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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 09-04-08, 07:18 AM   #1
LandKurt
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Personal best effort left in the dust

Last night I rode with a local bike club. I rode with them before two weeks ago and did fine in the slower class C group which averaged 14.3 MPH for the 20 mile ride. This time none of the four I rode with before seemed to be present. So I just started off at the back of the main group hoping a few would ride at a pace I could handle.

I rode hard to try and keep up with the tail of the group. After a few miles and a couple people dropping behind I ended up riding with one guy that I could manage to keep up with. The rest of the group pulled away from us and I just let him set the pace. Eight miles in I separated from him and took a short cut back because I wasn't confident of my ability to keep up with his pace the whole route and get back before sunset.

In the end I rode 18 miles at an average rate of 16.4 MPH. A personal best speed for any distance. I didn't even know I could manage to ride that hard for over an hour. My average heart rate was 89% maximum, so I don't think there was much more I could have managed. It still wasn't nearly enough to keep up with the B class riders I think comprised the main group. Afterwards I heard one of them commenting on riding at 18.5 MPH average.

How much slack do you suppose I should cut myself given that I was riding my commuter bike with 700x32C tires, upright posture and 8 speed internal gear hub? Furthermore I'm 235 lbs, 6'6" tall and 48 years old and have only been back on a bike for less than two months. Sure would be nice to get to the level where I could keep up with the main group without having to move to a road bike. I guess I've got a new goal to add to my list. However, next week I hope to ride with the C group again.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:55 AM   #2
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How much slack do you suppose I should cut myself given that I was riding my commuter bike with 700x32C tires, upright posture and 8 speed internal gear hub? Furthermore I'm 235 lbs, 6'6" tall and 48 years old and have only been back on a bike for less than two months.
That question is hard to answer, because you don't say what you mean by cutting yourself slack. Are you saying that you had certain expectations of yourself, and that you didn't measure up, and that you're wondering if those expectations were reasonable given your fitness level and equipment?
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Old 09-04-08, 07:56 AM   #3
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First off, you get bonus points if you were on your commuter and everyone else was on road bikes. They are completely different animals bred to do different, seemingly similar, things.

Another thing is to acknowledge and hold onto the fact that you rode a personal best. ANY time you do this it's worth celebrating. I try and not let my rather short time back on a bike, or my weight, be a part of my measuring sticks. The fact is they are real factors, and therefor, make what may seem like modest accomplishments to some have a bit more meaning when the apples get lined up next to apple, rather than oranges.

Riding with stronger riders and faster groups will make you faster. Yes, you will be dropped. Yes you will pop like a stepped on ketchup packet trying to catch back up. It's part of the evolutionary process, and every rider in the faster group has been there and done that.

It depends on what you are after. If you can hang with the C group and not have to push yourself, it's time for the B group if getting faster is what you want. If you just want a nice social ride and to log some miles, hang with the C group. There is no wrong answer.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:42 AM   #4
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Let me be clear that I'm happy with my performance yesterday, I didn't know I had that much in me. It just leaves me thinking, "hey, maybe I'm nearly as good as some of these guys given the difference in equipment". I'm probably kidding myself given I've only got 600 miles or so under my belt, but I didn't start entirely from scratch as I put over 1000 virtual miles on a stationary exercise bike before buying my commuter. My goals are mainly fitness related and not speed, or I wouldn't have bought the bike I did. I'll probably tend to ride with the slower group because I'd rather get mileage than burn myself out for speed. But it would be nice to get the point where I could keep up with the B group if they're the only ones that show up.

I do find myself wondering about riding styles. I think I do better when I let someone else set the pace. I find they often coast down hills more than I would and then attack the up slopes harder. Maybe It's just a clyde thing where the lightweights always seem to go too fast uphill and too slow downhill. Or is it a newb mistake on my part that I'm not letting myself coast and rest when I get the opportunity? I tend to keep pumping along at a fairly even power until I run out of gearing and have to either go to maximum effort to get up the hill or start coasting when I hit 25 going downhill.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:51 AM   #5
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Let me be clear that I'm happy with my performance yesterday, I didn't know I had that much in me. It just leaves me thinking, "hey, maybe I'm nearly as good as some of these guys given the difference in equipment".
Perhaps; no way we can tell given that we don't know you or them. The motor -- the rider -- is by far the single biggest component in speed, though.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:57 AM   #6
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Or is it a newb mistake on my part that I'm not letting myself coast and rest when I get the opportunity? I tend to keep pumping along at a fairly even power until I run out of gearing and have to either go to maximum effort to get up the hill or start coasting when I hit 25 going downhill.
I'm with you, I pedal downhills until I totally spin out. Outstanding effort on a commuter bike, good job!
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Old 09-04-08, 11:10 AM   #7
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The commuter bike will slow you down a bit... although I managed to average about 18MPH on a 75 mile day (with 2 longish breaks) a few weeks ago, on my Atlantis which has 700x35c tires and drop bars (plus it's a tank, lugged steel touring bike with racks, dyno hub, lights, a handlebar and seat bag). So... the real moral of the story is, just keep on riding. You'll get there and you may decide that you want a zippier bike to do it. But really I wouldn't worry about a new bike unless it's actively making you uncomfortable when you put in greater or longer efforts. 16.4 on a commuter is no joke! I was generally averaging about 16MPH on 30 mile or less training rides at the beginning of the season so if my experience is any indicator you'll just keep on improving as long as you keep riding!


Downhill is the friendly direction for clydes. I often pass people on downhills even when I don't pedal at all! Not really sure what that's about...
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Old 09-04-08, 11:30 AM   #8
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Downhill is the friendly direction for clydes. I often pass people on downhills even when I don't pedal at all! Not really sure what that's about...
It's the square/cube law at work. As you get larger your mass goes up faster than your surface area. So bigger folks have a higher terminal velocity in free fall. Coasting down a hill is similar to skydiving in that the main forces at work are gravity and wind resistance.

Or you could think of it as some of the extra energy we had to put into climbing the hill being paid back to us on the downhill.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:36 AM   #9
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In the end I rode 18 miles at an average rate of 16.4 MPH. A personal best speed for any distance. I didn't even know I could manage to ride that hard for over an hour. My average heart rate was 89% maximum, so I don't think there was much more I could have managed. It still wasn't nearly enough to keep up with the B class riders I think comprised the main group. Afterwards I heard one of them commenting on riding at 18.5 MPH average.

How much slack do you suppose I should cut myself given that I was riding my commuter bike with 700x32C tires, upright posture and 8 speed internal gear hub? Furthermore I'm 235 lbs, 6'6" tall and 48 years old and have only been back on a bike for less than two months. Sure would be nice to get to the level where I could keep up with the main group without having to move to a road bike. I guess I've got a new goal to add to my list. However, next week I hope to ride with the C group again.
Your Kidding me right??
I'm 5'10" 235-240# 49yo & been riding for a year and a half. I average about 15.7 to 16 mph over a 20 mile route that is pancake flat. Oh by the way, that is on a carbon road bike, 700x23s, etc........

IMHO you are doing great!!!! If you keep riding, you will only improve. Oh, by the way, Isn't 18.5mph an "A" pace ride??? Well Done!
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Old 09-04-08, 12:36 PM   #10
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I do find myself wondering about riding styles. I think I do better when I let someone else set the pace. I find they often coast down hills more than I would and then attack the up slopes harder. Maybe It's just a clyde thing where the lightweights always seem to go too fast uphill and too slow downhill. Or is it a newb mistake on my part that I'm not letting myself coast and rest when I get the opportunity? I tend to keep pumping along at a fairly even power until I run out of gearing and have to either go to maximum effort to get up the hill or start coasting when I hit 25 going downhill.
It bugs me to no end when the lead rider of a paceline starts coasting downhill. Doing so guarantees the rest of the line will either have to brake or move out into the wind to control their speed. Anyway, when I'm riding on my own, I usually keep pedaling down hill until I reach a cadence where it's obvious I'm getting little benefit from pedaling. At this point I let gravity do it all.

Don't expect to be able to hang with smaller, lighter, younger riders when going uphill, yet. It takes time to build up the endurance.

Pat yourself on the back for a personal best.
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