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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 11-02-07, 02:08 PM   #1
dannys1981
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10th time to ride, 2nd 20 mile ride, Have a couple of Questions.

First off.. I got my Specialized Allez about 2 months ago but haven't really been able to ride it til last 2 weeks because of a car wreck. Anyways today i rode 20 miles at 14mph and it took me right under 1;30 to do. My questions are: 1) Should i supplement with some kind of gel around the 1 hour mark? Cause when I hit one hour i seem to lose alot of energy and kinda bonk in a way.. I eat good before, an hour before i had 3/4 cup of oatmeal, teaspoon of table sugar in it, and a few wedges of cantaloupe.. But still after that hour i seem to hit an energy wall.. Should i use gels to supplement carbs?

2) Also around the 1 hour mark my back starts hurting along with my elbow tendons. Now supposedly my bike is suppose to be perfectly fit for me becasue i did that specialized fitting deal at the LBS.. Its not too bad of pains and im working through them but they are annoying. . Should i be worried about them or are these types of pains just associated with getting used to my bike?

STats:

6'6"
260 ( Weight doesn't matter to me cause i have a good amount of muscle, but my weight will be going down)
26yrs old.

Thanks fellas....
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Old 11-02-07, 02:15 PM   #2
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My first guess is that you will just need to ride more. "Long" rides without building up to them could cause discomfort. Try some slower, longer rides at a higher cadence and see if that helps.

My preference for snacking on rides lasting more than 2 hours is to eat a bar of some sort. I like Balance Bars or Kashi Bars myself. I don' think you are likely to be "bonking" at one hour. You are probably just tired and sore from lack of a foundation. See advice in in the first paragaph.
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Old 11-02-07, 02:50 PM   #3
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I think you just need to scope it down a bit. Try doing 10 miles for awhile and slowly work up to 20. I am much heavier than you and I can do 20-30 without any gels because I slowly worked up to that mileage.
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Old 11-02-07, 03:08 PM   #4
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Stay hydrated and just keep riding. You're body just isn't used to the new activity yet. I went through that when I started cycling. Now I'm going through that as I've started running more.
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Old 11-02-07, 03:19 PM   #5
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You should probably try a couple of gel packs along the ride- maybe every 40 minutes so that you don't get to the point of exhaustion- for me, once I've bonked, a gallon of gel won't help. Also, be sure you're not getting dehydrated... sometimes water isn't enough.

I had back, shoulder, neck, and elbow pains as well when I first started riding again- try to stay relaxed and switch up positions on the handlebars. Also, as light as todays helmets are, they can still cause a bit of back and neck strain because holding them up requires muscles that we don't use that often. Even with your bike properly fitted, you're a tall guy and 1.5 hours is quite a long time to be hunched over... even with the Zertz inserts on your bike, there will still be vibration from the road causing your elbows to ache a bit- once you learn to mix up your hand positions and relax, the pain should go away- you don't always need to be down on the drops!
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Old 11-02-07, 03:22 PM   #6
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Thanks bro's for your replies...

Wow, Scope it down a bit really?? After about 6-7 miles is when I start feeling good.. Ten seems to short for me... I like to feel like i've done some work ya know.. I was thinking about goin 30 tomorrow but I guess I'll stave it off.. I'll knock it down to 15 tom. and go nice and easy.. But i was still reading somewhere that after an hour, we need to supplement our bodies with some form of carbohydrate because if our fuel system is just running off of fat, then it is being very inefficient and thats why we lose so much energy??
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Old 11-02-07, 03:24 PM   #7
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3/4 cup of oatmeal = 110 cal
tsp sugar = 16 cal
cantaloupe wedge (1/8 of medium melon) = 35 cal/ea

Even if you had 3 of those melon slices, you're looking at fueling up pre-ride with about 230 calories. Figure for endurance riding that you need 300 cal/hr that you're out if you want to balance out even.

I don't think that over 1.5 hours you'll feel a whole lot of benefit from a gel at the 60 minute mark, because you need to get the fuel into your tank before you reach the empty mark. If you want to go with a mid-ride gel, I say go with having it between the 30 and 45 minute mark. Check to see how many calories it is beforehand. Some are 100 cal, and others are 200 or even 250.
Personally, I'd just eat more before the ride and try adding some protein to your pre-ride meal. It's important during endurance rides to keep your protein intake going.

I just did a long ride last weekend and miscalculated my nutritional intake and I conked out well before my goal. It sucks, but you get to fine tune your routine and learn from it. (I got a lot of great information from everyone on this forum.)
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Old 11-02-07, 03:25 PM   #8
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You should probably try a couple of gel packs along the ride- maybe every 40 minutes so that you don't get to the point of exhaustion- for me, once I've bonked, a gallon of gel won't help. Also, be sure you're not getting dehydrated... sometimes water isn't enough.

I had back, shoulder, neck, and elbow pains as well when I first started riding again- try to stay relaxed and switch up positions on the handlebars. Also, as light as todays helmets are, they can still cause a bit of back and neck strain because holding them up requires muscles that we don't use that often. Even with your bike properly fitted, you're a tall guy and 1.5 hours is quite a long time to be hunched over... even with the Zertz inserts on your bike, there will still be vibration from the road causing your elbows to ache a bit- once you learn to mix up your hand positions and relax, the pain should go away- you don't always need to be down on the drops!
Yea i do plenty of switching up.. Actually i think i spend most of my time on the hoods(???).... I think i'm just getting used to it.. But i wanted to make sure.. I'll tell ya what though, i've lifted weights alot in my life and it just doesn't compare to the feeling and natural high i get from this bicycle.. MAN I LOVE THIS FEELING
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Old 11-02-07, 03:28 PM   #9
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Yea great point Clifton.. That is a little low on the calorie side. And i usually do eat a fairly good amount of protein with all my meals but for some reason i didn't.. I'll be sure that my tank is full next time.. I'll probably just make it a cup of oatmeal along with a few more wedges of cantaloupe.... And Im gonna pick up some gels just in case.. It won't hurt
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Old 11-02-07, 04:19 PM   #10
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And Im gonna pick up some gels just in case.. It won't hurt
I don't really like any gels, but the Accel Gels are the least narsty, IMO. I'll go so far to say I almost like the Key Lime ones. The big benefit is that Accel Gels have a 4:1 carb/protein formula, so you're getting some protein in quickly while on the go.
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Old 11-02-07, 07:09 PM   #11
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To add, develop your core abdominal muscles to hold your upper body up.
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Old 11-02-07, 09:21 PM   #12
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Maybe its just me, but it sounds like you might not have drank enough. You can dehydrate without really feeling it. Make yourself drink every 15 to 20 min. even if you are not thirsty and see if it helps.
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Old 11-02-07, 10:01 PM   #13
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Maybe its just me, but it sounds like you might not have drank enough. You can dehydrate without really feeling it. Make yourself drink every 15 to 20 min. even if you are not thirsty and see if it helps.
That's what I'm thinking, too. Water up before the ride. Drink 20oz about the halfway mark, and take some goodies with you. Us bigger guys burn it like a locomotive.

Now, I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't accept that you are having that elbow pain as a result of not being acclimated to the machine. If you are fitted properly, tou shouldn't be experiencing that type of discomfort. Saddle issues - sure, because that is so personal to each rider, but not the tendon thing. I suspect that you could benefit from shortening the cockpit a tad, and maybe sitting a bit more upright. At 260, that's alot of pressure to put on those elbows at each shock.

As for the distance, 20 miles is nothing on that bike if you are in any half-way decent shape. You're just tired and maybe a bit dehydrated. If you ever bonk, you'll know it because you'll be sitting at the side of the road, head between your knees, with a long slimey snotter touching the ground. And you won't even care.
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Old 11-02-07, 11:21 PM   #14
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Elbow pain could be caused by locking your elbows as you ride. It could also be that you're supporting your weight on your arms. Your body should be balanced on the bike so your arms almost hang off the bars. Check your position and relax. If you still feel like you're doing a slight pushup as you ride, recheck your fit. I had similar elbow pain and I wound up getting wider bars, a shorter stem, and lowering the bars.

As for needing food after an hour... most people don't. Eat if you feel like it, but after a month or two of solid riding, your body should adapt.
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Old 11-03-07, 10:34 AM   #15
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Regarding bonking, I just "listen" to my body. It tells me when I need to eat something. I've learned to recognize the signs early and take care of it - much better than waiting until I'm really down. If your body says eat something, do it. Don't worry about what is recommended. And of course, drink water early and often.

Regarding the discomfort you're feeling, it might not be the distance. 20 miles isn't that far. Sure, when I haven't ridden in awhile, the first time I go for a ride, I'm less comfortable, so maybe your discomfort will go away after you've been riding regularly for a month or two.

Since you're feeling pain, I'm suspicious of the perfect fit they did for you at the LBS, especially since you're tall. I spent too many years riding bikes with handlebars much lower than my saddle. My seatpost was always jacked way up because I'm 6'4". The guys at the bikeshops seemed to think this was good - maybe because it's more aerodynamic for racing, or maybe because they didn't sell many bikes suitable for someone my size, so gave me one sized for a 6'0" person? I don't know, but when I finally bought a longer stem and raised the bars, it made a world of difference.

Consider tinkering with the bike. If the discomfort persists after you've been riding regularly for awhile, I'd start by raising the bars (unless they're already close to the height of the saddle.) You may have to buy a different stem, but it might be well worth it if it helps you ride in comfort. Try sliding the saddle back and forth until the reach to the bars feels just right. If you buy a new stem, don't just consider how high it puts the bars; also consider the reach.

I think bike setup is a very personal thing. What feels right to a person at a bike shop might feel all wrong to you or I. I like to tweak my setup, go for a ride, tweak again, go for another ride, etc. Gradually I arrive at something I'm pleased with.
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Old 11-03-07, 11:19 AM   #16
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I agree with others. Don't try to do too much too fast. Injuries can result, which can contribute to burn out, or not liking to ride as much. Until you are riding faster, I would start out with only riding 1 hour at-a-time. Every 10 days or so, add 10% more time (about 6 minutes) to your ride, and ride just as hard as you used to. I would do that for about a month, before I started trying to lay down 2-hour rides, and then only once per week for a while. Build up your time in the saddle more slowly.

If you want to do it faster...and let's face it, most of us do try to progress faster than our bodies want to adapt; a trick that works well for me is to double my normal riding time per day by doing two separate rides, with plenty of rest and food time between them. In your case, I would try something like riding in 1 to 1.5 hour shots for a couple of weeks, and then doubling that one day per week for a week (one morning and one afternoon ride). Wait 10 days or so, and do it for two days per week, etc. It can be painful and humiliating sometimes, especially if your legs are shot during the afternoon rides when you add an additional ride for that day, but the rest between rides keeps you from bonking.

As for gels, I use them and regular food like granola bars, fig newtons, etc. I can't consume too many calories on a ride or it upsets my stomach, though. I usually alternate between gels and food every 1.5-2 hours of riding (1 gel after 1.5-2 hours, ride another 1.5 hours and then a fig newton, repeat).

Have fun out there!
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Old 11-03-07, 11:39 AM   #17
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Thanks for all of your replies.

With respect to the fit of my bike. I believe they put a different stem in and raised it (actually turned it upside down), so that way i would be in a more upright position until i got used to it. I figure i'll ride for a month more or so, consistently, and if the pain continues then i will just take it back to the LBS.

Also I will be taking it a little more slow. I was going to go for a 30 mile bike ride today but I figure i'll cut it back to 15 cause i wanna be able to progress and not hit a plateau too fast..

I'm going to stay hydrated and ride as much as I can before the brunt of winter hits, then i'll just ride when weather permits...

Again Thanks fellas ya'll have been most helpful..
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Old 11-04-07, 08:30 AM   #18
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Hey dont worry about all that stuff right now. Drink water or one of the sports drinks. If you want to eat something or if you feel like you need to try fig newtons or cheese crackers. Once you get your mileage up around 40 and more, then think about a gel of some sort. There are a ton of flavors and consistencies. Some are even like jelly bellies.

The last thing I would comment on is that this sport is suppose to be fun! Dont over think too much. Enjoy and listen to what is happening around you. The sounds of the chain moving, the tires on the road, and the air moving through your helment.

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