Autumn doldrums

Yeah, I know, the doldrums are associated with hot weather, and it’s actually starting to get a bit cool around here now. But given the way my biking has been going over the last few weeks, I think I qualify for being in at least the biking doldrums.

I’ll blame it on my century ride. Leading up to that ride, I worked hard to put in the mileage that would allow me to finish it without struggling. I got stronger on hills, my endurance improved, my weight dropped (a little bit). It was fun to see how many miles I rode in a given month. I was in the mid-300s in July and August.

After the century, I no longer felt the urgency to get out and ride. I still tried to ride often, but found it easy to make excuses: Since the crash in October, I haven’t been motivated to go out on the Sunday morning rides with the club, Daylight Saving Time is ending, it’s getting chillier during the times I prefer to ride, I’m just not up for it today, etc. That’s really had an impact on my riding in November. My weight, too. I’m up about seven pounds.

After a 12-mile ride today, I made my usual visit to Bike Journal, where I entered my mileage figures. No 300 miles this month. My whopping total for November is 132. (At least I got out today. On Thanksgiving, we went to the fitness club where Mrs. Noob belongs, and I “rode” a stationary bike. Whoopee.)

Hey, I’m not Mr. Hardcore. I’ll get out there as the spirit moves me. I bundled up today to deal with a stiff wind. But I think I’m in the maintenance mode for awhile. Around February, I expect to step it up as I start getting ready for the MS 150 in April.  On the plus side, Austin’s winters are mild enough that we can get out on the bike all year around.

Be the first one to wave

While out for a quick morning ride, I noticed a lot of other cyclists trying to get some miles in themselves. But I also noticed something I’ve heard others mention recently — not a lot of them acknowledge other cyclists.

I get a kick out of it when I meet another rider, and we exchange a wave an a smile. In most cases, I’ve never seen the other person before, and probably won’t again. That makes it just that much more pleasant.

Back in my jogging days, I’d always wave and say “hi” to other runners. Just by being out there, pounding the pavement, they had a connection to you.

Biking seems to be that way more often than not, but lately, there are a lot of nots.

Today I wore my cheapest, plainest jersey and shorts. Maybe other riders thought I was too unsophisticated to waste a wave on. But whatever the reason, I got fewer waves today than usual.

And it’s not just the guys done up in the pro kits. Guys in cargo shorts and t-shirts can ignore you just as easily.

Come on, folks. Help build the biking community. When you pass someone headed in the opposite direction, be the first to wave. It’ll make them feel good, and you’ll have done your good deed for the day. If they’re grumpy, or shy, and don’t wave back — so what? Just keep waving.

Man, am I tired after a long ride

I don’t know if it’s the reduced amount of time I spend on the bike, now that training for the century is over, or if it’s inhaling cool air in our autumn weather, or if I’m just starting to put on my few extra wintertime pounds, but I’ve noticed that what used to be a routine ride really takes it out of me these days.

Sunday morning, I went out for about 20 miles.  Nothing special, although I did step it up several times to try to cover some sections at a good clip.  But at the end of the ride, I felt good.  Exhilarated, but not wiped out.

Then, after grabbing a quick lunch and sitting down to catch a little pro football, it felt like a wave of tiredness swept over me.  I went into the bedroom, flopped on the bed, and the next thing I knew, my wife was waking  me up.  It was 5 o’clock.

“I didn’t think I slept that much,” I told her.

“You were sawing logs,” she said.

During August and September, that never happened.  More often than not, I’d finish a longish weekend ride, say 35-50 miles, have lunch, and then do some yard work.  Even after I finished my century, I didn’t crash on the couch.  I took it easy, but I didn’t fall asleep.

I’ve noticed my tired spells have started over the last four weeks or so.  I’m not much for naps usually, so when I conk out in the middle of the day, it’s noticeable.  Not that I mind a good nap.  It just surprises me that after all the effort I went through to condition myself, that a lesser amount of activity should leave me tuckered out.

Does this happen to you?