What’s the biggest dip in fitness / form you’ve come back from?

Long story (I’ll try to be brief)

Summer 2020, after an amazing run of consistent and high quality (less than 10% zone 1) training and riding I hit my best numbers ever. This has been a continual progression since starting cycling at the end of 2012.

FTP: genuine 320-325 (4.8wkg), 400+ for 5 minutes.

End of 2020 (October onwards), a few issues with equipment, injuries and mojo went. 2021 just rode bike for fun, new gravel bike in October, been pretty much on that all the time since so not much structure. (Some long events on the calendar)

I have a weird mix, I have a desire to get back to something like 2020 but currently not the focus to do it. I enjoy riding my gravel bike but I’ve lost the love for indoor training, but if I can get that back that is where my comeback will be made.

Any tips for rekindling my love for the turbo?

I think there are a couple different approaches.

  1. You could either start slow on the trainer just to get back onto it and stop dreading it. Start with 45m-1hr or so with some manageable intervals (probably on days where the weather is bad).
  2. You could begin to add some outdoor intensity before you try to add the super focused trainer stuff. Don’t burn the candle from both ends to start by pushing through both intervals and the trainer at once. But get used to the intensity and training side before you deal with the trainer.
  3. Some mix of both. Just doing whatever feels right. Don’t force the intervals, don’t force the trainer. Just do what feels right and feels manageable.
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I’m just around 3w/kg, not as experienced, so take this with a grain of salt.

What I would do is not forcing it, start having a good plan outdoors and slowly getting back on the turbo.
Maybe just for recovery rides first, then add some short intensity workouts.

If after a while you see you really aren’t enjoying riding on the turbo, maybe it’s a sign you shouldn’t do it anymore.


Unless you are a professional athlete where hitting your 2020 condition level becomes requirement for survival, it’s too big of a goal to become useful in motivation. You may recall the level of training you were doing in 2020 - not just the hours and effort, but the need to dig deep driving yourself into pain often for hours on end. That kind of determination and commitment comes incrementally, not from quick decisions.

Start from where ever you are at - even without a power meter and bike computer - and find what you enjoy doing. If you love it, do more of it. You can add structure if you become so motivated. Desire to do indoor training will come incrementally - whether because of desire to improve on your structured training or as an alternative to outdoor riding (e.g. weather or available time driven).


All great inputs. Like has been said, not forcing it seems the best way.

I work from home so I think I might aim to incorporate some shorter (45 minutes) sessions at lunchtime. Building a routine and hopefully that will add the volume I need but without the pressure of super hard or heavy sessions ‘.

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Yeh, building routines are good. They help you drive through inevitable up and down days.

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I used to be similar fitness in early 20s but only rode outside. I stopped for a few years and bounced back to that fitness in a season.

I’m at the same fitness now but different circumstances. I now do the trainer for 1 hrs 4/5 weekdays with one interval session. I then ride 4-5 hrs on Saturday as a quality day.

Honestly, it’s hard to do because trainer sucks so much lol. I have gone from no music, to just music, to just TV, it back around, etc. Weather is nice out now and it’s just not actually ‘riding’ a bike in the garage, just turning pedals. I feel for you, OP!

  • Start with trying to understand what you loved about it then. See if that is still possible or applicable in your present state and go from there.

  • Fixation on prior numbers may be motivation for some while being disincentive for others. You have to decide if that focus is beneficial for you or not. If it is, aim for it as needed. If it’s not, point in a very different direction.

  • This may well be like the many “lost my mojo” type of topics here where one comment refrain is to focus on the “Dedication over Motivation”. Form a schedule and build the habits that were likely fundamental to your success in the past.

Overall, this is highly individual and you likely need to consider what really works to drive you to get on the bike (inside and outside) to point to any goal you have in mind.

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I can’t recall my exact numbers but in 2017 I was the club champion (admittedly the best rider was trying new horizons, the 2nd best rider broke his collar bone and my direct competitor didn’t do the hill climbs needed; aka you’ve got to be in it to win it). In 2018 I had a one off massive blood loss which turned out to be caused by cancer and that caused a catastrophic iron deficiency and I went from doing the club hilly 10 in 24 mins to 34mins overnight. I guess my w/kg went from 4.5 to 2w/kg. After the bowel/colon op and chemo I built myself up to 5w/kg for a bit pre the global pandemic but I have settled at circa 4.5w/kg again.


Mountaineering accident climbing in Swiss Alps 18 years ago. Helicoptered off, surgery, on double crutches for 7 weeks and a single crutch for another 4 weeks. Had to learn to walk again. Had to rebuild the leg muscles. Took 5 months before signed off from physio.

When I was first allowed back on bike I managed 50 metres and that was that. Next day I went out and managed 100 metres. I just kept persisting at it day after day, week after week, month after month. I was really happy when I managed 3 miles, really happy again when I was fit enough to ride to a village pub for a pint and so on.

What was I focused on? Making a full long term recovery and not turning a temporary disablement into a permanent one by pushing too hard too soon…

Consider your motivations, and why you are doing something. If you don’t have strong motivations or reasons for doing something you’ll just lose your way.

P.S. I came back fitter than before my accident, and 8 years later started riding ultra distance cycling events, which I still do a decade on.


If you don’t already, I’d suggest having at least two children. After a couple of years, you will be stoked to have an hour to yourself on the turbo. That said, the rest of your training may go down the tubes. :slight_smile:


This doesn’t work for everyone but over the last four decades as an adult my experience at work and in life has been consistent. Go out and get drunk (substitutes acceptable). Start talking shit about doing some crazy epic thing. Start an industry initiative, settle down and start a family, do 5 mountain passes as a newbie Clydesdale cyclist, scuba dive in Mexico without any experience, rappel off 100’ cliffs despite your fear of heights, run with bulls in Spain, etc etc etc you get the picture.

The next step is crucial. Whatever audacious ridiculous and/or dangerous goal you have will of course be completely obtainable because you are hammered, you are superhuman, you can leap buildings in a single bound, you are invincible.

Commit to it in style, right then, and make sure everyone knows you are hell bent and there is no backing down. Sign it in blood, post it for the world to see, anything that will define you as a total loser if you fail to follow through.

Locked and loaded, you can’t back down now. Motivation and love for the process will immediately follow :wink:



Crikey - that’s an amazing recovery and impressive comeback :muscle:t2::+1:t2:

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Agree totally , you need to enter an event that slightly scares you. One that you know you’ll need to put the work in for, if you’re going to have any chance of succeeding at it. Then let those that matter to you, know you are doing it.


I used to hate the trainer. Then I got a Kickr and now I love my trainer time. It’s my time to binge watch some tv or an hour long YouTube video that the rest of the family won’t tolerate.

If you have a crappy trainer, get a good one.

You also work at home. If you set up your desk right, imagine all the z2 time you could accumulate while getting paid. Do double days or triple days

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I have a 120 mile 13k climbing ride in 3 weeks then a 7-10 hour gravel ride 2 weeks after that :joy::joy:. After that I have a tooth extraction every week for 3 weeks. :grinning:


THR surgery in June 2016 had me off the bike for 2 months then in September( Probably the longest I have been forced off the bike in my 40 years of training and racing as a runner and a cyclist). I went out to the Pyrenees to get myself back into riding the mtb. In the Autumn I was fit enough to do CX racing but didn’t yet use TR so guess work about my fitness level.
TRH is particularly unpleasant in the 1st 3 weeks and you really are incapacitated and cannot put your socks on or sit on a toilet :rofl:
At some stage i will kneed a knee replacement which I’m hoping wont be quite so unpleasant. To anyone interested, see Kelly Starret’s blog on his knee replacement, recovery and rehab. I found it very helpful and re assuring, (tho’ everyone is different ).
In general ,I recover very quickly from surgery.