The Biking Blahs

I suppose it happens to all of us. There are days you get on the bike, and just aren’t motivated. In my case, that’s been the story for the last few rides.

I’m not sure what’s triggered this round of blahs. I seem to get them every year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Friday after work, I did my usual 20-miler through the neighborhood. I know the hot weather got me there. It was 98 degrees (37C), and I didn’t want to push it, because I knew I’d be out Saturday morning.

But Saturday morning’s ride, for almost 28 miles, didn’t go much better. I kept pedaling, but had no oomph. Toward the end of the ride, my chain started skipping. I didn’t bother about it (bad sign).

On Sunday’s club ride, the group was heading out to Fitzhugh Road, usually a favorite of mine. They opted to tack on some extra distance, and bring the Fitzhugh total to the mid 50s. The usual turnaround spot gives 46 miles. I and the other B riders turn around earlier, for a 32-miler. But the rolling hills on Fitzhugh make it a tough 32.

Three miles into the ride, going up a nice hill in a semi-rural residential area, my chain started skipping again. But this time it was so bad, I could barely make it to the top. I stopped to check it out. Turning the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur in all the way helped. At least, I could shift while putting power to the pedals and have no chain skip. I started off in pursuit of the group.

But by now, they were so far ahead of me, they weren’t to be seen. I decided to do the 32-mile route on my own.

It was an anticlimax. I had no one else to feed off, so my average speed was down. I passed several clubbers halfway along Fitzhugh Road, where they were watching one of their compadres fix a flat. Ten minutes later, they caught and passed me, and sailed on ahead. That was demoralizing.

Back at Starbuck’s, I enjoyed a smoothie while I waited for some of the group to show up. No one did. The longer route today meant they would be out on a road longer than usual. I headed home.

Today it was the strong southeast wind that got me. At one point, descending an easy hill at about 30 mph, a crosswind gust hit me and nearly knocked me off the bike. That got my attention, but made me cautious for the rest of the ride. My average speed for several days of riding is in the low 14s, which is okay, but not the mid-15s that I’ve been doing lately.

Hm. Have I been pushing too hard to be averaging in the 15s? That’s not an extraordinary speed. In fact, it used to be my old average. I can’t believe it’s a case of over training, since I ride only four days a week, so I’ve got three rest days. Could be lack of sleep, I suppose. I go to bed around midnight, and I’m up at 6 a.m. But I’ve always kept those hours, and seem to get along fine on six hours of sleep.

How about you? Do the biking blahs get you from time to time? If so, what do you do about them? If my past is any indication, I’ll snap out of the blahs in a few more days. But in the meantime, biking has lost its attraction for me.

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6 thoughts on “The Biking Blahs

  1. This definitely sounds like me right now. I don’t bike as much as you do, but even so I’ve been struggling to get out even once a week, even when the weather has been OK. The newly-arrived heat hasn’t helped, but I think it feels more like a sort of biking version of depression. Just not that interested. I’ll get juiced again in the next few weeks, especially when the TdF starts up–that usually gets my blood moving.

  2. I’m going through the exact same thing, or at least that’s how I felt yesterday. My problems revolve around other issues (work stress, etc.) though. I ride seven days a week so I’m sure I’ve got a little bit of overtraining going on (my miles are WAY up month over month). So far I’m going to try to push through it but my little bout with the doldrums has my attention – I just may need a few days off. I think your attitude reads quite well considering.

  3. I’m thinking of doing some rides this weekend I haven’t done before–or at least haven’t done in a long time. Breakingout of the routine might help.

    • Good luck, and please post your results, I’m going a little bit of a different route – taking the odd couple of days off, it’ll be interesting to see how you do.

  4. Trick is to take a teaspoon of cement and harden the fuck up. How do you expect to lose all that seal blubber otherwise? Personally I often find that after 10-15mins warmup cycling my body overcomes its ‘blah’. So cycle anyway!

  5. I think it’s something we all suffer from from time to time. I fnd a few days off the bike usualy has me tching to get back riding. Alternatively i’ll head out for a ride on the fixed gear or with my wife on the tandem….leaving all the gels, gps and computers at home…and just riding for fun.

    I find I sometimes get so wrapped up in average speeds, counting calories and logging miles etc i forget to enjoy it. Take the pressure off by not looking at all these metrics and just go for a bike ride for the sake of it. Usually works for me!

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