Back in the Groove : 86/100

The main thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I need to exercise regularly. If I don’t my body starts to ache and then I get fussy like a child. Its really embarrassing to be honest.

It starts in the middle of my back between the shoulder blades. That leads to my neck and shoulders. Then my lower back, hamstrings, and calves. It takes a week or two of not having regular exercise and this begins to set in. The reasons for my exercise routine breaking down are plentiful:

  • Injury
  • Broken equipment
  • Weather
  • Boredom

It is pretty ionic that a bike blog talks about being bored with biking, but it happens. I am still riding my bike but not regularly enough lately. The main reason for this is that I fell off of my training plan a couple of months ago. Between working on the trails and the cabin, my free time to ride 6 to 10 hours a week had disappeared. I was also pretty sore from the manual labor. Apparently my day job is not nearly as physical as construction work.

Then my bike frame cracked and I had to get it repaired. This process took some time and while the bike was un-ridable I moved further away from my training. I stopped doing my bodyweight exercises during this time. Once I had the bike back I was more interested in blazing a few fast laps around the land than going for a multi hour training ride.

Then there was the weather. Southwest Colorado is a high desert climate. While it isn’t 100+ degrees it does hit the upper 90’s, and we are closer to the sun. When you add it up it becomes a very solid excuse for not riding your bike.

Finally I was getting a little bored with the routine. Intervals are fun when you first start doing them. As the weeks move on they become tedious and repetitive. I was also riding by myself most of the time.

One of the most enjoyable things about riding a bike is sharing the experience with someone else. Unlike running, you can rest and still keep riding the bike. When it is flat or downhill you can coast and maintain a conversation very easily. You can ride for a while and stop at a coffee shop and have a cherry tart. Then ride home. Its really great for distracting yourself from the exercise that is happening.

To that end I have taken actions to rectify this situation:

  • Started doing yoga, again
  • Restarting my training program on Monday
  • Doing more rides with Kate
  • Setting the Apple Watch to only display the time while exercising

Yoga is something I have done off and on for over 17 years. I knew I needed to exercise more but I have never been a gym person. There was a Yoga studio near my work and I stated going. I quickly found that I enjoyed it a lot and was also pretty good at it.

Yoga’s combination of balance, strength, and breath work creates an endless potential for progression. I have never been very limber but over the years I have progressed a lot. Unfortunately when I don’t practice regularly the progress regresses quickly. I have incorporated various yoga moves into my bodyweight warmup, but it’s still not the same as following a set of movements.

Over the years I have practiced yoga with a lot of teachers in a variety of styles. In 2009 I did a month long 200 hour teacher training course and learned that the Ashtanga Yoga practice is my favorite.

In Ashtanga Yoga the movements all have modifications. If you have trouble touching your toes with straight legs; you can bend them. This helps someone, with knee issues and tight hamstrings, avoid trying positions that could cause an injury.

The combination of the movements into the various series is challenging ,and by then end of it your body is wiped out. There are a lot of pushups. If you are interested in learning I recommend finding a yoga studio that practices Ashtanga/Mysore Yoga and/or get David Swenson’s book.

Yoga helps me change things up with the bodyweight routine. If I don’t feel like doing pull ups I will do yoga and vice versa. This will help me keep on track with the off bike exercising.

I am starting the cycling training program I did this spring again. This will provide a structure to plan my day around. If I write something down I am much more likely to do it. With the training program I am able to simply add it to the calendar in Training Peaks starting on Monday, and it fills in every workout by day for the next 13 weeks.

The goal this time with the training plan is less about performance, and more about having a routine that gets me exercising regularly. The goal to race in anything is on hold till the Pandemic is done. Not only are no races being held I really don’t need to get injured and go to the hospital right now. Also I am going to start riding with Kate more.

Whenever I ride my bike with Kate I have a great time. We spend time together and talk about our day. The only reason I wasn’t riding with her was because I was following the training program, which specifies the intensity of the ride. Based on the training program I needed to ride faster than Kate. This was dumb.

The reality is that I am 43 years old and so far out of being a competitive rider that serious training makes very little sense. Except of course to feed my ego. Silly boy. Going on a ride with Kate is still plenty of exercise and I am spending more time with the person I love the most in the world. Win👏to👏the👏Win.

The technique to “riding with your wife successfully” I learned from Kate’s dad, Bill. He and his wife, Karen, were avid cyclists. He told me that once he learned to ride behind Karen then they would ride together the whole day.

It is an obvious thing to see, once you see it. The problem that I and many others have is that once on a bike we become competitive. It starts off subtly but ends in a full sprint to the next mail box. That is the ego literally driving your bike. Turning that off and riding second on purpose is antithetical to how I learned to ride a bike. I consciously wait for Kate to start and then fall in behind her. Turns out I am winning all the time now.

Finally I removed all the data from the Apple Watch Workout face except for the time. This will prevent me from focusing on anything other than the time I am on the bike, which is all I need to focus on. This will help me ride at Kate’s pace and also just let me ride my bike and enjoy the scenery. The physical benefits will come from that just fine.

The cool part is that all of the metrics are still being recorded and I will be able to geek out on them in Training Peaks. It is interesting to see how you are progressing even when just doing leisurely rides. There is also a potential for over training since I won’t be watching my heart rate on rides. The possibility is minimal but still something to be aware of.

Workout Detail

Kate and I rode into town. Had a coffee and blueberry-peach tart at the local coffee roaster. Then we rode home before the afternoon rain storm hit. It was overcast and the lighting was a little funky. So we rode with our headlights and taillights to help drivers see us. We should really ride with them all of the time. As a driver I know it helps me see and pay attention to cyclists.


One response to “Back in the Groove : 86/100”

  1. It’s hard to let those competitive juices go. I go back on the merit of maintaining some degree of competitive edge personally. I think in the context of riding with your wife you’re dead on the money. 🙂

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