Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 and Feeling of Age

I initially thought 2013 was going to be a phenomenal year on the bike. I had ideas of top 5 finishes at every race and feeling like I was 25 again. I mean who doesnt want that at 46 right? I had trained smarter, and longer than before and felt like I could tackle the world.

Well it started out that way. I had a 5th place finish at Snotcycle, a dismal, but albeit 5th at AFC Sugar Hill, 3rd at Bakers Dozen and 2nd at the 12 hr of Cranky Monkey. All was looking great and then it hit me, for the first time in a long time, I decided to pull the plug on the race season. It was a strange feeling, but I just didnt want to get involved in anything else. I just wanted to ride for the sake of riding without worrying about my LTHR or what zone  I needed to be in while watching my this and that. I have to admit, I enjoyed it.

Funny things happen when you let loose and just have fun; somehow I got a wee bit faster. I set  alot of personal goals this past year (most of which came on the road of all places).

I put in the most hours, rode the most miles and blew away my previous personal records by 100. Heck, I even joined some Strava running challenges.

Strabbaranks is a cool website that tracks riders based on their locations and ranks them based on a points system for the segments you have ridden on Strava. I ended up 6th (still ongoing) out of 2000+ riders in the Maryland, Baltimore area. The only one over 40 in the top 10 which is pretty cool. So, in some ways, I still can bring it when needed, but not on a more consistent basis as my younger folk.

I learned alot about myself as a rider as well. I pushed myself harder, but I also found that I dont recover like I used to. I was stronger on the climbs and on hard efforts, but wasnt able to lay down an attack like I was used to doing, which was a bit depressing at times.

I also learned that you can have an impact on other riders as well and not really know it. Trace works with me at the shop and we started riding together more and more as the year went on and hill day became a staple in our rides together. Jim, who is 66, rides a lot and is a strong rider for his age also rides with us on a daily basis. It was very cool to see how these two progressed throughout the year and became much faster than last year. As some of you may know, I love to tackle anything vertical. The more Everest it gets, the more fun it is. Over the course of a few months, they went from "casually" riding hills to attacking on a more consistent level. Now, I am not saying it was because of me-not at all, but it does show how you can have a positive influence on other riders that want to further their riding level.

I spent alot more time on the road bike then ever before, too. Must of the reason due to trail conditions. We have quite a few hills around the shop, so that became my regular routine on the road. None of which are "easy" attempts; well I guess it all depends on what you classify what your attempts are.

I realized that I am not getting any younger. I still hold my own with the younger guys, but it definitely was quite evident that I am going to have to work a bit harder to maintain a certain level of riding.

To be continued...