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  1. #1
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    What should one expect of themselves to start?

    Two weeks ago I really got started into cycling. This is the first time I've really road a bike since I was maybe 15 or 16 years old. I bought a used 7500fx at first and started hitting the bike trails with my girlfriend.

    The first night her, myself and our friend rode about 12 miles. I was in pure agony . Since then we've been riding about 10 miles a night 6 nights a week at the trail. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

    I've seen quite a bit of improvement for myself over the past few nights. I don't have to routinely stop for a minute to rest, I'm not getting winded nearly as bad, etc.

    I guess what my question is am I doing to much to soon? Not enough? I really need to build up my stamina as I would like to go on longer rides. Is there a set guideline I should be going by? A month from now what should I be aiming for?

    I'm about 6'1 or 6'2 and at the heaviest I've been since i was a child, about 235 or 240lbs. So some weight could definitely be shed. I just recently quit smoking and with my new found love of cycling I just want to get into shape, in the past I've always hovered around 190lb's or so, but was never in shape. I definitely have the motivation as each night I can't wait to get off work to hit the trail.

    Now that I have a new road bike (2009 specialized allez sport compact) what should I reasonably progressing to? Thanks for any and all help!

  2. #2
    Mass Mover takingcontrol's Avatar
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    I would mix in some treadmill with it start at a pace that makes you work but not so bad your out of breath (as in cant have a conversation) put 1"or 2" of incline, you wont really feel it but it helps. This cardio will help you with extended rides ( and with overall health) you will be amazed I started like you not that long ago and I weigh quite a bit more But with approx 60 days of treadmill 2 miles every day at a pace of 4mph 2" incline I can hold a conversation for a 28 mile ride no sweat.....well maybe some sweat

  3. #3
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    A conservative rule of thumb is to increase weekly mileage/rides by 5%. I'm a glutton and went for 10% when I first got back into it.

    I think the best way to go is pick a weekend day and see what you can do after you get your legs under you, which it sounds like you have if you are riding 10 miles daily. Heck, if you can do 10, you can do 15! (it just may hurt a bit more).

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    Yes, it is too much too soon. You didn't say how old you are, but starting like that is a recipe for injury. Take the next day off. Take every other day off at least for the next two weeks. Don't kill yourself riding their pace if it is too fast. Maybe you can ride together as you warm up and then for a few miles, then let them go and have them pick you up on the way back. Frankly, you are lucky to not be injured now.

  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quonset Hut View Post
    Yes, it is too much too soon. You didn't say how old you are, but starting like that is a recipe for injury. Take the next day off. Take every other day off at least for the next two weeks. Don't kill yourself riding their pace if it is too fast. Maybe you can ride together as you warm up and then for a few miles, then let them go and have them pick you up on the way back. Frankly, you are lucky to not be injured now.
    Please explain how someone riding ten miles a day on a trail six days a week is following "a recipe for injury." And just what "injury" is the OP cooking up?

    The OP may be courting trouble if he has problems with bike fit or health issues, but his post doesn't mention any aside from being out of breath. That's a sign of something, but it needn't be a sign of "injury."

  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by MxChino View Post
    Two weeks ago I really got started into cycling. This is the first time I've really road a bike since I was maybe 15 or 16 years old. I bought a used 7500fx at first and started hitting the bike trails with my girlfriend.

    The first night her, myself and our friend rode about 12 miles. I was in pure agony . Since then we've been riding about 10 miles a night 6 nights a week at the trail. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

    I've seen quite a bit of improvement for myself over the past few nights. I don't have to routinely stop for a minute to rest, I'm not getting winded nearly as bad, etc.

    I guess what my question is am I doing to much to soon? Not enough? I really need to build up my stamina as I would like to go on longer rides. Is there a set guideline I should be going by? A month from now what should I be aiming for?

    I'm about 6'1 or 6'2 and at the heaviest I've been since i was a child, about 235 or 240lbs. So some weight could definitely be shed. I just recently quit smoking and with my new found love of cycling I just want to get into shape, in the past I've always hovered around 190lb's or so, but was never in shape. I definitely have the motivation as each night I can't wait to get off work to hit the trail.

    Now that I have a new road bike (2009 specialized allez sport compact) what should I reasonably progressing to? Thanks for any and all help!
    The rule of thumb is that you increase mileage or effort 5% from week to week, all other things remaining equal. Many folks stretch that 5% to 10 or more.

  7. #7
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    I just turned 30 years old this january. Other than being out of breath at points, which i attributed to being a former smoker and just general muscle soreness, after riding I usually feel great.

  8. #8
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    Hey MxChino,
    Sounds like you and I are in the pretty much the same boat.
    I'm 30, 6' and 225# (was much higher), and I just started cycling too, and I just quit smoking yesterday.

    I didn't know anything about percentages to increase or any of that. I just ride until I get tired. I started out riding around 10-15 miles, and now (1 month later), I'm going for 25-30 miles rides. The longest I've been able to do was 54 miles, but I stopped for a few breaks.

    I think it's more important to enjoy yourself than to track all the numbers. I do better when I deliberately ignore my cyclocomputer. You will know when you have had a good workout. You should feel it, but not feel like you're going to die. Muscle soreness doesn't always mean you're over doing it. For me, it just meant that my muscles were puny little *******s that needed to grow a set.

    The best part is the feeling you get when you realize that you went further then ever and you feel like you could keep going, if only you had time.

    Oh yeah, and I'm totally jealous of your bike!!!! I'm still on a Hybrid.

  9. #9
    "Fred"--is that bad? DTSCDS's Avatar
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    I think you're fine. As many others have already said, don't try to make too big a jump in mileage from week to week. Just increase a bit each week and you'll be fine. You will be amazed at how fast your endurance picks up--especially considering your lungs will be recovering from the damage the smoking did.

    When I started it was 4 miles max before I thought I would die. Less than 9 months later I rode a 42 mile charity ride. (And I was no serious trainer either--one or two nights a week with a longer ride on the weekends when I could find the time.)

    Drink lots of water and stretch when you finish and you'll be fine.
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  10. #10
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    What should one expect of themselves to start?
    Hot spots on the bottom of your feet
    Buring legs
    lower back pain
    sore butt
    ear to ear grin

  11. #11
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    Ha! Well, I consider myself lucky. I've only been riding a month and I've managed to avoid all of those (except the sore butt, of course). I've also got a sore knee, but that's probably due to an old injury (you ever just been walking along minding your own business and just fall down? That happened to me once and all my not inconsiderable weight landed on one knee - ouch) OR maybe I need to raise my saddle AGAIN.

  12. #12
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delmalpz View Post
    Ha! Well, I consider myself lucky. I've only been riding a month and I've managed to avoid all of those (except the sore butt, of course). I've also got a sore knee, but that's probably due to an old injury (you ever just been walking along minding your own business and just fall down? That happened to me once and all my not inconsiderable weight landed on one knee - ouch) OR maybe I need to raise my saddle AGAIN.
    I'm sorry to hear that you have missed out on the ear to ear grin

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Please explain how someone riding ten miles a day on a trail six days a week is following "a recipe for injury." And just what "injury" is the OP cooking up?

    The OP may be courting trouble if he has problems with bike fit or health issues, but his post doesn't mention any aside from being out of breath. That's a sign of something, but it needn't be a sign of "injury."
    Going from zero to 60+ miles a week can cause problems. I realize he now said he just turned 30, so maybe he got away with the brutal start. I'm older, with perhaps more lower body history problems than some. Still, I stand behind the every other day starting now and ramp up when his body says it is OK. When is it OK? When you don't hurt like a b*tch for the next two days...

  14. #14
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    bautieri: OH. I knew I forgot something. I have been LOVING riding my bike. This is me after an hour or two.

    Delma

  15. #15
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    I don't think you're doing to much. If you can do it without pain than why not? I started off exactly as you are and by the end of first summer I did a century. Now the only time it hurts is when doing hard training rides. You're doing great start adding on the miles but remember to take a day off and mix in some light easy recovery rides.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    I remember my first couple months, I thought I was gonna keel over and die doing 1.5 miles into work and coming back....(Horrors!)up a slight incline....

    I remember feeling so accomplished on my first 20 mile ride....30 mile ride...40 mile ride

    Now I ride faster up those inclines (one can hardly call them hills now) than I ever went down them in the beginning.
    Faster and/or farther every month.

    When it starts getting easy, or if you still feel fresh after a ride, it's time to go farther or faster.
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  17. #17
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    Wow 12 miles the first time out?!?!?! Quite the accomplishment if you ask me. I have some friends that struggle at 2 - 3 miles on their first rides. You are obviously in fairly good shape.

    I'm not certain if riding should be equated with pain. Oh sure, when I do centuries its painful. If I am training for a century it can sometimes be painful, but normal riding should be enjoyable. Not easy mine you, but you should not be wasted all day afterwards. You have to gauge what for you is reasonable. The fact you did 12 miles the first time out tells me the 10 miles is reasonable. What I do suggest is varying the distance - you should be doing a longer ride when you have time. For instance do 10 milers during the week and attempt 15 - 20 milers on the weekend. The point is to constantly push yourself upward towards some goal. Get a training manual and record your distances and times. Maybe one night ride longer but slow and another night rip that 10 miles as fast as you can.

    Great job really. Be proud of what you are doing.
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  18. #18
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    No-one can really tell you what you should expect from yourself. Your absolute highest concern should be how you feel.

    There is no "recipe for injury" per se, other than riding when you really think that you shouldn't. You can overtrain, but you are not at that point. Any moderately healthy person should be able to handle the aerobic and muscular aspect of cycling for the distances that you are talking about, on a daily basis. The issue is whether or not you are suffering from orthopedic pain. A little bit of back pain is normal, as is a sore tail, until you build up a bit of a tolerance. If your knees bother you, or something along those lines, then you need to back off a bit till you figure out why.

    You should commend yourself for your commitment to get healthy, and cycling is certainly a great way to do it. There is no other single activity with the possible exception of swimming, that does as much good for you, and is as pleasant, as simply riding a bike.

    I don't quite fit into the Clydesdale category, but to be honest, cycling is the only thing that keeps me out of it. If circumstances keep me off my bike, I generally start climbing in weight. That was a huge shock to someone who had to get a waiver to join the Army some 30 years ago, because technically I was underweight.

    Go with your own instincts, and if something specific hurts, then talk to a physician. If you have more of a generalized ache, then all is probably good, and the only limits are the ones you establish for yourself. Keep it fun, and if you are the twisted sort that some of us are, you will learn to enjoy those generalized aches that come with pushing yourself to higher levels, and even crave them. If you don't, then your improvements will come more slowly, but they will still come.

    Above all, don't do anything to take the fun out of it. If it is fun to do a 10 mile ride, but a 15 mile ride isn't, then do a 10 mile ride. The longer rides will happen on their own as you become more fit, and you become accustomed to riding.

  19. #19
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    My first rides were measured in blocks, not miles; and my butt still complained and required time off the saddle until it got broken in (me, not the bike saddle). I've been on the bike about a year now, previous riding was very casual 10 years ago and then same during HS and college 20 years before that. It took me about 5 months to build up to a 20-mile hot/hilly ride, did a few 50-mile rides by month 6 (but had to take 2 weeks off the bike due to handlebar palsy); I was in good cardiovascular shape when I started but as a swimmer I was definitely not in "bike shape" so my legs weren't very strong nor well-conditioned. I've actually gained weight since I started biking but my lower body is definitely more muscled and my average speed has improved. It's fun to re-ride some of my routes and see how at least some the "hard" hills are no big deal now.

    I suggest focusing on frequency and distance your first year; include some moderate intensity (hills/wind/sprints) but a secondary objective in your rides. When you get a baseline level of endurance built, you can start mixing it up more.

    On group rides I tend to overdo it. While riding solo I find my own pace. Both types of riding have their place and provide different kinds of enjoyment to improve your riding.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MxChino View Post
    Two weeks ago I really got started into cycling. This is the first time I've really road a bike since I was maybe 15 or 16 years old. I bought a used 7500fx at first and started hitting the bike trails with my girlfriend.

    The first night her, myself and our friend rode about 12 miles. I was in pure agony . Since then we've been riding about 10 miles a night 6 nights a week at the trail. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

    I've seen quite a bit of improvement for myself over the past few nights. I don't have to routinely stop for a minute to rest, I'm not getting winded nearly as bad, etc.

    I guess what my question is am I doing to much to soon? Not enough? I really need to build up my stamina as I would like to go on longer rides. Is there a set guideline I should be going by? A month from now what should I be aiming for?

    I'm about 6'1 or 6'2 and at the heaviest I've been since i was a child, about 235 or 240lbs. So some weight could definitely be shed. I just recently quit smoking and with my new found love of cycling I just want to get into shape, in the past I've always hovered around 190lb's or so, but was never in shape. I definitely have the motivation as each night I can't wait to get off work to hit the trail.

    Now that I have a new road bike (2009 specialized allez sport compact) what should I reasonably progressing to? Thanks for any and all help!
    There are probably 100 different formulae for riding, and they are all different, each one is proposed as being the absolute best. Generally the rule is to add between 5% and 10% per week. Not all rides need to be the same length, it's not uncommon to make one ride longer then the rest of the week, this is to push your distance out, if distance is your goal. If your riding 10 miles per day, then pick a day like Saturday, and push that out to say 15 miles. It will seem difficult the first time you do it, pick an off day, it should NOT be the day after your longer ride. This is the general rule for ROAD riding.

    One thing to consider, off road, meaning trails that are generally dirt rather then paved trails often are much harder then on road and paved MUPs. Something to keep in mind as well. In fact a mile of dirt is often equivalent to 2 or even 3 miles of paved trail or road riding, so keep that in mind as well. Gravel is typically somewhere in between, depending on how good the surface is.

  21. #21
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    Thanks guys for all your informative posts and words of encouragement. Tonight I decided to push it a little bit and did 14 miles just fine. When I got back to our starting point I felt like i could do a couple more but the girlfriend was done for the night. Taking tomorrow night off (maybe, i know i should but, maybe) then back at it thursday. I gotta say this past week is the best I've felt in such a long time. I have so much more energy, I sleep better, I just feel more healthy. Wether its from the cycling, quitting smoking or more than likely than the combination of both. Only thing left to do is kick my caffeine habit

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MxChino View Post
    Only thing left to do is kick my caffeine habit

    Blasphemy

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by delmalpz View Post
    Ha! Well, I consider myself lucky. I've only been riding a month and I've managed to avoid all of those (except the sore butt, of course). I've also got a sore knee, but that's probably due to an old injury (you ever just been walking along minding your own business and just fall down? That happened to me once and all my not inconsiderable weight landed on one knee - ouch) OR maybe I need to raise my saddle AGAIN.
    I would be wary of phantom knee pains, they are often indications of bike fit issues. In your case, it may very well be a previous injury acting up but it may also be the beginning of a larger problem. I suffered some pretty harsh knee pains when I got my new bike that started out as very minor aches and continued to grow until I almost couldn't ride. It turns out that I had my saddle too high so I was hyper extending my knees on every single stroke of the pedal.

  24. #24
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Rest is as important as the exercise. Your muscles need some time to repair the damage - that is how they get stronger.

    So, listen to your body (it is really important to learn to do this, IMHO), and every now and then don't ride for a day.

    Otherwise have fun, and challenge yourself tro a longer ride now and then.

    Pretty soon you will be doing 40+ mile rides.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Sorry to hijack, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by ryanwood View Post
    I would be wary of phantom knee pains, they are often indications of bike fit issues. In your case, it may very well be a previous injury acting up but it may also be the beginning of a larger problem. I suffered some pretty harsh knee pains when I got my new bike that started out as very minor aches and continued to grow until I almost couldn't ride. It turns out that I had my saddle too high so I was hyper extending my knees on every single stroke of the pedal.
    I'm afraid that I'm hijacking MxChino's thread somewhat and I apologize for that in advance.

    Ryanw: Thanks for your warning that I should remain aware of this weird knee pain. I'll continue to pay attention. It has only happened once in 13 rides, so far, and it was after mile 10 or so (I go at a pretty slow pace - 8mph, I think). I'll monitor it and try some fit adjustments if it gets worse. It's not really pain so much as an ache and a clear awareness that my knee is there and doing something it's not used to (moving). And it stopped as soon as I got off the bike pretty much. I don't feel it now, at all. I'm almost positive my saddle is not high enough and I don't get quite enough extension on every stroke, but we'll see. Thanks, again. Delma

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