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Getting Old sucks
Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 12:10 am
2015 - compression fracture in my low back due to hill repeats as I was going to do some "fun" half marathon trail races. When I finally recovered from that injury, I decide to not do anything. Gained a ton of weight and was told given everything, I had about a 25% chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years. So to lose that weight and gain health, I walked. A lot. I then started to run. Hurt my back again but did manage to run a odd 29 K race up to the peak of a mountain and back down in 2016. Decided running was too hard on my body so bought a road bike in July 2016. Did my first 100 K "event" in September. Did a 10 K race in 2017 and ran well above my expectations. Problem is, the wear and tear was no longer worth it and that is likely the last "race" I will ever do. I never want to say never but fast forward in 2019, anytime I run even several hundred meters, my left calf acts up and so I no longer run. Did several rides in 2017 and finished with a 100 mile ride. It was oddly unsatisfying and seemed to be more self torture than a glorious achievement. I had bought a mountain bike earlier in the year as there were a few events I figured I could quickly get in shape to ride. But I lack the basic skills and as it turned out, any real desire to become a shredder. I was happy exploring here and there for an hour or so.
The winter of 2017, I bought a fat bike. I rode it a lot. Both on snow and later in the summer to conquer some hills I had trouble with my mountain bike. In the process, I tore my rotator cuff. So this winter, I cut back on the riding but still managed to mess up my knee when I bailed into what I thought was a snow bank but was actually a pile of rocks with a thin layer of snow.
Recovered from the knee injury, the rotator cuff injury and even a back injury during the last big snow fall. The calf was sore but what can you do. I was ahead of schedule, feeling good so went on a 93 K ride. I was not pushing hard as my longest ride this year was around 60 K. It was a hilly ride and around 30 K, not really pushing it, I felt a twinge in the back. The next day, I would barely move. Rested two days, went for a hard 60 K ride and again, could not move the next day. Felt better but a 25 K ride and again, could not move. Over did the stretching to rush my recovery and back to physio. The first treatment was good. So tried to swing a golf club as I had nine holes booked. Got in about 10 swings before you guessed it, I could not move.
I never really appreciated what one of my dad's friends told me about 10 years ago until now. He said if anyone tells you that these are the golden years and he was talking about 60 something, tell them that they are a f*cking liar. I have abused and misused my body to achieve arbitrary and right now seems like meaningless goals so I may have a much finer line between healthy and injured. But this does not mean getting older and having the line become finer and finer is any less acceptable.
Given all of this, I will figure a way to patch my body together and do a 159 K ride in July and a 100 K ride in September. Today was the Calgary marathon. I am going to say Stubborn, my wife stupid, but I believe that if I devote next year to actually allowing my body to rest and recover, in 5 years when the Calgary marathon will turn 60 as will I, I can jog that marathon with a very lofty goal of doing so in around 5 hours or so. The so being more than 5 hours.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 12:25 pm
Hi! Nice to see you!
Yes, getting old certainly sucks at times. I just got back into running again last year and it's amazing how much a few years does to a body. I wish I had some good advice but since I'm a work in progress as well, all I can say is hang in there and don't be afraid to adjust your efforts to what your body can handle. Pushing it doesn't have to mean exceeding what you have done before. It might just mean doing something active (walk, easy ride) the day after a hard workout rather than trying another, slightly less hard, workout. More than I did 15 years ago I am putting emphasis on what a rest day is for.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:59 pm
I did a 153 K Fondo last September. It is actually quite fun and rewarding for about 132 K of that ride or so. I had been part of a 4 - 6 man ad hoc team and a couple of these guys who passed on my a last huge and 2 K long climb stuck around to thank me for doing most of the work - I had been feeling good for most of ride and would get impatient when the pace slowed too much for my liking so I had ended up doing more than my fair share of the lead. So that lead me to register for a 159 K Fondo this July. The other side of the coin was the training was miserable and I faded badly in the last few kilometers and I was stiff and sore for weeks following the event. Thus I figured my body had one more long ride in it and this time, I would "train" hard but not to a point where I would over do it. A winter of fat biking had my legs strong and I was far ahead of schedule so took on a long ride of 95 with a ton of climbing - strained my back on that ride. No problem, a couple of days rest and I felt good on my 65 K ride until I got off the back and had aggravated the strain. Then got too aggressive stretching to deal with strain and muscle spasms and reignited an old SI injury from a self inflicted compression fracture. A short ride would cure that or so I thought but it aggravated that. So off the physio and finally was making some good progress. Had a business trip and what could be safer than swimming - problem is it really put my SI and hip out of place and now the back pain was radiating down into my foot. The odd thing is no pain on the bike but off, I can barely walk. No regrets signing up for the fondo and I continue to train but if this is not my body telling me I am too old, have too many hard miles, then I am not sure what sign I need to see. The funny thing is I was doing a long ride and had finished the hard climbing and thought to myself, if it were not for the Fondo in about a month, I would have turned around and rode back home with one hell of a good workout. But instead I continued on. At the 50 K mark I stopped at TIms - my back had seized up and so there I am in a small patch of grass doing my physio exercises. The back loosened up enough to finish the ride very strong and the severe pain and stiffness only lasted a day but again, 50 K is not a short or terrible ride and something I start to need to restrict myself to once July had passed.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:36 pm
Went to Penticton and the back was sore but the pain was manageable. I was even able to swing a golf club. Had a nice 45 k ride then cold pool/ hot tub combo worked. Same after 18 holes of golf. Then went what was to be a 75 K ride. At the key intersections, it was right and then left. I went left and then right. Long story, 120 K with stops at each town or gas station I could find as 31 degrees. I would down a mini coke and then buy two gatorades. My back was great after that, I just could not move my upper back near the shoulders. The back was a little sore the next day but I felt good on ride and managed to do the 75 K ride I had wanted to do - high desert prairie on quiet and recently paved roads made for a very nice ride. I tweaked the back and it was okay that night and the next morning. Drove about five hours to Golden and could barely move. As it turns out, had a heat belt and heated seat on and the inflamed SI joint really did not like that. By the end of the total 8 or so hours of driving, I looked like the letter C. Some chiro and physio and home exercises and a lot of icing/heating and I was able to do a spinner bike on Thursday. Then 50 K on Sat, 25 K Sunday and 28 K today. The back is finally functional - a little stiff and sore but good.
Mentally and physically I am ready for the 159 K ride a week Saturday. I have zero performance goals and the only thing I looked at are the time limits. I am not racing but at a good solid pace with 5 minutes at each aid station, I should have more than enough time to finish. I am strangely grateful for the pain and misery in this training. It is so easy for ego and vanity to dictate one's actions or even to fight against father time but this has reinforced some observations. I enjoy cycling but … 70 K with one rest stop if good if not great. 80 - 90 K become a struggle for the last 10 or so K. Over 100 K - more misery and questions of why the hell am I riding for so long. And if one cannot do a "long" ride, the 150 + K fondos are no longer practical. This years ride is a neat and cool route I would never do on my own so no regrets. But it will be been there and done that. Where I have always had fun is preparing for and riding 100 K or so rides. I am not good enough to compete but it is fun to ride your guts out for 100 K and finish at the front of the second tier. It is hard but not punishing, torture or damaging as the longer rides tend to be for me.
So getting old does suck on a number of levels. But it also has allowed me to focus on what I really enjoy doing and to put aside the more "foolish" options.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:39 pm
Physio, chiro, massage, home exercises, tens machine, ointments and gels, medication and saunas have finally resolved most of the back issues. Because of the shoulder, knee and calf issues I had to deal with, I have used up most of my coverage so this little Fondo is now starting to become very expensive. Running tubeless tires and they are great. Got a puncture but the sealant worked as it should. Some Gorilla tape and the tire did not lose any PSI but … did I want to risk something going wrong on a 159 K ride. With at least one steep hill where I suspect I will be going at least 60 kph. So another little expense. All of a sudden, this ride is going to cost me close to $1,000 when everything is considered.
Physically I am doing great. My back is a little sore but did a 60 K ride on Friday and felt great. Then on Sunday, did a 90 K ride and felt as if I could have gone much further. The issue is now emotional, for lack of a better word. To borrow a saying from marathoning, to run the next marathon you have to forget about the last one - how much pain and suffering went into that race. Having done some very hard 25 - 40 K rides, I had fun and I was even starting to lose weight. Even after the 60 K ride, I was feeling good the next day. But when I start to get around the 90 K mark, the end of the ride is usually not to pleasant. This last ride was as pleasant exception but what was normal is two days later, the aches and pains that emerged the next day are still hanging around. If not for this Fondo, I would have likely made that a 60 or 70 K ride. But I decided I needed one last long ride to find a good pace and to get in some hours on the bike. In short, I love "fast" [for me] cycling in the 25 - 60 K range. I can still have some fun doing longer rides but over 80 k, it gets tiresome, even boring by the end. Never mind the physical aches and pain. Thus from an emotional or psychological perspective, I am really questioning why in the hell did I sign up to do 159 K.
At the time I registered, it was a neat ride I would not do on my own - for one thing, there are a ton of grizzly bears near the top of the pass. And I also thought this might be the last time I can physically and emotionally squeeze out the necessary mileage in training to do such a ride. With my body falling apart and being held together with treatment and literally tape, I was correct in my assessment that this could be the last Fondo of over 100 K I can or would want to do. Another factor is that these organized rides seem to be disappearing. When I bought my first road bike in the summer of 2016, there were 7 one day rides of 100 K or more within a one hour drive of Calgary. A new event was added this year but 5 events are gone. And of the three left, all are within a four week period. The event I signed up for was very late in confirming it was a go. My guess is that the route goes through a provincial park and they likely had a very hard time getting a permit. Thus I am not sure if this event will survive due to government issues and that they continue to expand the mountain bike and trail racing events.
The problem for me is that although I love to go out and spend hours on the road whether on foot or my bike, it seems it is taking less and less to create an injury and more and more time to recover. There was a time when I would do a 40 K training run with the last 5 K at marathon pace and some advil, four ice packs and a day of rest, it was as good as new. Forget running and this year, my back injury that cascaded out of control started with a small tweak about half way through a 90 K ride when I was actually taking it relatively easy.
I have a 100 K ride in about two months. Looking back at my training logs, when I was still recording them, I noticed my fastest times at or around that distance did not have a lot of long rides. In fact, I might have one ride at or around 100 K but the vast majority was 30 - 60 K with the shorter the distance, the faster the pace. So I am cautiously optimistic that once this 159 k ride is over, after some rest and recovery, I will excited to do the 100 K ride. The other thing is I will be able to add in mountain biking and maybe even some jogging as less miles means less pain, quicker recovery and thus have the time and energy and ability to do other things. Which brings up the other issue: My approach in the past has been a single minded pursuit of a race objective or goal. Everything else, work, friends and even family was second. I become fully immersed in the training and I was good with that. But now find myself questioning why I am doing this. Almost resentful at having no time or energy to read the books I have or … I would love to go mountain biking but I cannot risk the strain on the back. Or golf but I have to get in that ride on the one good day or … there is no doubt the law of diminishing returns is also at play. I have done a 100 mile ride in 2017. Did a 150 K ride last fall. At a certain point, the question arises of what do I hope to accomplish or to achieve or to prove. The question starts to become can I once again inflict torture and drudgery on myself to such a level that very few others can or would do. It would be one thing if I loved to do rides of 100 K or more on a regular basis but I do not. And clearly the wear and tear on my body is evident this is not a healthy pursuit. But there is little joy or fun in such rides so … this begs the question of why do it. But that is now going forward for after all of the money, time and energy put into this endeavour, I am oddly looking forward to the experience.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:06 pm
Had a bit of a panic attack or maybe it was an overwhelming sense of dread. What if … the seal on the tubeless tire does not hold or there is snow at the pass or … I took some deep breathes and went through each scenario I had in my head and there was nothing I could not handle. The absolute worst case, doomsday scenario is I do get to finish the ride and if that happens, it was not meant to be. It is not as if I have any objective other than to finish. To be fair, with the risk of severe thunderstorms in the afternoon, the new plan is to finish before they hit but the forecast has that anywhere from noon to 4 and they will be isolated/ scattered enough I just need the gods on my side for a few extra hours.
Had a great massage and so physically, I am as good as shape as I could hope for going into the ride. My legs are strong, my back is holding up and although my endurance is somewhat iffy, I seem to be good to around 120 - 130 k no matter what I do so nothing I could have done more, given my circumstances.
Go to pick up the timing chip and bike plate. As noted, when registration, treatment, tires, medicines and ointments are all added up, the cost of this ride is going to be around $1,000 or so. With that in mind, I got my timing chip, my bike plate, one sample sized of chain lube and one wafer that would retail for around $2. Talk about anti climatic. Which then once again had me down the path of why in the hell am I doing this.
The training could be fun and I would still be able to play golf and mountain bike and do weights. After I hurt my back during my first long ride, all I could do was rest, recovery, treat and then ride the road bike.
The bike had been making so odd sounds and just when that was fixed, got a puncture in the tire. So wait a couple of days to get new tires as no one is carrying tubeless road bike tires in stock. Have that installed and then they forgot to double tape the front tire and it went flat. For someone as anxious as me, this is playing on my mind.
And as noted, there is weather which will likely suck no matter what for one reason I wanted to do this ride was for the incredible scenery. And no matter what, said scenery will be behind clouds.
If I can find some like minded and ability riders, I have found I am good for around 120 - 130 K. At 159 K, this means there will be pain, suffering and misery. I instinctively knew this but this reality only really hit me this week. It is not so much I will be sad for not making any performance goals. If I was riding great and with a pace line, I would likely finish an hour behind those top riders in my age group. And even if I were to ride way above my head, it is not like it matters in reality. As this is a Fondo, aside from the top 3 on some timed segments, finish 4th or last, you get the same medal, meal and mead.
I did raise the question of should I even do this ride. But given everything, this is my last big ride and I am trying to treat this as an adventure. I have my rain gear ready and so if necessary, I will go slower to be safer. The interesting thing is if I was doing the 84 K ride, I am on the road for 3 - 3.5 hours so most all of my concerns would not even arise. The issue with 159 V 84 K is that it seems to be magnitudes more difficult. Twice the distance but four or five times the struggle and the worries.
Last year, I did the 84 K ride. 60 kph headwinds that were mitigated by a good group of five riders. And as an out and back, the struggle out made the trip back with that tail wind even more sweet. I was tired and spent to a degree but it was fun. Tomorrow, so much longer and seemingly so many more things that can go wrong … good idea at the time. I have told my wife but I should announce this to the universe, this is my last long ride. Nothing over 115 K for sure and even then.
I almost forgot the best part about doing a fondo of more than 130 K. I am on edge, miserable. Tired and sore from the training. Some issues with sleep due to pain and other considerations such as close to over training or at least over doing it. Plus worried about a ton of factors, none of which are under my control. So I can go from bored and disinterested and fly into a rage over some comment or opinion expressed by someone else. This is my only focus and so the concerns of others are less than irrelevant, they are annoying. My poor wife has had to put up with this with other fondos and marathons and we both deserve a permanent break from this insanity. I can say it will be fun and my approach will be relaxed without any expectations or goals but to follow through with the illusion there is some purpose or meaning to this event, my mind treats it as such. Not some arbitrary distance determined by going from the closet town to the pass and going there and back. I have to accept the fact that the longer the event, foot or bike, the more I am invested in it and thus the more psychologically I have to treat it as if it matters, if it is serious. More so when you have put in so much time, energy and in this case, money to finish said event. I fully expect that I might be one of the last ones to finish. There are some time cut off points that I am not too worried about but that was my only objective. When talking to my wife, I realized I love going for 25 - 50 K rides where I am riding as hard as I can. So I can do that at least five consecutive days and then take some time off. Great of health and fitness, not so much to finish a 159 K ride. So logically and rationally, if I "have" to continue doing rides, ones that work with this sort of "training". I did that for a couple of 100 K events - throw in the odd longer ride but stop for ice cream so this is not hypothetical or a theory but something I can do and obviously should be doing.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:29 pm
Woke up before the alarm went off. I have to apply anti inflammatory, muscle relaxant ointments and then apply tape to the back and hip. Everything went well and arrived at the start with loads of time. It had rained and the roads were wet. The serious or as a Race Director once called them, the angry riders took off. The starting chute seemed to be half empty as the terrible forecast had obviously discharged more than a few riders from registering or showing up. I had put in the appropriate requests to my gods, shout out to Odin, and a nice surprise was clear skies over the mountains.
The roads were wet for the first few kilometers so the spray from the rear wheels I was following made for some fun trying to see out of my glasses. At first I was able to keep up with the lead group but I knew there would a lot of climbing today and at 205 or so, I was going to have to save my energy. 1,500 meters of climbing to be specific.
I eventually found three riders going a little slower than I would have liked but they did not let me go the front and so it was a very easy 27 K to the first aid station. Those riders were in no rush to leave but I saw three guys my weight and build so tagged along with them - for a kilometer. So I thus had about 20 K of fighting a head wind on my own.
As this was not a race but a ride, one could turn around at any point. At 50 K I was almost tempted - a saw someone who knew it was not going to be their day and they had turned around. As good as the first 27 K was, the next was painfully slow. But I was turning over the legs and each hill and climb was a new challenge and adventure. The predicted clouds and rain in the road up to the pass did not materialize. But to be honest, after several hours on a bike, I quick glance and nice mountain was all I could muster. There were a lot of trees and the road but I saw some cows, a deer and a big horn sheep. The park rangers were monitoring to make sure the resident grizzlies were not too curious about the ride.
The higher I got, the colder. And the further into provincial land, the shoulder was disintegrating asphalt. Part of the park permit was to ride on the shoulder or risk being disqualified and removed. There was a ton of gravel and worse, this grit that made weird sounds and some of the riders with more expensive bikes were none too impressed.
One surprise was that this ride last year turned around before the pass due to bears and there was a logical site about 5 K short. This year it was announced as we were in the chute that the 154 K ride they advertised at 159 was actually going to be 164 K or 100 miles. As an aside, I vowed I would never ride another 100 miles again but 150 - 155 K was okay for some strange psychological reason. There was another temptation to turn around at the aid station but what is 10 more kilometers.
So I made it to the highest paved point in Canada and then started down hill. Although there is a net loss 1,500 M, there are a number of hills between the pass and the town and fortunately, I had made sure I had plenty in the tank. And very good for me, instead of chasing people down or attacking hills, if my legs started to talk, I would back off.
The West head wind turned not a S headwind coming back down from the pass to the 3rd aid station. Before I had got there, I was informed the west wind turned to south and the increased to a nice gusty SE wind or a head wind for around 44 K. Last year I did the shorter 86 K ride. A nasty 60 kph wind out of the west made the ride out brutal but on the ride back to the town, I averaged as most people did, over 40 kph. I had psychologically prepared myself for this and so at one point I yelled, "F*CK" at the wind. As it turns out, I could not complain for this combination resulted in no rain or the nasty and severe thunderstorm that hit Calgary as I was driving home.
I passed four people as although I had thought if hitching a ride with one of the volunteers driving the course, I resisted. I put my head down and at one point my entire focus was making a good pedal stroke. I ended up passing 5 people in the last 5 K for the extra distance and the nearly 40 K of a constant and strong head wind clearly had defeated several people. A guy who had abandoned the ride had stopped with 2 K to go and his wife gave me some very cold and refreshing water. I had ridden 162 K but it was the boast I needed.
Thus far, my back seems to have survived the ride. I made several stops just to stretch and make sure the back was not in the same position for too long. My legs are tired and sore but only when I do stairs. The brunt of the pain is in between the shoulder blades but easily enough to deal with.
I had thought with a very conservative approach, I would finish in 6.5 hours. I never pushed it into the red zone and stopped to stretch and would back off if I felt I was pushing my body. Combined with the winds, the total time was around 7.5 hours - forgot to push start on my watch but my time was irrelevant, finishing was the only goal. Although that also changed to finish and not cripple myself so I accomplished both of those goals.
Was it worth it? No and yes.
I am glad I now have the Highwood Pass from the North and South. But I was not able to enjoy the scenery that much. Most of the time it was a glimpse between trees. It was fun at first and may have been were I to have "only" done 100 K or so. The odd thing is I did not suffer that much. There was no extended period of misery or even drudgery or torture. It was more I spent a ton of time and money to get my body to do this ride and there was a huge sense of been there, done that and it was not really that much fun nor oddly enough, rewarding. To paraphrase Stephen Wright, anywhere is riding distance if you have enough time. Add in this was not particularly healthy for me and prevented me from pursuing other hobbies, the reward was not anywhere close to the price I paid. Still glad I did that as one thought was I am not giving longer riding enough time. That how many very long rides do I have and will I miss out on the life altering one. The answer is likely no more or at least that I am willing to sacrifice to complete. And it was not as much fun as I have doing a really hard 40 - 60 K ride.
The one collateral benefit is with my 100 K ride in September, I have taken care of the endurance part and so I can now focus on speed.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:20 pm
The day after:
My back is actually quite good. Almost the best it has been in weeks or if not longer. It was very slightly aggravated by the ride but hardly noticeable. The legs are stiff and a little sore but they just did a 100 mile ride. Although I was slow - finished 126 out of 151 riders - I was amazed I did as well as I did given I had a 2 X 60, 75, 3 X 90 and a 120 K rides as preparation. I am going to credit at least part of that to no longer using a GPS device. If I am really curious, there is a GPS map app to see how far + there are a number of familiar routes but there is no log to see weekly or monthly mileage and most importantly speed. It is my body that will determine how fast I go and the one advantage to getting older is my need to reach certain paces is gone. I know if I am going to ride "X" number of miles, that my pace has to be around "Y". Same as yesterday at the Fondo - I would have loved to stay with certain groups but to be able to not only finish but do so and not cripple myself, I had to pull back.
Getting older sucks in that this has to be my last 100 mile ride. But on the other hand, getting older has given me the wisdom to see that does not matter. That anything over 100 K or so it not going to be fun. And as much as I would like to believe one can do a ride to enjoy the scenery, at a certain point in time all you are doing is looking at the road for hazards and focusing on pedal strokes and form. That what is important for a ride of any distance is not scenery that matters but the road conditions. And having done it twice now, there is no need to wonder if I can do it for it has been done.
The other advantage of being old and having no expectations as a combination of my age, my lack of ability and a slightly less fast bike [the least important factor] is I can better accept what I can and cannot do. I can now admit that a third goal to finishing, finishing without crippling myself and that was a combination of beating the predicted thunderstorm and menacing cloud hanging over the finish area and not finishing last. I have to admit I was surprised I beat as many people as I did. This was not a ride for the faint of heart or inexperienced and there was at least 10 riders who abandoned the ride and I did not count those in the final tally.
One thing about these official events I like is being able to ride with others. I am not part of any club or riding group. Part of the reason is I like to ride where, when and how I like and that does not work with a group. At one point I was almost too fast for the average recreational or fun group and now I might be a little too slow. But you get a certain critical mass in these events and I have been able to find 4 or 5 others I can work with in a paceline. As an aside, forget about scenery as when not in front, your entire focus has to be the rear wheel in front of you. But there is something magical about having a ad hoc group come together and work. The first ride last year, I was on my own for most of a 100 K ride. 60 - 80 kph cross winds did not make the experience any more enjoyable. The next ride, the shorter version of what I did yesterday, 86 K, I found a group of 5 - 6 to battle the 60 kph head winds going out. That made the ride "fun" and rewarding as there was the extra dimension of working as part of a team. On the way back, it was very rider for themselves as that tail wind made the ride a hoot. And then there was a 150 k ride. I worked with three different groups between zero and 30 K. But then a solid core of 4 of us came together from 30 - 132 K. My training had come together and I was one of the youngest in the group so had a blast carrying most of the load. I faded badly at around the 132 K ride and finished on my own but overall the experience was good.
The 100 mile rides I have done are a different beast. They have tended to have much smaller fields. There are a ton of people who know what they are doing, a tiny few who have no idea and then my group. As a result, I am on my own for most of the ride. In the later stages, there were points in the ride I could not see anyone in front or behind me. The only nice thing were some tremendous volunteers who were going back and forth on the course who would yell encouragement to me as they passed. For someone who is a lone wolf and enjoys riding on their own, this oddly enough really diminished my experience. Instead of being part of something bigger, there was the feel of just another "training" ride.
I am glad I did not fall to the temptation of turning around at the 50, 60 or 75 K mark but it did show that anything over a 100 K becomes more of a grind than a fun or challenging adventure. I was happy to see how well I fell back into survival mode but … $130 at least to register. For me, there is at least another $100 - 200 in bike issues that have to be addressed if one is going to ride that far. And back to the aging sucks, several hundreds of dollars to deal with aches and pains from training to ride that far. And to do longer rides that neither my body or mind might be inclined to do otherwise.
I have to admit I have fond myself giggling at the thought of doing a second 100 mile ride. Although I could have ridden further even at the end as I had managed my output very well, there were times when I thought about how easy it would have been to waive down a volunteer and admit defeat. There was no physical pain during the ride aside from between the shoulder blades and at times my back was starting to seize up and that was easily dealt with by a quick stop and stretch. It was not like it was torture, misery or even drudgery as this sort of course kept one's attention and there was always a new mental challenge. It was more why in the hell am I doing this. As my wife will answer for me when someone asks why anyone would do a 100 mile ride, because he is an idiot and that thought went through my head on several occasions. I will be able to look back fondly and forget about how meaningless and stupid an endeavour it was. How much pain and suffering lead up to the ride. And to say that I have done two of these things and even in the cycling community, not many can say that.
Overall, a good and interesting endeavour. I did confirm I can inflict a lot of pain on myself, recovery well and do what I set out to do. Again. But my body has told me that is really enough and my mind has finally caught up and agreed. So I am looking forward to some golf, some hiking, some mountain biking and some very hard but shorter rides in between now and my 100 K September ride. That ride is in Cranbrook and the reason I registered is that 100 K part of the ride has wonderful bike paths that are closed to public and road ways that are sweep before the ride. There is something about racing down a winding bike path at 40 - 50 kph in a dense pine forest. Or the rolling hills. And I really do have to lose weight as there is a nasty 2 Km long and timed hill climb about 20 K from the finish line. Most of the riders tend to be my vintage and so I suspect I will be able to find a fun and fast group and interested to see just how well I can do. And to be happy to finish that ride a couple of hours sooner than if I did the 150 K ride - a 25 K out and back with less desirable roads.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:27 pm
The psychological and physiological high from completing an unexpected 100 mile ride - the race director added a few extra kilometers the day before the ride and only announced in when we in the chute - is wearing off. In its place, DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. So where yesterday I was looking for rides/ fondos to do in 2020, today I am much more selective.
There is always this weird combination of feelings after my first and what I had thought might be my one and only 100 mile ride. The training was miserable and the ride was miserable. I had one month of 1,000 K and I was in a constant state of exhaustion. The last 40 - 50 K was pure hell as I was tired, sore and the drudgery of the event had me bored to tears. But for some reason I thought this time, I can reduce the number of miles, take it easier in the actual fondo and it might be fun. Because I struggled so much the first time, there was a part of me that wanted to try again. Maybe I was just having a bad day, peaked too early or so other such factor. And 159 K is not 100 miles so as strange as it seems in retrospect, the task did not seem as daunting. The last time, it took me months to recover. So there this general sense I could do better.
Most "fondos" charge between $150 - 250 for the ride. You can get literally nothing to a full kit. I already have several kits so the higher priced rides are off the list. So are rides on routes that I do on a regular basis. Or rides that require me to spend a night in a hotel. I am travel to Penticton in the middle of June so my wife can play bridge. Add in I did do better - I was stronger physically and more importantly mentally. The little breaks worked well for me and in retrospect, a great strategy. Especially when one considers I was close to three hours behind the person who finished first and was an hour behind the person who finished in the middle of the pack. Not stopping and losing a few minutes was totally irrelevant in terms of performance but essentially to limiting the damage I inflicted on myself. And despite that, for the last 40 K I was questioning my decision not to turn around even though I am glad I did not do so. And the last 10 - 15 K, I thought I was an idiot. Thus any ride of more than 100 or so K is off the list. So the grand enthusiasm to do another event was tempered by all of the above and it turns out, there is one ride that works. That is the Highwood Pass Gran Fondo Lite or 87 k. The 87 K has nice roads and shoulders. You even get to venture into the front range of the Rockies. And it is something I can do in around 3 - 3.5 hours. Long enough to know I did something but still short enough it would only take a day or two to recover. Add in training better suited to me physically and psychologically - 30 - 50 k very hard rides with the odd longer ride through in and this would seem to be the prefect ride. Plus given the date, early July, no need to rush to get in mileage when my body may not be quite as ready as this time and thus the weeks of back pain. One other factor: LUCK. My physiotherapist today told me they were not sure I would be healthy enough to do the ride. That I seem to be able to recover quicker than expected. I may have complained about the wind but it kept some nasty thunderstorms away until I was driving home. I had thought a little rain would not have killed me but when I was driving home, the rain was so hard I had my flashers on and going 60 kph in a 100 kph zone. And there have been year with 100 kph winds give it is a mountain pass and last September, one event was cut short because of snow. So I would be really pressing my luck not to get hurt again in training and to have much worse conditions to ride. With age, yes I am slower and can more easily hurt myself but there is some wisdom, for lack of a better word, that allows me to accept that and say, a single 87 K Fondo in early July is great.
I have to add that there is a certain liberation, freedom by accepting my limitations and thus reducing my expectations. If a epic adventure is not that much fun and takes away from things I enjoy, then to hell with the recognition and prestige that comes with such an event. One nice mitigating factor is I was very pleased with myself in doing this ride but for most people, there is a question of my sanity. At one time, I would puff up my ego and vanity by telling myself, that is what separated me from the unwashed masses. It was an expression of my individuality. But I have also come to the realization that holding your hand over a candle until your flesh burns can also differentiate one from the herd. There are many who love long rides. Even a few where 100 K is a good warm up. But I am not one of those - I am 80 to 90 K every so often is good enough and even then, I need a nice break half way through the ride. If I had anything to prove to myself, any question left unanswered or any doubt of what I could or could not do, this ride answered that. So I am now emotionally free to do what I like, what is fun and what is much more healthy for me as well. And although it does suck I am not as fast, cannot go as far the nice thing with age is that does not really matter to me.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:30 pm
Unable to sleep, I have had time to reflect upon this accomplishment. I did a 150 k ride last year and although I felt good about it, it was "only" 150 K. The ride I did on Saturday was officially to be 159 but in my experience, it likely would have been at least 5 K and again, a nice long distance but not 100 miles. Akin to running 40 K instead of a marathon. The marathon, one hundred miles on a bike have a certain prestige and recognition that even slightly shorter distances do not. Thus the distance I rode was special and "meaningful" and thus I am special and meaningful or so I concluded. That I had to capture that feeling again.
But my system is out of whack. Fatigued, a general sense of aches and pains. Lack of focus and concentration. Even some vertigo. In other words, my body is sending me a message that this is not something I should do again. In thinking about why despite the pain and misery from the back pain during the training. The feelings that arose once the post race high disappeared, why would I even contemplate doing anything again. I have golfed once this year. It has been months since I have been able to jog or lift weights. I have yet to do a mountain bike ride. I have not read anything of substance of months. Ego, vanity and pride are motivating factors but there had to be something else at play. I realized the indoctrination of my father and reinforced by communities such as this.
Do not get me wrong, that philosophy got me to Boston running and to complete some incredible rides. NO PAIN, NO GAIN. PAIN is temporary but PRIDE IS FOREVER. If my average speed on the last ten rides was 28 kph, then the next ten rides, it had to be faster. If I did a 5 out of 10 on scale of difficulty on a mountain bike trail, then I had to work on being able to master the 6 out of 10. All fine and good when you are having fun doing that and you are not inflicting too much damage. The problem for me is that as I have aged, when I try to push out the envelope too far, it ceases to be fun and starts to be unhealthy. At a certain point, the emphasis moves from the first part to the second part of : "I ride to add life to my days, not days to my life" . And "life" starts to get sucked into the vortex of reaching a goal no matter what.
Thus not only is it time to accept my limitations but to embrace them. Such as not enter any event where I would have to train. And by train I mean do something different - faster, longer and/or more frequently then I would otherwise do. I have already taken this approach with running given at best, my body can tolerate jogging. And for cycling, nothing over 100 K.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:24 pm
After the ride on Saturday, I was on a high after the surprise 100 mile ride, I was on a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual high. I had to be an elite athlete because how many people could climb over 1,500 meters and ride over 100 miles with a truncated training regime due to an on going low back issue. Still feeling very good about myself and my grand accomplish on Sunday. Monday, the fatigue, a lack of motivation and lethargy had started to creep in. 100 miles is still very cool but I was not setting any land speed records. I was near the back of the pack and was actually surprised as many people were slower than me because I was so slow. Then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, just about everything hurt to one degree of another. I am not sure how I did it, but someone I "hurt" one of my eyes. My guess is no sun glasses with mostly sunny skies despite the forecast for clouds and rain plus rubbing my eye.
Friday, back on the bike for a 30 K time trial. I knew my legs would be little tired and sore still but I was surprised by how weak they felt at times. For me, it is one of the more fun rides but I could never quit get going. A large part was me but a share has to go to the bike. I have an "endurance" bike that it is built so that someone like me who is going to be 7.5 hours to finish a 100 mile ride can do so in comfort. The bike was in fact quite comfortable but when I needed so pick up, I power I put into the pedals was not transferred into speed. At times it felt as if the bike was actually bouncing instead of moving forward.
I had already decided to sell the fat bike. I am not going to do any official rides/ fondos of over 100 K. My current bike has a dent in the wheel which has caused some issues with my tubeless set up. The front and rear hubs are starting to show some wear and the brakes as well. I found a pure 2018 road bike that retails for over $5,000 suddenly reduced to $3,250. I went out today and not only could I not catch several riders, a couple of guys passed me. So I have decided to sell the Anyroad. I have used it to go down to the main office twice in the last year. I have tried riding gravel and did not like it. So I have a good gravel/ endurance bike where all of my riding is going to be short and fast road rides. So I am also selling the Anyroad and with the sales of the two bikes, I may actually break even.
To use the running analogy a great coach once used, a 10 K race is like burning your hand on an open flame and a marathon is akin to being burned to death over a bed of hot coals. There is the prestige, the recognition hard wired into our DNA that also comes with a marathon or a 100 mile ride but what is fun and just as importantly, healthy for me is the shorter and less praise worthy, for lack of a better word, distances. Heart pounding, lungs gasping for air but then such an effort is over, there is a great feeling. Short term, a better emotional and psychological high from a marathon or a 100 mile ride but that quickly fades and is replaced by a feeling of fatigue, weakness and general malaise. And at this point my life in particular, not even close to worth the price to pay. Glad I did that last ride for one regrets, no wondering if I could have done more one long Fondo and still had fun.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:30 am
In 2015, I suffered a compression fracture in my lower back from doing too many hard hill repeats. Running on the road was been there and done that. Combined with my body would not take the abuse and punishment of running another marathon. Thus I as going to do trail half marathons and thus the hard hill repeats. And the back injury. My conclusion was exercise sucked and so no more running, no more hard workouts. The occasional round of golf and if I played 18 holes, I would ride a cart. Not dispute getting old sucked.
In any event, I went from 185 - 190 to over 210 pounds. From the misuse and abuse I had inflicted on my body, I had caused my heart to grow and also suffered from bradycardia although when I had sworn off exercise, I did not know that. Went to the doctor and was told I had at least a 25% or higher chance of a heart attack or stroke when everything was combined. In my youth, some unhealthy choices could be overcome or would not pose a significant risk but as aged, that was no longer the case.
I ate a little better, did some moderate resistance training several times a week and went for at least one daily walk of about a mile. Sometimes more than once a day and sometimes for up to ten miles. Down to less than 185 pounds and by the time I saw the cardiologist, I had reduced my risk factor down to below my peers.
To celebrate, did a 29 K run up to the top of a mountain and back down. Crushed my expectations and finished well against the field but in doing so, had a miserable last 5 K and almost every muscle in my legs seized up or spasmed as I sat in my car changing out the running gear. No problem, I can switch to road 10 Ks. They were hard but not hard enough to do any real damage. My performance was very good but both my mind and body both concluded that running races sucked.
We are now into the summer of 2016, watching the Tour De France, I bought my first real road back in decades. I loved road biking as no matter how much I trained or worked, I was never going to be more than middle of the pack. So it was not about results or performance but go out and explore the world with a healthy activity. So I had to love mountain biking as well. Turns out, not so much. I like it but I could do without it.
If I loved road biking, liked mountain biking then fat biking naturally followed. It was very, very , very, very hard for me at first. I had to walk the bike up most hills. To merely survive the ride was a victory. I worked on my skills and eventually it was only very, very hard. I wrote these long ride reports and took a ton of pictures of the scenery and trails. I actually developed a bit of a fan base that my ego and vanity loved. But it was so hard my daily walks slowly started to fade. At first, if I was going to ride, I would not walk. Then there were rest and recovery days. Eventually I was doing less and less. This seeped into the summer. To add to the misery, to appease my "fans", I would be as superficial as an instragram model as I was looking for the best shot of the trail, of the scenery. As I was riding, I was writing reports instead of being in the moment. I was becoming an Avatar of myself.
210 pounds with a torn rotator cuff, significant knee injury and aggravation of calf, hip and back all courtesy of fat biking. But I could deal with that. In the summer with my comfortable road bike, I would go for nice relaxing rides. In the winter, pick and chose my ride opportunities and no reports. But I was not having much fun on the road. I could never get up to or maintain a "fun" speed for me. It did not help that I was working very hard and being passed easily. The 100 mile ride was something both good and bad. Still a cool thing and glad I did it. BUT … it was too damn long, too damn hard still on my body and at the end of the day, not as much fun had I done a very, very hard 87 K version.
So I sold my fat bike last night. The Anyroad is up for sale. And I bought a 2018 Cervelo R 3 or their pure road bike at essentially cost - list price $4,700 and I got it for $3,290. The first ride far exceeded expectations. And today, for the first time in forever, went for my mile walk. It is interesting how bad of shape I am in. Strange to say out loud - I just finished riding 7.5 hours and doing 100 miles last week and yet I am in poor shape. The good news is the shorter and harder rides, more walking and slightly better eating, I have lost around 5 pounds. The nice thing about getting older is finally acquiring some wisdom and to be able to put things into perspective, eventually. To do what I want but also to do so in fun and more importantly healthy way. To start to make better choice and to admit my mistakes and move on.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:29 am
Getting older would suck even harder for me if not for legal weed. To make a long story short, I found there capsules that reduce my anxiety, make me sleepy and also seem to have an anti inflammatory effect. I have not had a descent nights sleep since the Fondo and so last night, I had to take one of those pills at around 12:30. It did put me to sleep and I woke up as rested as I have been for two weeks.
The problem for me is in doing the longer endurance events, I get this incredible high immediately following the completion of the event. It is almost as if I am incredulous that I actually finished. This was never more evident that after the Fondo given the lack of training, the notion my back my prevent me from even getting to the start line or if I did, at some point it would not hold up. Or it would be a completely miserable and painful ride, at least physically. So when I was able to finish upright and smiling. To be even able to walk without much difficulty, I was high as a kite. But at least I am experienced enough to temper that high as during the last 40 K, my mantra was try to enjoy this as much as you can and not hurt yourself because this will be the last very long ride - long ride defined as over 100 K.
Instead of rushing out to find another event, I rushed out and bought a pure road bike. The reason was I was never going to do rides of much more than four hours so comfort was not going to be an issue. They are now officially calling them "endurance" road bikes and that was something I was not going to do. For errands, I have a nice hard tail that is fun to ride. And although everyone is riding gravel and dirt roads, I do not like that sort of riding. Thus the road bike.
We all need some help at some time but my fear and concern is if I am doing something where I need to take pills - whether it be cannabis or Advil on a regular basis, this is something I should stop doing. I get that some people are willing to pay that price, take the risk of long term use of various pain killers and anti inflammatory medication despite the heart issues that seem to be associated with such use. But these are people that really enjoy, love even a six hour ride or a 4 hour run or more. For them, it is adding life to their days, not days to their life. I can or could at least do marathons and long Fondos but in both, there was a "wall" or a barrier that once I crossed it, the activity went from fun and challenging to "survival" for lack of a better term. There was a reward but that was a couple of days at best. A moment or two when I think back. Against that, the weeks and months or longer of full recovery. Right now, I love riding my road bike. Before the Fondo, I did a hard 30 K ride, I would be energized. Now, after, I am tired and need rest. So … obvious conclusion is to skip Fondos.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:54 pm
The eye issue was a scratched cornea, again. Sun Screen into the eye, grit from the road, a rub and scratch. It has finally healed. But another reason in the do not do a ride of more than 100 K column for me.
I am now finally able to sleep without taking anything. I have been doing hard 30 - 70 K rides on the road bike and loving that. I am finally able to return to resistance training. I am golfing at least once a week. And today, I did a hard but very satisfying one hour mountain bike ride. I had struggled with this sort of biking but I increased the tire pressure and it was that much easier - having over 1,000 K on a road bike probably did not hurt either.
Having said that, I still believe I am not quite over the negative consequences of the 100 mile ride. I find since that ride, I need a nap every day. I am sleeping but I find I am also sleeping longer. I find at times the strength, power and/or stamina will disappear on me. This only applies to me for I know there are those who enjoy or even relish endurance training but the training cycle this year was awful. As noted, it was rest and recovery just enough to get in a ride, aggravate the back and repeat. As a result, there was only road cycling and recovery. The first hour of the actual ride was great. But with each passing kilometer, it became more and more of a grind. I was tempted to turn around at the 50, 60 and even 75 and 80 K mark but thought I would regret not making it the summit. The weather was cooperating and not even close to the doom and gloom they had predicted even that morning so the cost was merely sweat, pain and some misery. There was some hope as it was net down hill to the last aid station but it seemed every up hill between where I was and that aid station was steeper than when I was going down. The west wind had shifted to out of the eat and right in my face so the joy of flying down hills with a tail wind was replaced by a 44 K struggle. Never once thought of quitting but I did stop a couple of times to stretch my legs, my back and even my mind to continue tackling this challenge. I passed a number of other riders over the last 15 K or so and doing so gave me a mini and achievable objective to occupy my mind and to motivate the legs. I was telling myself, catch the woman in blue and in doing so, the harder and faster I rode now, the sooner this horror show would end.
A glow still over comes me when I think about riding 100 miles BUT .. . is this price worth paying a third time. There is misery before, for most the ride and negative impact after that is on going on to close to a month. I am not only able to do other things I like with having a 100 K ride this September, I am also losing weight. My mood and emotional health is also much better. There is significant been there and done that, twice and so time to move on. But it still fascinates me that despite all of the pain, misery and suffering, I would have even done this a second time. And that there should be no need for analysis, rationalization or justification NOT to do it again and yet here I am.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:39 pm
The one good thing about getting older is just because it is the "in" or must do thing and you do not like it, it is easier to move on rather than force the issue. I sold my Giant Defy 2 Advance Road bike and my Giant Aluminum Anyroad and with those funds bought a carbon Anyroad with tubeless tires. After regular pinch flats the tubeless tires was a big selling feature. The Carbon was lighter and faster than the Aluminum version. And the advantage over the road bike was I could commute, run errands, ride gravel including a gravel race and still be comfortable doing long road rides.
I almost never commute. I work at home and seldom go into the office. When I do, it is to pick up something.
Gravel bikes and gravel races are the hot new thing or seems to be. Wider tires, more "comfortable" set up. Problem is I absolutely detest riding on gravel. It is a dusty gruelling slog that is no fun. But everyone was doing it so … but I have decided I am too old to do a popular thing I do not enjoy.
My mountain bike is much more fun errand bike.
And for road, a dented tire, some issues with cassette and hub and I was losing speed. Add in that the so called comfortable set up put a ton of stress on my bad back.
So I sold the Anyroad and my fat bike as the fat bike was trying to kill me and with those funds bought a 2018, rim brake and tubed tired Cervelo. It is faster and the more "aero" position suits me quite well. The back and shoulder issues are gone. I also bought this bike as I am now very well aware that I have a limited amount of time to ride as fast as I want to ride.
I rejoined Strava because I am having fun trying to do well on various Strava segments. It is all in good fun as my main goal is to set as many personal bests as I can with the new bike. I did that yesterday on a hard 75 K ride. I am 41 out of 362 on a side road next to the main route everyone else rides but the fun part is I am currently 1 out of 33 for the month. Chasing these segments as added an element of interest and fun to my rides. For as it turns out, sitting more upright and taking in the scenery gets rather boring for me after a number of such rides.
Today, I was going to do a 10 K, 331 M elevation gain ride that Trailforks suggested could be done in an hour or so. My legs were feeling pretty good this morning and so why not work up a good sweat and prove I am still alive on my 56th year on this planet. The first 15 minutes, I was ahead of schedule. At 30 minutes, a good push and aggressive downhill riding, I might just make it. The check point I should have hit at 40 minutes, I passed at 48. The legs were almost gone by that point. Had to take some rest stops. As it turns out, my lack of skill and ability had me riding the brakes and long story short, my best segment had in the bottom 30% and other segment were worse. I finished in around 1:23. I was drenched in sweat but thankfully, not too stiff or sore. The silver lining was in riding a true mountain bike trail, if my age and ability, it sucked. So there is zero temptation to buy a newer and better mountain bike as that was not going to help.
I got home, made myself a nice bacon sandwich and then hit the sauna. Before I did that, tried some basic kettle bell exercises. What was a little disconcerting is that at each movement I could hear a crack. I always knew this day would come but I was hoping another 10 years or so.
There was a period several years ago when things were dark. My dad had died and he had promised me a large inheritance. Instead, he left everything to my mom who has a gambling problem. Not one where she would lose everything but enough that she went through hundreds of thousands of dollars so that in turn, instead of her being able to take vacations, she cannot afford that and complains she does not have the money to do so. My company went from a pension to a RRSP mutual fund that was no where near the pension. My mortgage was consuming a lot of money and there was no end in sight. Thus it seemed that my life would be to work a job that in today's world meant no real security until into my late 60s just to pay off a mortgage and maybe save enough to live a very modest life. In short, toil and struggle under a cloud of uncertainty was the purpose and meaning of my life. I turned back to running for even though the purpose and meaning was illusionary, it was something I could control. I ran a lot - 500 K one month. I finished two marathons, an ultra, several trail races where a won my age group or finished in the top three. I did an interesting 29 K race and a 10 K race.
The problem was I could not fool myself into believing what I was doing actually meant anything. It became more of a distraction and then reality hit hard. Compression fracture in my lower back. Old and chronic injuries I could deal with flared up to a point I cannot run without some very real physical pain.
I bought a road bike because of the Tour De France. I had fun and did well but … I was a very average cyclist at best. I might finish well against the field but against the best in my age category, in one race where I crushed it, I finished an hour behind the guy who won the age group[. I did not care as I had fun riding. Bought a mountain bike. I had to love that, right? It was tough and challenging but it was not quite as much fun. So if riding a hard 100 K or even 134 K ride was fun and rewarding, 100 miles had to be even more fun. So if riding 150 - 230 K a week was fun, doing at least 200 K and up to 300 K had to be even more fun. It was not on either account. It was more about survival. Not only was I physically and emotionally beaten up, you run a marathon and there is prestige and recognition. Ride 100 miles and people ask why and question your sanity.
Then a bought a fat bike. But not just any fat bike. My budget had been $2,000 and given my ability and skill and AGE, that would have been more than enough. A solid steed with tubeless and wide tires on a heavier but simple frame. But I was delusional again and so when out kicking tires, I found a $5,500 bike for the low, low price of $4,000. Carbon, top of the line components and a pure racing machine with barely 'fat" tires. I then shared my long stories on facebook about the fat biking adventures. A older guy with limited skills on a bike way out of my league. For some reason, that was relatable to many - the young studs made of legs and lungs would say how easy a certain trail was and I would then write about how tough and miserable the conditions really were for mere mortals.
To circle back, with this fame and no fortune, I thought a good gravel bike and another 100 mile ride would merely expand my fan base and boast my ego. I now had some real purpose and meaning in my life. But the problem was my fat bike was trying to kill me. I tired trails I should not have tried. Or at speeds that were beyond my abilities. There were a few really good and fun rides where I was rested, my focus was sharp and I actually could handle my bike. But for each one of those rides, there was one where things might but just a little off. This would mean I might go off the packed trial by an inch or so. And then hit calf high or deeper snow. Have to stop and get going again. On a bad day, it might take me several attempts to even move forward and this falling of the trial happen numerous times. And I hurt my rotator cuff trying to make it up several steep pitches. And my back, my calf, my hip were all aggravated. And then there was the bad fall into a pile of rocks and I really screwed up my knee.
What was just about as bad is instead of being in the moment, I would be writing a trail report in my head as I was riding. This would cause the odd crash. And I would be looking for the perfect photo opportunity instead of again, being in the moment. And as it turns out, my novel and unique ride report only got me so many "likes". I would be mad and resentful for I was riding for these other people who did not really appreciate my efforts.
With the impending birthday, I reflected upon all of this. My mortgage is nearly paid off with the last payment in September after increasing payments and dumping ever spare penny into lowering it. This has reduced a great deal of stress and a vital need for a distraction. I came to realize that I cannot run and will never race again but my world and universe did not collapse. There was the 100 ride and really no better than the first time and so it was time to put that into the dust bin of history. Because of the fancy nature of my fat bike, it requires several hundred dollars worth of maintenance each year. I thought it could be a all year bike but it was not. The studded tires made the riding much more enjoyable this year but with the winter we had, several weeks of good snow in December and then spring like conditions for weeks. More good snow but immediately after that, - 40 for weeks. A few more weeks of good snow and back to spring - a mountain bike with studded tires would have worked about as well aside for around 13 good rides when there was enough but not too much snow. And the pain and weight gain, I put the fat bike up for sale first. Then the Anyroad and now happy playing with Strava segments.
I had thought maybe I was wrong about mountain biking. Did a relatively mellow cross country trail with a little hill climbing but split up. Wrote a nice report that got good reviews. But as noted, today was a grind. And my report barely was noticed. My body did notice the demands of the ride and creaked and groaned post ride when I got home.
So time to do things I like, are fun and not too hard on this old body. Would I like to do more = yes. But that it akin to saying I would like the sun to rise in the West. My new reality is really starting to set in and it is not that bad.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:45 pm
I did not see any reason why I could not do a hard road bike ride one day and then a relatively "easy" mountain bike ride the next and then … Had the mountain bike ride been an hour, I might have been able to do that. BUT … it was close to 90 minutes. Too much climbing caused the heart rate to be too high for too long. When combined with the previous day work out, I woke up at 5:00, sweating and high resting heart rate. I was able to get back to a restless sleep and when I woke up, I was tired, sore and stiff. The Tour De France, final day was on tv. And for Calgary, an add condition of windy in the morning but decreasing winds as the day went on. I was not expecting much but I surprised myself with a 40 K ride and an almost 20 mph average speed. The better news is I felt energized after the ride.
It is interesting as I almost felt resentful about the ride today. I HAD to do this ride as I have a 100 K ride in September and with the weather thus far this year, I almost feels obligated to take advantage when you can. But I also HAD to ride hard on Friday. And with the mountain bike, despite my body and mind telling me to turn around at the viewpoint about 75% or so of the climb, I continued to press on. This got me thinking about goals and even more specifically, races/ Fondos.
I ran my first race in 2002. A coworker told me about a 10 K race. I had no idea there were such events and although I ran on regular basis, it was more fun and fitness. Long story short, after I was hooked on racing, I could not wait for the next event. The thrill of searching the net, registering, setting a goal, training. At first road races and then trail races and that eventually transitioned into cycling events.
But now, I seem to get too tied to my "goals". The bib pick up is a bother. I HAVE to do "X" or "Y" workout because I am in an event. And as alluded to, this can seep into other activities where I get stubborn and too focused on doing planned ride when I should be pulling the plug. Or I HAVE to do a certain trail that has kicked my butt twice just to see if I can do better. Say I do, the entire ride will be miserable, I will tired and sore and some new or aggravation of a chronic issue is likely. I guess I miss the time when racing was exploring the undiscovered country. Right now, it is much more a been there and done that feeling with obligations to "train".
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:07 pm
It has been a both ego boasting and humbling time for me.
As previously noted, I have "fans" in a Facebook trail report group. Several have expressed their appreciation for my ride reports. So with fans, I had to do more mountain biking. I was going to have to rent or even buy a fat bike. But as it turns out, it was not so much sea of fans but a small puddle. Out of 5,000 members, my core followers would have numbered 15 at most. The good news is that this relieved me of any pressure to do anything at all to appease a tiny number of people. So it was nice to be recognized, appreciated but the numbers were small enough not to warrant any change in what I will do. And for perspective, the top posters might have 50 or so people and quite frankly, even at those numbers it would be silly to alter my activities.
Had one of the best rounds of golf in some time yesterday. It would have been a great round but for three poor swings that caused a disproportionate amount of damage to my scorecard. I even got a few "wows" from the two guys we were matched up with. So that felt very good. But the main comments were how lovely my wife's swing was.
And today, I felt good and decided to take my road beast out and see if I could not set some personal bests. There was virtually no wind and my legs were not perfect but performed well despite some pain and slight fatigue. There were a few segments I felt like I was flying and I was certain I had set a new high water mark. I got home and I had. I did a nearly 56 K ride and just missed average 20 mph - 31.6 kph and that was both my moving and average speed. I therefore declared myself a cycling god. And then I made the "mistake" of seeing how I stacked up against other riders. I should mention the segments I set my personal bests on is where the whose who of Calgary cycling elite and royalty will ride. It was still relatively early in the day but the first segment, I was 4th out of 4 riders today. It did not get much better as I expanded to week, month, year and all time. One the best segments relative to the all time mark was 1,200 out of 2,100 cyclists. Thus me at my absolute best is middle of the pack. So nice to ride as fast as I did but also good that I can keep it fun and light and not obsess too much about performance, etc.
I am now 56 years old and although I am not entirely comfortable with my limitations, I am trying to embrace or at least accept them to some level. Do some epic mountain bike rides - no because I am not that good nor are they any fun. Do regular mountain bike rides to keep my "fans" happy - again no as it much fun and the memory of me would be so much electronic dust in short order. Play 18 holes - enjoy 9 holes instead. And when getting out of the car when I get home and have thing crack and ache when I do so, be very, very, very grateful I only did 9 holes. Do a 70 K or more ride - no instead do 56 K. And then tomorrow, a 25 k ride before the winds kick up. Also do some weights. Play another nine holes on Thursday but find a flat course without any hills that would make the walking harder. Maybe even do a one mile run on Friday and rest the reminder of the day. And most importantly, tell my ego, my vanity and my pride that although none of these things is epic or awesome or worthy of praise and recognition, it is healthy, fun and self satisfying in their own ways.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:36 am
Trying to get my mind to catch up to my body. Or maybe a better way to say this is have my mind truly and wholly accept the limitations I now face.
What happened to the body that back in 2012 when I decided to see how many miles I could rack up and my body cooperated. I could run for days and days on end. 5 k as hard as I could and then 10 K, 20 K, 30 K. Or in 2014 when training for a marathon, I might cut a run short and stop after jogging 40 K or so. Or 2017 when I rode 1,000 K in a month.
On Monday I played nine holes of golf on as flat a course as could be found. Even then, my back was not 100% following the round. On Tuesday, I almost made it to 20 mph over 55 K. On Wednesday, I did a very hilly route of 30 K but with a very modest pace. This pushed me into, for lack of a better word, over training response. I was agitated last night. I did not sleep well. I was sore and tired. Even anxious with nothing to be anxious about. I recovered to play another nine holes today but whereas I could go weeks on end by pushing myself to my limits. If I make a slight mistake over two or three days, I pay a price.
The weirdly ironic thing is that when I first started to run, it was ONLY for health. I had let myself go in my 30s. I was 150 pounds throughout my 20s and even into my early 30s but then … I ballooned to over 210 pounds. I was less active, worse diet due to the stress that came with slowly working my way up the corporate ladder, getting more debt through a mortgage, etc. Lost weight going to the gym and that was great over the winter. But saw the joggers going by during the summer and thought I could do that. A cotton t shirt, no watches, no tech, no water bottles or gels. I did not have a schedule, no regime, no paces, nothing. I ran along the river on a bike path and would turn around at approximately 2.5 or what I thought was 5 K but was really 4.5 K depending how I felt and/or how much stress I had to release.
The running worked on a number of levels and even helped my golf game as I gave me that little extra stamina to finish off an 18 round strong.
Then I got into racing. 5, 8 and 10 K races at first. Still no real training per say. I would read a tip or hint in Runner's world and if it felt good or right, I might stick with it for a little time but if it did not immediately feel like it was going to work for me, I quit. Run long and slow did not and so I did not do that. The first marathon did not kill me so I decided I had to qualify to run Boston. Not a clue how to do it and at that time, I was still playing a ton of golf. Long story short, qualify, run Boston, qualify again, run again but the second time was without magic or charm. But I had the jackets and a vendor I used would introduce to as a person who ran Boston. I literally had someone ask me if I had grown for I am naturally shy but wearing that jacket, I stood a little straighter and taller.
But the problem was I HATED, Despised, loathed long runs that were to me, torturous drudgery at best. After long runs during the winter, I would develop a nasty dry cough. It was the origins of the stress fracture in my shin that still acts up such as it is tonight. My hip, my back, my … But now I was addicted to the recognition and praise. Went into trail running. It was just really starting to catch on. I tried the longer or "endure" runs of 15 K but the real runners would do that distance so I got my butt handed to me. But the sports or roughly 5 - 9 K runs, that was the weekend warriors and I was their KING.
Started with the Sports distance and won my age group and took the overall series title. The next year, the point total for the series was the best 4 races so after having my butt handed to me in the enduro, went back to the Sport distance and again, won a number of age group victories and even two overall second places - at that time many races had very limited fields and as noted, the real runners did the enduro so I was winning but there might only be 60 or so Sport runners and out of that 5 or 6 who were serious.
By the end of each of these seasons, I began to really, really hate running. It was 5 races between June and September and speed training over this period got old. But it gave me a meaning and purpose or so I thought. It was a nice illusion for as long as it lasted.
Reality hit the third year. As more people found the race series, 5 Peaks, more real runners registered. I could still beat the other weekend warriors but hard to get too excited about finishing second or third in your age group when the guy who won beat you by a kilometer in a 5 K race. The toll of just running hard all of the time started to catch up. I started to miss races with an injury. Or I was slowed down a little and with better competition, my podium finishes started to turn into 7, 8, or 9th in my age group.
By 2011, nine years after my first race, my body, my mind, my central governor gave up. I could not run. It was if forgot how. I bought an elliptical and a spinner bike. I would start to walk home from work - around 8 K or so. I would then jog a K or so. I was in a good place. I started to run but without any purpose or goal. I am not sure I did much more than 10 K but who was counting?
Ego got me into trouble. Pretty young blonde at work convinced me they needed someone of my ability to anchor the team in a half marathon corporate challenge. I pushed too hard, nearly crippled myself and I did finish the half marathon. I ran into someone I knew and we jogged 19 K at a comfortable pace and then had a fun sprint to the end. Then entered the Calgary Marathon 5 K and finished second my age group. Short fun races where I get shinny objects should have sufficed. But I wanted to nicer shinny object and that lead to marathon, months of recovery, marathon, months of recovery, sensible 50 K race and then 3 short trail races where I finished 1st, 1st and 3rd in my age group. That burnt me out and lead to me jogging a marathon later that year. By that time, I HATED the long runs. I HATED the bib pick up, the night before and the actual race.
So I then had the brilliant idea to do half marathon trail races - I did not have to be too fast and it was not going to be too hard. Just short of torture and drudgery. Until I got a compression fracture in my lower back. That lead to cycling to my first 100 mile ride where I swore off a ride of anywhere near that distance until I did a 150 K ride last September. The cycling gods aligned, was part of an ad hoc 4 - 6 person pace line and did great for 132 of the 150 K and good for the rest. So one more long ride and I could make it fun - until I hurt my back and blah, blah, blah.
So with all of that, why in god's name would I ever want to do any epic or challenging activity again. I push too hard for too long. During the recovery period I go for walks, do nine holes, run or cycle where I can work up a good sweat. Where I am tired but in rewarding way and the next ride or run or whatever is when I feel like it. Why not just surrender to my body and say, great job. Two Boston Marathons, two 100 mile rides and then having NO objectives, no goals and no real purpose other than to have "fun" in a healthy way. I cannot figure out why this is a struggle but it is. I am still looking forward to my 100 K ride this September but I am also telling myself, this might be it. I may never have the chance or opportunity to reach some completely artificial and arbitrary goal - finish in 3:30 - 3:45 and top 25% against my age group and field. So sacrifice, push hard and suffer one more time. And the "retire" aside from one ride per year for the foreseeable future just to add a little spice to my work outs?
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:35 pm
It appears there is something wrong with bottom bracket of my new bike. I could still ride but it making some noise when I pedal. The plan was do a very quick and fast ride this afternoon. 90 K on Saturday morning, 25 K or so Sunday and then some mountain biking Monday. But instead, the bike is in the shop and waiting to see what, if anything can be done.
The result is some time on my hands. This has given me some time to think and to look around. Piles of cloths I am too tired or "busy" to hang up or put away. Empty Gatorade bottles all over the house. Dusting to be done, bathrooms that need cleaning. A pile of magazines that again, too tired to read. I do have enough energy to clean up because this morning I rode my mountain bike about 3 K. Did some banking, had a bagel and road home.
So do too much "exercise" and I am tired, sore and anxious. Do even just a quick little work out, err on the side of not doing "enough" and I feel great. Both mind, body and spirit.
Again there is irony or something where I train really hard to reach frankly artificial and arbitrary objectives because the pursuit of the same gives my life meaning and purpose other than to work and to provide. And yet because of that pursuit, I am so tired and miserable and unable to do virtually anything else but work and train, that idea I am adding life to my days becomes a joke. But then I reach my goal and somehow the weeks or months "wasted" was now worth it. Or at least for a few days. And I realize how silly this is but … I have one last [fill in the blank] to [fill in the blank] and so no pain, no gain; pain is temporary, pride is forever; etc, etc. The twist I have added is the delusion I can do it differently and there will be a different result. Or recapture the magic - for my 50 K race, I started off training as if it were a marathon and so just made all of the runs longer but same pace. After nearly cripplingly myself, I went to jogging. To not only take walk breaks but even stop and rest if only for a minute or so. The only goal was met the various time limits. If on the very long runs, I was not feeling it, I had routes where I could take a short cut and did several times. I then ran a nearly perfect race in that I never once really got out of my comfort zone. I ran ten minutes, walked 1 but would extend the walk break when and if needed. I did not care what anyone was doing around me. I did speed up once in the last 10 K but my body quickly told me that was a bad idea and I immediately slowed down. Normally at the end of a marathon, I have volunteers asking if I need medical help. After the 50 K race, I had a massage therapist ask how my 10 K run went because that is how good my body survived the ordeal. I was back to running the next day and there is very little long term impact. A few weeks later I ran a 9 K trail race, finished 1st in my age category and 11th overall. So I had found the magic formula or so I thought.
But the accumulated miles and stress started to wear me down. I did well in the next and short trail race. I became bored about three quarter of the way through and had even contemplated a slow jog in. But I was actually annoyed I had entered this race and using that anger, I decided I would run the person in the yellow shirt down. Long story short, I ran down a number of people over the last 2 - 3 K and won my age group. I finished in the 20s against the field so a somewhat hollow "victory". Then I finished 3rd in my age group and the in middle of the pack in the third and very short race. I was gone. To make matters worse and to show me just how pointless all of this was, I stayed for over 3 hours after I had finished to pick up my 2nd overall in my age group prize. It was a discount voucher for the races next year and could have been emailed to me.
But I still had a marathon to run. The long runs for the ultra were slightly less miserable than normal. But again, after the accumulated punishment I had inflicted on myself, I was almost unbearable by the fall. I hated everything about that marathon other then I did have enough sense to slow down to a jog so as to limit the physical damage I inflicted on myself.
Fast forward to biking. I bought my first real road bike in July 2016 during the Tour De France. I had no idea what I was doing but it was fun finding out. 30 K rides turned into 45 K ride. Then 60 K and the odd 70 - 80 K. It was never I HAD to ride but what route do I want to do today or explore. I rode a 100 K Fondo and had a blast. This was the same pattern the next year as I did an early season 90 K fondo that nearly killed me, a fun 100 K training ride from Penticton to Oliver, a 103 K Fondo and a 134 K Fondo. There was no plan, no schedule and nor did I need one. Nice weekend, 3.5 to 4 hours that was free so ride. Busy at work so get in a quick 45 minute sprint.
And then I registered for a 100 mile ride and I trained and trained. The old marathon training habits kicked in. I was miserable and although physically I finished, mentally the entire process including the ride was tough. The lesson was 100 K was fun and could be done without any formal training per say. 100 Miles not fun.
2018, did an early season 100 K ride. I survived but my Anyroad was not cutting it. I put on road race tires and did well at an 87 K Fondo. So much so I entered a 150 K ride in Cranbrook. I did a 120 K training ride that nearly killed me but then I cut back and it was more fun than misery. I did great in that ride or at least for me. 150 K was weirdly so much better than 161 K so this year, I signed up to do a 153 K ride. The training was hard and miserable. And the ride turned into a 100 miles and …
I had also signed up for a 100 K ride in September. In my opinion, the best of the 150 k ride I did in Cranbrook. So that would be really fun. I would have the longer July ride under my belt. So I could actually do some weights, golf, jog and mountain bike. But where the other rides, I had no performance goals or expectations other than to see what would happen. For this ride, I have to finish [fill in the blanks]. So I have been almost forcing myself to ride on occasion. Or to push on much harder than my body likes. And so it has become more of a chore than something fun to do.
But then fate stepped in. My bike is making funny noises and so instead of riding, I am resting and pushing the reset button as my machine is in the shop. At one time I would be fretting about when it will be ready. How could I make up for the lost rides. And yet, not riding may be the best thing for me right now. I chance to actually recover. And then to enjoy and appreciate when I can ride again. To maybe even learn from my past mistakes. To take advantage of the wisdom that comes with aging rather than trying to race father time to do things I may not be able to do. That is to skip a ride I had thought I might have to do because it was not the day to ride. To do other things and not consider them cross training but because it brings me joy or pleasure in trying to stay healthy.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:38 pm
The plan for today was to do a 90 K loop. It is a very hilly ride. A little city, a little prairie and some foothills thrown in. But last night I was thinking I might just be a whinny little ***** as I was not feeling it. Why do I need to do this ride tomorrow I asked myself. Five weeks to the 100 K ride in Cranbrook was the answer. Fine, I replied, but why do I really need to do this ride. I have an incredible base given the Fondo I have already ridden. I know I can ride 100 K and so the only question is how fast. So hard, fast and relatively shorter rides make more sense? Yes, that is true but mentally and physically get use to riding faster over a longer period of time was the reply.
Then I decided to do an analysis of the 5 previous times the 102 K rides. There is around 150 finishers and if I use a 105 K ride I did in 2017 where my average speed was close to 30.8 kph, with that pace would be finishing somewhere between 3rd overall and 16th depending upon the year and 2nd to 5th in my age group. We are two years out from my best result and given what I am doing this year, a more realistic goal would be either 28 or 29 kph. I would love to be able to do around 29 kph for the ride but I may only hit 28 kph. That gets me 16th - 39th overall and 5 - 14th in my age category. One important note is that the ONLY award is a KOM for someone my age. On my best day, I am good climber. Most days average but I can easily do a fair to poor as well. This is a long way of saying no matter how fast or how slow, it does not matter at all. I would like to finish in the top 20% overall and in my age category but that is clearly an arbitrary and artificial and thus completely meaningless number.
With all of that, I got up this morning. The weather was near perfect for riding but my back was a little sore, the legs felt a little tight and sore and my logical and rational mind knew that whether I did the 90 K ride or not, it did not matter. Normally in training I am rain man - it is Saturday and I have to do a 90 K ride. But you are tired, there is a risk of aggravating a back injury and the left hip is a little sore. But it is Saturday and so I must do the 90 K ride. It does not matter I will be miserable and not enjoy it. That I will suffer in the last 10 - 20 K with one and only thought of keeping the pedals moving so I can get home and end the misery. Then be exhausted and unable to do anything but rest the rest of the day. Maybe just recover enough to do a short ride on Sunday and then rest all day again after that so I can do the Monday Mountain bike ride.
But for the first time in a very long time, my logical and rational side won. I was good for a shorter ride and there would be no need to push it. Just get out and enjoy a beautiful day and some nice exercise. For the first kilometer, it was a bit of a struggle. Everything was stiff and I could not seem to get the legs to really produce any power. But as I warmed up, I picked up speed. I was having fun. The bottom bracket needs to be replaced next week when the shop gets the proper tool to replace it so it was making one hell of a racket but still, I was riding and it was fun.
Then I crested a hill and saw another rider. At first I was content to sit up and maybe inch a little closer to him. But then I said to myself, I bought this bike for speed. To have fun and what is more fun than passing other cyclists. So I dug deeper and my legs complained a little at first but complied. I passed that rider. Then another but much easier mark. Then two more on a downhill. I am still 200 pounds on a racy road bike now so I am low, heavy and thus very fast. I fully expected to be caught on the uphill but I kept a decent speed and was not. But I did catch yet another rider and passed him easily. The final target of the day proved to be a challenge.
I was making good progress on the climb much to my surprise but when he hit the crest, he took off like a rocket. He was bigger than me and so momentum was even more his friend. But why I bought this bike, he was on a endurance bike and thus even in a tuck was fairly upright. I was very low and so eventually I over took him. I built a nice lead on the flat but he caught up when I had to slow down to cross a highway. But then out of no where, I huge burst of energy and on the next uphill, I left him in my dust. Not wanting to be caught, I kept working hard on the downhill and ended up setting a personal best on that segment.
The last 20 k of the 50 K did not produce anymore targets. I was getting tired but I was able to keep up a decent pace. Finished with an average speed of 31.9 kph. Had to went on the 90 K ride, I would be laying down somewhere trying to recover. After this ride, I quickly changed out of my kit, went grocery shopping and now writing this full of enthusiasm and energy.
All of this has reinforced or reminded me events, races, fondos are meant to be FUN. They are way to spice up, make the training more interesting. But for someone like me, I get so focused on performance, it becomes a chore. And when one gets old, as much as it may suck, one does have to take into account their limitations. So I absolutely know I can ride 100 miler or 160 K, that after 110 - 120, it is no longer fun or interesting or an epic adventure but punishing with pain, suffering, drudgery, torture and misery. Both during the later stages and after. I love 50 - 60 K rides. The odd 80 - 100 K ride can also be fun but my mind and body has to be prepared for that. So no more 100 mile rides.
The other thing I have concluded is if I am going to do an official 100 K ride as I am this September, it is for fun. Thus no rides just because of that event for otherwise it risks becoming work, a chore. I really want to do a certain 90 K loop to see how my new bike does but today was not that day. That again can suck that my age places these limitations but on the other hand, it also gives me the wisdom to recognize and appropriately deal with the same.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:35 pm
My back and legs were a little sore this morning. Yesterday, I went for a 4 K jog. It started off as a slog and oddly, it was my lungs that did not seem to know who to work when jogging. But after a click, I found a nice comfortable pace and if anything, I felt stronger as the jog went on. Back a little sore. But this why the Gods invented Voltaren Back and Muscle Pain.
So had lunch and decided to take my wife on a 6 K walk. Before I got too serious about running and cycling. Before I lost my perspective. We lived in a condo apartment near the river. We had a good walk up Cemetery hill and around or 45 minutes. We would do this on a daily basis. Then when I was not otherwise running. Then when I was not also otherwise recovering from the run. So eventually, it was next to nothing. I had been doing for about 15 minute walk a couple of times a week and also walking nine holes of golf once or twice a week so I thought we were ready. Long story short, 2 K in my wife insists we turn around. I mock and insult her for quitting. Then I get home, muscles seize up, I have a nap and then apologize for what I said.
Load up the mountain bike, get the parking lot and wonder if I am going to have to cut this ride short. Back and thighs are noticeably sore. But off I go and actually do much better than expected on the climbs. A few rocks and roots rattle my spine and that seems to have adjusted it back into place. The legs complain a little but given I am using them in a different way than road cycling or jogging or walking, there is enough reserve energy and power to get me to the top of the climb. I fear descending and so it is slightly easier, it is not nearly as much fun as it could be. I suspect I will have to get new brake pads by the end of the year.
The total ride was around 1:15. There are some aches and pains arising but nothing too terrible. I do suspect I will need a nap but we finally have good enough weather to lay in my way over priced and too expensive but very comfortable patio chairs to do so.
The horns of my dilemma is that when on my road bike, my mountain bike, jogging or a long walk, I am at peace with the universe. I once thought I may feel a connection but to be honest, I always try to do these things at times and places were I have NO contact with other people. It may be more my "happy place". There is a certain degree of contentment and it is one place where everything makes sense. I love my own company and so it is a place I can really connect with me, to feel like part of the universe and this all makes sense and yet at the same time, not have to deal with all of the stupid and annoying humans that infest this place. I have tried various mediation methods but it only feels good and right for me when I am "moving". Again, it can be on foot, on a bike or even doing weights by myself in my basement. But like any medication, too much and the nasty side affects arise. This is the part where aging sucks in that at one time, even if I really over do it and over dose on exercise, a day, maybe two and I was good to go. Now, I really over do it, it can be a week before I can return to being active but it can literally be months before I am back at full strength. And it seems full strength continues to decrease each time I really over do it. So the trick is to figure out the right dose. Having said that, for me to be healthy and fit, I have to ensure, even force myself to do multiple things. The human body is amazingly adaptable and so I can get to a point where I only feel good on a road bike. I can accomplish my goal but everything else becomes weak and vulnerable to the inevitable injury. So I have to tell myself that yes, I may lose .1 or .2 kph by doing other things but my health now has to take precedent.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:28 am
Did I ever mention getting old sucks. I may have to go to the doctor one day. An old chronic issue has arisen again. Every night my left calf tightens up to a point it is annoying. There is some pain, more to keep me awake. But a compression sock or bandage seems to work and by the morning, it is fine. My guess is this is my body trying to tell me to ease off a little.
Needless to say, I am ignoring that advice. A nice morning and rain predicted for the afternoon. Legs a little tired and sore but when are that not lately. So got on the road bike and sprinted off. I am extremely fortunate I am on the edge of town and within a couple of minutes, I can pick almost countless loops on the main but still not busy rural highways or through a number of Estate Communities that in turn can afford really nice roads. Did 30 K today and despite the fatigue and weakness, still managed 31.4 kph. That kind of good fast, hard but relatively short work out allowed me to sort out a work problem in my head and came up with a good solution management approved. The bike was rattling and rolling at slower speeds but when I got up to 40 - 50 kph for the short bursts I did, the bike felt perfect. Hoping to have that issue dealt with by the end of the week. Just in time for a stretch of wet and cold weather. The perfect time to take a break from the road bike and do some spinner bike workouts and focus on strength and power with weights.
I have a time to do 10 holes tomorrow - a new and very expensive course is opening next year and late last year, they opened 4 preview holes you can play for free. That is now up to 10 and so … why not take advantage of free. What is interesting is when I first started to play golf again in the early 90s, a new and expensive course popped out and they were almost turning people away. Now it seems for every new course that opens, another one closes to become a new development. At one time, you played 18 holes or there was a twilight rate. They may allow 9 holes for the first hour a course was open starting off the back nine and maybe near the end of the day. Now, courses are advertising and promoting 9 holes at any time. If one picks the right time to play, 90 - 120 minutes to play whereas at one point, it was 4.5 hours. With special rates, $30 or so to play 9 holes when to play 18 n prime times, $80 - 100 or more. I have had a few times where I spent more on food than green fees. A new course opens up and they are almost begging people to play in hopes a few might even join. I do very much enjoy playing golf and once again, my love of the game has been renewed. BUT … nine holes once or twice a week so that it does not interfere with my road cycling and now my mountain biking and even my jogging does not even come close to justifying a membership. But there may be a day where such a membership may have to be offered.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:26 pm
Eat, drink and play golf for this weekend and early into next week is going to be wet.
I played the free ten hole preview of the Mickelson National Golf Club today. There was some light drizzle as we drove out. It never got above 15 and at one time, I might even consider that warm. But today, it felt cool on these old bones. It was a fairly easy walk. The problem is we picked the one time the course was full of golfers. There are no yardage markers and a new course for most virtually everyone so it was a slow round. Or at least slower than I am now accustomed to. I almost birdied the first and last hole I played. But in between, there were a number of terrible shots. My back and hip decided to get a little stiff and so I did not make a good turn and … and when I got home, there was a general overall body ache and I needed a nap.
It seems like yesterday that I could talk 18 holes on three consecutive days and feel as good after the last round as I did before the first one. Now, I am stiff and irritable and grumpy and generally out of sorts. I have been pushing a little too hard but a crappy spring and thus far a late summer, there is an almost manic desire or need to take advantage of good weather. And as noted, the forecast is for rain to start on Friday night and end Tuesday with a small break before more rain. I plan on doing some weights and spinner bike over the weekend but the main focus will be on recovery.
There are times I wish I had never gone on the net. I ran for a couple of years just for health and stress relief. I was never close to being injured and had no idea if I was fast or slow. I was running sub 5 minute kilometers and at times, just over a 4 minute kilometer but relative to the Olympics, I felt like I was jogging. Although one can still argue against real runners, that is a jog but that is a debate I do not need to engage in. I ran 5 to 9.5 K with the very odd 15 K or so run. Then I found racing and although I can think back fondly as to the many benefits, rewards and accomplishments of that running "career", my back, calf, hip … all also remind me there is a price for everything. The same with cycling and Fondos. Now having said that, I hope I have corrected course with regards to cycling before it is too late.
To this day I wish I had quit running marathons after the fourth one. The first one is the first and nothing more needs to be added. I qualified for Boston on my second one. I ran Boston on my third - stress fracture that lead to the calf issue and some hips issues trying to get below 3:15 at Boston but such is life. And then if only to prove to myself it was not just luck, qualified for Boston again and with the most wonderful training cycle I ever did. And as a side note, I did not record a single run during that session but I had just finished Boston and so a lot of fun but hard 20 K runs. Ah, the days I would "just" or "only" do 20 K. The experience of the second Boston sucked even though I reached my performance goals. The next three also sucked in their own and wonderful ways. If only after number four I stuck to 10 K runs here and there with the odd trail or half marathon …
With cycling, I love hard and fast rides. So in retrospect, the last 100 mile ride was a mistake. I believe I am still paying the price. But if I stick to 100 K rides, one, maybe two a year it will keep things interesting but without having to pay too high a price?
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:05 pm
Another incremental epiphany today: I was feeling a little rough after the ten holes of golf yesterday. But as is normally the case whether it be golf or even a long walk of 2 hours or so, by this morning I was feeling good. I went on a great bike ride of 38 K today - had a slow leak near the end of the ride so had to baby the bike home. But before that, set a few personal bests. On one particular segment of around 3.5 K and a slight uphill, everything was working perfectly and hit 40.1 kph. It felt fast at the time but what Strava giveth, a personal best and my ego being inflated, it can also taketh away in that I was 4th fastest out of 14 today. 49th out of 688 this year. It was both fun and rewarding but not so much so that I am going to drop everything else to do even better. To seek out official competitions.
Even with having to deal with a tire issue, the 38 K ride took an hour and twenty minutes. Enough to derive wonderful health and fitness benefits and also still leave with the time and energy to deal effectively with work issues. It also showed me that I am happy where I am with regards to my "performance" on my road bike and therefore happy to stay in maintenance mode if necessary over the next month until the 100 K ride. Just the way my body is working and a couple of bike issues to be dealt with when combined with the weather, now is a good time to take a couple of days off the road bike.
I got my bike for around $3,400 when pedals and GST are added for a bike that retails at around $5,000 - last year's model and the shop is no longer a Cervelo dealer. Normally I would have to rationalize and justify this purchase. There would be the 100 K ride in September. An 87 K ride next July at least if not more rides. Otherwise, why not have bought the next best model that would come in around $2,900 - 3,000. But I actually love the bike I have and so what if I only use it to do mostly 30 - 50 K rides with the very odd ride of 70 K and even more rare, 90 K ride once or twice a season. And that after September, I never enter another ride/ Fondo. Even the math works out for to fiscally justify purchase v rent, I have to ride this bike 49 times. I have 11 rides and over 500 K thus far and so by the time this is done, buying was a much better option.
Feeling pretty good tonight but shoulder blades are a little tight and sore. The back is not 100%. I had planned on a one hour mountain bike ride tomorrow before work and other commitments arose. So that would mean getting up at 8:00, driving 40 minutes. Riding in the cool mountain air for an hour or so. Hoping not flats, etc. Then driving back 40 minutes, having a shower and rushing around. Instead, just found some dirt trails around the neighborhood and have some fun for 30 minutes or so. It is somewhat frightening just how reasonable and sensible I can be in my old age.
I went for a 4 K jog the other day and told my wife I would be around 30 minutes. And the last two bike rides, I told my wife I would be back in a 60 - 90 minutes. After the jog, she asked when I was going. I said I had already gone but her reply was, but that was 30 minutes ago and I never just go for as long as I say I would. Same sort of reaction after the last two bike rides. So this need, compulsion to always add more, to always extend an activity is under control. I concession to my aging body but on the other hand, it is almost a weird and wonderful feeling NOT to be totally exhausted. To be so tired I can barely concentrate or do anything other than recover. Why a notion to ride another 100 mile Fondo or even just finish a marathon in 5.5 hours or so suddenly seems just silly and stupid. I may somewhat resent these limitations but it may also be time to not only accept reality but to embrace it.
Once again I have had to air out my bedroom. When I am in training, I have some many ointments and creams, the smell is too much for my wife. So I have to sleep in the spare bedroom. Today, I walked in and was over whelmed by the stench. And without a hint of hypocrisy share my view that if a 14 year old is doing something, ballet, that in turn is causing her hip pain to where she is missing school to attend massage and physio, how dumb is it to let her continue. Of course it then hit me, how dumb is it for anyone to do something that causes so much pain that the smell of the various creams and ointments required to even fall asleep is such that maybe someone should rethink what they are doing. It does not help my situation when I saw my dad who was famous for over doing it physically to when in his 60s, to play nine holes of golf would require a hot jet tub just to loosen the muscles enough to be able to stretch and warm up and then have a hot shower and that process took up to 2 hours. And then the same thing for the following days just so he could walk and repeat. And I would say to myself, I would never do that and here I am, doing that or worse. The really, really insane part is that I do enjoy pushing myself as hard as I can. Being drenched in sweat. BUT … for 60 - 90 minutes. Or at times, even less with one favorite workout would be jog for 10 minutes, 10 sets of gruelling, heart pounding, lung busting stair repeats and then a nice cool down. The entire workout was less than 30 minutes. That was fun for me. Running or cycling for hours was not. Adjectives I would use are drudgery, torture, misery. There was not the love felt by other marathoners or cyclists during such workouts. They were a chore, a means to an end. And even worse, the 'end', the last few marathons and my two 100 mile rides, may have started off fun but by the end, my one and only thought was to finish and end the needless and pointless pain and suffering. And worse, I would justify, rationalize this by convincing myself that it was all worth it because of the prize. I had proved my superiority to the average peasant by finishing a marathon, a 100 mile ride. Yes the entire process was full of pain and was an unpleasant experience save for the rare satisfying endurance workout but it was worth it because … I had a good reason at the time but now it escapes me.
Re: Getting Old sucks
Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:11 pm
There is something to be said for the simplicity of running. Sun, rain, snow … it does not matter. Find some gear you like and anytime, anywhere and under any conditions, one can head out their front door. I am going to whine about my first world problem now: I buy this beautiful pure road bike from Cervelo. It is a 2018 model and they are selling it at cost so it is bike I would have never bought otherwise. I paid around $3,200 and the next models down are around $2,800 - 3,000, the next models up start at $4,000. I am setting personal bests and everything is good with the world. And as an added bonus, the more aggressive position it puts me actually helps my back and shoulder blades. It is the perfect bike for 30 - 50 K. There is one 90 K loop I like to do twice a year. There is also a 60 - 80 K route I might do a little more often. And I have concluded that one 87 - 105 K official ride a year is perfect for me. In other words, the perfect bike for the next few years at the very least. So what could go wrong?
I am in the middle of a steep climb and the bike starts to make some creaking and other sounds that seem to be coming from the cranks. I had just ridden over 400 M of gravel to get to that climb so I figure some dirt or grit might be affecting. I make it home with no issues. I clean and lube the bike and at first, it seems fine. But I take it on a quick test ride and the noise is now terrible. I take it into the shop. Did we forget to mention we are no longer a dealer. We do not have the right tool they say. So the shop goes to a dealer who happens to be a block away and they ask Cervelo what to do as they are new. It takes a week for Cervelo to email back. So now, that shop has to order the tool to see if they can fix my bike. I have been told I will not do any harm … at first the noise actually seemed to be okay on the flats. I set a couple of personal bests with the odd creak and clank. But then I did some hills and I could feel vibrations into my hands. The only saving grace is there are going to be at least 3 days of rain and I really do need a break. But one week to give advise on how to fix a problem seems ridiculous to me and I informed Cervelo of that. I am holding final judgement because I want to see how they respond and if the bike is properly fixed. All will be forgiven if the fix works and I am riding by next weekend on a quiet bike. If not …
Was very busy with work and had my mid year review. Never hurts to have the person who has been your champion make a subjective review of your work. My raw numbers are very good and consistently in the top three in my unit but there is a huge subjective aspect to how that work is judged. That was nice.
In a positive mood and with a hour to do something and no rain, I took my simple hard tail on a ride up and down the escarpment in my neighborhood. My guess is I rode around 12 K in total and was drenched in sweat by the end of the ride. Able to do some more work and felt really good. This brings up the issue of Strava and social media. I am a member of a facebook group that a crowd source for local mountain bike trail conditions. During the winter when I was fat biking, it was a vital source of information or so I would let myself believe. And it also provides some inspiration to different trails one might want to try. Even unconsciously or the back of one's mind, you might compare yourself to others. I dabble in mountain biking at best but I cannot help to 'measure' myself against others. Or even more broadly and this applied to running and I would catch myself saying I "ONLY" or "JUST" ran and now biked "X" kilometers.
I always loved doing short and relatively hard runs. The perfect long run for me was 19 - 20 k at or around marathon pace. The perfect mountain bike ride is 60 - 90 minutes. The perfect road bike ride is around 50 very hard kilometers and when I am going well, around the 90 minute plus mark. Even weights is one set of 15 reps and 8 - 10 different exercises. I also like to add in some HIIT workouts. When I do these sort of things, I tend to be healthier and happier and relatively fit or at least very functional. And I only really enjoy doing any one thing no more than 2 or 3 times a week. These workouts do not really translate into any sort of optimal performance and so for ego and vanity, I do more. The silly thing is when through injury or whatever I can only do the above, I tend to still do relatively well in events and it is never a grind or feels like punishment or a chore. But it was "only" 60 minutes or "just" 10 K. It was just "pain" but no suffering and no misery so how can one call that a good workout. How stupid was it and continues to be to think that way.