Motivation (or lack therefof) - CycleBlaze

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Motivation (or lack therefof)

Tom Iarossi

I lost a lot of riding time in the last half of last year. Surgery with a month-long recovery, out of town visitors, a bout of COVID, another batch of out of town visitors, then a bad fall that damaged my knee. I was involuntarily benched from riding, then winter set in and I will admit I do not enjoy biking in thirty degree and colder weather.

Now I find myself trying to get my mojo back. My stable is well stocked, with a road bike, dual suspension and hardtail MTBs, my touring rig, and even a beach cruiser, all tuned and ready to rock. What's missing is drive.

Have any of you experienced this? What have you done to get it back?

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5 days ago
Brent IrvineTo Tom Iarossi

I'll step back and not be 'pushy' on myself which makes me feel guilty. Over the winter I'll do light cross training. Most days will be Nordic skiing but some will be indoors on the mag trainer with YouTube or some TV binge watching. I'll even **gasp** go for a walk to mix things up a bit. I usually have a spring tour lined up which is motivation to train. I'm raring to go when the tour starts.

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5 days ago
Gregory GarceauTo Tom Iarossi

I've never faced the tough challenges you have but, still, I occasionally experience a lack of motivation.  Sometimes the reason is snowfall and/or extreme temperatures.  Last summer it was the drowsiness of Covid.  Other times, I've had irritating back or knee pain.  That's when some kind of personal pride takes over.  I mean, what would my neighbors think if I didn't at least give it a shot?  Ninety-nine percent of the time, it only takes a mile or so for me to get into a groove.  Then I keep on going and it feels so good and I have no regrets. 

 

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5 days ago
Kathleen JonesTo Tom Iarossi

I agree with Brent. Just step back and do other things to keep fit for a while, and don’t feel guilty about it. You just don’t feel like riding right now; don’t force it. It’s supposed to be fun, remember? I’ve gone through periods like that, and the most recent time I ended up doing a lot of hiking for a few months. Then I remembered that cute trike in the garage and off we went.

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5 days ago
Keith AdamsTo Tom Iarossi

I lost the fire for an extended period - several years - and in fact am still sort of struggling (despite having put serious coin into a new touring rig last autumn).  

I share your opinion about winter riding: bundling up to knock out even a modest 25 miles when the temperature's below 50°F no longer holds even a minimal appeal for me.  And there's all those holidays between late November and mid-January to disrupt any sort of rhythm or routine.

Another facet of winter, for me, is a desire to get to the tropics for a week or two for sun, ambient vitamin D, and warm salt-tinged air.  Naturally that also interferes with cycling and shifts my focus, not to mention my motivation.

Perhaps spending time poring over the map and designing a "dream tour(s)" - at least at the notional level, if not in excruciating detail - will rekindle the fire.  If you actually translate plan and theory to intent and action, you'll be motivated to train for it and perhaps that'll do the trick?

Another possible strategy would be to find and book yourself into a tour someplace relatively warm in the "early" spring.  Seeing from your profile that you live in Sandy Eggo I would guess there are some decent spring offerings out your way?  

Last year I signed on for the Florida Bicycle Safari, which runs in mid-April.  Florida's comfortably warm by that time and the riding's flat and easy: just what I wanted as a means to get the blood flowing.

Find a cold rainy day and spend it showing your bikes some maintenance love.  Simply taking them apart, giving everything a thorough cleaning, and reassembling them to perfect running order can be therapeutic.  Having put it back to better-than-factory-new condition, you'll want to take it for a spin, right?

Got a bike you particularly love to ride but somehow have left on the rack for a while?  Take it down, dust it off, and remind yourself what it is about that particular bike that moves your soul and makes your heart go pitter-pat.

Finally, this: the bathroom scale can be a good motivator.  Mine told me, yesterday, that it's well past time to get back to a regular exercise regimen.  I'm currently basking in the pleasant afterglow of a modestly-energetic spin (in addition to a fleet of actual bikes I've spoiled myself with a good spin bike) and the endorphins in my head are busy stimulating my brain's enjoyment receptors.  It took all day for me to get off my duff and do it but now that it's happened I feel a virtuous if self-satisfied glow.

You mention in your profile that reading journals from a specific contributor here is enjoyable.  I agree: not only Jeff Arnim but several others are in my "Following" list and I'm itching to get out to some of the places they've written about and see what the fuss is all about.  That goes hand-in-hand with my previous suggestion of planning a tour of your own, and even more with actually putting it on the calendar.  A tour with set dates and some cash already committed can be a real motivator.

Good luck to you in your effort to rekindle the fire.  I'm right there with you.

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5 days ago
Wayne EstesTo Tom Iarossi

My Oregon winters are a bit colder and wetter than yours and I still find it easy to bike year-round. As I get older I notice that my strength decreases more rapidly as the temperature drops. I'm much weaker at 40F than at 80F and I need to dress more warmly. Recovery time increases. I compensated somewhat by switching to a higher performance bike. Hopefully I'm many years from needing an e-bike.

Inspiration is sometimes difficult to just switch on. Short cool winter days don't help. Planning tours during the winter season helps keep me motivated. In the last 2 months I spent many hours planning my next bike tour. It will be my longest tour since 2017. That motivates me to stay in shape between now and then.

I plan tours many months in advance. The older I get, the more I think about how unplanned events might ruin my tour plan. Major injury, illness, and family obligation are the biggest risks.

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5 days ago
Kathleen JonesTo Tom Iarossi

And another thing: this past year I haven’t been able to travel much at all with my trike because of shoulder issues; i.e., I couldn’t hoist it into the car and drive off somewhere. Which meant I was limited to the same 10-20 mile ride all year. Which is boring. (But don’t cry too hard because it’s coastal and gorgeous, but still, the same route …) What got me going was taking up sketching again after 40+ years. That gave me some motivation to at least stop in a place or two along the usual route and draw. I found the littlest things caught my attention so I’d stop and learn something new as I drew it. I started looking forward to my forays. So if you can find a fun goal - visit a new cafe, go out to buy that one envelope you need, you always need more tubes at the bike shop, right? etc. that might give you a reason to ride. For *fun*.

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4 days ago
Bob DistelbergTo Tom Iarossi

There's already lots of great suggestions here, but I'll echo Kathleen and say that I believe it's ok to just step away for a little while, and perhaps engage in a different sport. I've found myself unmotivated to cycle the last few winters, so I've thrown myself in running (my original sport), snowshoeing and winter hiking. Once the weather starts getting a little nicer, that cycling urge comes back. It really only takes one ride on that first half way decent weather day and my cycling mojo comes roaring back.  

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4 days ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen Jones

I love this idea.  You should create a blog of your rides and some of your sketches they inspired.

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4 days ago
Karen CookTo Tom Iarossi

 Hi Tom,

Yes I am going through a lack of motivation right now.  I have gone round and round on what the problem is and what is causing it; praying that it’s not that I don’t like bike touring but something else.

And I actually THINK I have figured it out.  I think… 

As stupid as it may sound, I think it’s because of my dog?  I adopted a senior rescue dog during Covid (August 2020).  The vet thought she would live 6 months to a year but she is still around, I think because she is happy.

I tried trips the past two summers and failed, returning less than a week in.  But after months of rolling it in my mind I don’t think my stated reasons for stopping (heat and health problems) were the most important reasons in my heart.   The dog was always in the back of my mind.  She is sweet and I love her.  So leaving her for so long in what I felt was sub optimal care, feeling bad for leaving her in a kennel or with my brother (who had some health problems and was stressed having her).  I would wonder if she was getting all her medication, or if she was in pain, or sad that I was gone, etc.   I also had a strong feeling that I wanted to be with her if she needed to be put down, that it was my responsibility comfort her in the end.  I just wanted to be home, not out on a bike trip.  The bike trip wasn't as fun as before.

Anyway, I think that’s the problem, though I won’t know until she is actually in doggie heaven.  If not then maybe I am souring on bike touring? 

Still, I keep looking at possible trips I want to do, like in Europe, and dream of going when I am not worried about Wags at home in a kennel.  And I am looking at a Surly Bridge Club bike that is set up for both road and off road touring.    

So I must still want to bike tour, right?

Still, the bottom line is I am not as motivated for bike touring right now.  The reason is almost irrelevant.  So I think maybe just wait it out, don’t force the issue and let bike touring come back to you, if that makes sense.  Do other things for a while and l I bet the urge to ride will come back in time.
Karen

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4 days ago