La Vie Velominatus: Optimism

La Vie Velominatus: Optimism

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If I were a pessimist, or a realist for that matter, I wonder if I might have started any of the various activities which have brought me the most pleasure and satisfaction. Though I have Cycling in my mind when I make that statement, this principle expands beyond the vast and il-defined borders of La Vie Velominatus: everything worth doing takes time, work, and commitment in equal measure, and that fact can be daunting and intimidating.

Invariably, it is my poor estimation of effort combined with my vague memory of pain and discomfort which affords me the greatest character trait I possess: optimism. In the face of all reasonable likelihood of failure, in spite of the hopeless amount of work something might prove to be, I invariably believe that success is not only possible, but inevitable. (This trait might also be classified as arrogance or stupidity, but I don’t like the sounds of those as much because they would require more introspection, and that sounds like work.)

It is with this frame of mind that I cheerfully tackle most any activity, in my life and on the bicycle. While I haven’t conducted a poll of any kind, I have informally received sufficient unsolicited and often shouted feedback to allow me to surmise that this approach is not always as liberating for those participating in the activity as it is for me. Be that as it may, and as has oft been observed in these archives, our chosen sport is one rife with suffering afforded by long days in the saddle which allow us to suffer more intensely and for longer days in the saddle in the future. Every element of this sport revolves about axes of sacrifice, dedication, and patience. Training, certainly. Diet and weight loss as well. Even learning the subtleties of maintaining our equipment properly takes years in the tutelage of a Cycling Sensei. These are long journeys that build on small gains over time; there is no magic potion that one can imbibe to be transformed from portly oaf into elite cyclist – much less so a Velominatus.

If, on a winter morning, I had the slightest appreciation of the intensity of the cold I would feel eight or ten hours into the ride, I might never set out on it; it is my optimism that I will enjoy the ride that allows me to experience the insular nothingness of The Tunnel.

If, as I point my bicycle towards the hills instead of the plains, I had a clear memory of the suffering it caused me previously, I might never become a better climber; it is my optimism that I can overcome my size and weight to master the terrain I love the most and am comprehensively il-suited to travel.

If, at eight years old, I’d had the slightest idea that I would be almost 30 years into my journey and only just beginning to develop some of the most rudimentary elements of experience, strength, knowledge and passion that Cycling delivers to us, I would perhaps never had started. Yet it was my optimism that these things would come that has allowed me to experience this wonderful journey.

Optimism is what allows the mortal to start  down the path laid by the immortal. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Defining Moments // La Vie Velominatus // Nostalgia

  1. @Chris ‘Competing’ with others who just happen to be out riding certainly reveals nothing about one’s own fitness, for the reasons you give. After my recent exploits at the Cougar Mountain Time Trial my thoughts have turned to how I might improve on my 6th place in next year’s event. It occurred to me that my Campa Scirrocco wheels weigh at least 500 grams more than the hoops many other riders seemed to be running, and that this was actually quite a disadvantage to me. If I maintained the same level of fitness next year, the competition stayed roughly the same, and I shelled out $1-2k on the lightest possible wheels, could I stand a chance of winning the event? Who knows, because I don’t have that sort of money lying around, and if I did, I’d probably buy a cross bike instead. The point I realized, and perhaps it’s the same for others, is that as much as I love equipment (I have a Look 595 with Campa Chorus 11 speed, after all) the fun of competing in an event like a time trial year after year is to see how much you can improve, through hard work, frozen hands on longer winter rides and searing quads after grueling hill repeats. If I could skip all that and get the same time next year simply by purchasing new wheels, where would the fun be in that?

  2. While, despite my near-admission in my last post, I’m still trying to puzzle out exactly what is “fun” about swimming, riding and running during the same event (from recent firsthand experience, it seems an activity designed in the seventh circle of hell), I’ll admit that I enjoy running quite a bit as a standalone activity.  I ran CC in high school, and do enjoy getting after it.  I’m sure one day I’ll switch solely to riding to ease the aching joints, but I’ve been luck enough to avoid any such problems, even after 25 years of running.

    Swimming, on the other hand, I can do without.  God gave us legs to run with and turn the cranks on a machine born of sheer human intellect.  God did not give us fins or gills.

  3. @frank

    Speaking of which, last summer I spent 4 hours testing what it feels like to drown by trying to re-teach myself how to waterstart on Maui under the tutelage of David Ezzy. You can drink quite a lot of seawater and still survive.

    I used to dabble at standing up sailing but things weren’t much different back then and I was either too talent-less or too fat to waterstart. A slight overestimation of my skills in general when I purchased my board meant that when the wind was up or there was any sort of waves about my just floaty board became a marginal sinker rapidly and I spent more time than I liked swimming around worrying about jelly fish and big nibbly fish.

    Being at boarding school in Scotland meant that there was only about six to eight weeks in the year that I could hone those skills and once I moved to university, lack of transport to the coast killed the whole thing off pretty quickly.

  4. without optimism, I would have been dead a long time ago. The art of turning the negative into a positive is a secret to success. Call it stupidity, arrogance what have you, I call it survival and growth and conditioning for life.

    Suffering on the bike as well as other athletic endeavors has given me both the physical and metal fortitude to know I can and will withstand any and all of life’s cruelties that are thrown my way.

    If I count the times I have ridden/trained and even raced in bad conditions I would be considered stupid by the average non athletic human being. Little do they know how powerful that suffering becomes when you need to dig deep and deal with emotional pain.

    Ride on…..

  5. @frank

     

    Yes.

    @meursault

    @frank

     

    BTW I have a gift for everybody. Next time on the climb and everything hurts try this. Breathe. Yes I know you do that already, but concentrate on your breathing, long in long out, count them, focus on them. Go on try it, what can you lose?

    Its funny how true that is. And you can’t start halfway up: start at the base or else you’ll be in debt from the start of the climb. Long, deep breaths in rhythm with your pedal revs (every other or every third, etc, whatever works for you) and don’t let up on it. Don’t go shallow like you want to, just keep going long, slow, and deep.

     

    Thanks for this tip, a few weeks too late unfortunately – recent group ride – all was good and speedy, as we hit the bottom of the hurt locker climb of the day (all things are relative) – struggling with the knowledge of how less fat those were who shot off up the hill ahead of me, I involuntarily decided to start flailing around, puffing shallow breathes like a man with a collapsed lung

    A very nice retired policeman in our paceline, some 10 years older than me, pulled along side and says “would you for fuck’s sake breathe properly!!”

    I pondered for a moment, and changed to the slow steady breaths he proposed, and lo, I realised I was neither out of breath, nor going very quickly – what a tit!

    Newly revitalised, I promptly dropped him, confirming what a complete tit I can be at times

    Somedays, one is cool – others, one is a tit – it seems this is not always in one’s control ….

  6. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. But they’re wrong. You feel your strength in the experience of pain.

    -Jim Morrison

    I don’t know why I have had such a hard time joining into discussions on this site.  Most other forums I have joined I have been trash talking in no time.  The problem I have with remaining optimistic is that I have so many injuries and get damn tired of starting from scratch.  Lost most of last summer to knee and foot injuries.  Just lost over a month to sciatica.  It takes a few rides to get back to the point where I don’t dread the loss of fitness that I’ll be experiencing.  But after that I don’t want to get off again and I look forward to the suffering.  It helps if I have a target to work towards.  A century ride or some other such goal, then I know what I have to do and keep my momentum. 

  7. @mcsqueak

    @frank @Dr C @tessar

    I’ve heard that unless you do some sort of other exercise, cycling does fuck-all for bone density and can cause problems down the line if “all” you do is cycle, since you lose bone density as you age. Weight lifting or other cross training is supposed to help keep bone density stable.

    Indeed. In fact, in every endurance sport, if all you do is endurance, at some point the gains vs leanness will cancel each other out – strength training helps, massively, and by strength training I don’t mean climbing in the big ring. If you do more than 50 reps, it’s no longer weight training.

    The issue with old-aged runners is that at some point, these joints start hurting from the load they have to bear, regardless of fitness. Folks in their 70s and 80s often have troubles just walking down a flight of stairs. Running, by it’s nature, requires more strength to keep moving than cycling does, and at some point the muscles are too weak to cope (plus, when you’re runner slower than the chick in flip-flops walking by, that’s kinda off-putting). Young runners with muscles that can’t cope injure themselves, too (overtraining), but unlike them, the old folks don’t actually build up more muscle-mass over time – rather the opposite. A runner with good form places almost all of the stress on his muscles, and when the muscles can’t do their job, then the joints suffer. Most running injuries, in the end, are overuse injuries – ITBS, Achilles, hip tendon and the like.

  8. @tessar Weight bearing activity is integral for keeping bone mass and you are correct, cycling does not offer that. I am a strength and conditioning specialist with 23 years under my belt. I am an adovcate of (off season) periodized strength training including specific exercises for cycling. I am a storng advocate of keeping some sort of core training all year long. Too many cyclists have weak backs/tight IT bands and even under developed glutes.

    Muscle mass can increase with correct overload at ANY age if done correctly and coupled with good nutrition. I have worked with geriatric folks and have witnessed increases in strength, flexibility and most important balance..

  9. @frank

    You know that saying about being chased by a bear – you don’t need to outrun the bear – just the guy next to you? You better only go camping with fat fuckers because people who hate running are invariably shitrunners.

    And I thought XC skiing was for people who want to run but live in shit places. Is that correct?

  10. @scaler911

    @mcsqueak

    @scaler911

    @frank

    I use a natural sponge, and Baxter Aftershave. Guns are wicked smooth. I have a vague recollection of consuming a number of ales and then comparing the smoothness of my guns to the smoothness of @snowgeek’s VMH‘s guns and concluding – after rubbing both – that mine were smoother.

    I wonder if that was entirely appropriate. Sorry @snowgeek. Might have crossed a line there.

    ?? That was me you drunk bastard. @snowgeek was hairier than @gaswepass. But as Rule #33 state, @snowgeek was able to bring the pain, so he gets a pass (I do keep digging at @gas tho).

    Well, I guess you’re snowgeek’s VMH now. Can’t say that Velominati isn’t a progressive place…

    Thank you for not bringing up what you and your VMH walked in on at our back patio BBQ Saturday night. I probably couldn’t stand the shit I’d get here………….

    That would be poking the badger. Or is that what he caught you doing?

  11. @frank

    @Ali McKee

    I am optimistic that I will pay off the credit card within two years (or at any stage at all) after an extravagant bike purchase

    I am optimistic that one day I will be worthy of said extravagant bike purchase

    I am optimistic that beer will be scientifically proven as THE recovery drink for cyclists

    Yes.

    @meursault

    @frank

    @meursault

    It’s worth taking a look at the Buddhist way of things.

    http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/fourtruths.html

    Life means suffering.

    I love buddhism. They are onto it. To me its more of a philosophy than a religion, though I’m sure I’m wrong in that assessment. Cheers.

    @Yvonne@wistoon33@stickyjumper

    Cheers, and welcome to all three of you!

    You are very much correct in your analysis of philosophy or religion, but it’s all good. It’s just about cycling and walking the path of harmlessness.

    BTW I have a gift for everybody. Next time on the climb and everything hurts try this. Breathe. Yes I know you do that already, but concentrate on your breathing, long in long out, count them, focus on them. Go on try it, what can you lose?

    Its funny how true that is. And you can’t start halfway up: start at the base or else you’ll be in debt from the start of the climb. Long, deep breaths in rhythm with your pedal revs (every other or every third, etc, whatever works for you) and don’t let up on it. Don’t go shallow like you want to, just keep going long, slow, and deep.

    I will leave it to @Minion to come up with some sort of analogy to sex for this.

    Didn’t have to say a word. I hope my name doesn’t pop into your head every time you think about sex.

    Another tip is a forceful exhalation, or emphasizing the exhalation, then letting your body draw in the breath it needs. I try and empty the lower parts of my lungs, may not be scientifically accurate but that is how I think about it. Try t for 20 breaths, relax, try it again a couple of minutes later.

  12. No true cyclist ever entered a race at 100%. Bruises, cut’s, callouses and sore muscles are a mark of a good training regimen. A cyclist’s lifestyle is not an easy one, it is full of constant pain, suffering and training, to think otherwise is a mistake and a sign of a weak cyclist wannabe.

    (adapted from a quote of a friend of mine about Warriors)

  13. @farzani

    I feel the same way and now feel unqualified to speak on the subject based on this.

    @seemunkee

    It takes a few rides to get back to the point where I don’t dread the loss of fitness that I’ll be experiencing.  But after that I don’t want to get off again and I look forward to the suffering.  It helps if I have a target to work towards.  A century ride or some other such goal, then I know what I have to do and keep my momentum.

    I know what you mean; those first few rides. Depending on the length of the break – for whatever reason – I like to just wait for that natural pushing of the limits to start, to find that sneaky powerful feeling in your legs and then hit it hard again. In some ways, the progress – and anticipating it – is enjoyable in and of itself.

    @farzani

    @tessar

    I am a storng advocate of keeping some sort of core training all year long. Too many cyclists have weak backs/tight IT bands and even under developed glutes.

    This has been amazing for me. As a lifelong outdoor athlete, I simply HATE working out inside, whether its the trainer, the gym, whatever. But I’ve started working on my core for various reasons, and its amazing how much it helps the pedaling. For one thing, I can drop into the Phantom Aero bars without loading my arms very much, just by using my core. And then still get full engagement from the pedals as you can still push even though you’re way down.

    Similarly, just riding along normally, it almost feels like you can start engaging the pedals when its 10 or so degrees behind the normal plane of engagement.

    I do the most intense work in winter, but I’ve been keeping up with it over the summer, and it has really helped.

    Muscle mass can increase with correct overload at ANY age if done correctly and coupled with good nutrition. I have worked with geriatric folks and have witnessed increases in strength, flexibility and most important balance..

    This is good news. My parents are in their 70’s and going strong…and don’t seem to be losing much strength. Forces to be reckoned with, those two.

  14. The final sentance of this piece is a quotation for the ages: “Optimism is what allows the mortal to start down the path laid by the immortal.”

    It is also what allows most of us to continue to move forward…

  15. @frank

    I too can’t stand going to the gym, even if it is with some friends.  It feels like such a waste of an hour, and I stick out like a stick against all the meatheads in there.  Even at home I haven’t gone out to the weight machine deal, I did do a tiny amount of core work.  One thing I find is that I tend to rely too much on my core and not enough on my arms to support my weight, especially climbing on the tops.  I tried running two winters ago, I got up to doing 5k every other day, but my form was terrible and I got shin splints all the time.

  16. @frank

    @Ron

    Frank – your pieces are always great, but this one is truly perfect for me & apropos. Optimism. Time. Work. Commitment. Intimidating. I’ve pulled off some pretty big things in my life to date, all of them taking some serious time, work, and commitment. I’ve recently hit the first wall I’ve ever hit in my life – I can’t seem to accomplish the main goal that sits right in front of me. There are a lot of reasons, but none of them really matter. I know I have it in me. I know with maybe twelve weeks of hard work I’ll put myself right there. Three months from peaking. I’ve started, stopped, stalled, stopped, started.

    But, I simply need to go Sur La Plaque and commit to it. I know I can do it. Optimism. I’ve pulled off much bigger accomplishments that required far more work in the past. I know I can make this one happen.

    One reason I’ve so quickly developed as a cyclist is because I’ve gone all in on it at the sake of not dedicating myself to this other task. Now is the time to ease off the pedals for just a bit. I know, I know. But in a few months would I rather be a bit faster, or finally pull this monkey off my back? (And in truth, if I just commit & stay focused, I’ll have plenty of time to ride and make this other goal happen.)

    Thanks Frank! This was a GREAT one for me to read right now.

    Cheers, glad to help. As @graham d.m. is alluding to, Cycling is a great template for proving to yourself that you can do things. Its very simple: ride more, get better. Nothing else in life is that simple.

    You can do this, just stop being such a pussy and show that monkey what Rule #5 means!

    Frank – more awesomeness! Thanks again. Yes, this mission is simple too – if I put in the hours, a bit of focus, and some effort and creativity, I’ll be done! A huge hurdle cleared.

    My mantra for the next few weeks – stop being such a pussy, show the monkey Rule #5!

  17. @frank

    Core is core!

    My experience with back pain when I was first racing many years ago, I believe was as the result of woeful core strength. It limited me in so many ways.  Chronic pain in lower back, unable to spend any period of time in the drops, etc.

    My riding and racing renaissance has coincided with a strong focus on core and upper body strength and flexibility.  All of this is done at home with push ups, sit ups, crunches, oblique crunches, etc.  It only takes 30mins of an evening in front of the telly.

    Now, 20 years after my first riding career, I have no back pain, I have a greater saddle to bar drop and live in the drops.  Also,  I’ve found that with the core stability, I have  quiet upper body in hard efforts as my legs have something solid to push against..

  18. @frank

    @scaler911

    @mcsqueak

    @scaler911

    @frank

    I use a natural sponge, and Baxter Aftershave. Guns are wicked smooth. I have a vague recollection of consuming a number of ales and then comparing the smoothness of my guns to the smoothness of @snowgeek’s VMH‘s guns and concluding – after rubbing both – that mine were smoother.

    I wonder if that was entirely appropriate. Sorry @snowgeek. Might have crossed a line there.

    ?? That was me you drunk bastard. @snowgeek was hairier than @gaswepass. But as Rule #33 state, @snowgeek was able to bring the pain, so he gets a pass (I do keep digging at @gas tho).

    Well, I guess you’re snowgeek’s VMH now. Can’t say that Velominati isn’t a progressive place…

    Thank you for not bringing up what you and your VMH walked in on at our back patio BBQ Saturday night. I probably couldn’t stand the shit I’d get here………….

    That would be poking the badger. Or is that what he caught you doing?

    Honey badger don’t give a shit (look two memes in one, how clever):

  19. @mouse

    @frank

    Core is core!

    My experience with back pain when I was first racing many years ago, I believe was as the result of woeful core strength. It limited me in so many ways.  Chronic pain in lower back, unable to spend any period of time in the drops, etc.

    My riding and racing renaissance has coincided with a strong focus on core and upper body strength and flexibility.  All of this is done at home with push ups, sit ups, crunches, oblique crunches, etc.  It only takes 30mins of an evening in front of the telly.

    Now, 20 years after my first riding career, I have no back pain, I have a greater saddle to bar drop and live in the drops.  Also,  I’ve found that with the core stability, I have  quiet upper body in hard efforts as my legs have something solid to push against..

    While I get what you’re saying about core, it’s weird that I’ve had a different experience with the back pain. I wrecked my low back pretty bad in my 20’s in a high speed downhill ski accident. Really fast and my race bindings were cranked way too high so my skis didn’t release. Anyway, the only thing that makes that pain go away (besides drugs, and that’s not a real, long term solution) is riding. Sound’s counterintuitive, but it works for me.

  20. Agreed, core strength is vital, or more importantly, sore endurance

    Just got yet another Swiss ball yesterday (kids love playing football with them – slice, hawthorn bush, new ball required again)

    My legs are definitely stronger this year, but my performance is only the same as last year, and I think it is because I have been neglecting my core workouts – Sky, and especially Wiggo do masses of work in this area

    Favorite exercise is kneeling on the ball, straight back, arms out and rotating arms from one side to the other, holding for 15 secs at either side – that hurts, but boy does it sort your balance out!

    @Marcus

     

    You know that saying about being chased by a bear – you don’t need to outrun the bear – just the guy next to you?

    superb

  21. @farzani

    @tessar Weight bearing activity is integral for keeping bone mass and you are correct, cycling does not offer that. I am a strength and conditioning specialist with 23 years under my belt. I am an adovcate of (off season) periodized strength training including specific exercises for cycling. I am a storng advocate of keeping some sort of core training all year long. Too many cyclists have weak backs/tight IT bands and even under developed glutes.

    Muscle mass can increase with correct overload at ANY age if done correctly and coupled with good nutrition. I have worked with geriatric folks and have witnessed increases in strength, flexibility and most important balance..

    any good cycling specific programs you can suggest? I was told that weight training for the legs was not good during race training as your legs never get  a chance to recover properly and you just put micro tears into your muscles which don’t heal. Is that the same for core and back? Can core and back exercise be done as rest day alternatives? Any tips would be helpful.

    I damaged a disk about three months ago and the specialiststaid exactly as you indicated that my lower back was weak. I have now been told to start building it up now that it has healed.

  22. @Dr C not Kuiper’s quote sorry. That’s from The Rider by Tim Krabbe. Compulsory reading.

  23. @mcsqueak

    @frank

    @Dr C

    @tessar

    I’ve heard that unless you do some sort of other exercise, cycling does fuck-all for bone density and can cause problems down the line if “all” you do is cycle, since you lose bone density as you age. Weight lifting or other cross training is supposed to help keep bone density stable.

    Speaking of only cycling, I’d say it has been my main athletic/exercise pursuit for around nine years now. I do play futbol twice a week, so not that worried about bone density. However, I realized the other week that my muscle mass is finally starting to wane. From years of competitive sports, then four years of college sports, plus the requisite weight lifting, I had pretty good overall strength. Not anymore. I guess ten years of not touching a weight will do that. Since I pick up new things all the time, I don’t have any desire to look like Twiggins.

    To fix this situation I jogged down to the local Vita-Course last week with the VeloDoggie. I tried to do three sets of abs, arms, back, chest…Nope! Couldn’t do three sets in twenty minutes. Fucking piss poor. I used to lift weights a few times a week for an hour! Ugh, I’m kind of annoyed, but I guess ten years off will do that.

    Anyway, I’m adding some light weight training (see: using a dumb bell I found while out…cycling plus a kettle ball I made from an old bowling ball) to do a circuit a few times a week. I’m determined to get some decent muscle mass back in my upper body.

  24. @Adrian

    I suggest you find an educated trainer who is competent in sports specific strength and conditioning and understands the concepts of periodization. Hopefully one who bikes.

    You are correct,  a good program should be done :”pre season” depending on what races you want to target/peak for.

    there should be distinct phases broken up as well as methodically progressive to include a base.strength and power phase. I include some plyometrics in the last phase.

    All the while form and assessment of weakness should be addressed first. dynamic and functional exercises that focus on core strength are integral and one can use bodyweight in addition to all the “stability toys” out there. I integrate kettlebells, yoga and pilates movements and concepts to optimize dynamic flexibilty and stability. Movements should be able to transfer to find core stability and strength on the bike.

    During race season, maintaining a basic core routine in addition to some fascial release (using a foam roller) can be done as much as time and energy allows.

    Utilizing all planes of movement are important for gaining functional strength.

    Hope this helps!

  25. @farzani

    Have you read the Cycling Training Bible by Joe Friel?  He goes through all that.  I was recommended it by someone I know.

  26. @DerHoggz  yes, I have read it. However his expertise is in periodization for cycling blocks not strength training. I have found that most books on “Strength training for cycling” lack. they give the basics but many of the exercises are “stock” even out dated. I am not a fan of machines and prefer free weights/body weight etc.. therefore we can see if there are flexibility and or structural issues. In addition you can also address right side left dominance etc..

    Besides bone density issues that can occur if someone is ONLY cycling, one can increase overall power from a well structures and performed  S&C program. Olympic lifts and Olympic lift warmup drills are perfect for stimulating neural responses for accelerations and sprints. these can be done with ketlebells as well as traditional barbells

    great off season training which got me 5th place (age group) in the 2012 Marmotte..

  27. I bloody love this site.

    Every now and then i get a little bit down about failing to live up the the ideals of the Merckx, particularly after inflicting back pain on myself last Sunday (still hurts to walk) whilst pushing hard uphill. This sport can knock you back and down, but Franks’ article has made me even more determined to get back on the bike and ride harder as soon as my back allows.

  28. @farzani

    @Adrian

    I suggest you find an educated trainer who is competent in sports specific strength and conditioning and understands the concepts of periodization. Hopefully one who bikes.

    You are correct,  a good program should be done :”pre season” depending on what races you want to target/peak for.

    there should be distinct phases broken up as well as methodically progressive to include a base.strength and power phase. I include some plyometrics in the last phase.

    All the while form and assessment of weakness should be addressed first. dynamic and functional exercises that focus on core strength are integral and one can use bodyweight in addition to all the “stability toys” out there. I integrate kettlebells, yoga and pilates movements and concepts to optimize dynamic flexibilty and stability. Movements should be able to transfer to find core stability and strength on the bike.

    During race season, maintaining a basic core routine in addition to some fascial release (using a foam roller) can be done as much as time and energy allows.

    Utilizing all planes of movement are important for gaining functional strength.

    Hope this helps!

    Thanks for the advice. The problem I face is that I live in a country where an educated trainer,especially one who understands bikes is very hard to come by. Most trainers do a simple fitness first course for a couple of weeks and then sell themselves as a competent trainer. Add an arthritic knee to the mix whereby i can’t do all the usual traditional exercises so strength training becomes a challenge.

    I’ll keep looking around for a good trainer.

  29. @Adrian where do you live? Send me a private message @chafer3364@mypacks.net and maybe I can steer you in the right direction :)

  30. @farzani

    Please tell me what the “foam roller” is.  Does it go on my rollers to make it seem like a 30% gradient?  I’m not being facetious, I should probably look up “fascial release”, I’ll do it now.

  31. @farzani

    It’s OK I found it, self massage tool (simplistic) which sounds great as I don’t have my own soigneur.

  32. @snoov

    “fascial release”

    if you’re at work, please spell that very carefully.

  33. @Chris

    Um, I have no clue what you’re on about.  I’ll ask the VMH if she knows what it is!

    ps  Self employed joiner just popped into my office (in my flat)  while waiting to meet a client.

  34. I use a foam roller for my IT band injury…it does wonders!

  35. @Chris hahaha

  36. @snoov fascia is the connective tissue surrounding all muscles and needs deep tissue pounding to loosen. Studies are showing that fascia has a greater role in ROM (range of Movement) as well as warming up muscles.. there seems to be neural innervation when stimulated.

  37. @Sauterelle Can I have a witness! I tell all my clients and friends….it is a MUST

  38. @farzani

    Absolutely right on all counts here. I concentrated on weight- and core-training from January through March (with less riding). Lots of kettle bell work and squats with free weights. While my cardio was a little later in coming back (compared with other years when I rode more earlier), I was noticeably stronger. And how! While my weight remained constant, I was drawing a lot more power on the bike. Toward the end of March, while I tried to maintain the weight regime and ride a little more, I was fatigued, but the transition from weights to cycling worked out fine.

    Core and dynamic stretching through the whole year, though I might try to fit in a bit of yoga this winter to combine with the weights.

  39. @Steampunk Glad to hear it! In Belgium it is TOUGH to ride in winter so I  drew myself a 3 month periodized S&C plan that I did 2x per week, taught 3+ core training circuit classes,  time on the rollers as well as got out when I could.. (icy roads not fun)

    I was pleased with my overall strength. As far as my S&C work, I am not afraid of heavy weight and because I have enough muscle mass (my body tends to be mesomorphic) I use very little rest periods (if any) I superset  and my endurance stays high. If I wear my HR monitor (esp) with Olympic lifts I see a jump in 60 beats or more in less than a minute. Great off the bike interval training.

    Yoga and Pilates are great as well to keep  the muscles lengthened. kettlebell windmills are a fantastic strength/core and dynamic flexibility exercise.

  40. @farzani

    @Steampunk Glad to hear it! In Belgium it is TOUGH to ride in winter so I  drew myself a 3 month periodized S&C plan that I did 2x per week, taught 3+ core training circuit classes,  time on the rollers as well as got out when I could.. (icy roads not fun)

    I refer you to your “countryman”:

    Stijn Devolder, in defense of staying in Belgium when his teammates went off to train in sunny Spain: “It is not so cold that you freeze on to your bike. You go from a temperature of zero (Celsius) to minus one and you’re not dead; It hardens your character.”

    Rule #5, missy. And if you live in Belgium, surely you’ve heard of a cyclocross machine?

  41. @frank  OH I DID TRAIN IN 0 TEMPS !!! but when there was ice and snow on the ground, I lost all Flandrian points. Remember I am old enough to be Devolder;s Oma, Mijn karacter is heel sterke maar geen stom :)

    and I am a veldrijden looooooooser. Ik woon naar Cricuit Zolder. Daar staat Werldbeker op 26 Dec. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  42. @farzani

    You’re right about the HR jumps in strength-training. I managed to work up an incredible sweat in workouts that lasted well under 45 minutes. Endurance was fine; I merely meant that getting back on the bike was very clearly an alien activity in relation to the gym.

    @frank

    If I can see the road, I’ll ride.

  43. @frank  all  270 km in het regent,donder en hagel. Luik Bastaneke Luik.

  44. @farzani

    @frank  all  270 km in het regent,donder en hagel. Luik Bastaneke Luik.

    Oh, very very good. Everything but the YJA, but I’m sure you’ve already replaced that since beginning your Enlightenment.

    Are those Enve’s? How are they?

  45. @frank Ik heb mijn normal regent jas verloren dus de geele. nu, heb ik veranderd. hahaha. would have worn a garbage bag that day.. no Enve’s..ridley Forza…

  46. @farzani

    That’s a beautiful photo.  And I’m not just saying that because I have a Belgium-colored liver next to my name.

    PS:  I need to ride more in places with barbed wire (or bob wire, as we used to say in Texas).

  47. Do we have a lexicon entry yet for the feeling you get when you pull open your cycling gear drawer and see your winter gear in the middle of summer & have no damn clue how you manage to pull all that stuff on?

    Just came back to this article because it’s so fucking great.

  48. Isaiah 53:11 (not making that up!)

    After the ordeal he has endured,

    he will see the light and be content.

  49. @Steampunk +1+1+1

  50. @Ron

    I think we usually just call the “depression”.

    I REALLY, really… don’t want to log any more time on my turbo. But I know the day will come when the clock will click back an hour, and it won’t be light enough to ride after work.

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