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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-26-07, 08:32 AM   #1
LessEverything
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Gauging myself against others

So I know I am improving but there are questions that come up when I am thinking about my ride.

"That hill that kicked my butt, was it really all that hard or was it just me? How do my rides stack up against others?" Stuff like that.

I use http://www.Traingo.com to track my workouts but its hard to gauge what others are doing.

Example: today I did a hill that was 1 mile and 450 foot climb, what that a big deal? It felt like it! However since I am new maybe gauging myself against others is a bad idea.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:31 AM   #2
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The only thing I have to guage myself against others is when the roadies pass me. Other than that, I go by miles, speed, and how I feel about the ride at the end of it.

At this point, I really try not to gauge myself against others too much. I did a little over 27 miles today at a 12.2mph average. I see people on here doing 50 miles rides at 18, 19mph and I got passed by a couple of roadies along my ride. But that was a great time for this route for me and I was ecstatic about it regardless.
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Old 08-26-07, 09:48 AM   #3
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Unless you are racing, the only gauge you really need to look at is you today vs you yesterday. How is your performance relative to before? That's the benchmark I use. I could care less if someone is faster than me, or can ride further, because there will always be someone faster or having greater endurance. I concentrate on improving me.
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Old 08-26-07, 10:03 AM   #4
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Set personal goals. I ride alone, so I just set out to get 100 miles a week. Once you get fit you can start to increase your cadence/MPH.
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Old 08-26-07, 10:27 AM   #5
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I ride alone and I just set goals and try to meet them earlier than my goal date. Then I set a new goal or a little bit quicker time or more hills or more miles. Sometimes it is to run a mile after riding 20 miles. Each person is different, just do what you like and enjoy riding.
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Old 08-26-07, 03:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
Unless you are racing, the only gauge you really need to look at is you today vs you yesterday. How is your performance relative to before? That's the benchmark I use. I could care less if someone is faster than me, or can ride further, because there will always be someone faster or having greater endurance. I concentrate on improving me.
I totally agree. One reason I keep a journal is so that I can look back down the hill and see how far up I've come.

If you are interested in comparing your own performance to others, though, I suggest racing as a great way to do it. Racing will also bring out your personal best effort, even if it's just an impromptu race between yourself and another rider you meet on the ride.
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Old 08-27-07, 05:51 AM   #7
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I generally try not to guage myself against the performance of others. At 5'7", 203lbs, and a former smoker (smoke free for three weeks now) I will never be a gifted climber or sprinter or have great endurance but I do like to take my time and enjoy the scenery. I do not have a computer on my bike (I do not plan on getting on either) and I do not even wear a watch when I ride. I just focus on spinning at a nice smooth tempo and giving my all on the climbs. Each day is an improvement (for the most part) and I still enjoy riding.
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Old 08-27-07, 06:31 AM   #8
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Unless you are racing, the only gauge you really need to look at is you today vs you yesterday. How is your performance relative to before? That's the benchmark I use. I could care less if someone is faster than me, or can ride further, because there will always be someone faster or having greater endurance. I concentrate on improving me.
+1,000

Plus, 450-feet in 1-mile? That's what...7-8% climb. For a mile?! That's a great accomplishment. Good job!
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Old 08-27-07, 06:40 AM   #9
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However since I am new maybe gauging myself against others is a bad idea.
I think it's more of a conditioned impulse than a "bad idea" -- comparing yourself to others isn't a behavior that most people consciously choose to do -- but I don't think it's good for you. It can lead you to be down on yourself when you shouldn't, and it can lead you to be complacent when you shouldn't, depending on whether it seems like someone else is doing better or worse than you. More helpful questions to be asking yourself is, "Am I improving in the ways that I want to improve?" and (most important) "What are the ways that I want to improve?" It's pretty damn depressing to focus your life on climbing a mountain and get to the top, only to find that all along you were climbing the wrong mountain.
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Old 08-27-07, 06:54 AM   #10
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So I know I am improving but there are questions that come up when I am thinking about my ride.

"That hill that kicked my butt, was it really all that hard or was it just me? How do my rides stack up against others?" Stuff like that.

I use http://www.Traingo.com to track my workouts but its hard to gauge what others are doing.

Example: today I did a hill that was 1 mile and 450 foot climb, what that a big deal? It felt like it! However since I am new maybe gauging myself against others is a bad idea.
So use that hill as one of the indications of YOUR progress...rather than worrying about what everyone else is doing. Everyone is unique and has unique situations...so if you want to compare yourself to others...go race, rather than depending on meaningless stats attempting to compare apples and oranges.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:13 AM   #11
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It's pretty damn depressing to focus your life on climbing a mountain and get to the top, only to find that all along you were climbing the wrong mountain.

+1 I love this statement.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:15 AM   #12
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One of the best posts of the thread!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
I think it's more of a conditioned impulse than a "bad idea" -- comparing yourself to others isn't a behavior that most people consciously choose to do -- but I don't think it's good for you. It can lead you to be down on yourself when you shouldn't, and it can lead you to be complacent when you shouldn't, depending on whether it seems like someone else is doing better or worse than you. More helpful questions to be asking yourself is, "Am I improving in the ways that I want to improve?" and (most important) "What are the ways that I want to improve?" It's pretty damn depressing to focus your life on climbing a mountain and get to the top, only to find that all along you were climbing the wrong mountain.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:52 AM   #13
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I use a log to measure my progress. In the beginning, the focus should only be on building miles and time in the saddle. If you try to build speed before you have a good base, the odds of injury will go up significantly. I record my average speed and distance, but since I'm just starting to ride again after a long layoff, I don't pay attention to the speed. I keep my bike computer on the ride distance setting and ignore the average speed until I get home. I just focus on spinning and building miles and remind myself to not push too hard yet.

Once you've got a significant base you can do things to help raise the bar in a manner that matters to you. Since each of us is different, that could be increased mileage week to week, faster average speeds, getting ready for a century, or whatever.

Long ago I gave up worrying about being passed. There will always be faster riders out there, and perhaps a few slower. For me, training is not about being faster than someone else, it's about being faster than myself a couple months ago. The log helps me measure progress over time...
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Old 08-27-07, 10:09 AM   #14
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I guess I am a competitive a-hole. I have been comparing myself to my ironman friends, it pisses me off and makes me ride harder up the hills.
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Old 08-27-07, 10:10 AM   #15
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I guess I am a competitive a-hole. I have been comparing myself to my ironman friends, it pisses me off and makes me ride harder up the hills.
There's nothing wrong with a bit of motivation.
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Old 08-27-07, 11:23 AM   #16
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I guess I am a competitive a-hole. I have been comparing myself to my ironman friends, it pisses me off and makes me ride harder up the hills.
Well of course getting dropped on a climb by tri-weenies is grounds for immediate seppuku. Carry on.
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Old 08-27-07, 12:07 PM   #17
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Unless you are racing, the only gauge you really need to look at is you today vs you yesterday. How is your performance relative to before? That's the benchmark I use. I could care less if someone is faster than me, or can ride further, because there will always be someone faster or having greater endurance. I concentrate on improving me.
+1 I gauge myself by certain beastly hills. As long as it is a little easier than last time, I'm happy.
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Old 08-27-07, 12:08 PM   #18
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One of the best posts of the thread!
Hell, that was one of the best posts on ANY thread!
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Old 08-27-07, 12:10 PM   #19
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Old 08-27-07, 12:21 PM   #20
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There's nothing wrong with focusing and riding hard. Just don't beat yourself up the rest of the day because a few weeks of riding hasn't transformed you into Lance Armstrong. The important thing for us mere mortals that have jobs and other obligations is that we continue to have fun while staying healthy. Cycling should relieve suffering rather than being a source of misery itself.
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Old 08-27-07, 01:48 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
Unless you are racing, the only gauge you really need to look at is you today vs you yesterday. How is your performance relative to before? That's the benchmark I use. I could care less if someone is faster than me, or can ride further, because there will always be someone faster or having greater endurance. I concentrate on improving me.
+1 - I love Activebody.org because I can track my times, distances etc. It also tracks body info (which I haven't been filling in lately - no scale) and then gives nifty little reports. All of which makes it easy to look week-week (I've never been a fan of daily measures, too many little things cause changes on a daily basis for the differences to be accurate) for improvement - since things never go the other way
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Old 08-27-07, 02:57 PM   #22
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(I've never been a fan of daily measures, too many little things cause changes on a daily basis for the differences to be accurate)
I like daily measures myself, but I try to view them in larger contexts. I weigh myself daily, twice actually but I do that more to make sure I'm staying hydrated (ie I weigh after using that bathroom in the morning, and then right before I go to bed, if I haven't gained a pound or three over the course of the day I'm not getting enough water and/or food) than to measure my weight loss, that I look at from a longer ranged perspective, I use average morning weight for the week. I find that it works pretty well. I'm also a bit of a data geek, so any excuse to record and process does my brain some good.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:26 PM   #23
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I guess I am a competitive a-hole. I have been comparing myself to my ironman friends, it pisses me off and makes me ride harder up the hills.
That's great up to a point, but in another sense, it's something you're just gonna have to get over. Look, anyone who really is an ironman competitor (and not just fronting) is putting in as many hours of training in a week as the average "active", everyday-exercising person does in a month. Furthermore, to get to that level, they've been in training for quite a while. Comparing yourself to them is just plain silly. Looking at where they are as somewhere you might want to be someday...that's not silly, but you have to look at it realistically. You seem to want to be competitive with them today, and people who feel like that are often the first to get discouraged and quit. I've seen this over and over in years of training martial arts: a newbie starts, wants to be just like the black belts, trains enthusiastically to begin with...but when a month or two goes by and he hasn't learned any speshul seekrit techniques that make him into an instant black belt, when he learns that it's a lot of years of "two steps forward, one step back," most of them just give up. Meanwhile, the people who started training at the same time, who had more humble goals, keep on doin' day after day, year after year...and then one day, they've got a black belt of their own.

I'll close with a snippet from an old martial arts story. There was once a young man who wanted to master the sword. He came from a famous family of swordsmen, but he was too impatient to apply himself in his studies in the family dojo. Believing that somewhere else there must be a teacher who could teach him faster, he went out looking -- and found only teachers who were inferior to his own father. Finally, in desperation, he approached a hermit who was said to have once been a sword teacher.

"I'd like to become a master of the sword," the young man said. "How long will it take?"

"Ten years," said the hermit.

"Ten years! That's too long!" said the young man. "How long will it take if I practice twice as long and work twice as hard?"

"Twenty years," said the hermit.


You're not going to be competitive with your ironman friends anytime soon, no matter what. Your choice is whether you want to be active and healthy -- and maybe competitive with your ironman friends -- somewhere quite a bit further down the road, or you want to give up. The choice is up to you.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:41 PM   #24
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Great story, little brown bat! I needed to hear this this week, as well.
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Old 08-27-07, 08:59 PM   #25
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I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to know where you fit in with the overall crowd and especially with your friends. All this "its all about you and whether you are better today than yesterday" stuff reminds me of kids tee ball games where they don't keep score. Life is competetive and there is nothing wrong with wanting some of that in your recreation too. I think you CAN be competitive with your ironman friends, it all boils down to how hard you want to work to be there. I say go for it, maybe join a club, go on some club rides, find out where you fit in there and if you want to, go racing, your limits are set by you and you alone. Good luck with whatever you do.
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