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  1. #1
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    Back on the Bike

    Hello, just doing an introduction post before I add to the collection of "which bike should I buy" threads. Long post but it's a long story. I hope that somehow on this forum I can either contribute something good to the cycling community or encourage somebody else to get back on the bike and not let time slip away from them.

    I'm a 30 year old guy, live in the Asheville, NC area, work a crazy job with crazy hours, have a wife and a 2 year old girl with another on the way this Fall. I've been back on my bike for less than 4 months after taking the last 10 years off. I started road riding when I was 16, and within a few months did my first century, the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I raced a bit while in high school and did some USA Cycling development camps, and got pretty quick by the time I was 18, racing frequently and absolutely destroying any group ride I did. Riding the big organized centuries was my favorite thing to do and I did a LOT of those. In 2005 when I graduated high school I averaged close to 500 miles a week for the bulk of the riding season and felt good.

    College and working more hours put a damper on available time to ride, and I quickly fell out of shape and soon got frustrated with my slower speeds and poorer results, so a couple years later I just stopped riding one day. Throw in a few poor life choices and I earned myself a combination of financial hardships, lots of moving around, working awful jobs for not much more than minimum wage, attempting to finish a college degree, and always missing riding my bike.

    Mid 20's I started to make better life choices, got married, joined the Marine Corps, finished a college degree at 28, still couldn't find work and ended up at a sawmill, seriously injured my back at work, and just last Christmas got cleared by doctors to lift more than 5 pounds and got a job that actually pays the bills. I tried off and on to get back into riding, but working two jobs while doing school full time and dealing with all sorts of nonsense to make ends meet and secure a stable living space just didn't lend itself to any riding other than the occasional recreational spin. Even those short rides were demoralizing because I would feel frustrated seeing how slow I was going for the effort and how much fitness I had lost when I was "good."

    A few months ago I decided to try it again now that I've passed many of the roadblocks from before. I almost didn't do more than a few rides, because my first ride was less than 10 miles, took me an hour, and I felt wasted when I was done. Second ride was a 60 mile ride in the mountains and I bonked hardcore, seriously considering stopping to call for a ride back to my car but managed to limp to the finish. Third ride was a bit more sensible, 35 miles in the hills around my house, felt OK but not great. Then I had one of my typical "what the hell" kind of moments and signed up for a metric century scheduled just a few days later. So, my 4th ride back on the bike after essentially 10 years off the bike, I rode a metric century in just under 3 hours. It was my max effort and I was tired, but I started to remember the feeling of going fast and felt like maybe I could do this after all.

    Fast forward 10 weeks of intermittent riding and we are at this past weekend. I just completed a hilly full century with 9000' of climbing in just under 6 hours. I know I'm not even near where I used to be in terms of fitness, and injuries have really put a damper on all aspects of life, but I'm just now starting to think I have a chance of being competitive in the sport again. I bought a cycling training book and will try to study it and come up with a plan for this winter and next riding season.

    I hope I can learn some good info or get motivation from this forum, and hopefully along my journey be able to share my experiences with others as well. Any riders in the Asheville, NC area or Johnson City, TN area give a shout out, maybe I'll see you on the road! Good luck and stay safe out there!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Back on the Bike-80-brp.jpg   Back on the Bike-215-brp.jpg   Back on the Bike-mt-mitchell-summit.jpg  

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Hello, and welcome to RBR!

    Slow down! If you haven't been riding much, you need to work up slowly. Going from 10 miles rides to a 60 mile ride is too fast. Tired is OK. Bonking is not. It sounds like you're getting there. Just be patient, my friend!
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  3. #3
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    Haha yeah, I stepped that up too quick. I had forgotten what on-the-bike nutrition looked like, too. Last few weeks I have been doing a lot better about eating enough and listening to my body again. Patience is not something that comes easy to some of us. Thanks for the welcome.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDFbound View Post
    I just completed a hilly full century with 9000' of climbing in just under 6 hours.
    16.6 mph average speed?..... not bad, not bad at all...especially with that elevation.

  5. #5
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    I hear what you are saying. Last year, after having dealt with kidney failure followed by dialysis for 6 months, I felt that finally I was ready to ride again, and worked up my strength gently. Then I did my first half-century club ride, and bonked hard in the boonies. Too embarrassed to make the "call of shame", I rested, got back on the bike, bonked again, rested, walked my bike up 4 different hills, and finally arrived back at the start, just as the last of the 'old and slow recumbent crowd' was packing up.

    Keep at it, it will slowly get better.
    I'm upping my standards;
    Up yours!

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