Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Frustrating Cycling Problem

     As most followers know I set a minimum goal to cycle 1000 km ( 625 mi) a summer. It's not a high goal and most years I get far beyond 1000 km.

    I've ridden close to 30000 km ( 8000 mi) over the last 27 years. If your fitness level is adequate, cycling is easy and the  distance rolls off easily.

Note the blinding speed
    This year was different. In the spring we had cold, wet, windy, weather. Not to worry. The weather will turn nice and I'll easily make up the time. 

    I found riding hard this summer. I was forcing things. I would ride up a steep slope and had to  press so hard that my calves burned when I got to the top. On the level I usually do 20 km/h. This summer I could hardly do 15 km/h on the level and I was really struggling. Riding against the wind was almost impossible. I worried. Was I that far out of shape? Had age taken it's toll? Did I have some kind of physical problem? I worked hard and hoped my fitness level would come up. I still had to push it and riding was not fun. It crossed my mind that serious cycling was over for me.

A steep part of the trail that just killed me this summer

   I oiled and cleaned my chain several times. There was a slight improvement. I changed the seat.

Cleaning the chain again

   So a few weeks ago  I did another maintenance chore. I thought I better check the tire pressure. To my horror I found out the tire pressure was 12 lbs! 

   I pumped the tires to the proper pressure and tried the bike. Wow! I had lots of jump! I was back to the regular form. Cycling was very easy once again. 
Back to the blinding speed

   So all the worry and doubt was brought on by my own negligence in checking tire pressure. I'll remember this lesson for a while.