Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Rose Bowl, the Buds Ride, and Woeful Recovery...

When I was in my early 30's I was able to do multiple days of hard effort without any noticeable decline in energy or ability to recover. Take, for instance a typical week - Saturday would be a group training ride, Bicycle Doctor or Montrose - Sunday, race - Monday, long ride(70 miles min.) at a relaxed pace (I had a Sunday/Monday weekend back then) - Tuesday, Rose Bowl Ride - Wednesday, hill work - Thursday, Rose Bowl Ride - Friday, my one concession to taking it easy, generally an easy ride to work. There was rarely any problem being ready for action, giving all I had, day after day, week after week, following this pattern for a full season. 

Now fifteen, or so, years on and I feel a noticeable energy drain after just two hard days of riding. This week I did the Rose Bowl on Tuesday, and followed up with Buds yesterday evening. When crunch time came on the second lap through Bonelli, my legs had nothing left to give and I could only watch alone, as the group rode away up the hill. Yes, some people fell away before I did, but that is some small consolation. Granted eight years away from competition have not done me any favors, but I am much improved from where I was even one year ago, and continue to see improvement bit by bit. But, I am growing weary of these small steps on the comeback trail, and want to see some bigger leaps. I am also a firm believer in the saying, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, and will continue to push for big efforts on multiple consecutive days; sooner or later the strategy will pay dividends. 

Maybe what it really comes down to is adjusting my perspective; instead of thinking I can win against these younger guys, I need to focus on getting the most out of training, and realizing that I don't race against twenty or thirty year old legs anymore; it is only the guys with the forty year old legs I need to concern myself with.


  1. At 63 years of age I find that recovery time is the biggest thing to deal with...I can still hold my own against younger legs but I have to work at recovery in order to ride day in and day out.
    It will be interesting to see how I do when I ride 100 miles a day back from Gibraltar.....


  2. I rode with a fast 53 year old last night! I hope to be faster at age 40 then I am now.

  3. I'm 51 in body but can't make that happen in my brain. Never was a racer but had good endurance and lot's of riding. Single-speed for years. But now a good long ride or 2 tuckers me out and recovery just takes longer before wanting to push it again. And it's all the 30 yr old that keep humbling me...

  4. If it's any consolation, I think I got dropped in 1/2 lap.

  5. Trevor and Anon., I am slowly coming to realize that as I age (still a couple years away from gold) day by day recovery is likely to be the most important obstacle to consider during the racing season. BF, that's what I mean, there are amazing 50+ guys putting the hammer down. I knew some in my 30s as well, they always gave me inspiration to keep going. Philip, I will absolutely take it, my victory for the night.


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