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Back in the 1970’s America sang, “We used to laugh, we used to cry,we used to bow our heads then, wonder why. And now you’re gone, I guess I’ll carry on, and make the best of what you’ve left to me…”

I know how they felt, but it’s me that’s left me, which is a  difficult thing to achieve.

For a variety of reasons I fell off the self-care/fitness wagon and allowed myself to become one with Space Balls‘ character Pizza The Hut. I was a mess. Right now I’m a recovering mess.

To better myself I have set out on a trek (well, mostly a Cannondale, but I digress) to regain my lost health. Part of health is fitness and my best test of aerobic fitness is cycling, an activity I have performed for well over 10,000 hours in the last thirty-seven plus years.

I know how fast I was when I started way back in 1980, I know how fast I was when I peaked around 1990, and I know how fast I am now. As part of my effort I’ve been posting my recent progress on Face Book. Earlier this month I posted that I should be able to cycle solo 18 miles in an hour under ‘reasonable’ conditions. (As in not too hot, not too hilly- I live in FLORIDA!- and not too windy.) A friend challenged this, saying that he felt 18mph does not qualify as slow.

My response was that I should be able to go out and cycle 18 miles in an hour without discernible effort; that to me, for me, 18 is a “C” grade. Today I got my “C” grade- almost!

I managed to ride 14.24 miles in forty-seven minutes, twenty-four seconds, an average pace of three minutes, nineteen seconds/mile which absolutely makes my pace faster than 18 mph. Of course, the question is, could I have maintained that pace for another 3.76 miles?

I don’t know, and today, for right now, I don’t care. (Much) Because I am making much needed progress.

BTW- here is a chart of how many watts is required for me to cycle at different mph, and yes there was a time when I could (occasionally) muster 25mph for 15 miles or less.

Cycling for an hour I would burn the following:

Speed     Watts burned/hour  Watts/Mile
18mph ~165 watts ~ 9 watts/mile
19mph ~ 190 watts ~ 10 watts/mile
20mph ~ 220 watts ~11 watts/mile
21mph ~ 250 watts ~ 12 watts/mile
22mph ~ 280 watts ~13 watts/mile
23mph ~ 315 watts ~14 watts/mile
24mph ~ 350 watts ~ 15 watts/mile
25 mph ~ 395 watts ~ 16 watts/mile

BTW- This chart shows why riding faster is so much harder than riding slower. The uptick in speed from 20mph to 25 mph is only 25% but the uptick in effort is 145%.

I hope my voyage to recovery continues because it’s a whole lot harder being old and out of shape than it is just being old!