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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 02-23-11, 04:25 PM   #1
Bdd2043
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Ride question - Short hammer or longer cruise?

So I'm getting a lot more comfortable on the bike, wth the new pedals and all. So now my question becomes length.. Always seems to come to that doesnt it..

So I am now riding about 15 miles, averaging 13mph or so.. I can push it and hammer to about 16 for short periods.. but that means I bonk and shorter rides. I'd like to ride longer, but not so sure I want to cruise at 10mph.

So which is better, a longer ride, say 20-25 at 13, or a shorter ride, 15 or so at 16?

I think I will enjoy the longer rides more, so might be more likely to do that, but from a benefit perspective, what do you think?

BD
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Old 02-23-11, 04:39 PM   #2
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Who are you competing with and why?

IMO the majority of riders either have a destination to get to or they ride for the fun of riding. So examine your motivation for riding to find your answer.
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Old 02-23-11, 04:45 PM   #3
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+1. Absent information about your weight, age and general physical condition, but given that you bonk after a relatively short effort, it sounds like you just need to build up your base. Even short climbs will help build strength without going out of your way to "hammer".
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Old 02-23-11, 04:55 PM   #4
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Depends on the terrain too. I can do a 30 mile ride at 13 and be wasted and a 40 mile ride at 18 and not be so tired if it's flat.

If I were you, I'd do a long ride at 60-70% effort (30 miles). Another day a short ride at 80+ effort (10 miles) just to mix it up.
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Old 02-23-11, 05:42 PM   #5
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I would say you need to do both. You body will adapt to what you do to it, so if you only ride slow long rides that is what you body will grow used to and you will not improve your speed. On the other hand if you only work on short/fast rides you will not be able to do the long haul. Mix it up is the best thing to do.

However I would first work on building up your endurance for the longer rides first, call this building a foundation. Then start mixing in speed rides along with the longer rides.

On most of my endurance rides I don't even have my bike computer show my speed, during the ride the only thing I work on is cadence and heart rate zones.

Last edited by F15Todd; 02-23-11 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 02-23-11, 05:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdd2043 View Post
So I'm getting a lot more comfortable on the bike, wth the new pedals and all. So now my question becomes length.. Always seems to come to that doesnt it..

So I am now riding about 15 miles, averaging 13mph or so.. I can push it and hammer to about 16 for short periods.. but that means I bonk and shorter rides. I'd like to ride longer, but not so sure I want to cruise at 10mph.
General consensus is that you should have some 'base miles' which are 'long steady distance' before trying harder intensities; where 'some' might be 500.

Short and hard will increase your speed more faster.

Intervals like 10 minutes as hard as you can go, 5 minutes at half intensity, repeat will be psychologically easier than trying to rack up the same training stress in 40 straight minutes of hard riding.

Without enough fitness you won't be able to do that two days in a row or even more than once a week. Fill your remaining time with nice recovery/endurance pace rides on the other days.

Don't try to do too many hard rides in too short a time period - you won't be able to go as hard as you need to make a significant difference, will stay slow, and be tired too.

Quote:
I think I will enjoy the longer rides more, so might be more likely to do that, but from a benefit perspective, what do you think?
You need to ride hard to build a powerful aerobic system and legs. That makes you faster, lets you burn more calories in less time, boosts your resting metabolic rate for longer than low intensity exercise, and lowers your blood pressure to where it's "normal for athletes and children."

Chronic training load/long term stress from short hard rides can also give you the fitness to do longer rides at relatively lower intensities. I wouldn't recommend this but I did my first century when my usual ride was 20-25 miles at lunch with a fast group probably without riding more than 50-60 miles in a day and felt great (but took 5:45 to finish versus under five hours for one of the guys doing more longer rides). Followed that up with Ride the Rockies Grand Junction to Golden covering about 420 miles with 30,000 feet of climbing over a week. Felt great then too and I was fast enough to have a hot shower plus my pick of camping spots.

Significantly lower intensities (in terms of power) aren't necessarily that much slower - if on flat ground I'm cruising at 22-23 MPH at full one hour power half power is still 17 MPH although the difference becomes more significant and linear with grades - I'd drop from 13 mph 7.5 mph headed up a 3% hill.

Reading some of the available literature on training for cyclists would be a good idea - even if you don't adapt one of their formal training plans the principles are definitely applicable.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-23-11 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 02-23-11, 06:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions and advice. I know I do need to work up my endurance. I'm 270 right now, general shape is OVAL, and condition is OK.! I love biking so far and its great as its relatively low impact. As far as who Im competing with, just myself. Although I DO hate being passed by the uber-bikers on Cervallos who look like they're pedaling a quarter as fast as I am and just zip by like I was standing still.

I have the luxury of living right next to the Suncoast Trail in Florida, so its a relatively flat (some rollers) 41 mile trail. I want to ride the whole thing. Then I want to ride in some organized rides like the Tour de Cure and some others, and maybe NEXT year the MS150 (Hopefully!!).

So I think I'll work up to 20's then 30's and when I can do that, add in some speedier rides. I try to do the interval training, stand and power up the hills, and power for a while after and recover, but riding alone its tough to keep that up. Im not a fan of headphones on the trail, but I might need to find a little speaker setup to jack in some tunes to keep me in line. (Don't want to start the headphones/no headphones argument).

So until then I'm just going to ride.. often. Ive been getting out every day for the last week during lunch for 1-2 hours, since I am "in transition" as the placement people want me to say. Silver lining, I can show up at my interviews a few lb's lighter!

Thanks all!
BD
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Old 02-23-11, 06:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Chronic training load/long term stress from short hard rides can also give you the fitness to do longer rides at relatively lower intensities.
This. When I was training for my ride from SF to LA, much of my training was done during lunch. That meant short (40-50min, 12-16mi), relatively flat rides at high intensity (17.5mph avg). On weekend rides, I'd dial the pace back 2-3 mph and found that I could (quite literally) ride all day...
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Old 02-23-11, 08:31 PM   #9
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Sounds like you have a good plan. Let me emphasize that riding consistently is key. At least 5 times a week, preferably 6. Doesn't matter the distance: try to focus on time. 30-mins a day at least with a longer effort once a week.

As for motivation: its yours and not open to question by anyone else. I race 'cause I like to go fast. But you'd be surprised at how often I go slow.
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Old 02-23-11, 09:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdd2043 View Post
So I'm getting a lot more comfortable on the bike, wth the new pedals and all. So now my question becomes length.. Always seems to come to that doesnt it..

So I am now riding about 15 miles, averaging 13mph or so.. I can push it and hammer to about 16 for short periods.. but that means I bonk and shorter rides. I'd like to ride longer, but not so sure I want to cruise at 10mph.

So which is better, a longer ride, say 20-25 at 13, or a shorter ride, 15 or so at 16?

I think I will enjoy the longer rides more, so might be more likely to do that, but from a benefit perspective, what do you think?

BD
The general consensus is base distance. If you can go 15 miles, say 4 days a week then that's a weekly total of 60 miles, that means the next week you should be able to add up to 10% or six miles, you can split that up however you like, but a lot of folks say add it to the end. My workout days are Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, since Saturday has a workout day after it, I will add the extra to the Saturday and then use Sunday as a recovery ride.

There is no rule, that an entire ride has to be at the same pace, if you can go 15 miles at 13MPH, then here is what you do, 3 miles at 13MPH (warm up) then mile at 16MPH, then back to 11MPH for 1 mile, then another mile at 16MPH, then another mile at 11MPH, do this 4 times, then 4 miles at 13MPH to finish off, this is called Intervals, they can really help get you to the next level. I do Intervals on a trainer as we have an off season here, they are actually easier to do on a trainer, because there are no hills to get in the way and no wind.
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Old 02-24-11, 12:16 PM   #11
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I like to ride distance but I am slow. my normal spring to fall ride is around 35 miles with 11 mph average. I am not as fast as some but I enjoy the scenery more.
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Old 02-24-11, 12:35 PM   #12
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Good advice so far.

I would suggest longer cruise rides. If you push so hard you have to shorten your planned ride length, you're riding too hard. There is nothing wrong with challenging yourself up a hill, to the next sign, etc. but you should still be able to settle back to your "normal pace" after that.

I know you hear this all the time, but don't worry about your speed! There are so many variables, go by your RPE (rate of perceived exertion) instead. Good luck.
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Old 02-24-11, 12:55 PM   #13
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I think I will enjoy the longer rides more, so might be more likely to do that, but from a benefit perspective, what do you think?
From that perspective, you benefit from your enjoyment when you go on longer rides. So do that.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it depends what kind of benefit you're looking for. Most things you might have as goals will be served by riding more, and the more you enjoy riding, the more you'll do it. If weight loss is what you're after, in particular, you'll do yourself more favors by thinking kCal/hr than kCal/mile, so longer but easier going rides are better for that. But enjoyment is important in its own right, too.
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Old 02-24-11, 01:11 PM   #14
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A longer ride is ALWAYS the answer.

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Old 02-24-11, 02:16 PM   #15
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At your size and speed, I would suggest the LSD idea. That would be Long Steady Distance! At least until your overall fitness improves.

Besides it should be fun to ride a bike!
All that sprint/interval work is just that, WORK!
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