Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peak Fitness

I am often on autopilot as I crank the pedals, easily shifting as I cruise to work, climbing hills, coasting, glancing in my mirror for approaching traffic. In other words, I'm in the groove.

And I noticed that I no longer crest hills and immediately take a breather, let the heart rate quiet down—because I no longer need the break. I've given up counting the revolutions until the top, nor do I pay constant attention to the gearing. Sometimes it sneaks up on me, this point after a few months of riding when spinning wheels isn't an effort, but an extension of my everyday self. I can dream while standing in the pedals, write blog notes in my head, compile grocery lists.

I am sublime with my bike. I call it personal peak performance—not like a supremely fit Tour de France racer, but rather—when hopping on the bike is an easy thing. Earlier this spring I encountered leg fatigue when riding the heavy Ross after a 20 mile errand run. Now I barely know when I'm closing in on 25 miles.

What is your personal fitness barometer?


  1. I love that what I used to consider arduous "climbs" are now just totally ridable hills. My fitness barometer is all about breath. If I'm sucking air, I know I just did something I need to be more fit to tackle.

  2. Ummm, I have no idea what my personal fitness is at the moment because the furthest I "have" to cycle is 5 miles. Although at the end of that I always feel sad that I now have to get off the trike and feel I could easily do the whole journey again.

    Now that I have my 2 wheel folding bike I do intend to go on much further trips.

    I will remember this question of yours in about 2 months when I am hopefully cycling many more miles in one sitting.

  3. I am not very fit nowadays so I've almost forgotten how it feels, but when I was fit I felt great when I could do a race (I did triathlons) and feel I was going strongly the whole time, it was not so much the speed as that feeling that I was able to do the whole course at a good pace and not run out of puff.

  4. I felt very good hiking in the Grand Canyon a couple of weeks ago. My aerobic capacity seemed very good coming up the 1.5 miles of switchbacks, for example.

  5. I never cycle very quickly, but, if I cycle to and from work via the city which is a 55km round trip and can run around with the medication trolley for 7 hours in between, I feel pretty OK for the wrong end of my forties. It certainly is about the effortlessness rather than the athleticism (which in my case is zero).

  6. First let me say that I love that first photo... It's the quintessential Annie pigtail photo.

    I took a break from cycling over the winter and worried that my fitness level would drop significantly. But in no time I found my rhythm in commuting and cycling around town. My fitness barometer would have to be noted by my rpm's. I was definitely more sluggish when it came to spinning the wheels at the start of my commuting season.


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