Tyler Hamilton, Mountain Bike and some random thoughts on cycling

A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Tyler Hamilton, Mountain Bike and some random thoughts on cycling

Postby Dstew » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:36 pm

Just when I thought I had turned the corner, history repeated itself. This time and maybe for the first time, not because I was an idiot but for other reasons. To be specific, my old running form and speed was rapidly coming back to me. It was from a combination of some running, some intervals, some weights and some spinner bike work outs. But two very bad runs in a row started to set off alarms. Hurt quickly became harm. Old chronic injuries that I had finally resolved came back with a vengeance. This followed a 6 K and at most a 10 K run. I did not wear a watch and so although the pacing was hard, I was not attempting to reach some artificial level. I was sore, stiff and tired. I did not sleep well, my mood was getting worse and I lacked energy. My body was reacting as if the distances I had run were actually 2 to 5 times as long as I had actually run.

I contrast this with the spinner bike workouts that followed where muscles felt better, I had a ton of energy and as I had to rip my sweat drenched shirt from my body once completed, I felt great.

I then attended a talk by Tyler Hamilton. I will contrast with the talk I attended by Dean Karnaze. Hamilton looked like me and was relaxed in jeans and a t shirt. Karnaze was pompous, arrogant and aloof or unfortunately the impression I had in meeting most the elite runners I have met. Dean was wearing his running gear and so he looked like a goof. Dean came out to a slick presentation of his greatest hits. He talked a little, answered a few questions and then left. That entire process took around 30 minutes. I saw the projector and thought, here I go again when Tyler stepped on stage. You could tell he was very nervous even though he must have given this talk hundreds of times or more. Even told us we made him nervous as everyone was focused on what he had to say. There might have been 10 slides at most but the focus was on the words. Tyler then answered questions for over 90 minutes and I left the building a good 20 minutes after that and he was still talking to people. With runners, I felt like the stranger in a strange land but the vibe of cyclists was welcoming. I later heard Dean was to set a easy pace and messed that up, Tyler spoke to a bike shop staff member manning a booth as just two cyclists talking about bikes.

Although I had every intentions of buying a Mountain Bike in theory, these recent events confirmed it was now a necessity. I made the decision to skip the second of two 10 K running events I had entered and now I am seriously considering never doing another running race again. The validity of this thought seems to have been confirmed as when I went into bike shops, I dealt with young men who were clearly very serious cyclists and were anxious to share their knowledge with someone who knew almost nothing about mountain biking. Again, I contrast with several experiences in running specialty stores where once had to say that I had run the Boston Marathon twice so the clerk's advice as to why I was making the wrong shoe choice was noted along with the fact her 10 K race times were where my slow long run training time would have been at the 10 K mark.

As I like to think, the Universe was unfolding as it should. As the race running chapter of my life was closing, everything was pointing towards bike riding. To emphasize, riding NOT racing.

After test riding, talking and researching, I bought a pimped up Giant Fathom Mountain Bike.

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-ca/bi ... 49/100800/

The above is the basic model. When the bike shop I now frequent got this model into their shop, some mountain bike dudes got together and pimped up the bike to what they would ride. Shorter stem, Carbon fibre handle that is wider and a better drop seat. It was to show people what could be done to the base model to essentially make it into a bike that the staff would use. One guy even got his bike to show me. If there was any doubt my decision to go from racing to "just" riding was a good one for me to make, as I was leaving the store the guy who had helped me buy this bike and my road bike said, "you are going to have a lot of fun on that bike". Not I am going to be fast or my performance will be better or I will be able to train more and unsaid with all of that in my case at this juncture in my life, also a lot of pain,misery and suffering. But that it was going to be FUN.

I would be lying if I said I am completely comfortable transitioning from competition to fun. They say running and in my case racing is addictive and so the heroin I had been using will have some methadone to ease me into a different paradigm and mind set. There is the 10 K race on May 28 an a duathlon in September. The Fondo in July is timed but they still maintain it is not a race. There are three waves: race in wave 1, ride hard in wave 2 and finish in wave 3. I picked 2 as I am not racing but on the other hand, merely finishing is not quite good enough for me or at least not yet. And as it turns out, a perfect way to describe where I am.

I have looked into bike racing. Given my strava results and also looking at the results of the races I have found, there is no danger of me ever challenging for a place on the podium. I believe I could be decent, maybe in respectable but I sense is that if I try racing, it will corrupt, maybe even poison the love I have of getting on my bike and seeing where the road takes me.

I would remiss to add that running and racing has been very, very good to me. But when I started down that path, I knew and sensed that my racing body would have a best before date. That sitting on a recliner, bloody feet and four ice bags going that I had to grab as many brass rings as possible as quickly as I could for there would come a day when a good jog might be the only thing I could hope to do. I am not quite at the jog point and still can run but I have come to the inescapable conclusion that to push my body to race, a jog may be too much to ask. I still plan to "run" or jog as when having a bad day at work or life, sometimes there is no better medicine than to get on my shoes and run away from those problems and stress. Without a race on the horizon, when I do such runs I can say whenever that point comes where I feel better, I can stop and head home. And if need be walk all or part of the way back. I cannot seem to do that if I have race and so better to admit defeat and stop racing than to risk doing something to my body that does not go away with rest and treatment. Plus, it is time to experience new stuff and really looking forward to exploring some cool mountain trails.

User avatar
jonovision_man
Bill Crothers
Posts: 2336
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:42 pm
Location: Whitby, ON

Re: Tyler Hamilton, Mountain Bike and some random thoughts on cycling

Postby jonovision_man » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:47 pm

Ha you're all over the place with this one! :)

I think you will find both the running and cycling communities have their good and bad eggs. Tyler is one of my favourites, he seems just so relateable and down to earth (and humble(d)). When you hear guys who love cycling in all its forms talk about bikes, it's infectious for sure.

I found also that mountain biking opened up a lot of other opportunities for competition - like adventure racing for example. So if you don't feel like retiring entirely from competition... there's options. :lol: Way different kind of racing than running, your fitness is a factor of course, but so is what's between your ears! I love it.

Anyway good luck in all of it, ultimately I think it's all about finding something you'll stick to and enjoy.

jono
Visit my blog!

"If you want to be functional at 80, you better damn well pay attention at 40" -- Lew Hollander

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Tyler Hamilton, Mountain Bike and some random thoughts on cycling

Postby Dstew » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:08 pm

jonovision_man wrote:Ha you're all over the place with this one! :)

I think you will find both the running and cycling communities have their good and bad eggs. Tyler is one of my favourites, he seems just so relateable and down to earth (and humble(d)). When you hear guys who love cycling in all its forms talk about bikes, it's infectious for sure.

I found also that mountain biking opened up a lot of other opportunities for competition - like adventure racing for example. So if you don't feel like retiring entirely from competition... there's options. :lol: Way different kind of racing than running, your fitness is a factor of course, but so is what's between your ears! I love it.

Anyway good luck in all of it, ultimately I think it's all about finding something you'll stick to and enjoy.

jono


The fancy term is stream of consciousness.

There is a local park called Nose Hill. It roughly 13 - 15 k in circumference. I used it to train for my trail racing as there were long moderately steep hills, long steep hills and short very steep hills. Today, I did my first real mountain biking ride in decades. I was whining that I only had 90 minutes to ride and there were a number of hills I wanted to tackle. After 60 minutes and having my heart nearly exploded, lungs burst and almost being thrown off the bike on a few hairy down hills, I was searching for the quickest way to my car.

I finally developed enough confidence that on the last nasty little down hill of the day I did not ride the brakes all of the way down the hill and did get up to a decent speed - based on my road bike experience, my guess was around 30 - 40 kph. My legs were jelly and the upper back and shoulders were a mess. I was drenched in sweat.

From all of this, I concluded that I may too old to do any sort of real mountain bike race. Or to be more specific, I lack certain skills, abilities and the willingness to risk a crash in order to improve said skill set given my advanced age. That when I was running the trails of Nose Hill, I would laugh at those Mountain Bikers who were slowly plodding up the hills and wish I could go back and apologize to them for my unexpressed thoughts. The slightest doubt or concern that me abandoning all "endurance" running - 10 k or above - is gone after this "short" ride. Brutal interval training, strength and power training and as an added bonus and what you alluded to, mental training as well. If I had run as hard as I rode today, I could think of at least three chronic injuries that would have flared up. I am a little tired and a little sore but ready have planned out my road bike workout for tomorrow as hard as the ride was, it was without any pounding and was not punishing.

In a year or two, I may change my mind and try a race with a mountain bike but I can honestly say I am more than pleased and happy and content to merely "ride" once or twice a week and reap the tremendous benefits of this activity.


You are absolutely correct that I have had my share of bad luck with regards to runners and good luck with regards to cyclists. I had to go into a bike shop again today. First guy was great and more than happy to provide me with advice. I finally ran into a grumpy bike shop staff member but even then, he provided me with excellent advice that economically addressed an issue I was having. And at the end, even told me that my issue was not uncommon and why the product I purchased was necessary. But the second encounter did remind me that the law of stats says I am going to run into some unpleasant cyclists. That if I join a club, there are going to be cliques, etc and I may be left with a bad taste in my mouth. Add in that I really do just going out when I feel like, for as fast and as far as I feel like with my new rule to always bring two water bottles even if the "plan" is to ride 30 K because one never knows. When I consider all of this and the other day, passing a group of riders on the side of the road waiting for some stragglers as I was able to go my own pace, I have decided not to join an official club. The alternative is that there at least one bike shop that has ad hoc groups that ride Wednesday night and Saturday mourning. So my plan is when I feel like it or if the route looks neat. to try the longer Saturday rides. So if the "regulars" turn out to be unpleasant, I have not wasted $125. And I also figure if it more causal that less likely formal social groupings will develop.

I truly believe that the Universe will Unfold as it Should. As a purely academic exercise, I have gone back over my racing career and if I could have made one change, it would have been to cease running all marathons after my marathon in 2006 that qualified me for Boston the second time. Or at least after I ran Boston the second time. The second change would have been to limit my racing to two or three races spread out over the summer. 2007 was Boston Marathon, 5.7 K trail race [age group win], 6 K trail race [age group win and second overall], road half marathon, 5.5 K trail race and 5 K trail races [2nd in my age group] with a 12 K trail race sandwiched in between and finally a trail half marathon with a 3rd place finish in my age group. I won the series title but by that time, it was more akin to a work assignment, a chore than a fun hobby. So had I stuck to the odd couple of races, I suspect I would still be running today. But instead, I over did it, I ripped my body apart and it is now time for me to pay the piper. I am grateful I have cycling to fall back onto and it came at a perfect time. My lack of skill on the road is only exceeded by the lack of skill on a mountain bike so I not a threat to be competitive in races. This in turn means that I can merely go out and enjoy the activity with no expectations, no pressure or need to train in order to achieve some performance goal. Exactly as the same time I have come to reject or abandon such thinking. At the end of the day, I have come to accept the only difference between a runner and a racer is a bib and at this point in my life, the time, effort, trouble and expense of entering a race cannot be justified. Especially if that means having to pay for a hotel room in order to compete.

The pounding, the punishment and the pain, suffering and misery of running were at one time something I sought. To kill the numbness of our modern society and other such thinking. But as I have aged and limping around, where I am slowing to a point I can no longer compete as I once did, the price demanded and that has to be paid to be a "runner" is not a price I am willing to pay and may not even be able to afford. I liked running because it was hard, it separated me from the unwashed masses. But now, I seek new and different challenges and cycling in its various forms meets all of my needs. It is my new "passion" but I use that term cautiously as I am not pursuing it was I once did with running but instead, it is a passion in moderation.


Return to “The Dark Side”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests