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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 07-05-11, 10:35 AM   #1
ill.clyde
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So I did my first club ride on Sunday...

Our local bike club hosts it, was told it goes around 37 miles, but there were options for paring some of the distance off. Started at 7 a.m., so I woke up, grabbed a granola bar and a small cup of coffee on my way out the door and drove to the starting point (a couple of towns over).

Got there, must have been about 20 people or so, saddled up next to another newbie and made introductions.

We rolled out, settled into a fairly easy, yet elevated for me, pace and stopped at the stop light prior to rolling out of town onto “country roads.” I grabbed a drink, listened to the small talk, readied myself for the ride. The light turned, I clipped in and we headed up a short hill. I stood up for the climb, made it up and over, and settled in and watched as the entire group minus three (me, the newbie and a fellow Clyde) kept moving further and further away.

I knew I’d get dropped, but wow. It happened so fast, and they did it so effortlessly.

So I settled in with the newbie, but he turned around after 10 miles or so, so it was just me and the Clyde, a club member who knew the route and was riding a steel Burley. Ended up having a pretty good ride with him. He graciously offered to cut the route short (I had plans for the day and didn’t have a lot of time). Was kind of bummed I couldn’t keep up with the big group and I’m pretty sure I bonked about mile 27 or so of what ended up being a 35 mile ride so I now know I have to have a little something more than a granola bar before the ride, or carry a little energy boost/snack to eat midway through the ride.

That said, loved the experience, it was great to ride with others and get to know a group a little bit. Planning to make the Sunday ride a regular thing when my schedule allows it.

Someone said it on here once … if you want to know where you stand as a rider, go on club rides and see how fast you get dropped. Pretty true stuff there … and I can see how riding with that group regularly will make me better.
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Old 07-05-11, 11:07 AM   #2
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Hang in there, it takes time. My club rides touring rides with varying distances up to 60 miles every Saturday and Sunday. Once a month the rides are "welcome rides" at a slightly slower pace. I've been riding hard for two years and can now keep up with some difficulty for 20-40 miles depending on the route. I'm 54 and have dropped from 238# to 220#. I can ride all day at 15-16 mph (completed two full centuries and RAGBRAI last year), but crank it up to 18-19 and I'm toast in an hour or so. When it's time for me to drop, I let the ride leaders know so they don't wait for me and mess up their ride.

Be friendly and keep joining the group rides. They will respect your efforts!
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Old 07-05-11, 11:26 AM   #3
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Thanks Travelin ....

I'm the same way ... I easily average 15 mph, could probably hit 16 if I really needed to ...

But there was no keeping up on Sunday
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Old 07-05-11, 11:28 AM   #4
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I'm going to go on my first club ride this coming Saturday afternoon. This one claims to run ~ 14 miles per hour, and is a no-drop ride over 30 miles. I'm more of a 12-13 mile per hour rider (average moving speed) on the Surly. Been doing more like 15 on the new (to me) Trek, so maybe I'll be able to hang.

I'll be sure to report back after the ride. Thanks for the inspiration!
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Old 07-05-11, 11:38 AM   #5
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I don't think that you really bonked. Being dehydrated has similar symptoms, and can make you limp home feeling just as lousy.

Next time, try drinking about twice as much. You will have to play with how much liquid you need.

But...I'd rather get dropped because I needed to stop to take a nature break from too much water, than limping home, sometimes alone, feeling terrible.
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Old 07-05-11, 11:50 AM   #6
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I'm not thinking it was dehydration. I drank as much, if not more, than I usually do. Emptied my primary water bottle, refilled it at the rest stop around mile 20 and finished both it and my secondary bottle by the time the ride ended.

I really think it had something to do with only having a granola bar before the ride and nothing else prior to dinner the night before.
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Old 07-05-11, 12:14 PM   #7
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If I don't feel the urge to pee every 1-1.5 hours, then I know that I'm not drinking enough to ride. Especially in the summer.
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Old 07-05-11, 12:42 PM   #8
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As long as you keep showing up, you keep learning. I spent a year and a half doing social rides at 12-14 mph. Then my more experienced friends began teaching me to paceline. Drafting is a hoot but it took me a while to get comfortable riding so close at speeds over 20. This is the only sport I've ever been involved in where the goal is for your friends to run off and leave you. I can hang longer than I could last year but I'm still learning to ride smarter. Yesterday I tried to spin at a higher cadence (90 to 100rpm) and burned myself up after about 20 miles, finished with 41 miles but I pretty much crawled home.
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Old 07-05-11, 02:33 PM   #9
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I notice you said you got dropped after the climb. You made it over with the group but I'd bet you just failed to recover after the climb. They might not have been going any faster than the start.

Do some longer consistent climbs on your own (long not steep). You'll get better and a part of getting better is the ability to recover on the bike, which includes after the climb. I'd bet if you could have stayed on a wheel for a minute or two with the ability to recover, you would have found that you would have easily stayed with the group. Sometimes it just seems that they are pulling away when in fact, they aren't.
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Old 07-05-11, 02:40 PM   #10
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Beanz it wasn't truly a climb (remember, I'm in IL, the flatlands LOL). More like a little hill

But you're right about getting better. And I was probabyl a bit hesitant, since it was my first ride, wanting to see how things shook out. Hopefully it'll take me longer to get dropped next time
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Old 07-05-11, 09:58 PM   #11
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Beanz it wasn't truly a climb (remember, I'm in IL, the flatlands LOL). More like a little hill

But you're right about getting better. And I was probabyl a bit hesitant, since it was my first ride, wanting to see how things shook out. Hopefully it'll take me longer to get dropped next time
I see! But keep at it though. I've been in positons before, after doing a pull etc, then thinking I was toast, hung on for a minute then feeling like a new day cause you get better at recovering on the bike.
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Old 07-05-11, 11:24 PM   #12
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Ill.Clyde,

thanks for the post, the fact you just went on the ride is a huge step!!!

I had a friend forward my a link to a group ride that starts in i think skokie or wilmette, and they say its a easy pace of 14 or 15 for a 20 mile ride, and i thought hey can do that. so i decided to try riding on the MUP and the second time i rode it i came upon a overpass hill and at looking at it, it looked like nothing. halfway up i was gassed and i swear i was crying a bit. i eventually made it to the top, huffing and puffing, totally gassed, legs burning, eyes burning (not from the tears, it was the "sweat") and as i coasted down the other side i realized i had to go back up to get home, so while coasting down and cursing myself i decided to take a good 15 minute break sitting under a tree at the bottom of the hill.

so after pumping my way back the hill and limping home i was saying, "i hate this road biking crap", "i am so out of shape i should just stick to commuting on a bike", "i will never be able to group ride", "why is it taking so long to get home", "why is my fat azz on a bike anyway".

i rested one day and calmed my negative thoughts. on the day off i came up with the idea of driving to the hill and just "train" riding up it and down it 10 times or till couldnt pedal anymore (i think its because of watching too much 80's montage training movies, i.e rocky, bloodsport, rudy, american ninja, iron eagle)

then the next day i came to my senses and just rode like i normally do and when i reached the hill i said if i get gassed just stop at the top and turn around....
...well i did it and didnt turn around!!!!! it didnt hurt or empty the tank. (i think i still cried again) and kept on riding adding 5 miles more to my ride that day and also jumping a 0.5mph average faster too.

now am i ready for that group ride, heck no!!! but i realized i am only going to get better and maybe by the end of the summer i will try it. we can only become stronger, faster, and more efficient. its just a matter of pushing and not quitting soon both us us will be leading the pack!
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Old 07-06-11, 07:37 AM   #13
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I see! But keep at it though. I've been in positons before, after doing a pull etc, then thinking I was toast, hung on for a minute then feeling like a new day cause you get better at recovering on the bike.
oh I plan to!

Did some intervals last night for just that very reason
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Old 07-06-11, 07:46 AM   #14
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@ CJ .... it's never really the hills that beat us ... it's our mind. Keep it up!
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Old 07-06-11, 08:10 AM   #15
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Our local club is huge, and they claim to have slower rides on their schedule, but for some reason I haven't been able to talk myself into joining them, even though I come from a background of club riding many years ago. Maybe it's just that they're so large an organization that I'm afraid it won't feel as personal an experience as I'd like. That's the problem I found when I moved away from my home town club and joined one where I lived in a Big 10 college town for a few years. That club was larger, and because of the student population, much more transient in nature, which I didn't care for.

So instead, I've attended a couple of shop rides that are organized by the LBS I frequent, even though they tend to ride fast (they have a racing team, and a formal club, both of which ride faster than I can keep up with). Fortunately, once a week on Thursday nights, the rides are split into 5 groups - As, 3 different Bs and Cs. The Cs are 15-16 MPH and ride a 17 mile loop. That's their "fun and fitness" group, and it has no formal ride structure other than a leader to shepherd everyone along. I've done that a couple of times without any problems, and have finished pretty fresh. So now I'm thinking it's time to try the step up to the slowest of the Bs, which are 17-18 MPH and ride a 23-25 mile loop, where they introduce paceline riding. I've done pacelines before, but it's been years since I did them regularly, so I wouldn't mind a "remedial" setting in which to get back into the practice.
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Old 07-07-11, 09:37 AM   #16
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Drink more. Drink 24oz of a sports drink per hour with carbs & electrolytes. Solves three problems at once, and until your rides are greater than 2 hours, you won't need more carbs than that. Might need more water/electrolytes in hot weather.
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