Touring - Get's Easier I Hope
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08-18-11, 10:46 AM
Went out around 6:30 this morning for 2.25 hr. ride. About 17 miles into it, I turned around but unfortunately was facing a headwind of 10 mph. Couldn't believe the difference it made. The terrain was relatively flat with a few low hills thrown in, but I was forced to use some of my larger gears as I got more tired. I did try to keep my cadence above 80. Finally after riding for 2.5 hours and covering 34 miles, I finally arrived home. Boy am I bushed though. I am near 60 years of age and have been riding since mid May. I am currently training until I can ride for 4 hours at a time so my wife and I can do some credit card touring. I believe it is getting easier as I go along but mornings like this are rough. I guess that is what "long rides" are for. How long did it take all you touring folks to pretty well get conditioned to where you could ride however long you wanted without getting completely whacked out? Thanks.
08-18-11, 11:12 AM
I'm 62 and the most important thing I've noticed is to rest a day after a hard ride. I've seen rapid improvement in stamina, strength (hill climbing) and speed by allowing adequate recovery time. I live in the Texas Hill Country and ride 4xs per week. 25-35 mi. on Tues, Thurs..... 40 to 50 mi. on Sat, Sun. But if I'm really tired, I take 2 days off. (Began riding earnestly after a long layoff in late July) I'm getting to the point where I don't even feel the need to take the extra time. I'd like to get to where I can do some randoneuring (sometime this fall).... When it's windy I like to get bent over in the drops. I didn't like that at first but now it's the easiest way for me to ride - and it really cuts out the wind.
(ps. Do hills to get strong quick .. but train, don't kill yourself with over effort.. They should push your limits buy not stress you to exhaustion. Recover then do more the next time)
08-18-11, 12:05 PM
Wife wanted a pizza a while back and sent me to pick it up. The pizza shop is 6 miles and I said I would order it and left on the bike figuring I would order it half way there. As it was the wind was so strong it took me a hour to get there and I placed the order a mile away. Headed back with the hot pie bungeed to the back rack and did at least 20 MPH home. Came in with a steaming hot pizza and she said "How did you do that?"
I try and stay aware of the half way point when doing a local ride with wind and hills it's easy to put yourself to far from home in a hurry.
My theory is it's about "time" not "effort" with the wide gear selection I try and ride at a sustainable energy level and just understand it will take more time. What I have found the two quickest ways to kill yourself is expecting a certain time to get someplace or riding with a much stronger rider and trying to keep pace. Things like staying low in the drops of course lessen the overall energy to get from point A to point B into a wind and should be done. But my way of looking at it is if I'm in the drops into a wind and doing 7 MPH and my back is getting strained and I want to sit up for a bit drop down two gears sit up and do 5 MPH for a while. At least you are still moving in the right direction and burning the same amount of energy per unit of time.
Like you when I got back into riding (and I'm still getting back in) you remember your youth, and I remember thinking " I don’t remember wind and hills being so hard!" You also remember how fast you used to ride and going at pace is hard to do. I tried jogging a few years ago and besides the knees not having any cushion left I thought how can I be able to walk all day but cant jog 10 minutes. I try and maintain a pace on the bike that feels like I'm doing a brisk walk. I personally could ride every day with pacing myself. It might not be the best way to improve conditioning rapidly, but I'm not trying out for anything soon. Best advice I have been given on the forum so far was its ok to push a bike up a big climb and have something left to ride more that day and be able to ride the next day.
I get passed a lot by people wearing tight spandex outfits.
08-18-11, 01:57 PM
You will gain fitness, the more you ride. Don't be discouraged. Headwinds are definitely hard, both physically and mentally.
Did you eat and drink enough during the ride? That can make a huge difference. 2.5 hours is long enough to need to eat.
08-18-11, 02:11 PM
The headwinds were the single biggest killer we had crossing the country a few years back. We could climb mountains all day, but if we had a headwind it was SO disheartening. Like trying to swim through caramel. I remember in colorado we had a 30mph headwind, up a mountain (on to monarch pass) we reached a turnback and suddenly had about 1/2 a mile of tailwind, i was riding 25mph up the biggest mountain we'd been up... incredible the difference it makes. But you'll make it through and you'll be stronger for it :) it just requires absolute patience.
08-18-11, 02:25 PM
"How long did it take all you touring folks to pretty well get conditioned to where you could ride however long you wanted without getting completely whacked out? "
No matter what you experience is, you have to keep your energy level up.
Took me about 18 months and 19,000 miles to get it.
As I started riding again in my late 50s I have found that I need to dismount and walk a bit on a long ride. So, if my ride is longer than 15 miles I get off the bike every 10 miles---religiously-- no matter how good I feel. I don't sit or stand around. Sometimes I only walk a few hundred feet sometimes a quarter mile. I always feel better when I get back in the saddle. I also will stretch, especially for calf/achilles tendon several times during a long ride.
I never had to do this stuff when I was young, but now it works very well to keep me riding. It is one reason, at my age, that I almost always ride alone. Most younger riders want to keep going and have no patience with my walking every 10 miles.
Something different might work for you. Just remember that older riders need to adjust how they use their aging body.
08-18-11, 04:05 PM
I'm 'bout an hour and half north of you in Linden.
Yeah, headwinds are very discouraging and energy sapping. One of these days, I'm gonna do a tour that will be totally wind friendly. Will only ride with the wind. Won't be bothered much about where I end up.
As someone mentioned, patience and persistance is all you got going for you into a wind. Don't knock yourself out. You'll lose.
I find my Profile Design aerobars to be a huge advantage for battling headwinds and climbing hills. Might consider giving them a try. Very comfortable, extra position.
As for not being 'whacked out' after a day on tour, I rarely ever exceed six hours of pedaling time, broken into segments. That leaves lots of time for rest and recovery. Distanced determined by winds and hills.
08-18-11, 04:08 PM
Went on my longest test ride so far, with loaded panniers today about 26 miles on the hilliest road near me (in Florida... land of flat). On my road bike not loaded with anything I'm good for 45-50 miles no problem. But I really really noticed the weight going up some of the hills today. I actually need to learn/practice going slower and pacing myself. I keep wanting to ride faster than I should for a long ride all loaded up. I'm NOT a fast rider by ANY means.... But I'm just used to my un-loaded pace I guess.
Still having fun, still dunno what I'm doing.... getting ready for my first tour this fall.....
08-18-11, 04:13 PM
"It never gets easier, you just go faster"
- Greg LeMond
08-19-11, 09:22 AM
"bud16415" My theory is it's about "time" not "effort" with the wide gear selection I try and ride at a sustainable energy level and just understand it will take more time. What I have found the two quickest ways to kill yourself is expecting a certain time to get someplace or riding with a much stronger rider and trying to keep pace.
x2! That's what all those gears are for. Find an energy output level you can sustain and use your gears, don't get frustrated by continually checking your speed. Most seasoned riders have gone through your experience and frustration, don't fight it. I learned this lesson while riding alongside Klahanni Lake. A very long lake in a narrow valley with very few natural windbreaks. Some of the headwind gusts actually stopped us in our tracks. My buddy and I stubbornly fought that wind for half a day before backing off and only using a sustainable energy. We actually took off our speedometers so we could concentrate on enjoying the scenery and the rest of the day without worrying about our progress.
Some days you've just got to take what the road gives you.
Winds are like climbing hills, except they never end and you don't get to ride downhill at the end. Keep riding, consider it extra training, and don't worry about the speedometer.
As I've posted before, on my TransAm trip I set the cyclocomputer to display cadence and daily mileage. The mileage helped keep me on track; the cadence didn't mean much, so I didn't waste energy paying attention to it, and didn't get discouraged by how slow we were going.
Roustabout, Chalk it up to just one of those days. Riding into the wind is a pisser, but can make for a wonderful training ride. It's all about attitude. ;)
Another issue, even if you've ate sensibly and remained properly hydrated, is the record heat we've been experiancing this year. I'm not riding anywhere near what I consider as my normal performance and I don't think it's because my 61st is creeping up.
Honestly I was physically able to ride a century long before I was mentally prepared and I think that applies to many of us. Really you only completed you 2 1/4 hour ride in an extra 15 minutes so for the last half you likely were pushing much harder than normal.
sometimes I think about all that oxygen blowing down into my lungs without needing to breathe giving me tons of energy in a headwind! :D
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