Question: Because of my work schedule, I have ridden sporadically for the last 20 years, logging about 1,500 miles annually and doing one or two centuries just for fun. Last winter I took early retirement and decided to devote full time to cycling. I rode 5,000 miles in 8 months and improved fast. But now I’m tired and can’t stand the thought of hammering with the young guys on another group ride. What happened? I thought hard work was supposed to make me better. — Harry N.
RBR Replies: I only have anecdotal evidence, but I suspect that there’s a large number of new retirees who try to cram into six months all the things they wanted to do during their working lives.
And I’d bet that a fairly sizeable percentage are cyclists who go from 100 miles a week to 300-400 after retirement. They add intervals, racing and hard group rides, too.
Soon they’re exhausted.
New retirees with time on their hands and a craving to defeat aging think they can train like a pro. But pros are a lot younger.
Here’s another trap: Hard-charging and successful people often think that if they’re not as physically gifted as other riders at least they can outwork them.
But talented riders are talented at recovery, too. So they work really hard, recover fast and get stronger. The rest of us work hard, don’t recover sufficiently and get slow, tired, depressed and dropped.
The solution is pretty simple. Train sensibly and then rest. Don’t ride hard again until you’re recovered enough to garner improvement from the next training session.
You don’t need fancy medical indicators to tell when you’re recovered. Eagerness to ride again is the best marker.