Home

How long off my bike before I pay a real price in my conditioning?

February has been a crappy month here - a wintery mix of snow and rain and temperatures lower than my riding limit.  I've been off my bike for 2 full weeks.   I don't think I've gone 2 weeks off the bike for more than 2 years.   I can feel the kilos returning to my tummy. 

Last year was a record year for me - almost 13K km.  (Not much for some I know, but for me, 62 y/o, it was a bunch!  Five full centuries and over 22 metric centuries.)

There are some challenging rides in May that I'm planning. 

What is your experience with loosing form due to downtime? 

 

14 comments

Avatar
cycle.london [98 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I don't know how long it takes to lose it, but since I posted my request for advice on this very site…

https://road.cc/content/forum/252535-how-am-i-supposed-motivate-myself

.. i have probably cycled into work four times at the most. 

In that time, I've put on a stone and am feeling even worse mentally. 

 

Avatar
Simon E [3700 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

Two weeks really isn't long. CW published an article about detraining:

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/detraining-the-truth-abou...

From reading widely, it seems that your fitness will return rather more quickly than it took to build in the first place. Joe Friel is one of a number of coaches recommending that for older athletes benefit more than younger ones by doing some higher intensity work through their off-season. Friel's book Fast After 50 may be of interest: summary / review.

TBH I'd not fret too much. You have plenty of riding under your belt so I'd look at training for the specific demands of those events. Hilly? Ride hills. Flat and fast? Group riding/chain gain, etc etc.

Avatar
Mungecrundle [1424 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Do something else. Is there a nice warm gym locally that you can join for the winter months? Good idea to mix up training in any event, different cardio exercises and 3 sessions a week of weight training to build strength.

Avatar
ThickRichard [5 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Thanks!

Looked over the discussion of motiviation.  Sure, its an issue.  But, for me: 1) I watched my father die from heart disease and I want to head that off the best can and 2) I love to ride my bike!  Have since I had a paper route as a kid.  

I have not read the CW article yet - but I'll make sure and look it over ASAP.   I'm an engineer by trade and generally interested in the details.   Concepts on fitness sure have changed in my life. 

I can't stand being couped up in a gym exercising.   I love being in the outdoors.  I listened to a podcast about the importance of resistance training - and I've started doing some pushup and situps before my rides.   But, walking the dogs and riding my bike will probably remain the center of my plan.

I did get out today - tried to sneak out in a sucker-hole.  It sprinkled a bit but, to some degree, I've always felt that cycling involves a bit of suffering.   Being wet and cold once in a while is part of it!  1

Cheers to all and stay safe! 

Avatar
Nick T [1260 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I had a really sporadic year last year, going a couple of months between rides at points and only managed a few thousand km. the first couple of days are tough going but it comes back pretty quickly once you get some consistent mileage under your belt

Avatar
ThickRichard [5 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I hope so!    As mentioned, I had a fabulous year in 2018 (for me), and I got a little snotty with it.  I'm just a recreational club rider.   But there were times last year where nobody in my little riding group would go faster than me - unless I let them!   1 

So - if I loose it now, all those people I humiliated will look forward to riding me into the dust!  

Cheers to all and stay safe!

Avatar
Butty [322 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I stopped celebrating Christmas yesterday (started it mid Nov) and got on Zwift for a quick 10 miles.

I'd become listless, not sleping as normal and putting on around 1 stone, so finally bit the bullet and decided it's time to get ready for summer.

The immediate impact of hibernation in that first ride was hitting max HR on a short rise that shouldn't be an issue and also for the time taken for HR to fall back as I wound down. 

At least it's a guage to measure the coming improvements.

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [2552 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I had a month off last year.  My fitness plummeted, took 3 months of training to gt it back.

Avatar
peted76 [1387 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
ThickRichard wrote:

I hope so!    As mentioned, I had a fabulous year in 2018 (for me), and I got a little snotty with it.  I'm just a recreational club rider.   But there were times last year where nobody in my little riding group would go faster than me - unless I let them!   1 

So - if I loose it now, all those people I humiliated will look forward to riding me into the dust!  

Cheers to all and stay safe!

You can get caught up with 'improvement' yes it's amazing to be the best but you can only go one way from the top and that can be difficult to deal with and can suck some joy out of riding, sometimes it's important just to have a few weeks off, get back on your bike and just do something new, or old that you've not done for a while.

 

Avatar
peted76 [1387 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
ThickRichard wrote:

I hope so!    As mentioned, I had a fabulous year in 2018 (for me), and I got a little snotty with it.  I'm just a recreational club rider.   But there were times last year where nobody in my little riding group would go faster than me - unless I let them!   1 

So - if I loose it now, all those people I humiliated will look forward to riding me into the dust!  

Cheers to all and stay safe!

You can get caught up with 'improvement' yes it's amazing to be the best but you can only go one way from the top and that can be difficult to deal with and can suck some joy out of riding, sometimes it's important just to have a few weeks off, get back on your bike and just do something new, or old that you've not done for a while.

 

Avatar
Daveyraveygravey [674 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I'd say two weeks is where it starts to be noticeable - what you could do before without thinking will take more effort, and take more out of you.  You can go a week without noticing any negative change, but two weeks, you will be aware.

I broke my shoulder in August last year, and the combination of 4-5 weeks off then, plus the onset of winter means I haven't got back to where I was yet. I was in a good place then, and it becomes self-perpetuating (for me at least) when you get to a certain level, you want to maintain or improve that, so you make sure you ride every 2-3 days, if not more than that.  And you mix it up, a long slow ride, then maybe an hour of hill reps next time, then maybe a couple of sessions with sprints in.  

My recovery started with walking, I live in a beautiful area so literally 5 minutes walking from the house and I am away from buildings and in the woods.  I also noticed how easy/quick it was to start, no "special" clothing, no preparation, no having to have the right snacks and drinks ready, no charging of batteries for any kit, just normal cloths and trainers and away I went.  

I've now started running again, going twice a week with my 21 year old son.    Added to that, I have started being more careful with food and drink, and have at least got my weight back where it was before the accident.

Avatar
ThickRichard [5 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Thanks again to all!  Love the input!

I noticed that I hit my max HR on my first ride as well - and very early in my ride.  

My hope is to get back to last summer's form by including more intensity in my rides.   Even though I really dislike doing intervals!   I hope that I can be back to last summer's form in less than 3 months!  

I don't think I get hung up on improvement - I'm an old fart and an amature - and I am enjoying my few weeks off.   I ride because I love to ride!   I am thrilled with what I can do and try not to be too upset by what I can't.    It is just that I have a competetive side.   (Which, I hope, always ends with a hearty hand-shake and congratualtions either way.)  

Sad to hear about the shoulder!   From a bike accident I assume?   Knowing about others accidents tend to make me more careful.   I guess that it is always the thing you miss that gets you.   (IMHO, forget the running - bad for the knees.  1 )

Cheers to all - stay safe! 

 

Avatar
beigemaster [43 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

If you're training with HR with a HR strap and you're on Strava, download the "Elevate for Strava" Chrome plugin.

This has loads of really useful extra Strava features, but one of the best things is it has a "fitness trend" feature which will use your TSS scores from your rides to show/track your fitness/form over time- this is really helpful for showing when you need to back off (if your fatigue is going up) but also shows how much fitness you'll lose over time. 

Avatar
ThickRichard [5 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Is there a conversation about Strava compared to Ride with GPS?   I have been using a fitbit HR monitor - and RidewGPS.