PROBLEM: You can’t remember all those rides you thought you’d never forget. Sure, it might be on Strava, but can you remember much else about it?
SOLUTION: Resolve to keep a daily cycling diary on paper or as a text file. It’ll become the best book you own.
Want to get an idea of how valuable they can be over time? Way back in 2002, RBR founder Ed Pavelka celebrated his 21st year of recording every ride. But Fred had him beat. It was already his 27th year. Their well-thumbed volumes take up a whole shelf in their respective bookcases.
Fred and Ed can tell you the route, mileage, dogs evaded, intervals suffered through and the weather for decades of rides.
Here’s why we encourage you to keep an actual diary, too:
—It reveals what works. When you ride a PR, look back in your diary to see what training got you to peak fitness.
—It reveals what doesn’t work. Tired and dragged out? Your diary entries will divulge, in graphic detail, your training mistakes.
—It’s the key to yearly progress. You can’t improve your annual training plan if you don’t remember what you did before and after events last year. The diary never forgets.
—It’s a record of your life. For example, Fred knows how long it took to drive to a 1978 race in Boulder, what he ate at the bakery stop in Cedaredge during a 103-mile ride on March 10, 1984, and his weeks of preparation for the 1993 transcontinental PAC Tour. It’s in the book.
Your training diary can be as simple or elaborate at you like. Here are some things you might want to record each day:
—Morning body weight and heart rate.
—Type of workout, weather, route, distance, total time, average speed.
—A subjective rating of how you felt: “F” is terrible and “A” means Peter Sagan couldn’t have even kept up.
—Equipment or position changes so you can trace the source of physical improvement or problems.
—A short narrative. Sample: “Big ring on Menoken hill, time-trial pace across Franklin Mesa. Legs were strong, but left knee is twinging a bit.”