Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail.

The Hammer and the Nail

by / / 66 posts

Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail. I was a cheapy little Ikea one today. It was terrible.

– Geraint Thomas

It is strange, the workings of a the Cyclist as an organism. We are of three autonomous parts, Head, Body, and Legs. In the short term, there is little that fundamentally changes between them, yet their symbiosis can vary wildly; one day we are an unstoppable force and the next, little more than a tourist.

Condition is built gradually over a the length of a season or many seasons; it does not arrive in the post on a prescribed day just as it does not depart the train station per a schedule when its stay has come to an end. Yet, somehow, our performances can vary as though this were the case. This dramatic change is most commonly driven by the mind, a fragile beast that balances upon a knife’s edge where the slightest push can send our performance sky high or plummeting into the fiery depths of despair.

This is what drives the Cyclist as an aesthetic creature; clean bar tape, freshly shaven guns, and neatly arranged kit is the most effective way to control our form from day to day; no sense fooling with diet, or power meters – neither of those will tell you how Fantastic you look.

Which is why our investigative team, Research Unit for Logical Explanations of the Velominati ( RULEV ) has concluded that Geraint cracked horribly due to psychological injuries caused by losing his trademark white Jawbones, which were obviously his hidden Scepter of Morale. He looks magic in those shades, and complete crap in the Radars he was forced to ride in the following days. Our study also indicates that he could have avoided disaster by paying to overnight his new Jawbones in time to race in them again at the Tour; there are only so many days you can look crap before you start riding like crap.

To expand on Paul Fournel’s famous line: to look good is already to go fast, and to look crap is already to go slow.

// La Vie Velominatus // Nostalgia

  1. @ChrisO

    I’m actually on orders not to lose any more weight. I’ve lost over 10 kilos in the last year, and now keeping my weight around a steady 86kg.

    I do feel when I’ve been eating well and when I haven’t more than a bit of extra weight. Fortunately, my wife is on a diet which is motivating her to cook healthy, and I’ve got a few slightly healthier snacks for when I get hungry. Which is often.

  2. @ChrisO

    If I’m eating right and at the right weight it helps my brain decide that I deserve to ride well.

    Yes, this…

  3. What fucking timing! I’m in the market for some new shades and the Oakley array is positively fucking flummoxing. Prizm lenses? M2 frames now available? Stick with Radars? Well, there is now a NEW Radar lens shape, beyond the proven Path.

    How is a guy supposed to choose? And don’t say get them all, I already have two drawers that I need for socks and t-shirts occupied with shades laid out, ready to ride.

    Been working weekends lately to finish up a project. My riding time has been severely cut into. Thus, when I do ride I have to look fucking fabulous.

  4. I told my bathroom scale to fuck off this past weekend. I can feel I’m finally at my summer riding weight but it’s telling me I’m not. I almost never get on it and I won’t be back on it for awhile now.

    And while I’m happy to be in good riding shape, I have no desire to look like Froome. No thanks. I play other sports, need muscles to work around/on the house, and have already lost too much of the muscle I had in college from sports/lifting for that sport.

    I know I’m officially hitting mid-life because I’ll catch myself when I think…”Oh, I was in great shape (muscle wise) a few years back, right after college.” Right after college is officially not that recently. Ah well, I’m still having a fucking blast being alive, so fuck it.

  5. @Ron

    I told my bathroom scale to fuck off this past weekend. I can feel I’m finally at my summer riding weight but it’s telling me I’m not. I almost never get on it and I won’t be back on it for awhile now.

    And while I’m happy to be in good riding shape, I have no desire to look like Froome. No thanks. I play other sports, need muscles to work around/on the house, and have already lost too much of the muscle I had in college from sports/lifting for that sport.

    I know I’m officially hitting mid-life because I’ll catch myself when I think…”Oh, I was in great shape (muscle wise) a few years back, right after college.” Right after college is officially not that recently. Ah well, I’m still having a fucking blast being alive, so fuck it.

    That and a midride Twinkie is rocket fuel. Not drinking beer and swearing off processed sugar sounds awful. I might as well be a trip geek at that point.

  6. Ahem. Tri geek. Thanks, autocorrect.

  7. @VeloSix

    @ChrisO

    If I’m eating right and at the right weight it helps my brain decide that I deserve to ride well.

    Yes, this…

    Yup indeed, This. Diets do not work as by definition a diet becomes regarded as something special and therefore temporary, you have to eat right balanced to your degree of exercise. It’s called lifestyle not diet.

  8. @Owen

    @Ron

    I told my bathroom scale to fuck off this past weekend. I can feel I’m finally at my summer riding weight but it’s telling me I’m not. I almost never get on it and I won’t be back on it for awhile now.

    And while I’m happy to be in good riding shape, I have no desire to look like Froome. No thanks. I play other sports, need muscles to work around/on the house, and have already lost too much of the muscle I had in college from sports/lifting for that sport.

    I know I’m officially hitting mid-life because I’ll catch myself when I think…”Oh, I was in great shape (muscle wise) a few years back, right after college.” Right after college is officially not that recently. Ah well, I’m still having a fucking blast being alive, so fuck it.

    That and a midride Twinkie is rocket fuel. Not drinking beer and swearing off processed sugar sounds awful. I might as well be a trip geek at that point.

    I hate to admit it, but beer has been making my stomach hurt lately. Not sure what is up, so I’ve been drinking mainly spirits. Twinkies. Hmm, I think I’ve had one in my life. I haven’t eaten chain fast food since 2001. I stopped because I realized I was traveling all over the world, and fucking KFC and McDonald’s were making things look the same. I generally only eat what I cook, I’ve cooked professionally so I’m pretty adept in the kitchen. That also means I don’t like eating out. I’d rather spend money on bike parts, unless it’s something I really can’t cook, or it takes too long. Say…pho.

    Anyway, my biggest problem is that I enjoy napping or resting after I eat. That can include in the evening. It’s a bad habit. If I just make sure to eat a few hours before I go to bed, that’s all the “dieting” I need.

    I don’t eat junk and I eat many times a day. Those are the two things that keep me in pretty good form.

  9. Nice. Just spotted this on Twitter:

  10. @frank

    Odd supernatural thing happening with Froome’s left arm.

  11. @unversio

    @frank

    Odd supernatural thing happening with Froome’s left arm.

    We have always been wondering if he is robot. I never wondered if he was a hologram…

  12. Wrong place, but, as it’s the end of civilisation. Eneco today

  13. @frank

    Nice. Just spotted this on Twitter:

    He looks magic in those shades, and complete crap in the Radars he was forced to ride in the following days.

    Amen to that. Those white shades are all him. It makes me rethink my own love of Oakley Radars. I like Radars looking out from my skull. Unfortunately switching to G’s shades would not improve my riding, but looking better might be enough. No, probably not.

  14. I showed up 30min late to work today, spent some time pondering over a double espresso, and blew out 8 PRs. That is the end of me not having coffee prior to my morning commute in.

  15. @frank

    @unversio

    @frank

    Odd supernatural thing happening with Froome’s left arm.

    We have always been wondering if he is robot. I never wondered if he was a hologram…

  16. @Ron

    my biggest problem is that I enjoy napping or resting after I eat

    Me too… in fact, after I chase something down, kill it and then eat it I generally like to climb up in a tree and sleep it off ! It’s all good.

    Cheers

  17. @ChrisO

    no sense fooling with diet

    Agree with most everything except this. To me diet is totally part of the input that makes me hammer or nail on any given day.

    If I’m eating right and at the right weight it helps my brain decide that I deserve to ride well.

    My head knows that I have suffered for this – I have passed up nutella toast, sworn off alcohol, said no to cake. I have eaten brown rice, made my own muesli and juiced beetroot until my ktichen looks like a CSI set.

    Tape and kit… pfft. Any fool with a Wiggle account can do that.

    But God help me if I know I’m overweight. Then the judgement shall be upon me. “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Dr Ferrari will be perched on my shoulder as I climb, telling me I’m too fat.

    It’s not only mental, it’s aesthetic too. When I look in the mirror and see my breastbone and ribs, when that large Castelli kit looks a little baggy but the medium slips on nicely… then I’m ready.

    You are right about all this! Regret. And I keep telling myself I’ll just ride some extra miles when opportunity to do so is becoming increasingly hard to find.

  18. @ChrisO

    Tape and kit… pfft. Any fool with a Wiggle account can do that.

    I don’t know, looking fantastic is more than just new stuff (re: the overweight dentist pressed into an Astana kit)

  19. @ChrisO

    no sense fooling with diet

    Agree with most everything except this. To me diet is totally part of the input that makes me hammer or nail on any given day.

    If I’m eating right and at the right weight it helps my brain decide that I deserve to ride well.

    My head knows that I have suffered for this – I have passed up nutella toast, sworn off alcohol, said no to cake. I have eaten brown rice, made my own muesli and juiced beetroot until my ktichen looks like a CSI set.

    Tape and kit… pfft. Any fool with a Wiggle account can do that.

    But God help me if I know I’m overweight. Then the judgement shall be upon me. “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Dr Ferrari will be perched on my shoulder as I climb, telling me I’m too fat.

    It’s not only mental, it’s aesthetic too. When I look in the mirror and see my breastbone and ribs, when that large Castelli kit looks a little baggy but the medium slips on nicely… then I’m ready.

    I might agree with you, in a way. I don’t think the diet makes you look better directly, but feeling skinny and looking great in your kit is definitely a massive morale boost. Even just feeling light is great so it feels nice and springy to get out of the saddle to climb or power over a rise is also high up there.

    I’ll tell you one thing, though, there is a direct correlation between going on a ride after a night of no (or moderate) booze versus going on a ride after a ride of immoderate drinking. Direct impact.

  20. @wilburrox

    @ChrisO

    no sense fooling with diet

    Agree with most everything except this. To me diet is totally part of the input that makes me hammer or nail on any given day.

    If I’m eating right and at the right weight it helps my brain decide that I deserve to ride well.

    My head knows that I have suffered for this – I have passed up nutella toast, sworn off alcohol, said no to cake. I have eaten brown rice, made my own muesli and juiced beetroot until my ktichen looks like a CSI set.

    Tape and kit… pfft. Any fool with a Wiggle account can do that.

    But God help me if I know I’m overweight. Then the judgement shall be upon me. “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Dr Ferrari will be perched on my shoulder as I climb, telling me I’m too fat.

    It’s not only mental, it’s aesthetic too. When I look in the mirror and see my breastbone and ribs, when that large Castelli kit looks a little baggy but the medium slips on nicely… then I’m ready.

    You are right about all this! Regret. And I keep telling myself I’ll just ride some extra miles when opportunity to do so is becoming increasingly hard to find.

    Its easier to keep it off than to take it off.

  21. You got that right, brother!!

  22. Looking back at the times that I was at my lightest I wonder if I was actually kinda dehydrated. A functioning dehydrate so to speak?

  23. @rfreese888

    Each morning you punch recovery data e.g. resting HR, # of hours slept, previous days training performance, weight, even color of your pee. It spits out a score based on an algorithm that tells you if you are good to go hard or not.Idea is that you are wrecking your ability to perform if you over-train or under-recover, and you need to work at recovery as much as you do at making deposits in the V bank.

    Huh? I don’t need a web site to tell me if I am in form/out of form or over trained. 5min into the workout I can tell you that!

  24. @Teocalli

    Yup indeed, This. Diets do not work as by definition a diet becomes regarded as something special and therefore temporary, you have to eat right balanced to your degree of exercise. It’s called lifestyle not diet.

    Well if you want to get into semantics… whatever you at last week, today, tomorrow -> that’s your diet. Some folks change theirs regularly, some have heavily regimented ones, but it’s all the same. Everyone on the planet has either a good or a bad diet, or maybe something inbetween.

    Having said that, yes, whatever your diet is, it needs to be a lifestyle that is sustainable.

  25. @wilburrox

    Looking back at the times that I was at my lightest I wonder if I was actually kinda dehydrated. A functioning dehydrate so to speak?

    I reckon folks get too caught up in hydration… it’s not complicated. Were you thristy? If not – not, if yes, maybe approaching if you had previously ignored the thirst reflex.

    Were you (not) retaining fluid? Well that’s a different question.

  26. @Puffy

    @wilburrox

    Looking back at the times that I was at my lightest I wonder if I was actually kinda dehydrated. A functioning dehydrate so to speak?

    I reckon folks get too caught up in hydration… it’s not complicated. Were you thristy? If not – not, if yes, maybe approaching if you had previously ignored the thirst reflex.

    Were you (not) retaining fluid? Well that’s a different question.

    Ahhh… some things I am working on understanding yes. Here in the deep south of the USA we regularly ride with heat index values in excess of 95 and 100 for weeks at a time. And I’ll have stretches at my lowest weight during these times. And I think it is a question of retaining (replacing?) fluid. Massive amounts of water loss and ultimately, when combined with long hard efforts and fatigue, cramping. I’ve recently been trying a Scratch product called hyper hydration in advance of long Sat century rides. Lotta salt. I’m just guessing an inability to replace fluid as fast as lose it is the issue. It’s nothing to lose 3-5%, and in rare occasions more, body weight despite five or six bottles on a ride.

  27. @Ron, @Gianni

    I got the Jawbreakers and can’t wear my Radars anymore because the field of vision is so superior with the new design. So I got the Radar EV too. The new Radars are the same basic design as the old Radars but with the fried of vision of the Jawbreakers while slightly less claustrophobic.

    Glad my sunglasses compulsion could be of some use.

  28. @wilburrox

    Looking back at the times that I was at my lightest I wonder if I was actually kinda dehydrated. A functioning dehydrate so to speak?

    A slightly dehydrated state is supposed to be a performance enhancer…possibly because it artificially increases your hematocrit, according to the RULEV team.

    I believe, however that being well hydrated actually helps keep your metabolism kicking, so it’s unlikely that you’d have maintained that state long term and kept your weight down. Which is why I’m enjoying some vin rouge as I write this.

  29. @Puffy

    @Teocalli

    Yup indeed, This. Diets do not work as by definition a diet becomes regarded as something special and therefore temporary, you have to eat right balanced to your degree of exercise. It’s called lifestyle not diet.

    Well if you want to get into semantics… whatever you at last week, today, tomorrow -> that’s your diet. Some folks change theirs regularly, some have heavily regimented ones, but it’s all the same. Everyone on the planet has either a good or a bad diet, or maybe something inbetween.

    Having said that, yes, whatever your diet is, it needs to be a lifestyle that is sustainable.

    Interesting points raised. I never “diet” and due to the myopic nature of my writing, I suppose I was referring to lifestyle, not binge or purge, as it were.

    But it’s a good point; just like your form isn’t built overnight, your diet is a factor that plays a role over a longer period of time that the impact of your morale on a day to day basis. With the exception of booze, where having too much definitely impacts the next day’s ride, and removing it from your diet has an almost immediate impact.

    Which isn’t to say I’m about to go dry. Let’s not get carried away. Moderation, when suitable.

  30. @wilburrox

    @Puffy

    @wilburrox

    Looking back at the times that I was at my lightest I wonder if I was actually kinda dehydrated. A functioning dehydrate so to speak?

    I reckon folks get too caught up in hydration… it’s not complicated. Were you thristy? If not – not, if yes, maybe approaching if you had previously ignored the thirst reflex.

    Were you (not) retaining fluid? Well that’s a different question.

    Ahhh… some things I am working on understanding yes. Here in the deep south of the USA we regularly ride with heat index values in excess of 95 and 100 for weeks at a time. And I’ll have stretches at my lowest weight during these times. And I think it is a question of retaining (replacing?) fluid. Massive amounts of water loss and ultimately, when combined with long hard efforts and fatigue, cramping. I’ve recently been trying a Scratch product called hyper hydration in advance of long Sat century rides. Lotta salt. I’m just guessing an inability to replace fluid as fast as lose it is the issue. It’s nothing to lose 3-5%, and in rare occasions more, body weight despite five or six bottles on a ride.

    Isn’t that loss pretty temporary though? Training in Minnesota during the summer was the same, roughly, as was when I trained in North Carolina. I’d come back from a ride many pounds lighter, but the next day I’d be back to a reasonable amount lighter…

  31. @frank

    Isn’t that loss pretty temporary though? Training in Minnesota during the summer was the same, roughly, as was when I trained in North Carolina. I’d come back from a ride many pounds lighter, but the next day I’d be back to a reasonable amount lighter…

    I would say so, yes. And I wouldn’t take the leap that says “i’ve lost x on the ride, I need to drink x after”. That is based on the flawed assumption that you were at the ideal level of hydration to start with.

    Just drink if you are thirsty.

    In the end, the scales are interesting (ever weigh yourself before and after a dump?) and good for tracking general trends over months but other than that they are a distraction. You could be getting heavier but losing fat and putting on muscles for example. I say, the mirror is the best scale, then go measure skin folds if you could be bothered.

  32. @frank

    @wilburrox

    @Puffy

    @wilburrox

    Looking back at the times that I was at my lightest I wonder if I was actually kinda dehydrated. A functioning dehydrate so to speak?

    I reckon folks get too caught up in hydration… it’s not complicated. Were you thristy? If not – not, if yes, maybe approaching if you had previously ignored the thirst reflex.

    Were you (not) retaining fluid? Well that’s a different question.

    Ahhh… some things I am working on understanding yes. Here in the deep south of the USA we regularly ride with heat index values in excess of 95 and 100 for weeks at a time. And I’ll have stretches at my lowest weight during these times. And I think it is a question of retaining (replacing?) fluid. Massive amounts of water loss and ultimately, when combined with long hard efforts and fatigue, cramping. I’ve recently been trying a Scratch product called hyper hydration in advance of long Sat century rides. Lotta salt. I’m just guessing an inability to replace fluid as fast as lose it is the issue. It’s nothing to lose 3-5%, and in rare occasions more, body weight despite five or six bottles on a ride.

    Isn’t that loss pretty temporary though? Training in Minnesota during the summer was the same, roughly, as was when I trained in North Carolina. I’d come back from a ride many pounds lighter, but the next day I’d be back to a reasonable amount lighter…

    Being in the desert I get to experiment with this a lot. @Frank is right, it is very temporary and a loss of 2-3% has no impact on performance according to studies. @Wilburrox is also correct that you simply can’t replace the fluids quickly enough.

    I went on a 3.5 hour ride two weeks ago and weighed myself before and after. Despite drinking close to a litre per hour (which is about as much as you can actually process) and even after breakfast and more recovery drinks I was still 3kg lighter. Steady rehydration during the day gets it mostly back, but I reckon it takes up to 24 hours to fully recover from a severe loss, say between 2 and 5%.

    What I would caution on is using too much electrolyte replacement. You are increasing the concentration of salts in your body, which just makes you thirstier. But you can’t absorb enough water to counter the thirst or the concentration, and if you drink more electrolyte the effect is even more pronounced.

    Drink when you are thirsty, not to a prescribed timetable like the tri-geeks. Use diluted juices (quarter to a third juice max) rather than carb drinks and if it’s really hot and you need electrolytes use about half what they recommend. Currently I’ve got the High 5 Zero and would add half a tab to a large bottle of diluted juice for a long hot ride (it was 48C here yesterday !).

  33. @Puffy

    @frank

    Isn’t that loss pretty temporary though? Training in Minnesota during the summer was the same, roughly, as was when I trained in North Carolina. I’d come back from a ride many pounds lighter, but the next day I’d be back to a reasonable amount lighter…

    I would say so, yes. And I wouldn’t take the leap that says “i’ve lost x on the ride, I need to drink x after”. That is based on the flawed assumption that you were at the ideal level of hydration to start with.

    Just drink if you are thirsty.

    In the end, the scales are interesting (ever weigh yourself before and after a dump?) and good for tracking general trends over months but other than that they are a distraction. You could be getting heavier but losing fat and putting on muscles for example. I say, the mirror is the best scale, then go measure skin folds if you could be bothered.

    I nominate the shadow as the best measure, but the point is fair enough. I’ve even weighed myself before and after a shower, and the delta is enough to measure on the scale. Fickle thing, that.

  34. @ChrisO

    Holy fucking Merckx that sounds horrendous. Much good data in there to experiment with.

    All that said, for the first time ever, I used Cliff’s powder in one of my bidons. Razzberry, I believe, which is a name that makes me never want to buy their product. I try to keep off any non-water drink as much as I can, especially when my objective is to meet the Man with the Hammer, as was my objective that day. I chucked one in the jersey pocket just in case. Bonked a ways from home and decided to deploy the juice box into the remaining bidon and I have to say, that shit fucking brought me around. Short but hairpinney climb close to home is a favorite big-ringer of mine and after an afternoon of Jesus Shifting (Oh Jesus, tell me there’s a lower gear!) I blew up the little bugger so fast I had to coast and knee-in on the top hairpin, passing two blokes who were cruising up. (“Are we standing still?” I heard them say as I went by. Massive morale right there.)

    Most of the bidon was still there and used it on the next ride, from the start., out of curiosity. Had one of the best days I’ve had on the bike this season; really anxious to try some more of that. Curious about the salt content, and also wondering how relevant that is if you don’t live in the north Sahara like you do.

    @wilburrox

    Last two season’s, I’ve been cramping a lot. This year, none of it – not one cramp all season. Part of it is going back to reliable food sources, and part of it is more solid base training. But the whole hydration, supplement, food thing is an alchemy, that’s for sure. Stick to what works – I’d never cramped before I started experimenting, and then it seems better since I’ve gone back to the usual. Except sometimes experimenting is magic, as this Cliff drink mix might be. So experiment, but not too much? Wizard.

  35. @frank

    @Puffy

    I nominate the shadow as the best measure, but the point is fair enough. I’ve even weighed myself before and after a shower, and the delta is enough to measure on the scale. Fickle thing, that.

    When I was on a weight loss kick after breeding and blimping a few years ago, I was going out for dawn runs (this was before the way of the Velominati became clear to me), and I invented a rule that I had to weigh myself daily but if I’d done exercise I could weigh myself after the run.

    I discovered I could lose nearly 2 kilos during a hot 45 minute run. The extension of this was I also got in the habit of weighing myself after the shower so I would have lost all the weight of the sweat.

    Hey, it worked.

  36. @frank

    @ChrisO

    I might agree with you, in a way. I don’t think the diet makes you look better directly, but feeling skinny and looking great in your kit is definitely a massive morale boost. Even just feeling light is great so it feels nice and springy to get out of the saddle to climb or power over a rise is also high up there.

    Skinny! Hahah. I will never ever be skinny, but having been quite a big bloke, rugby player build, and then having lost all the excess weight through riding I still have the muscles, which now are much more obvious.

    A friend was chatting to me just before I went for a ride last week with her boyfriend, glanced down, and shrieked ‘Your quads are ridiculous!’.

  37. @frank

    Jesus Shifting (Oh Jesus, tell me there’s a lower gear!)

    I call this Flappy Paddle Syndrome – where you go for another gear and all you find is a loose, flappy appendage hanging from the hood

  38. My wife said something about a flappy paddle last night and we weren’t even riding our bikes…

  39. Re Hydration – post ride – the best criteria is the colour of what you put down the loo (toilet for non Brits). All this stuff about how many glasses of water you should drink a day is rubbish. Too much water long term can do as much damage to your kidneys as too little. I groan when people can’t go to a 1 hr meeting at work without talking a bottle of water with them. Mind you, Whisky would be better for quite a few of the meetings I seem to go to.

  40. @Puffy

    Yeah that would be the obvious way to know for which there is no substitute.

    My problem is I can tend to override what my body is saying and push it anyway – equating suffering with progress when backing off is the smart choice.

    To be my own coach as well as rider I need data.

  41. @frank

    @Ron, @Gianni

    I got the Jawbreakers and can’t wear my Radars anymore because the field of vision is so superior with the new design. So I got the Radar EV too. The new Radars are the same basic design as the old Radars but with the fried of vision of the Jawbreakers while slightly less claustrophobic.

    Glad my sunglasses compulsion could be of some use.

    Hmm, this is great info. I don’t have a big face, so I think the Jawbreakers might look awful on me. However, good to know about the new Radars. I didn’t think you could improve on those shades, they’re amazing for cycling and just about everything else too. But, sounds like they have.

    First ride this morning on my updated Tommasini. Wore my Italian tricolore DeFeet socks with some of my retro Rudy Projects. Goddamn, it was a fun ride in to work!

    And Frank, you are not alone. I started spending a good portion of the money I earned mowing lawns as a kid on shades from the Sunglasses Hut at the mall. The acquisition thrill continues to this day.

  42. @RobSandy

    Skinny! Hahah. I will never ever be skinny, but having been quite a big bloke, rugby player build, and then having lost all the excess weight through riding I still have the muscles, which now are much more obvious.

    A friend was chatting to me just before I went for a ride last week with her boyfriend, glanced down, and shrieked ‘Your quads are ridiculous!’.

    Yup, I’m 4 kgs lighter than my college sports playing weight, since I don’t lift weights much these days. Skinnier than I was, but yes, I’ll still never look like a true cyclist. Those muscles and build haven’t gone away despite a decade of avid roadie livin’.

  43. @Ron

    @RobSandy

    Skinny! Hahah. I will never ever be skinny, but having been quite a big bloke, rugby player build, and then having lost all the excess weight through riding I still have the muscles, which now are much more obvious.

    A friend was chatting to me just before I went for a ride last week with her boyfriend, glanced down, and shrieked ‘Your quads are ridiculous!’.

    Yup, I’m 4 kgs lighter than my college sports playing weight, since I don’t lift weights much these days. Skinnier than I was, but yes, I’ll still never look like a true cyclist. Those muscles and build haven’t gone away despite a decade of avid roadie livin’.

    I feel like I use my upper body a lot while I’m riding, particularly climbing. I’m certainly not going to let myself get weak. Keeping shoulders/upper back in good condition also seems to help my lower back, which is really the only area I have trouble when riding.

  44. @RobSandy

    Keeping shoulders/upper back in good condition also seems to help my lower back, which is really the only area I have trouble when riding.

    You might want to consider looking at core strength and flexibility exercises. Being strong in the upper body but neglecting your core is quite likely to result in lower back issues when cycling.

  45. @Oli

    My wife said something about a flappy paddle last night and we weren’t even riding our bikes…

    You should try not to think about Brett when you’re in those situations.

  46. @rfreese888

    @Puffy

    Yeah that would be the obvious way to know for which there is no substitute.

    My problem is I can tend to override what my body is saying and push it anyway – equating suffering with progress when backing off is the smart choice.

    To be my own coach as well as rider I need data.

    Data is good if that’s the way you’re wired. Over a lifetime of training I just read the signals my body is sending; if I’m doing enough work but the signals go backwards, I’m overtraining.

    Granted, given the state of my life, I’m rarely in danger of over training. More the opposite.

  47. @frank

    @rfreese888

    @Puffy

    Yeah that would be the obvious way to know for which there is no substitute.

    My problem is I can tend to override what my body is saying and push it anyway – equating suffering with progress when backing off is the smart choice.

    To be my own coach as well as rider I need data.

    Data is good if that’s the way you’re wired. Over a lifetime of training I just read the signals my body is sending; if I’m doing enough work but the signals go backwards, I’m overtraining.

    Granted, given the state of my life, I’m rarely in danger of over training. More the opposite.

    I am in the early stage, high OCD chapter of my cycling career at the moment. I reckon the data junkie stuff will die down once I reach more of a steady state. Main thing is to learn and continuously improve, and to be able to do it over the next 40-50 years or until I keel over (which ever comes first).

  48. @frank

    That’s not as easy as it sounds…

  49. @rfreese888

    @Puffy

    Yeah that would be the obvious way to know for which there is no substitute.

    My problem is I can tend to override what my body is saying and push it anyway – equating suffering with progress when backing off is the smart choice.

    To be my own coach as well as rider I need data.

    It is learned – to read the bodies signals and not to take them as a sign to push harder. If you like data, it can tell you the same in the moment. Heart rate might be too low and or slow to repond to efforts. You might not be able to hold a certain wattage for a duration you normally can. Just remind yourself that the gains from the training are found in the rest periods, not in the training. Training without rest gains you nothing. Rest periods are just as, if not more important than the training periods both on a daily basis (sleep), and weekly (RDO’s), even annually. Pushing on when fatigued/tired is the path to destruction. If I am riding, and I am not up to it, I have no problem turning around and going home. #smarternotlonger

  50. @frank

    @Ron, @Gianni

    I got the Jawbreakers and can’t wear my Radars anymore because the field of vision is so superior with the new design. So I got the Radar EV too. The new Radars are the same basic design as the old Radars but with the fried of vision of the Jawbreakers while slightly less claustrophobic.

    Glad my sunglasses compulsion could be of some use.

    Yesterday my wife gave me for our anniversary a set of prizm Jawbreakers. I can wear them on my commute but I now just need winter to hurry up out of the way so my early rides don’t require my radarlock XL photochromic lenses. (if I hear another person call them “photochromatic”…)

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