“The Worst Retirement Ever” … 😂

I’m spending too much time on YouTube, but it has its benefits 😂

Phil Gaimon was a professional cyclist. He retired in 2016 to find a real job (he wasn’t that good apparently), and developed a YouTube channel called The Worst Retirement Ever, where he travels the world trying to earn KOMs on the worlds toughest climbs. A formidable task, and the worst ever retirement.

Or is it?

I learned of Phil when he visited my hometown to attempt the Triple Crown. We have 3 local mountains, and each year there is a race up each of them in succession. Phil attempted to KOM each of them. I don’t know if he was successful or not. I haven’t found the video yet but it got me thinking.

I identify with Phil.

I’m retired, and all I really want to do is train, and cycle. I’m nowhere as fit, or fast, but then again, I’m also a lot older. By a long shot. And, I never raced professionally. No, I’m a recreational cyclist with an obsession. Instead of chasing KOMs around the world, I chase local PRs. It’s encouraging to see that even at my age, I can improve.

So maybe my blog needs to be renamed from PedalWORKS to The Worst Retirement. Certainly most people my age are not interested in pushing themselves physically the way I do. But I look at it differently.

What is more important than your health? My health?

Nothing.

Cycling gets me out the door, challenging myself, and engaged. What more could I ask for?

There is something.

Warm weather all year round. When we are done with COVID-19, I hope to spend the summer months at Camp PedalWORKS, and the winters in Arizona 😃

More about numbers … 🤔

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Yesterday I wrote that I must be a slave to cycling numbers – speed, cadence, HR, training zones. I recounted how my cycling computer died with all batteries simultaneously failing. And how I measured my ride based on feeling rather than hard data.

Today, I rushed out to purchase new batteries. Four 2032’s for the cadence, speed, and HR sensors, as well as the computing unit as well. I figured I should replace them all to ensure against another horrifying failure. The best part, they were on sale. I got a bargain. Or so i thought.

When I returned to the cottage, I decided to replace all of the batteries now instead of just before my next ride. There is no urgency. It is poring rain here but I didn’t want to be rushed.

When I was removing the computer from its holder, I noticed it wasn’t properly seated. I must have inadvertently loosened it when it was first mounted, or when I was resetting all of the counters.

Guess what.

All of the batteries are fine. All of the sensors work just fine. This has never happened to me before, and I never thought to check it. I checked everything else.

What an idiot 😂

When I reflect back on this, I think there was a purpose for this. It was a ploy designed by the cycling gods to make me feel the ride, feel the speed, feel the difficulty, and to rely on my intuition.

Years ago, I learned golf is a game of feel. The swing is a very complicated movement that is difficult to repeat consistently. And, if you think to much about swing techniques, you lose the feel of the game. It’s OK on the range, but on the course you need to feel the wind, slope, lie, humidity, and adjust accordingly.

Well, cycling is no different. When riding, you need your senses about you to avoid hazards – potholes, ruts, traffic – and compensate for wind direction, humid, and slopes. You don’t need to be constantly checking your numbers.

Who cares how fast you are cycling into a 30 kph headwind? Does it matter whether your cadence is 92 or 97?

It doesn’t.

What matters is that you enjoy yourself, stay safe, and gradually improve your fitness and cycling skills.

I’m going to try something different. Instead of tracking and recording my numbers every ride, I’m going to accumulate them for the week, maybe even a month, as if they are for one long ride. This is what matters, isn’t it? Performance over time. I have a training schedule with monthly distance and training zone goals. I just need to review my numbers once a week, or month. I’ll have my computer on, but will pay less attention to it on each ride, and learn to feel the ride better.

Fore.

I’m a slave to numbers … 🤓

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I’m a slave to numbers.

It’s my formal training. I’m a computer engineer where concise algorithms, and tight logic that lower costs and reduce staffing are rewarded. And, how do we know we’ve done it right? By the numbers. We measure before the new procedure, and then measure again after it’s implemented. We know by the numbers.

Well today I planned on a 75-80 km ride I completed once last year. A beautiful ride that passes by several recreational lakes on smooth roads (mostly) peppered with frequent short, steep hills, and long flat sections that includes Victoria Road. This ride would be a good test of my fitness, I thought. I was anxious to see what speed I could maintain spinning at 90-100 rpm.

You see, I track a lot of numbers. Average speed. Distance. Average cadence. Heart rate. Time spent in each of the training zones. Elevation gained. Average slope. Maximum slope. Every ride, I record these statistics. I’m a slave to these numbers. I subscribe to the theory that if it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed. And, I want to manage my training. I want to improve. Get faster, and stronger.

Imagine my horror when I saddled up only to discover my cycling computer was dead. Dead. Nothing worked. No heart rate. No cadence. I stopped. Check my HR belt. It was fine. Checked the cadence sensor. It was fine too. And the speed sensor. It seems all the batteries expired at the same time. What else could it be?

I continued without my numbers.

I was lost at first. Then I began to judge my speed, HR, and cadence by feel. After all, I have ridden long enough to know what 30 kph and a 95 cadence feels like. I could tell a lot by my breathing. When it became laboured, I knew I was working above Zone 1. The longer, steeper climbs my heart was pound, and I was out of breath submitting. I was in Zone 4. I had a 20-25 kph hurting wind on the way out, and a helping wind on the way back. Slow on the way out. Fast coming back in. 15-20 kph out, and 30-35 kph back. And, because I maintained a high cadence most of the time, I was not really tired when I finished. Not like I was last year.

Maybe I don’t need that cycling computer after all.

I can’t compare the numbers from one ride to the next. The wind and terrain is different every ride. Maybe cycling by feel is all that is needed.

What do you think?