Monday, May 21, 2012

A Tale of Two Cyclists....

A tale of two cyclists....

One cyclist rides as often as she can and challenges herself to add more mileage every time. She pushes herself to strive for a higher average, better time, higher maximum speed, more minutes on the bike. She rides several days in a row, poo-pooing the notion of days off and recovery time and blah blah blah. She looks at a calendar and pencils in (literally) the days she expects to ride and calculates a projected monthly total of miles. Then she does everything in her power to EXCEED the projected monthly total. She schedules organized rides every weekend and begs her cycling friends to join her for additional rides.

The other cyclist talks herself out of riding and opts to float in the pool. She calculates a 20-mile ride home from school and then cuts off as much as she can. She does one tiny loop on one of her regular routes and settles for 11.73 miles. Her legs feel like lead, act like spaghetti noodles, and make her feel like she hasn't been on a bike in 10 years.

Obviously, both of these cyclists are me. (Are I?) I didn't dread getting on the bike today like I do some days, but it was certainly a chore once I was on it. My average speed wasn't bad, pretty much the same as it has been, but it felt like I was riding through pudding. If only it had been chocolate.

I've also learned to allow myself to have days like that, though. My mileage goal for the month of May is well in hand with a two-day event this weekend, so I don't have to beat myself up about missing a goal. I'm ahead of pace for my yearly goal too, with most of the good riding months ahead of me, so it's not like I have to worry about that. ("Worry" might be too strong a word. I'm pretty much past that point.)

I'm not very well-studied on the effects of strenuous exercise and how much rest the body needs and all that scientific blather. My less-than-professional judgment about the way I felt today is that the muscle fatigue I experienced Saturday needed more than a single day to recover.

Today was the last opportunity for me to ride the rest of this week until the weekend event. I hope four days of rest will make me stronger for the weekend. If not, I'll just be late finishing.

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