Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spin classes start Tuesday, November 17

Spin classes will start at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in Ellensburg Tuesday, November 17 at 5:00 pm. Classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the winter. Bring a dry change of clothes for after the workout. This is a great way to socialize and train with other local cyclists.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The mental side of a long layoff

On October 19 I had extensive sinus cavity surgery that according to the doctor was going to require 7-10 days of recovery with no heavy lifting or exertion while everything healed. During one appointment I inquired how long before I could at least get on an indoor trainer. The reply was "at least two weeks" - he didn't want the blood pressure built up.

I had an appointment 10 days after the surgery to remove to splints on each side of my septum. Of course, the first answer about riding was no sufficient for me so I asked the next doctor the same question - when can I get back on the bike? His reply was much more acceptable - "now, if you feel you can, just don't take your heart rate up to 200 and work back into it gradually." Of course, that was the answer I wanted to hear and I was on the trainer fo 30 minutes that night. It felt fantastic to just spin the pedals and sweat a little.

As athletes (I consider myself one even though I'm not at elite status) we become fixated on our training to the point it's an obsession. For me, riding provides a positive mental outlook on life, allows me the chance to temporarily escape the stress of work and the chance to enjoy all nature has to offer. Not getting to ride for almost 2 weeks (too much winter preparatory work done the weekend before the surgery) it was safe to say I was going crazy. I hate being cooped up inside and not being able to do anything. Heck, I drove into town two days after surgery to pick my son up from football practice - and I shouldn't have. But, I was going nuts.

How cycling or fitness training in general affects our mental outlook is amazing. My training rides can hurt something fierce while I'm in the middle of it but the shrinking waistline, visible abs and positive feelings that come from that ride cause me to completely forget that pain immediately after the ride and do it all over again the next day.

This week I've been able to squeeze 21-25 mile rides in during the early afternoon before it gets dark and am probably pushing harder than the doctor wants but my brain says "you've lost too much in two weeks, come on - push, push, push". Sometimes the body responds and other times it doesn't. I feel like I lost a lot of fitness over those two weeks off the bike and as much as my brain says I can do something, physically it just doesn't happen. Of course, that could also be partly related to being in my mid-40's. I'm sure the loss isn't nearly as bad as my mind says it is.

During that long layoff I had to keep myself busy with other things to keep from going absolutely crazy with not riding. Reading, light work on the chicken coop and bicycle maintenance all helped me pass the time. I slipped a few mile long, slow walks in a few times but those even made me tired. But, it was hard, I so desperately wanted to ride and it sucks when you have to give that up. Sometimes the work to stay positive during your layoff is the hardest. Work at it and try to stay occupied to take your mind off the lack of training. It's the only thing to keep you sane.

I'll soon forget about that recovery period - heck, I need to. The days are getting shorter and colder and snow will soon be here so the opportunities for outdoor training are diminishing. Besides, I've had to deal with cows on the road (twice) and a car almost running a stop sign and hitting me this week - so things are getting back to normal.