Training & Nutrition - The long and short of it...
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I have been riding local trails for about 5 months now. I ride 15-20 miles about 5 nights a week and probably average about 10-12 mph. I am in it for the cardio workout, strengthening and would like to lose some weight...generally I just want a decent workout. I build in a few 1/4 mile sprints and enjoy a nice downhill coast, but overall I take my time getting around. Meanwhile I am getting buzzed by younger and older bikers, rollerbladers and actually had a jogger past me up the other night. I am of a mind when the bikers are 'passing on the left' at seemingly 25 -30 mph that they are probably out for a short, couple of mile, quick cardio workout and have not just pedaled the 15 miles I did....am I wrong here? So I am wondering is it all proportionate ...easier, slower and longer equal harder, faster and shorter rides. Are the benefits about the same? Should I speed up? Am I taking the long road to conditioning afterall?
If you are riding for cardio benefits, you do need to overstress your cardiac system some, nearly every day. Spend part of your ride with a faster heart rate. If you don't have a heart rate monitor, just ride hard enough so that you are breathing slightly hard--not gasping for oxygen, but "unable to sing out loud." You might want to gradually increase this so that you are ultimately riding 30 minutes or so at this harder pace. Ride the rest of the time at your slower pace to burn calories. Total exercise time for serious weight loss and maintenance should ideally be 90 minutes/day.
I think I build up a good 'gasping' without much effort. I am learning to recover by slowing down rather than taking a break. I ride a 21 speed mountain bike and drop down to 3/7 and grind it out for a mile or so...that seems to be great workout. I have seen improvement in my stamina ...and I do try to push myself, but I can't imagine riding hard for 30 minutes...maybe it will come...thanks for your input.
That's funny, a couple months ago I was out riding the local rail-trail with a buddy and we had a guy come up and draft us for a while, then pull past really fast like he wasn't going to pull he was dropping us. We weren't riding particularly fast, as my buddy is a little slower, but we were probably averaging about 15.5 mph.
So anyway, he blows by and I sprint a little to catch up and draft. My buddy managed to keep up too, so I figured it was cool. We started talking with the new guy and he was telling us how he liked to ride fast and really far. He was out for a 20 mile ride that day. He about fell off his bike when I told him that my friend and I had already ridden 75 miles and had about 30 to go.
So basically, it's all relative. Ride your own ride. I'd say that you're ready for some longer and/or faster rides if you want to get in good shape. But listen to your body and have fun.
09-22-06, 05:57 PM
The speeds and distances of cyclists vary hugely. Don't be too worried about other folks.
However, there are a decent number of people who can ride well up over 20 mph for 100 miles and longer, particularly if there are more than one guy working together.
Speed and mileage mean nothing when it comes to cardio fitness. The relevant figures are heart rate and time. If you don't have a heart rate monitor, your breathing to get an estimate of your heart rate. As I said earlier, one idea is to ride for 30 minutes a day at a rate where you are breathing slightly hard but NOT gasping for air. You should be riding hard enough that you could not sing out loud, or you could not say an entire sentence without needing to breathe.
09-24-06, 10:36 AM
15 miles is a great distance for a beginner. But, a 15 mile is easy, even for me. I am 80 lbs overweight and my averages are even higher than yours, but still very slow compared to many others. In fact, my averages are higher even for 80 mile rides. There are plenty of riders that can average 18 mph plus over 50 miles or more. Here is a description of riding classifications on a club ride to give you an idea of what is possible.
As you improve, you will be amazed at what distance and speeds are possible. Keep it up!
Very interesting. According to the Philly Bike Club chart I really am a beginner.
I find it amazing that so many riders are capable of those speeds and distances...just awesome.
I do have a lot to look forward to and a lot of conditioning to do get there.
I did manage another 'drop in the bucket' today...a 22 miler.
Appreciate the comments.
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