More riding, strange outcome

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edmonds59
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I guess I’m tough enough, the first time I do something. But then the 10th time I do something I’m like “Uggh, again?”.

I remembered last night that when I was young, in Ohio, I would ride 15 or 20 miles to get to a decent hill, then ride up and down 3 or 4 times, and ride home. I think people thought I was a little bit nuts.

I suppose those statements are only marginally related.

Sometimes it’s fun to poke around in the silt of your memories. Mostly embarrassing and painful though :)


ejwme
Participant
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Ahlir – ok, not compact, that was a guess from my way smarter uncle during conversation (and I now realize how poorly I held my end of it). I used to have 3 on there, and I never used the … biggest (stayed in 1 and 2). Now I still have 3, but I use them all, all the time, and there are at least 2 or 3 “more” low gears than I had before, at least that’s what it feels like.

40 may or may not be “old”, but I think “old” needs to stop carrying any kind of negative connotation. My big sister, who is my life-long metric for all that is awesome, cool, and to be aspired to, is over 40. Thus 40 is also awesome, cool, and to be aspired to. It’s the way things have worked between us for over 30 years, I see no reason for a specific birthday to change that.

I wouldn’t repeat my 20s for all the money in the world, I honestly hope most people’s 20s go way better than mine went. So far 30s are awesome, I look forward to future decades – everybody in them seems to have so much fun! And don’t people’s stamina improve through the 30s on? I thought that was why people in their 40s and 50s blow the younger crowd away in distance races.

Maybe it just takes a few years for people to figure out that they’re really capable of more than they ever thought possible, if they just keep going.

Edmonds, maybe you’re just bored. Maybe you need new hills :D


james.a
Participant
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Hill-climbing is totally a state of mind.


Mick
Participant
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Hills.

It’s Pittsburgh. You can’t avoid them, you need coping mechanisms.

At the end of July, I swam in a 2.25 open water race for the 4th time. I did a personal best. At 58 years old now, I’m unlikely to get much fitter.

@ Pierce I recently hosted a party where two guests exclaimed “We’re over 40, we can’t do hills.”

You did see me at the Riverview pool, didn’t you? You should invite me to your parties.

For me, the (close to standard) triple chain ring with 28 teeth as the smallest ring and a cassette that goes to 32 teeth is not enough. Not anywhere near close to enough. I have two gears lower than that.

Not everyone here needs or wants gears like that, sure. But if you find yourself looking for a lower gear that isn’t there? You do.

I also need a 2nd gear that is close to the first. Else I’m “2-hi-or-2-low.”

Edmunds, I’d guess you’re a pretty good candidate for super-low gears. (Pierce’s party guests, too.) IIRC, there was a thread where you talked about your bikes and I wondered where your low gears were.

With good gears, going up hills exercises my patience a bit. Dwillen is right about the < 6 mph and the mindset. You get a rhythm, though.

Walking up hills is OK. It isn’t something comfortable for folks that use cleated shoes and pedals. And on this forum, even those that proclaim there is no shame in it often belie their own statements.

For me, if I’m not in shape and I’m going up Bates,say I’ll walk. It’s 3 block from my house, so it’s standard.

I won’t torture myself for a bit, then get off and walk. I’ll just hit the hill and get off.

3.5 mph instead of 5 mph, sure. but I feel fine at the top. Even when I’m a Load O’ Donuts®.

Pushing a bike up a hill like that is OK exercise.

At my age, I can be perversely proud. I’m in much better shape than my buddy who is too proud to ever walk up hills – and so doesn’t ride much anymore. Not just a little bit better shape. (If he goes to a pool, he HAS to swim faster than the guy in the next lane. He doesn’t swim much anymore either.)

A few years ago, I did the GAP/C&O (round trip!!!) A big motivation was the fitness that the training for the ride, and somewhat the ride itself, would do for me.

That was 2 yeas ago, though.

Just Sunday I decided it’s time to train for another long trip. I got dropped by the pool ride at the end. (Dropped by a pool ride? Dropped by a f*cking pool ride. Jeez.)

Edmunds wanna ride the GAP with me?

@ Italianblend – A 7 mile commute with 2 of the hills we have here is a respectable workout.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I really like this discussion. However, I continue to interpret the original post as an attitudinal or motivational challenge issue – not one of physical ability. It has much more to do (I think) with that damned spedometer reading > 6 mph and thinking “dang, if I was going any slower, I’d fall over” and “why does EVERY ride I take from home have to start with one of these stupid climbs?”

We all know we can climb (or walk) pretty much any hill out there. Do we really want to HAVE to, everytime we leave home?

For me, sometimes the answer is simply, “no, not today.”


edmonds59
Participant
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Yes.


salty
Participant
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I don’t think they’re independent. At least for me, steep hills are a lot easier to deal with when I can just sit in the saddle and spin instead of having to stand up and climb.

Plus, you can ride at closer to walking speed, so there’s less need to get off and push – although, I agree with Mick, there’s no shame in doing so… I’d just rather not have to, all else being equal.


ejwme
Participant
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what salty said. takes a lot less motivation for me to do something that is physically easier. But I am fundamentally lazy, an adjective that does not apply universally.

“dang, if I was going any slower, I’d fall over”… I think this so often on my bike it just makes me giggle now, I think about cars in the process of parking suddenly flipping on their sides, or people walking up to a bus stop and suddenly face-planting into a pile. Bicycles are funny.


jimlogan
Participant
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It isn’t about hills, itq is about gearing and expectations. One the one hand, I am in Paris for the 1230 km Paris-Brest-Paris. On the other hand, I have a 30 tooth small sprocket on the front and 34 tooth on the back.

It sounds like a karma issuen and self image issue. I am the slowest rider on the Dirty Dozen, but I’ve completed it 5 years, and get stronger each year. Get small enough gears you can get up hills aerobically.


Ahlir
Participant
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I agree about motivation and why it’s good to understand your reasons for riding.

I like to explore, but I realized that to do it around here you need to come to terms with the hills, otherwise you don’t get very far. So I learned how to do hills and even to like (some of) them.

And, if on a particular day you don’t feel like riding, don’t.


edmonds59
Participant
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ooh, expectations are a big part of it. Since I rode when I was younger, I expect to be able to ride X hill with a certain amount of effort, then next week it will be 5% easier, then the next week it will be 10% easier, etc. At the certain age of which I am, that frkin hill seems just as hard every frkin week. bleh.

Paris. Damn.


steevo
Participant
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Read the original post and thought about

posting something about individual goals. Its

all about what you want to do to stay healthy

and happy.

BUT THEN I READ WHAT KEEPS ME HAPPY AND

HEALTHY MAKES ME A “BIKE JOCK” !!!!!


edmonds59
Participant
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Man I just spotted my neighbor lady heading out for the trail with her bike. It’s just awesome. She has the enthusiasm of the newly converted (insert some religious term that I can’t place right now).

Steevo, I think that was an anomalous comment, don’t be hurt. I would love to be a bike jock once more, but I’m not in place to be that.


edmonds59
Participant
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Follow-up: Mon rode to and from work, 22 mi. round trip, Tues rode to a job site in Carnegie then into town, 14 mi. Had no fear and/or loathing of the hills, had lots of energy, felt great. It’s possible that I made a mental adjustment as to my expectations. It’s more likely that it was 10 freaking degrees cooler than last week. I think I completely misidentified the hills as being my nemesis, when it was actually the 88 deg 90% humidity that I was hating. Which makes sense because when I didn’t want to ride that day, it was the thought of the ride home that was killing me. On weekends I usually try to get out by 7:30 am and I can get a 3 hr ride in and be home when the fam is just starting to stir. The weather the last couple of days has been spectacular and beautiful. Though the sun is now depressingly low already at 6:30 pm.

So I apologize to the hills, I lurve you heels!


ejwme
Participant
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Yay, you found your cycling Mojo!

ok, but I’m still totally taking credit for becoming remarkably more fit over the past week and a half. MY improvement has absolutely nothing to do with the drop in temperatures and humidity, and everything to do with my inner athlete blooming under sustained early morning coersion. ;)


helen s
Participant
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Higher than normal heat and humidity combined with too much air conditioning exposure can lead to lack of heat adaptation, chronic dehydration, and subsequent fatigue.


Marko82
Participant
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@edmonds – you sure it wasn’t the poo bath you rode through on Friday reminding you that there are worse things than hills?


edmonds59
Participant
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Ha, ha! I don’t know but the cheering alleycatters as I hit the foot deep poo-pool was fun.


ejwme
Participant
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dude, I rode through that, and I didn’t think it was that poo-ey. Yucky, but not hard core poo-ey. And I’ve literally walked through raw sewage before, so I know raw sewage. If it was, it was diluted enough to be pretty insignificant.

Anybody hear about the outcome of the alleycat ride?


Tabby
Participant
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ejwme, from all your stories I imagine you are host to a diverse and happy brood of parasites. And more to come, sushi ride coming up!


orionz06
Participant
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Sushi!


edmonds59
Participant
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Oh yeah, ej, this was totally first world poo. I would not challenge your crud-entials.


ejwme
Participant
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yeah, I still hope that I didn’t bring back a few extra million friends when I came home, but sometimes I wonder.

Just remember – soap is our friend.


spakbros
Participant
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Just thought I’d chime in here…

First a bit about my health:

I am a bit overweight, smoke a pack a day, have asthma and a distinct propensity for drinking.

I live in the run by big jims so my ride to work starts basically going up neville with very cold and grumpy legs on a decently ohio geared fixie.

I find that when I don’t ride for a few days, mostly work related, that it is the worst fracking thing imaginable.

Conversely, I found that when I was able to do that every day for two years that it really felt like nothing at all. The shitty part is that it takes so little time off the horse to feel like you have lost all of the momentum you gained riding heavily.

The only real solution is to force yourself to endure the obligatory two weeks to a month of absolute hell in order to get back up to speed. Until then your brain will find any little excuse to indulge in other forms of transportation.

Ugh I better go ride around honestly good luck edmunds!


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Someone earlier – I think Brad, cited Rule #10 (It Never Gets Easier, You Just Go Faster), but left out my favorite part:

“Climbing is hard. It stays hard. To put it another way, per Greg Henderson: “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”


Mick
Participant
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@spakbros The only real solution is to force yourself to endure the obligatory two weeks to a month of absolute hell in order to get back up to speed.

Well…

If you keep your “decent ohio geared” setup on Pittsburgh hills, then, yeah, you’ll hurt much more than is reasonable.

But why do that? If it hurts that much, it’s not like it’s good for you.

A healthier, less painful solution is just to get a silly low-geared Pittsburgh out-of-shape setup.

You’ll have one (maybe two) gears that you rarely, if ever, use when you’re back in shape.


humblesage
Participant
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I’m thinking Spak is saying he rides a fixie. The only problem with gearing down on a fixie is the going downhill part. The lower you go the more you risk spinning yourself right off the bike.


cburch
Participant
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yup, fixed in this city is all about compromise.


ejwme
Participant
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*dutifully chimes in agreeing with Mick on gears*

For those who love mashing, or love the burn and psychological pain of hills, ride on in peace and downhill geared happiness. For the rest of us, it’s all about the gears. For me, it took only one chainring swap to figure out which I am. Bring on the gears, mechanical advantage is my dear and close friend – I won’t leave home without it.


Mick
Participant
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I was mainly addressing Spak’s contention that “the only real choice is…absolute hell.”

I see no need for that on a bike. If done right, bike riding is a pleasant activity.

People that want to exert themselves to the point where it is hellish are certainly free to do so, but I would hate for anyone to have impression that hellishness is a necessary part of biking.


humblesage
Participant
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“People that want to exert themselves to the point where it is hellish are certainly free to do so, but I would hate for anyone to have impression that hellishness is a necessary part of biking.”

I totally get that. :)

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