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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 11-19-08, 09:37 AM   #1
neilfein
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Running the numbers

Last night, I went for my first ride in weeks that was longer than a mile or two. The night was dark, cold, and windy. It occured to me that I really had no idea how far I was riding, and how would I put this ride down on my tracking spreadsheet? I then wondered why I needed to track the distance at all.

I rode 1745 miles in 2007, and I just passed 2000 for this year. I really have nothing to prove to myself at this point, and I think I'll stop tracking miles when the year is over. I get the same workout whether or not I know the numbers.

Has anyone else gone from tracking to not, or the other way around? What were your reasons?
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Old 11-19-08, 09:41 AM   #2
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I just have to know the numbers. I even started using a Garmin 305 so I could have more numbers. Data! Give me Data!
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Old 11-19-08, 09:42 AM   #3
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Tracking your numbers can be useful in planning your maintenence intervals, you might want to factor that into consideration before doing away with the odometer altogether. I guess it depends on what you make of the numbers vs the effectivness of the tool.
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Old 11-19-08, 09:47 AM   #4
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I use the numbers for maintenance, clean chain 1200 miles, overhaul wheels 2500 miles,
lube pedals 1,000 miles. Keep track of tire mileage.
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Old 11-19-08, 09:47 AM   #5
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Tracking your numbers can be useful in planning your maintenence intervals, you might want to factor that into consideration before doing away with the odometer altogether. I guess it depends on what you make of the numbers vs the effectivness of the tool.
I've given up on tracking data such as speed, and only partially because I've given up on the idea of ever getting fast. I now estimate my route mileage using Bikely mapping.
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Old 11-19-08, 10:00 AM   #6
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Seeing my numbers improve is part of what motivates me to keep getting better. Plus I'm a total nerd and love seeing stats on just about anything.
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Old 11-19-08, 10:13 AM   #7
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My next bike will not have a computer. Numbers don't do it for me anymore.

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Old 11-19-08, 10:46 AM   #8
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My MTB and road bike have computers, my commuter does not. I keep a log of days I commute and, as my commute is a 10 mile round trip, I know how many miles I'm doing on that bike. I'm not anal about it but I do add it all up every once in a while to see what I've done for the year.
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Old 11-19-08, 11:02 AM   #9
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Last year when I first started back up I didn't track my miles. Yeah I had an odometer on my bike but I didn't pay it any mind or log it in some spreadsheet somewhere and sometimes the magnet wasn't aligned and it didn't record for days.
When I was back in Connecticut I had a computer but I didn't really track miles online like I do now. It was mostly so I could check my speed at a few spots and know how long my commute was taking or if I was offroute on a charted ride. Yeah I know use a watch but the bike computer was easier and I don't wear a watch.

I'm now tracking everything online. I find it helpful to look online at bikejournal calendar view to see if I'm riding too much or too little. It is nice to look and see other riders around me and have a littel carrot to go out and do a few more miles to keep ahead or to pass someone. Sometimes it is the piece that gets me on my bike to ride to work rather then driving so I can get another 45 miles in.
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Old 11-19-08, 12:53 PM   #10
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I still track my miles, but I don't get as "emotional" about them anymore.

As to maintenance, riding conditions seem as/more important as miles.If you ride in "filthy" conditions, you may require chain maintenance immediately after that ride to clean out the grit and prevent premature wear.
As far as hubs, I replace bearings & grease just before & after the "rainy season".
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Old 11-19-08, 12:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
Has anyone else gone from tracking to not, or the other way around? What were your reasons?
I used to track not only mileage but just about everything I could about my workout, biking and otherwise. I don't really do that any more, but I can see myself starting up again. The thing is, you record mileage (or any other exercise metric) for a reason, and as time goes by, your reasons change. Maybe riding a certain distance was a Big Deal once upon a time; maybe it's not any more. Or, maybe you were working your way up to a century and now you're not. Milestones and goals are probably the main reasons why we record things, the former merely being the latter seen through the rearview mirror. If you're proceeding without specific goals that can be expressed in terms of a metric, recording every milestone isn't that important.
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Old 11-19-08, 04:51 PM   #12
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I did about 2,000 the first couple of years of riding. I started to wonder what a more accurate number would be since the 2k was a guesstimate. I found that knowing the number motivated me to better the previous year. Ended up doing 4,000 the following years. Used it as a tool to keep myself from falling off the pace. Usd a 3 ring binder then found Bikejournal in 2003(?). Found the motivation of others' numbers inspired me to ride more.

BUT! I did 4,000 in 2004. Plenty of climbing and long rides. I did 7300 in 2005 only to set a PR. I wasn't any faster, just more miles. I did meet some megamiler riders that were the bigdawgs of the forums. It was 04-05 when we met on some rides. Some trash talkers but that was put to a stop when they realized big numbers (9-10 thou) don't compare to hard training!

So eventhough big numbers look good and impress some, I realize that aint all there is to being a strong cyclist! I was stronger with 4k than I was with 7k and my MO is to be strong. So eventhough numbers don't mean much, they are one of many tools!
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Old 11-19-08, 05:31 PM   #13
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Personally, I'm a numbers geek. I use the numbers as a tool though in my quest for faster and farther. YMMV, of course, depending on your focus. It's certainly perfectly alright to not track your miles.....that's strictly an individual choice.
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Old 11-19-08, 08:57 PM   #14
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It depends on what you're after, so there is no right or wrong answer.

20 yrs ago when I was a CAT 3 racer wannabe I learned that hours and types of training were more important than miles for racing. A one hour ride with intervals can build much more strength and speed than a 5 hour ride if done correctly. A thirty minute sprint drill can leave you bonked in the blink of an eye.

Since I've started back I have resisted mounting a computer on any of my bikes. I've collected all the usual suspects for different bikes and riding goals, but they remain in the box. I'm a data junk from way back and the urge is getting stronger to wire in. I have a specific goal for the Spring and some real life metrics are going to be useful for preparation.

If you really want to geek out on your numbers, get a powertap, lol. You can get more info than you will ever use and be able to produce graphs and charts. Who doesn't like a nice graph or chart, lol.
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Old 11-20-08, 04:00 PM   #15
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As a beginner (4 1/2 months riding steadily) I keep track of total miles religiously. But, although I notice my average speed and cadence, I don't record much else at the moment. I do want to keep track of more and I am going to start using the Bikejournal site. HOWEVER...I can already see the danger of ruining my fun by flogging myself to train too hard and get faster.
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Old 11-20-08, 08:36 PM   #16
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I tracked mileage for a year. That was 2 years ago. My computer stopped working over a year ago so I don't know my speed or distance. And I don't care.
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Old 11-21-08, 01:58 AM   #17
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Depends on whether it works for you or not. In a somewhat related experience I used to run with a wristwatch. I only wanted it to tell me when to turn around, for example if I wanted to run an hour I'd turn around at 30 minutes.

Trouble is I looked at it constantly and compared my times to my last runs, etc, etc, etc. Drove me freakin nuts.

Took my watch off a couple years ago and have never looked back. Running got fun again after I lost the watch.

Again it depends on what you're working towards. If I wanted to run a race and hit a certain time you can better believe I'd slip the watch back on.

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Old 11-21-08, 07:40 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the replies, everybody. It seems everybody is a little invested in whether or not they track miles, and why. It's good to see I'm not the only one like that.

I'm thinking I'll track mileage when I need to follow turn-by-turn directions (mostly when touring). Or when I feel like it.
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Old 11-21-08, 09:51 AM   #19
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I bought a Garmin Forerunner 405, so I could have more data. I can ride the same route and know my miles, but I don't know about the workout as much. Where was my heartrate?

I have found that when I do a shorter but harder ride for a workout, my body loses weight better than a longer slower ride. I guess that is why intervals work better for me than a slower longer workout is supposed to do.

Data, I guess I want the data!!!!
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