A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2015 vs. 2016: What a Difference a Year (without injury) Makes

2015 was the year I learned that the IT Band is not a nerdy rock group.
I've seen a lot of posts this week about how many miles people ran in 2016 and people setting a goal to "run the year" (2,017 miles in 2017). I don't run much these days (if at all, for fear of inflaming my IT band, as I did in 2015) but this made me wonder how many miles I had ridden in 2016 and what my goal should be for 2017. I jokingly told one Facebook friend I would match her 2017 goal to run 2,017 miles -- on my bike -- but knew that would be far less than I had ridden this year so I need a better goal than that (like resolving to BEEFit)! 

So how many miles did I ride this year? Of course I tracked all my rides on my Garmin Edge 810 so was able to quickly look up my total miles for 2016 on Garmin Connect. I was actually surprised to see that I rode 3,737 miles this past year.

This screenshot of my 2016 rides from May to December shows the lead up to Cycle Oregon (Sept. 11-17) and maintenance rides through the end of November.
Without even going back and looking up past records I know that is the most I have ridden in one year. Given that I was close to 4,000, my daughter suggested I could set a goal to ride 4,034 miles (doubling up on 2017). I kind of like that idea but I spent a LOT of time on the bike this year (219 hours, 15 minutes and 52 seconds, to be exact) and am not sure how much more time I want to spend in the saddle!

By comparison I decided to look up 2015 miles. This time I was surprised how low they were. I only rode 1,779 miles in a year? How could that be? I didn't think I'd ridden fewer than 2,000 miles in a year since my first Ride the Rockies in 2005. 

This screensot of my rides from May to December 2016 paints a very different picture. My IT band injury put me out of commission for nearly five whole months!
So I looked at the calendar more closely and the answer was clear. I only rode NINE times between July 1 and December 1. Remember that IT band injury? Probably not, since I never wrote about it. So here goes...

All along the Water Tower in Chicago
One week after Ride the Rockies 2015 I was running in downtown Chicago. I love to run along the Miracle Mile and the trail along Lake Michigan. I was cruising along and stepped off a curb and felt something pull in my right hip. I limped along the remaining miles and could barely walk the next day. 

The run along Lake Michigan can be a little uneven in spots, which is one cause of IT band injuries (running on an uneven surface)
I tried riding a few times after but had knee pain that was unbearable. The IT band can wreak a lot of havoc when it is not happy! After reading up on it I decided rest was the best road to recovery and literally sat out most of July, August and September. The good news it worked! The bad news is I gained about 20 lbs. during all that sitting, and holiday eating. As a result it took me a lot longer than normal to lose my winter weight this past year. 

I wrote about why old guys get fat in winter several years ago, focusing on the hibernation theory. This year I think the answer is pretty obvious. I burned 170,310 fewer calories in 2015 (153,160) than 2016 (323,470). 

Getting out of bed to ride in winter is hard!
Fortunately I had more time to get into fighting weight before Cycle Oregon in September than I normally do for Ride the Rockies in June. I would have had a hard time hauling my ass over the mountains weighing 235 than I would at my normal 215!

Training for a ride in September meant that I stayed motivated throughout the summer and early fall. Typically I have a hard time getting back on the bike after my big event. This year I was determined not to let that happen and set a goal to ride at least 50 miles per week in October and November, which I did. I stepped that up to 75/week in December.
I like to set up my CycleOps trainer in front of the TV and watch the AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs! 
A lot of these miles were ridden on my CycleOps Fluid 2 indoor trainer, which involves constant peddling (riding outdoors it's normal to coast 10, 20, even 30 percent of the time and provides a great workout.
So here I sit on January 2, 107, weighing in at 223 lbs., ten pounds less than last year at this time and around my normal for this time of year. I want to get that back under 220 ASAP and hold it there until warmer weather returns and we emerge from hibernation!

The question is: which big ride am I going to do this year: Ride the Rockies or Cycle Oregon? Another possibility Jonny Rocker and I have discussed is doing our own ride, either self-supported or supported by our wives. Let me know if you have any suggestions for other week-long rides or planning your own route.

Ride on!


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