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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 08-01-08, 08:49 AM   #1
giant1000
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stamina

I have been back to cycling for less than a week now but am
thoroughly enjoying it so far.
I have managed to get in a few small rides this week. The first was 5 miles over gravel track,
then a couple of short 2-3 miles and one ride of 12 miles over gravel, tarmac and loose stone. All these
on my Giant hybrid. I have now just finished a 5 mile ride on the road (in a strong headwind) but I
have to admit that it felt tough going!! It took about 25 mins in total.

I just wondered at what stage will my stamina start to improve and enable me to do such rides easily??

Should I continue riding a set route until it becomes easy and then build on it or just keep riding
random routes of varying distances???

I ultimately aim to commute 10 miles each way at least a few times a week but this seems a long way off at the moment.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:01 AM   #2
Alathea
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It depends on some factors-bike set up (non-MTB tires and saddle, for example, and a proper fit adjustment will go a long way towards comfort, thus stamina), clothing-cotton is not great-it gets heavy and chafes-but not all biking stuff makes you look like a LeMonde wannabe. MTB shorts are comfy and have the inner bike sort that you see some people wear unabashedly. They are also lightly padded and they wick moisture to more comfort, less chafing= more distance. Into a headwind bugs everyone-mtb gearing isn't probably the best for open road headwind conditions, but I add 2-5 minutes to a 6 mile commute if there is a head wind along the way. IT happens. If you are worried about commute time, ride the route you will commute, or an equivalent distance. (the actual route is better because you will learn the stops, lights, bottlenecks, etc). Don't over ride yourself at first. in the last three weeks I rode 1 day, then the next week two days with a day in between, working up to the 3-4 days I can ride in and not mess up my wife's schedule. Ive learned a little about how I feel at different points in the day, and what I eat at night and its affect on me in the morning, traffic patterns, etc.

Just in the last three weeks without adding more than a mile to what I already ride I have cut about 3-5 minutes off my time both in and back home again, so I think the stamina will come rather quickly. Don't just focus on time-play games like average speed, or how long it takes you to kill a hill, or in what gear, or ride the third ring instead of the middle for straight sections-stuff like that. It all helps out in the end.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:22 AM   #3
giant1000
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Thanks for the advice.
My bike seems to fit perfect, it's early days but it just feels so comfortable. Even the saddle is great.
I previously owned a mountain bike which I was continually buying new saddles for. Even after my 12 miles
over rough ground everything still felt comfortable. I took advice from lots of lbs's prior to spending my hard
earned cash and it seems to have paid off.

I think your advice on using gearing and noting speeds and times etc will help. I have indeed been
primarily sticking on the middle ring even to the point where I am wondering if I will ever use the others!!

My main concern is pushing myself too far too early and being dispondant about my abilities
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Old 08-01-08, 09:29 AM   #4
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If you're new to cycling, another thing to consider is cadence. If you know what it is, no offense for explaining it. It's pedal RPM's or the number of times one of your pedals makes a complete rotation in one minute. There are cadence meters but I count the number of times my right foot goes down while keeping time on a stop watch. If you just starting out and on a hybid, an acceptable cadence would probably be around 60 but you may have to work up to that. Experienced riders keep a cadence closer to the 100-120 range, I'm personally most comfortable around 85-95. With a higher cadence you use the energy stores in your legs more efficiently and thus your legs don't get as tired as quickly. This also helps keep your heart rate up and increases your breathing as your leg muscles use more oxygen at a higher cadence. Which, after several weeks and getting comfortable pedaling at higher rpm's, will increase your stamina.

At least i think that's how it works
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Old 08-01-08, 09:31 AM   #5
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I use the lower on the hill outside my house depending on how I feel that morning-making up the time later, and sometimes I gear way down when approaching a stop for a faster takeoff. I have a MTB with slicks and a rear rack/seatpost bag, so my gearing is pretty low when I need it. I have to tweak my saddle, as I notice I slide forward a bit and am sliding back into my seat regularly on my rides. Bdinger rides a LOT more than I do, and I think he's gotten some good advice in his post "Total mind body crash" a little further down about the possibility of over training.
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Old 08-01-08, 10:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giant1000 View Post
I just wondered at what stage will my stamina start to improve and enable me to do such rides easily??
That depends on what kind of shape you're in now, and what you're doing (apart from cycling) to get in better shape.
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Old 08-01-08, 05:32 PM   #7
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If you want stamina, find a mtn climb that is about 20 miles long. Ride up till you can't anymore, then roll down. Sooner or later, you will tell yourself that you caould have done more, go do it!

Or find a 20-40 mile wind. Ride against it till you can't any longer, then blow home!
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Old 08-01-08, 05:38 PM   #8
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I saw a big difference after a couple weeks.it's been a couple months now, and the hills I hit still hurt a bit, I just get up them quicker! Cadence, as jkemp stated, is very important. Once I started to dial into my preferred cadence, I was able to better determine what gearing to use. Once that happened, my efficiency and stamina was much better off. I used to think I needed to be hammering in the highest gear, but spinning in a slightly slower gear is better, more comfortable, and faster!
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Old 08-01-08, 07:27 PM   #9
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Ditto on the cadence.
Once I bought a cheap speedometer, I realized I was actually SLIGHTLY faster by spinning a lower gear a bit quicker. What REALLY surprised me, was I was able to go much longer at that rate.

On your next 5 mile ride, stay ONE gear lower than normal and spin a bit faster. See what happens.

Don't worry about actual cadence numbers. That varies quite a bit, depending on age, fitness, conditioning, knee "quality" and crank length. Just spin a little faster than you were.
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Old 08-01-08, 08:05 PM   #10
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it took me 2 months to make my first 6 mile loop to go from 55 minutes to 30 minutes. now a year later i can do the same loop in under 19 minutes and a 40 mile loop in just over 2 hours (@ 19 mph). it depends on how much you dedicate to quality time on the bike. for me it was first 2 days a week then 3, 4, now 5. i stopped commuting because cycling became a chore. now its my stress reliever for after work. thats why i call it quality time. stamina will follow

start: 6 miles @ 55 minutes
month 1: 6 miles @ 35 minutes
month 2: 6 miles @ 30 minutes rode 2 days a week
month 4: 16 miles @ 15 mph just over an hour, rode 3 days a week
month 5: 20 miles @ 16.5 mph and completed first metric century
winter break moved to mtb only
month 9: 20 miles @ 17.5
month 11: 40 miles @ 18 completed first century
month 12: 40 miles @ 19 and now ride 5 days a week

just keep at it. oh and so it dont get stale. i try to ride a different route each day i ride. i try to only repeat once a week and at max twice a week.
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