Note to my younger self (Rest)

Rest.

You need rest as much as training. In fact, it’s when you sleep that you improve. It’s when your body repairs itself, and recharges. The best you rest, the more frequently, and harder you can train.

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Moving meditation …

 

I don’t talk much about this.

It is easy to talk about training methods, cycling drills, and improved technology – things like FTP, pedalling in circles 🤔, hill repeats, 1 X drive trains, seat angles, slammed stems, cycling kits, optimum stem lengths, disc vs. rim brakes, ideal tire widths, preferred tire pressures, carbon vs. steel frames, Strava PR’s and KOM’s 😠; heart rate training zones, fasted training, polarized training, climbing and descending skills, century rides, racing, gravel, and touring bikes …

These are the things I think about.

But, these are not what I enjoy most about a ride.

No.

It’s the way a ride makes me feel. Relaxed. Empowered. Centred. Focused. Some refer to a ride as moving meditation. It makes sense. It is hard to think about anything but the ride. You are in the moment the whole time, on the lookout for potholes, pedestrians, cars, acutely aware of the wind and terrain, the warmth of the sun, the smell of spring flowers, the beat of your heart, the fatigue in your legs. There is no room to think of anything else.

All senses are heightened.

Cycling gives me a wonderful sense of freedom, taking me back to early childhood when I had no worries, and no responsibility. I go when, and where I want, exploring new roads, challenging myself to longer, steeper climbs. Weather matters less than the route. Wind and hills are my friends. The ride is all that matters, transporting me to a different place both physically, and mentally.

For me, there is no better way to spend time.

Note to my younger self (Paddle Shifters)

 

Remember, you can use the 2 shifting paddles simultaneously.

Yeah. You can change both the front and rear derailleurs at the same time. Up to the big ring, and onto a larger cog at the back; down to the small ring, and onto a smaller cog at the back. Up on one, down on the other.

I learned using shifters on the down tube. I couldn’t change them simultaneously. Well, not without crashing. The paddle shifters on the bars are designed so that you can shift easily without taking your hands off the handlebars. When I first began using paddle shifters, I continued to use one at a time, and didn’t realize the benefit of using them both at the same time.

76 PR’s in March …

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 7.41.01 AM

According to Strava, I completed 76 PR’s (Personal Records) in March riding routes I have cycled for years.

Am I really that much faster?

I work at becoming a better cyclist. I train regularly. Eat a well balanced diet, and stay away from alcohol, sweets, dairy, and meat products. And, improved my recovery methods. I train to improve my FTP, fast intermittently to manage my weight, and  increased by power / weight ratio by 14% in a year.

Is this the reason for the 76 PR’s?

Partly.

But I have been working on something else as well.

Economy.

That’s right. Economy – the ability to ride more efficiently. It includes many things –

  • developing a more efficient pedalling stroke;
  • pedalling in “circles”, and avoiding those watt-leaking dead spots;
  • spinning in a lower gear but at a higher cadence to save energy;
  • remaining seated while climbing to maximize sustained wattage;
  • carrying momentum over the crest of hills;
  • recover, but continue pedalling on the descents;
  • get into, and maintain, an aerodynamic, tucked position;
  • wearing tighter, more aerodynamic clothing; and,
  • equipping bikes with the best equipment you can afford.

This doesn’t happen all at once. It takes time. And practice. It seems I have worked at this for 40 years 😂

Slowly, my pacing has improved. Slowly, I began noticing that every ride, I recorded several new PR’s. Every day, I got a little faster. To record 76 PR’s on 3 routes I have been cycling for years, tells me my pacing has improved; tells me I have become more efficient on the bike. In part, it is because I am fitter and lighter.

It is also because I am more efficient.

As we age, we lose muscle mass, gain weight, and train less intensely. So, there are 4 things older cyclist can do – continue to train intensely, lift weights regularly, lose weight, and learn to cycle more efficiently.

There is always room to improve.

Note to my younger self (tire pressure)

Softer tires are faster, more comfortable, and grippier.

I used to think that 100-125 psi was the ideal tire pressure. Faster. Less rolling resistance. Well, that’s not the case. Softer is not only more comfortable, but faster and grippier. The contact patch, the part of the tire in touch with the road, is actually smaller, improving the rolling resistance.

Check out this link to calculate the best tire pressure given your weight, tire width, and riding style.

Foto Friday (April 5, 2019)

coffee

Over the past several months, I have been trying a variety of single source coffees roasted locally in Vancouver. Much to my surprise, there are numerous local roasters. I don’t have a favourite (yet). Rather, I have learned I prefer milder roasts, and the French Press brewing method.