Perhaps the reason you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is because the old dog is struggling just to remember the old tricks.
Over the past few years my training has followed a familiar pattern. I ramp up volume and/or intensity and feel strong like bull one day and then a couple days later my legs turn to jello. After the cycle repeated itself several dozen times I finally recognized the pattern. This recognition coincided with my occasional revisiting of Joe Friel’s book, “The Cyclists Training Bible.” Following Joe’s advice I began scheduling easy weeks every three or four weeks.
Now before I pull a muscle by reaching around to pat myself on the back to acknowledge my wisdom I must confess my body doesn’t seem to care much what I write down as far as training plans. Despite channeling the German portion of my mutt-like ancestry and trying to plan my training to an OCD level of detail, my body has no qualms overruling the written plan and telling me I need to take some easy days RIGHT FREAKIN’ NOW.
I actually had socks like these once a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
Such was the case this week. My written plan was to have next week be an easy week. After a nice block of training that included seven rides last week I took a day off and then enjoyed a spin class with Smilin’ Geoff. Wednesday I hopped on the bike and felt like a fat kid riding on fly paper. On my morning bike commute I felt like I was riding two gears too high the whole time. Granted the bike is festooned with a rack and pannier, handlebar bag, five pound bike lock and bulbous tires, but even so, it felt slower than usual.
My HR wasn’t out of line for my speed and I wondered it was my legs or motivation that was lacking. I pushed a bit and my body pushed back. I declined further argument and declared it a recovery ride and dropped a gear.
On the way home that evening I opted to take it easy unless my legs showed themselves to be exceptionally spry. Consistent with my morning ride I had the infamous “Legs o’ Noodles,” which mandated a slower pace. Not unlike drivers of old VW’s I just sat back and waited to get to my destination. “Recovery ride,” I said to myself.
The infamous Sleeping Gnome of Cyclocross !
We have had an exceptional run of nice weather and my homeward commutes have been in short sleeve jerseys. It seems that only a month ago I was marveling that I could ride without a headlight and now the evenings are long enough I contemplate longer routes home just for fun.
Remember when it was cold ?
Everything gets easier as summer approaches. My commute laundry is half the size it is in winter. My time from desk to street is shorter without having to put on jackets, beanies and shoe covers. In a few weeks school will be out for the summer and the morning streets will be safer without the frenzied and distracted soccer moms driving their offspring to school in weaving minivans.
Right. On so many levels..
I will gladly concede that indeed I am an old dog. While the subject of new tricks is worth a discussion, it won’t happen today. The message today is that for an old dog, I sure seem to struggle just remembering the lessons I should know by heart based on the number of repetitions I have lived through. Such is my life.