TCI Friday

Most of my riding of late is with friends, rather than the meditative solo rambling I gravitate to naturally. Riding with other people means riding a little faster and a little better, at least for me, and that’s not a bad thing. When I sign up for stuff with friends, that’s when I found out where I am in my cycling fitness. Mostly I find out I’m a little behind.

My friends are younger than I am, but that’s no excuse. It’s a few years. Five. Maybe more. If I’m not careful I’ll start sand-bagging them.

I thought the pandemic would produce much higher level cycling fitness than it has. Instead, I’ve used the extra time to diversify my portfolio. I’m doing a lot of trail running, some hiking, weight work, paddling with my wife. It’s been so good to engage the outdoors in a lot of different ways. I still love the bike, obviously. I’m just approaching it more casually than I have in past years.

It’s August, and my fitness level is quite high, but it’s not a tuned, bike fitness. It’s more rounded. I can hang with hard bike efforts up to about two hours, and at that point, my quads say ‘no mas,’ and the rest of my body says ‘uncle.’ I see other people coming into their own at that point, as if they’ve finally ridden themselves into the flow of the thing.

Two hours is pretty good fun anyway. A little ego-deflation is never a bad thing, either. Sometimes I break off and ride home to lick my wounds and drink my coffee. There are worse fates.

I’m wondering where you are in this odd bike-friendlier season. How are the sensations? This week’s TCIF asks, are you ahead of it, behind it, or right in the pocket? Have you doubled-down on the bike? Or like me, have you diversified your portfolio?

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  1. southcarolinamtb says

    I’ve diversified and seem to be pretty satisfied with it. Most of my rides are at 2 hours or less. I’ve got a few over three and a couple of times this year i’ve had some 5+ hour endeavors. I’ve filled my time with many more walks with my wife. More gardening. More yard work and keeping up on house repairs. Actually, it’s all been pretty rewarding. And I don’t feel like less of a cyclist b/c I’m done in only 2 hours.

  2. Barry Johnson says

    I’m right with you Robot. I had crazy good for my age (56) bike specific fitness this spring but have also diversified my activity and have a bit more well rounded of a physique and it’s been paying off especially with family outings and spouse co sports. I’m going to return to all bike in the next couple weeks but keep some resistance training in as well. It really makes being off the bike more enjoyable.

  3. Julie Snyder says

    Diversifying. Definitely. Gravel, touring, road, MTB xc, MTB downhill, l’eroica…
    One only admits there is a problem when there are no more hooks in the shed.

  4. TominAlbany says

    I’m as bike fit as I’ve been in years, I think. I rode the Farmer’s Daughter GG – 65 miles of dirt roads, singletrack, and some pavement. Hardest thing I’d done in ages. I lived to tell… And, at 56, I’m in it for the fun and the finding out what I have left.

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