I have been remiss.
I haven’t posted for over two months. In fact, I haven’t posted much this past year. I’m not sure why. I enjoy writing. And, now that I’m retired, I have more time than ever. I simply lost inspiration. It’s not the cycling. I train, and cycle more than ever. Then why?
The Writer’s Caravan suggested to start slowly with one post a week. That’s doable. Right? 😀
So, where do you start when you have lost inspiration, and a blank screen stares you in the face? Good question. Well, I began by reviewing my blog statistics to see what subjects have been of most interest. I may get some inspiration there. Three posts have been read more often than all of the rest, and by a very large margin. During the past 3 years they were viewed over 5,000 times. In August 2013, I wrote “I climbed Cypress Mountain“, and “I climbed Mount Seymour“, personal accounts of climbing two local mountains popular with dedicated road cyclists, and then in April 2014 I posted “What does retirement look like?“, an introspective look at what retirement might look like for me.
What is it about long, steep, mountain climbs, and the road cyclist?
It is straight forward. Long climbs test your metal. Everyone can pedal on the level. Everyone can coast downhill. Not everyone can climb, particularly longer, steeper hills. A long climb is a measure of your fitness, stamina, and dedication to the sport.
These posts, more than any, describe what this blog has been about – how to become a better, stronger, faster cyclist. I have consistently written about training methods, cycling techniques, commuting, racing, bike maintenance, nutrition, and a host of cycling related subjects. I have been cycling for 40 years, and only now call myself a road cyclist. Yes. I’m an enthusiastic, recreational, senior cyclist. And, that’s the thing. I’m a senior. And, I’m retired. And yet, I want to cycle even more.
Several years ago, as I approached retirement, I began questioning how hard I could train. How far was too far? How hard was too hard? What risks, if any, did I face? I didn’t feel my age. I really didn’t think about it. I liked to train. To sweat. And yes, climb. I rode with cyclist half my age, and I simply liked the way cycling made me feel. Strong. Free. And yes, young.
I began asking doctors and trainers what, if anything, I should be doing differently. They really couldn’t give me an adequate answer. They said “take it easy.”, “relax.”, and “you are not as young as you once were”.
This was not what I wanted to hear.
This Christmas, I was given a copy of “Fast After 50” by Joe Friel. Finally, I had answers. Joe Friel coaches elite athletes (runners, cyclists, triathletes), and he is also a senior cyclist himself. He too began asking similar questions. Why do some athletes continue to perform at a high level as they age and others don’t? What is aging, and can it be slowed, or even reversed? What must you do differently as you get older?
He said what I wanted to hear. Older athletes that continue to train hard, recover adequately, and fuel their bodies correctly continue to remain competitive well into their 70’s and 80’s. His books detail how to train, recover and fuel the aging body. He argues convincingly that exercise is an anti-aging agent, and that lifestyle determines one’s future.
So, there is no need to stop climbing. Climbing is a path to a longer, healthier, and more optimistic future. PedalWORKS will continue to search out new climbs, and ways to summit faster, and more easily.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Nelson Mandela