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  1. #1
    Photon-Ninja tjax's Avatar
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    Does it get easier?

    Now that I am over my pneumonia I took a nice ride out today. Only 7.9 miles, and boy was I exhausted. How long does it take to build up enough strength to last 40 miles? And when that happens are you still sore while riding only you can endure farther distances or does it just become easier? Or does the easier part come after losing weight?
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    Think about it..... you are just getting over being sick so your body is still not 100% recovered. It will take a little bit of time to get to where you were before.

    Ease into it and when you are 100% back and healthy, increase your miles week by week and you will get there. It is a stamina thing really and you will get there once your body is in sync.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

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    One a side note, if you are able to commute to work (even if it is driving half way and riding there) its a wonderful way to build up base miles, burn calories, have fun, and get exercise.
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    Photon-Ninja tjax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    One a side note, if you are able to commute to work (even if it is driving half way and riding there) its a wonderful way to build up base miles, burn calories, have fun, and get exercise.
    Thanks Chef,

    I work 1.6 miles from home, so I will start riding to work this upcoming Monday. Wise advice on being sick, what is a good rate increase per week to ride?
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  5. #5
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    Yes, it does get easier. But you need patience and persistence. Your body is getting used to something it's not used to doing. Bike fit does have an influence on comfort but it is something that can be sorted as you get more knowledge and skill. And I think for people losing weight and/or starting out, bike fit is a moving target.

    Keep at it.. that daily commute will help. And soon you will look to extend the commute route around your neighbourhood.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    I started biking this year on April 2nd. (Ignore my join date, I joined a while ago, but didn't buy a bike for long after that.

    My first ride was 3.6 miles. I probably could have gone further but I was sore. I did 15 miles later that week, which I thought was tough, so that should give you an idea of my starting fitness.

    I've now been biking for less than 2 months, and in my opinion, I can ride 40 miles, so I think the changes come pretty quickly, at least early on. My longest ride to date is 32 miles, but I felt good afterwards. I'll be biking 45 miles on June 9th, so I guess I'll find out if I can do it or not then.

    I think the biggest change in time is the ability to recover. When I started, If I did 10 miles, I needed a day off. I don't mind going 20 miles back to back on consecutive days now.

  7. #7
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    ^ Good advice. At some point "easier" is up to you. If you're happy with the speed then yes, you'll quickly get used to the miles. If you want to push the speed then no it doesn't get easier you just get faster.

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    Wow I am surprised it took 7 replies before one of my favorite quotes. The reason its my favorite is cause that is my story of biking the whole time I rode. Now to start with I will never be a TDF rider though I do like to pretend that could happen someday. Right now my max distance is 50miles, after doing that you think a 10 mph spin is easy... nope just getting on the horse is hard and those first few miles spinning out the kinks really blow. or how about personal bests you had a nice one with a tailwind in may but now you want to beat it but its July and around here not much wind in July, gets hard without that added push in the back. Although it may or may not get easier for you, look to your motivation; health, personal competition or group competition or whatever that is and use that to gap the bridge between the challenge and fun factor and sit back and enjoy the ride!

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    PS. Take it easy starting out especially till the effects of those drugs on your tendons is clear and you get some good base miles in, Steady and long, stay away from high intensity for a while.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    When I started I was outta breath just going one mile. Now I do 20 miles a day without noticing the effort. However I go slow and I've built up
    the mileage very slowly over 18 months. My main concern has been to avoid overuse injuries like tendonitis or knee problems because I use the biking
    to help me deal with being overly anxious = I gotta bike to stand sane.

    Hope you recover soon from your sickness.

    Take care. Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  11. #11
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    ^ Good advice. At some point "easier" is up to you. If you're happy with the speed then yes, you'll quickly get used to the miles. If you want to push the speed then no it doesn't get easier you just get faster.
    ^This
    You, and only you can determine what "easier" is. Losing weight helps as well as the fitness that's gained with the number of hours that you spend on the bike.
    My first ride back in July '11 was 60 minutes and went an ENTIRE(!) 10 miles on the C&O canal which is "watch your dog run a away for a week" flat flat.

    Now, many kilo's lighter and hundreds of hours of saddle time later, I won't even go out unless I can get in 15 flat miles which I'll routinely do at dinner (lunch for the city folk) time.

    So, if you are happy going X miles in Y minutes then yes, easy will come fairly quick.
    If you want to go X miles in Y-10% minutes then it takes a while longer and depending on the speed quite a bit of work since 2x speed takes power cubed.

    I am basing that on my personal experience where I picked out a 20 mile out and back course and time my rides on that (private Strava segment). Took me 4 months of hard work to meet my goal.
    I've expanded that to a 35 mile out and back which I can now do at my 20 mile speed goal quite regularly.
    I now need to shave 10 minutes off of that for my new speed goal.

    I can tell you that is not(!) getting easier.
    If I wanted to go out and ride at what I used to consider stupid fast then yeah, that would be a cake walk.

    Pick your poison

  12. #12
    Senior Member MattFoley's Avatar
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    With more miles on your legs, it will get easier (rather than just going faster, as the saying goes) when it comes to recovery, which maybe someone already mentioned above. Although I get a bit tired after particularly big mileage weeks, I don't get sore or run down. Even after century rides, my legs will feel a little tired on hills the day after, but again, no soreness or malaise to speak of. That's a big change from when I first started and I couldn't ride 20 miles on back-to-back days.
    Cars man, whyyyyyy?!?!?!?!

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    I started riding in February with 3-4 mile rides (25-30 minutes) every other day. I had 36 miles in February and slowly increased the miles each week. I set a March goal of 100 miles and got 121. April was 200, and May looks like it will end up around 260. I now ride 10-15 miles 3 days a week and take a longer ride on Saturday (up to 40 miles now) with Sunday reserved for just a slow cruise of 6-10 miles. While riding with the wife this Sunday I realized the hills I used to have to go to granny gear to climb I now just ride up without thinking. So I guess it does get easier, it just happens kind of slow so we may not realize it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    good news and bad news...

    The good news is "Yes, it gets easier", but the bad news is that after that you eventually die. Sorry.
    Having said that....I'll be facing something similar in about 2 months when I am able to ride again (broken collar bone blah blah). My story is that three years ago I was 285lb and my first ride was less than two miles. Last summer I did a 130mi solo with some reasonably challenging hills at the 60mi point and when I was done I was feeling fine and could have done another 25 with no problem. Not bad for a 61yr old clyde. Last year I did around 4500mi and it kills me to not be riding this summer. Just kills me. But I do know that when I get on the bike my first ride will be way short and I'll just start building stamina and endurance from that point.
    But there is a real secret to that process. I'm a huge proponent of the basic concept of High Intensity Interval Training. Most people may not want to do "real" HIIT training. It's not fun at all. But conceptually the important thing to note about building strength and endurance is that you have to continually push yourself a bit harder. That stress is what your body responds to by getting more fit. If you do a 20mi ride each Saturday your body will respond by getting and staying fit at that level, but you can do that for 5 years and you won't be ready for a 70mi ride. But if you keep pushing speed a bit each ride...pushing distance a bit each ride (or with some frequency) and in general pushing yourself a bit each ride, you will continue to build fitness. Obviously some rides become recovery rides...but short, hard rides can do as much as long slow rides for building basic aerobic conditioning. Once you get much past an hour or so you have to start paying attention to hydration and fuel.

  15. #15
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    It does get easier, obviously, or none of us would stay with the sport. This last weekend I did back to back rides (same ride Sunday and Monday) that at one time I couldn't do at all and when I could, it would take me hours. I did the ride in just under 2 hours (on the mountain bike - 14 miles, 2800' of climbing).

    But even though I can now do the ride in good time, I was sore after. Why? Because you never stop pushing. If 10 miles is hard, you push to do it. Then next 20 miles, then 30, then 40 etc. Of course, there is a whole science to training, riding and not overextending yourself so the soreness becomes a problem and leads to injuries.

    I do suppose climbing becomes much easier with weight loss (wouldn't know as I stay heavy no matter how much riding I do) but just becuase I am heavy doesn't mean I can't climb... I am just slower and maybe its harder for me.

    Just keep at it. I suspect in 6 months you won't believe how far you've come and can go!
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    It never gets easier.

    You just go faster.

    Or farther.

    But it becomes a LOT less frustrating. Physically I was far more spent after the land Rush, back to back double centuries, than I ever was when I first started.

    But mentally it was a different story.

    How long it will take for you to be going farther and faster depends on a lot of things. Not the least of which is your base fitness. If you are fit overall you can progress in a new activity rather quickly. In not it takes longer.

    It also depends on how much you push. If you start to take it easy as soon as you get tired you will not get much better. I'm not saying go out and hammer every time all the time, but you need to hammer at least a little. (Perhaps for now really pushing hard the next to last mile of the ride and then using the last mile to cool down).
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  17. #17
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    My first rides around a flat residential neighborhood three years ago were around 5 miles and I was so sore and tired I had to take a nap on the couch when I got home. Now most of my rides are 30-60 miles with occasional 100+. I still get tired and sore when I push hard, but I seem to tolerate it better and recover faster. What was a killer ride two years ago is a pleasant cruise now. Keep at it.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member the_tool_man's Avatar
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    Any time you exert yourself, you will put your body into a state of discomfort. It may be extremely mild discomfort, but it's discomfort nonetheless. As you push yourself, the discomfort level increases. Traveling a given distance in a given time does get "easier", because it becomes less uncomfortable. But more importantly, as you ride more, your ability to tolerate discomfort improves. I think this is why people generally improve fairly quicly early on, as they become used to the exertion, the breathing, etc., in addition to improving conditioning. It is important to be wary of drastic increases in activity, to avoid injury and the like. But you will find that once you learn to tolerate the discomfort that comes with exertion, you can do a lot more than you think.

    The advice to commute is very good. I commute (7mi each way), and have come to really enjoy it. Once nice thing about commuting, is that once you ride to work, you can't easily bail out of the ride home. Also, since your commute is short, you should be scouting small side trips you can add to your route to increase the distance (gradually). I have a 10mi route I take home some days, that has better scenery.

    Another motivator, may be your own performance on a familiar route. Once you begin to see the first improvement in your speed, you'll want more. I recently started using Strava to log my rides. It lets me see how I'm improving, and compare myself with others (I don't compare well at all, but it inspires me to improve all the more).

    Once you can sustain 12-14mph for 20 miles at a time, you might consider joining a local group ride or two. Ask around at your local bike shop for a "C" group or fun ride. Some find the social aspect of cycling rewarding. Just make sure you don't accidentally start off with a group that is too fast. That's a real bummer. If you find a good group though, they can really encourage you to keep it up.

    Next on the list of motivators, once you're ready, is organized rides. This is what really motivated me to get into better shape. I rode my first metric century last August. I rode a century and a half-century on back-to-back days a month later (okay, it was flat terrain). I'm signed up for three rides already this year (one this Sunday).

    One day, probably sooner than you think, you'll realize you're enjoying rides that used to be physically unimaginable. That's when you'll have your answer.
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    Pessimist: The glass is half-empty.
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  19. #19
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    It never gets easy because you'll always be challenging yourself. If you're only asking, "Will riding that 10 miles ever get easier," the answer is yes.
    - Dan \m/

  20. #20
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjax View Post
    Now that I am over my pneumonia I took a nice ride out today. Only 7.9 miles, and boy was I exhausted. How long does it take to build up enough strength to last 40 miles? And when that happens are you still sore while riding only you can endure farther distances or does it just become easier? Or does the easier part come after losing weight?
    Hard to say how long it takes because it will depend on you, how much riding you do, how well your bike fits you and all sorts of other things.

    When I first started cycling my maiden voyage was a little over 4 miles and at the end of it I just wanted to curl up and die. I'm still a heavy rider (I weigh about 240-250) but can do a 200km ride (about 125 miles), usually without too much discomfort.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  21. #21
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    BTW many years ago when I started to ride seriously, I pushed myself to be able to do a metric century (62 miles) and was quite proud of it. A couplk of friends invited me to come along on a organized century ride, the Tour de Tucson. My plan was to attempt 75 miles and just quit. Ended up doing the entire century (108 miles) and finished 10 minutes behind my friends who had trained for the distance. I was tired and about 80 miles I was questioning my sanity but I pushed through the discomfort and surprisenly finished in decent time (about 8 hours total). Like any sport its all about the challenge but I still like to get out and poke along and enjoy an easy, cruisey ride. It's all up to you what you want. Liek Wooden Tiger said, at some point 10 miles will be easy but is that all you want to do?
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I was sidelined by illness just like you -- in my case, it was liver poisoning from an antibiotic. I went from riding > 150 miles per week to barely being able to get up a single flight of stairs. During December and January, I logged zero miles. In February, I started feeling better. I went on a 27 mile ride, and 2 days later, on a 16 mile ride. Then my symptoms started coming back, and I realized I was trying to jump into it way too quickly. I waited a couple of weeks and took 10 easy rides during March, basically keeping my HR < 70% of max. Finally in April, I started feeling somewhat like my old self (except with about 50% of my previous strength), and I put in 475 miles. By the beginning of May, I felt about 80% back to normal, and put in 667 miles and managed 40 PR's on Strava -- more than I've ever done before.

    So yes, you can heal yourself, but you've got to give your body time to heal and time to recover after riding. It took me about 6 weeks to get up to a 50 mile ride, and 8 weeks to do a 65 mile ride. In 10 days, I'll be doing my first century for the year.

    When large internal organs get messed up, you can't jump into things as if you had a cold. And with pneumonia, it's likely you took some pretty strong antibiotics, and those alone really mess up the chemistry of your GI tract.

    Good luck, and I hope you are back to 100% as soon as possible!
    Scott CR1 Team

  23. #23
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Wow a 1.6 mile comute? You have no excuse not to ride every day. Don't worry about speed or distance yet, just get some consistant saddle time and find a longer way home in the afternoons.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  24. #24
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Just saw this post on the Surly blog and thought of this thread. The last comment is the important part.

    http://surlybikes.com/blog/post/get_out_of_the_dirt
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  25. #25
    Photon-Ninja tjax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    Wow a 1.6 mile comute? You have no excuse not to ride every day. Don't worry about speed or distance yet, just get some consistant saddle time and find a longer way home in the afternoons.

    I haven't taken the plunge because I work 10pm-6am and I have to cross a major highway. So I am looking for some very highly reflective clothing for the night ride home. Of course it is daylight (and all uphill) on the way back home. When I find a safe way to ride the night (hopefully bike clothing shopping this saturday) I will be on it for the long haul.
    2013 Trek 1.2 Alpha Series

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