Summer time SW Florida and everyday it’s north of 90 degrees and 90% humidity ( humidity actually lower) with a thunderstorm late afternoon. Charlotte Co. has a warm humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa) bordering on a tropical wet and dry climate. The weather gurus just run the same forecast over and over. “But Ray it’s hot and humid everywhere”. YES but not for 6 months. Okay 5. BUT…………All that hot air rises meeting the cooler air causing condensation blah blah blah creating evening skies looking like this. Pretty cool stuff.
I’m retired, again, for a few months already and things have settled into a normal routine. I’m out of bed by 5:30 AM and asleep by 10PM regardless of being in bed or not. I say retired again because I retired once before in 2008 but that turned out to be just an extended vacation. In 08 when I got back in the saddle I needed to whip myself into some kinda shape just to ride with anyone around the county. I didn’t have a weight issue, issue addressed in 2005, just a fitness one. This led to obsessive compulsive behavior. I was riding as much as I could squeeze in and the total miles ridden was the most important measurement followed by an obsession for average speed. While that turned out to be a great way to get into condition I’ve reached the point where all I need to do is maintain, and, *I want to avoid my passion t becoming my job. Been there.
Riding endless miles has no upside, for me. Too many miles just makes me tired and that makes me weak. My cadence is just as important as average speed these days. Cadence up head down is my new mantra. Higher cadence is more cardio and less work for the slow to recover legs. Breaking down the fat cells in my already chicken legs can’t be good. Higher cadence also prevents a lot of the leg stiffness by allowing the lactic acid to flush. This truly works.
So here’s some other things I’ve figures out since getting back on in 2008. My learning curve has always been steep. Most of these things I’ve mentioned in previous post and the first two have been mentioned already in this one.
- Along with head down cadence up, rest days and proper nutrition are essential. Take a rest day on the bike to flush the lactic acid from your legs.
- I don’t want/need to ride endless miles everyday. Just want to maintain by riding fewer miles with more up tempo intervals.
- Choose the group ride carefully. It’s not fair to anyone if you are not prepared for what’s ahead and don’t whine if/when you get dropped. If the pace and distance are unknown ASK. What were you thinking? If you can’t be an asset to the group at least don’t be a liability. Conversely don’t apologize for dropping someone who shows up unprepared or not fit enough to ride with the group. You’ve worked hard and suffered to get to where you are. What were they thinking?
- It’s not cool to leave someone who has crashed, flatted or otherwise fallen back due to traffic or mechanical issues. Pro riders call off the attack when there’s an unfair advantage and so should you.
- When you post a ride you become the ride leader and so lead. Post the pace, distance, meetup place and so on and stick to it even when others run off. If someone remains riding the posted pace stick with them.
- Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone, but only in stages. Don’t try for too much at once. Ride with a faster group even if it means just sitting on the back and eventually getting dropped. This does not contradict #3 because it is a wise decision.
- Don’t ride angry. The cycling advocate who looks to rails at the motorist comes off as angry. Cycling is suppose to be fun. Plan safe routes freeing your mind so you can concentrate on riding safely with others or just listening to the wind and the whirling of the wheels when riding solo. If you roll the stops like I do you can expect no love from the motorist anyway. It’s best to avoid them all together. Changing the traffic laws to favor cycling will progress as the population moves more towards cycling. Changing laws requires politicians and government whose sole purpose is to get elected and re-elected.
- *Diligence Isn’t Always Loud. Having a nice bike and a sharp kit are not replacements for hard work, dedication, fitness, toughness and suffering. Once the pedals start to turn there’s nowhere to hide and you can’t pretend.
- *Things happen for a reason and sometimes that reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions. See three above and ten below.
- Two thirds or more of all cycling accidents don’t involve motorist. Almost all of my wrecks have been self inflicted. *There are two types of riders, those who’ve crashed and those who will.
- Don’t pull too long. When the attack happens don’t panic just chase as much as you can. Save some for the end.
- Taking the pace up when taking the pull is what rookies do. Quit half wheeling! (Thanks Emmett)
- Sit and be patient when climbing.
- Compare yourself not to others but to your past efforts.
- Having and not needing is better than needing and not having. Bring that extra bottle of water.
- The hardest part is to admit I don’t know what I don’t know. Sometimes the bike needs to go to the shop. Often it’s cheaper than tooling up and attempting the job yourself.
- There’s a thin line line between being brave and being
- Just as Apple/Samsung fans draw very hard lines, Shimano/Sram fans can be equally as prejudice, biased towards what they are presently riding. Having a smooth quiet bike is everyone’s goal .
- My blood pressure numbers resulting from being active and eating better trump my cadence/average speed cycling numbers.
Hmm…….couldn’t come up with #20. Oh well. Some of the stuff on the list is second nature, picking the right group, route, diligence, while others not so much. Not loosing it when being buzzed by a pickup truck…………….need to work on that one. Serenity Now!
It’s been raining off and on for days providing much appreciated relief from the oven like temperatures. A/C off, windows up. I was hoping to ride this morning, but like I said, it’s raining, (see 17 above). An unscheduled rest day, (see 1 above). Time to relax and…….Thanks for reading this.
* Quotes and photos from friends including Ron Schuyler, Kevin Hoffman, Ryan Heisey, Denise Smith, Court Nederveld