I am not what you would call a gifted rider, you know the type that seems to always be at the lead of the pack. No two ways about it, I am slow…and as I get older I seem to be getting slower. So far that old man endurance I keep on hearing about has not shown up. I am usually okay with my spot at the back of the group, but for some reason the last few group rides ended with me feeling pretty shitty about just how off the back of the pack I was.
I ride for the enjoyment of being out in the forest and having fun with friends. I thought my days of trying to keep up with the faster people in my riding group were behind me. I thought that my Ego was in check and that I had grown past worrying what others thought about me and my speed (or lack thereof). Something in the last few rides hurt my Ego. I have been riding these things called mountain bikes for well over 20 years now and I feel I should be better at it.
The problem for me is consistency. I will ride every day for a week, then get lazy for 3 months and only ride a few times a month. Heck there have been years where I have only put my tires in the dirt a handful of times. During this time of not riding, I get fat(ter). I get rusty and when I do get back on the bike again I get passed..a lot. Usually this does not bother me, I know that it’s part of the deal. I just get on the bike and keep on going till I am the one doing the passing.
Even though the last few rides did deflate my Ego, I did have fun. Every ride is fun, but I know I would have enjoyed the rides more if I could at least keep the pack in my sights and not feel like I was holding everyone back. I don’t mind riding slow, it’s when I start affecting other peoples rides that make me feel like I need a kick in the ass.
What comes next for me is a big look at my life and to change some of my bad lazy habits. I moved downtown not too long ago, and since then I can count the healthy home cooked meals I have made on one hand. This was a big change for me. I used to cook quite a bit, so that is one of the first things I have to change, start eating good food again.
Next, I am going to have to start doing some off bike training. I like the body weight fitness stuff so I am going to start actually working out again. Mix this up with a little yoga to help my balance, strength and for stretching and my riding will start getting better. Last time I did this I was riding better than I had since I was in my 20’s, so I know it works.
The last thing is one we can all relate too….RIDE BIKES MORE. While eating well and doing some other workouts do help, I find nothing actually improves riding more than riding! The more I ride the more comfortable I am on my bike and the more comfortable I am on the bike the faster I get. And hell…riding bikes is way more fun than push ups and planks…haha.
Since I am not a natural athlete I can’t just sit on my ass and watch Netflix if I want to keep from hurting my Ego too much while on group rides. I am getting older and my body is showing me that what may have worked for me in the past sure is not going to work now. If I am going to try to stick with the pack I am going to have to work for it. Till then it will be solo rides, eating better and actually working out. Time to get this slow mountain biker back out on the trails and not too far back from the rest of the pack on my next group ride.