at least 45 minutes to an hour in order to ride for an hour. Whereas a urban bike, I go out and ride.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3374
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:42 am

In a first world sort of way, this year has been tough on me. It is when I have really, really noticed the aging process. Where the limitations and restrictions of the same have been noticeable. Whereas before, I could write something off as a minor set back. Something I could bounce back from, now I have to heed the warnings for pay a significant price.

Two winters ago, I bought a fat bike. It was very cool to be riding in winter, on snow and in the mountains. This would work as a great summer bike but it did not. Without any suspension and a lack of skill, I bounced around too much and it was a real struggle. And in winter, I hurt my shoulder, my back, my knees. I was limited to moderately difficult trails at most but given the bike and more importantly, my lack of skill and ability, too many rides had me stop and start as I would go off the packed trail a inch or two and come to a grinding halt. I got in around 90 rides and have a ton of photos that documented my adventures. It was a nice warm and fuzzy feeling to have people compliment me on my ride reports. I even had a neighbor who recognized me come up to say how much he enjoyed reading those reports. But it became been there and done that. So I sold the fat bike and have no regrets.

The long "touring" rides on my Anyroad became slogs. And worse, it hurt my back so it was to a point of ride, recover, ride. There was very little joy or pleasure in the training or the 100 mile ride. I had thought at the very least I could enjoy some magnificent scenery but instead, I was so tired and the road so poor, all I could really do was look at the few feet of pavement in front of me. The bright spot was buying the bike, wheel set and tires I did. I have loved going really fast over relatively short distances. My 100 K ride was near perfection but I was just a little too slow to stay with the really fast groups and a little too fast to stay with the slower groups. I rode with a group for the first 16 K but until the 80 K mark, hopped from group to group until the last 20 K was a solo ride. I crushed my performance expectations and glad I tested myself but I cannot see myself driving a total of 8 hour or more to do that again. It was very much a feeling of been there, done that and got the t shirt so no sense of anticipation, of next year but rather a bittersweet fond farewell. There is one or two local rides to look forward to, maybe. But right now, more worn out than anything. Having said that, did a 63 K ride with an average speed of over 31 kph and that includes a 5 minute coffee stop so there is that.

I golfed half as much as anticipated. I cannot run but oddly enough, nor do I really miss that. The odd jog suffices.

At one time, I could mountain bike for an hour, now I am down to around 15-20 minutes or so. Not nearly enough to justify driving a total of 40 - 60 minutes I need to ride anywhere.

I am down to what can I do where I do not have to get in my car and the activity will last for between 15 - 120 minutes at most. Or if I have to drive, not too far. And the weather has to be nice - not too windy, hot or cold. The irony or catch 22 is if I stick to these parameters I am generally happy and content but I long or maybe even grieve for a time when I could go out and do 4 or more hours. When I would play 40 rounds of golf, do 20 K runs like they were nothing. 120 K bike rides. Explore the back country. I have sold my fat bike, my cross country skis and my snow shoes. The mountain bike is next. My world is shrining to a manageable place where I can find joy and happiness but in the process, I am losing a means to find a sense of accomplishment and achievement. To explore the undiscovered country. It is necessary to give up such things for to see how fast I can ride up Sugar Daddy on a mountain bike, I am still in pain from that ride last Monday.

I work from a home office. I had the impression I was or could be a leader for the younger and newer people in my department. I could share my wisdom and experiences that doing something for 30 year brings. I could be witty and charming and provided "lessons" in a fun and entertaining way or so it seemed in my quick visits to the office. So when asked to present at a recent seminar, I jumped at the chance. It was a two day event and of course I had too much to drink in overcoming my social anxiety at the company dinner. I could literally not shut up and shared a number of questionable stories. But that was fine, I overcame that as it was Dstew being Dstew sort of deal. But then I presented and feel into the void. As a senior VP had noted the night before, what I do and how I do it cannot be teached. It is not that I am special or extraordinary but more I tend to deal with unique and strange situations in a unique and strange way that seems to work out most of the time.

Suffice to say, I did not connect with my audience. The person I was co presenting was this tiny, quiet and unassuming coworker how approached the job in a very conventional way. She presented her material in a way that combined the right amount of humour with great practical advice. There was also this manager who was clearly beloved. I contrast that as being treated a goof who was to be tolerated because they took on the really ugly and messy work with a smile and enthusiasm. It hurt, it was a little depressing to face the reality I am a goof.

I ran the Boston Marathon 12 years ago. The road 50 K ultra was 5 years ago. My last running race was 3 years ago. I cannot remember that last time I played 20 full rounds of golf in a year. Or could not wait to see what new equipment was coming out. As quickly as I fell in love with fat biking, I fell out of love. I never really liked mountain biking but a nice change of pace until now. Now it is just painful. I love my new road bike but I will never come close to riding 100 miles ever again. I did a great 63 K ride today but was more than satisfied with that distance. And on top of that, just discovered I am not a lovable character at work but more akin to having one's teeth cleaned. A necessary evil or something to be tolerated because of its functionality, utility.

Despite or maybe because of these hard truths, I am grieving for what is lost in ability, illusion and delusion but there is also hope. There is something liberating but losing expectations. I no longer have to put on a show, do something just to maintain an image or perception of me hold by others or in my mind's eye. I have not run this year and to be honest, I have not really missed it. By the end, I would be covered in this weird sort of sweat that produced a weird smell. I would be physically and mentally exhausted, stiff and sore. My logical and rational part of my brain and body asking why I had just subjected myself to that torture and punishment. And with the most recent mountain bike ride, sometimes dealing with that for days. I did not run so I was no longer a runner and yet my world, my universe did not collapse on itself. I enjoy my walks and even the occasional jog. There is nothing special or noteworthy about these activities but it brings me joy and pleasure. Or maybe even a few moments of quite contemplation or a zen like state of mind. Same as the road bike ride I did today. It was a blast to ride fast and in doing so, my mind was clear of all thoughts other than the moment. How hard am I working and how much further to get home so how much more can to push or do I need to pull back. The heart rate, breathing and gearing where my only thoughts and that was wonderful. And just as it was too much, I was home in 2 hours. I was once again both rewarded and humbled. I set several personal bests and unlike other rides, did better relative to others over the longer segments. And yet I was 4th out of 20 for the day when I last looked. So I was literally racing against myself and that is good. No real expectations and thus if I were to be slower next year, no problem.

Stripped of the thought, notion, idea or even illusion / delusion that I am extraordinary or what I do means anything special, I can see a state of peace and contentment. I have been able to tap into my natural state of stress, fear and anxiety to push myself and expand my boundaries and limits. To qualify and run the Boston marathon as a concrete example when I was close to 190 pounds and 5'11" when everyone doubted I could do it. But for these wonderful and even magical moments, there is a price to pay. Especially if one is trying to recapture those moments. So for example, doing the 100 mile ride I did earlier this year, I am still feeling the residual affects. Great sense of accomplishment but was it really worth it to have gone through months of pain, suffering and misery. To do something merely and only to do it and have only fleeting moment of joy and pleasure. In work and play, to wear a mask, to assume a role that does not quite fit or feel right. When were my real joy is to go for a nice walk and read a good book. But in pursuing so called achievements or maintaining a certain image that as it turns out did not correspond to reality, I am too tired, lack energy or preoccupied to do something I actually like to do. How f'ing insane and stupid is that. Not to mention silly.


Depressed at what I have lost but also oddly optimistic the next chapter will be without fan fare, recognition and anything that is noteworthy but where my fate and destiny have me. There is a certain degree of irony and humor at coming onto a public website to tell the world that I have noting more to share with the world. The honest truth is I had no idea where this stream of consciousness was going. All of these thoughts were not formed by clearly percolating in my subconscious for the last few weeks. I have not been able to sleep and not felt right. I feel it is the right path to take but at the same time somewhat scary. I can argue that since 2002 or so, I have always found an escape in pursuing some sort of official result in an event I have registered for. And to share that with others. And to a lessor extent through golf or work, attempted to create an image that others have of me. So to now say, to hell with that is a little frightening. That I am likely to do one official ride next year but there is no training plan, no regime, no journey but merely to do what I would be doing, what I enjoy doing and then see what happens. But that is it, that one event. And after that ??? I may say, been there and done that once again. I do not see any new pursuits or adventures. But rather a return to a simpler and much more quiet life. Some walking, reading and playing some war games on the computer. To do what makes me happy, not what I think I need to be doing to impress others. I do not regret the literal blood, sweat and tears but my body and now my mind have had enough. I never want to say never but for the foreseeable future, it is time to become and anonymous cog in work and play. So for now, I bid you all a fond farewell.


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