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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 07-06-13, 01:50 PM   #1
hammockman
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Live on the side of an extinct volcano

Hi,
I'm an old guy, 51, about 250lbs and live in a town on the side of an extinct volcano in Costa Rica. The town really doesn't have any level ground so I am riding up the easiest hill in town which really only gets me about half way to the top of the town (it takes me about 15 to 20 minutes for me to make it up the hill). I rode up twice this morning at a very, very slow pace. It sure was fun going down after the climbs. The second time I ended up in the easiest gears and just barely made it to the top of the hill. My legs are basically jelly when I finish a 30 to 45 minute ride. My plan is to just keep doing easy hills for a while until I can go up the steeper ones. There are a couple of nice gravel roads out of town into the countryside that I am looking forward to being able to ride. I am planning on riding longer but really can't yet. How long should I be riding every day to build up my legs and lungs? Should I be riding every day or do I need rest days? I read about all these people here on this website writing about long training rides, so how do long, fast, flat rides compare in energy usage to going slowly up hill? Lots of questions I know but it seems we have lots of experienced riders that might be able to help me get started properly. Thanks in advance.
Mark
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Old 07-06-13, 01:54 PM   #2
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Riding up a steep hill is WAY harder than a flat ride. As for what you should be doing, I'd say listen to your body and definitely take a rest day or two per week. Do something different (walk, swim, hike) if you want to stay active on your rest days. Add time to your rides as your fitness improves. One suggestion would be to really push yourself on say, Sunday, rest on Monday and do "normal" rides the rest of the week. There are a million different ways to go about it though.
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Old 07-06-13, 02:31 PM   #3
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What's the altitude there..?
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Old 07-06-13, 03:05 PM   #4
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Not very high, only 1200 feet I think.
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Old 07-06-13, 03:13 PM   #5
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I'm no expert. But, I have been riding bicycles my whole life, turning 62 this summer. Welcome to the forum. You may want to visit the Plus Fifty sub-forum too.

First, chuck the attitude of you being "an old guy". You aren't old at 51. You have 30-40 years before you're "old".

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Originally Posted by hammockman
How long should I be riding every day to build up my legs and lungs?
That depends on you and your physical abilities/limits. Sounds like you reached that limit on your second ride up that hill when your legs felt like jelly. It is good to push yourself, but don't overdue it either. Just a little further each time or a little faster. It is a long process. The important thing, as it is with any physical activity, is consistency. You will get discouraged at times and will have little setbacks. It is at those times when you really to tell the legs to shut up and get back out there.

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Should I be riding every day or do I need rest days?
Again, it depends on you. Rest days are important. You need to give your body to heal. The old biblical adage of one rest day out of seven is wise advice. Some of us use easy rides as a type of rest, but since you don't have any flat land around, you really don't have the opportunity for an easy ride, (unless you can motor to some other place nearby with some flat land).

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I read about all these people here on this website writing about long training rides, so how do long, fast, flat rides compare in energy usage to going slowly up hill?
Going up hills is hard! At least for me, it is. A climb constantly requires putting out energy and unless I stop, can't really slack off or go easy. I don't like hills, but do them because "everybody" says that they are good for my conditioning and that I will get better. Hah! I have one hill on a loop that I frequently do. It does NOT get easier! And I'm not getting up it any faster either. About the only thing I can say about it is that I'm getting to know the road so well that each little curve or ramp tells me how much longer I have to suffer before I get to the top and can enjoy that all too brief freewheel down the other side. I'm getting to the point where I subdivide the climb into five or six segments. "Okay, I'm under the power lines now. Around the next curve is the canyon, then only the straight ramp till the top." Something like that. It is making the climb more manageable, but not easier.

On a long, flat ride, there are many opportunities to slack off for brief times, coasting along while only a little bit of speed bleeds off. I don't have to push the cranks so hard and constantly. I would bet that one would have to ride about four, five, maybe six times the distance of a hill to expend the same amount of energy. Of course, I'm only guessing here. I'd much rather ride a metric century than climb a thousand meters, and I'm usually bushed after each.

TrojanHorse gives good advice. (He's a way better climber than I am. About the only time I can outclimb him is right now, and that only because he is just coming off his surgery/injury. Once he recovers, I'll go back to watching his back side as he glides up GMR away from me.)
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Old 07-06-13, 04:09 PM   #6
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Ride until your body says stop. Don't ride again until soreness is gone. Repeat. It's that simple. This will get you fit.

You mentioned your weight so I'm guessing, like most of us, you'd like to lose some? If so eat less than you burn.

Bike for fitness
Eat for weight loss
Sleep for strength

Welcome to BF! Sounds like you live in an interesting place, post some pics of your rides
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Old 07-06-13, 04:22 PM   #7
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Thanks guys I appreciate the advice. I know 51 isn't old but it really felt like it before I lost 40lbs in the last three months. I am feeling much younger then 51 now, in fact I'm going dancing tonight for the first time in years. I still have a lot of weight to lose but after this good start I believe I can do it which is half the battle. I retired in Jan. and moved full time to Costa Rica in April. I started using a website called sparkpeople.com which really makes a lifestyle change easier then I imagined possible. It helps you track your food and exercise. I walked for exercise for a month and then I swam for a month. Now I feel like I can make it up the hills around here on a bicycle (after a lot of training). So this week I started on the bike and here I am asking strangers for advice. I never really thought about motoring down the mountain to ride on the flat and as it isn't very far to get to level ground I guess on days I just can't face another hill I'll do it.
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Old 07-07-13, 07:28 PM   #8
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Retired and riding a bike. Life is good. Keep riding and smiling.

But living on an extinct volcano could have its risks.
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Old 07-07-13, 10:13 PM   #9
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But living on an extinct volcano could have its risks.

A-The risks seem to be the narrow roads and the poor drivers.

Rode my bike up my easy hill a couple of times today (about 50 minutes or so including flying down the hill a couple of times). I still like the downward, gravity sucking direction way better but I actually stayed with a couple of guys on mountain bikes today on my second ride up my hill. I was feeling pretty good about myself then ended up talking to a brother of a friend at the bar tonight and he started showing me pictures of he and his ridding buddies and told me the pictures were taken on 70 kilometer round trip. I see lots of trips up my hill in the near future and some rides out the country road near my house. I can't wait till the hills get a little bit easier. (Do they?)
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Old 07-07-13, 10:43 PM   #10
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I can't wait till the hills get a little bit easier. (Do they?)
No. You will just get stronger and faster.
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Old 07-08-13, 05:07 AM   #11
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Don't rush things. Just ride for the enjoyment for now. The fitness will come. I think that it takes a couple of years for the legs to adapt to riding.
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Old 07-08-13, 02:59 PM   #12
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I rode my bike out the country road that passes the house where the parrots and macaws live (they fly free but come back to feed and roost there.) It's a paved road leading out to one of the highways that head out of town. I can't get up the last part of the hill, I've started calling it "parrot hill", as it's too long and then turns steeper at the top. It's a nicer ride (less traffic, prettier scenery, and further out of town) then hill I've been riding which I'm told is called, "calle de amor". I'm sure I'll be riding parrot hill more and I'll try to get further up it all this week then maybe include both into one ride when my legs and lungs think they can.

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Old 07-08-13, 03:53 PM   #13
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..I'm told is called, "calle de amor". I'm sure I'll be riding parrot hill more and I'll try to get further up it all this week then maybe include both into one ride when my legs and lungs think they can.
I guess Calle de Amor would be a pretty safe place to ride. Young caballeros taking their seņoritas out for a ride won't be speeding too much. But ... then they might be a bit more inattentive to the road.

Glad to hear you are sticking with the plan. You'll get there.
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Old 07-08-13, 04:15 PM   #14
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I don't have much to add about the riding improvement, but simply want to state that I am exceptionally jealous that you retired to Costa Rica and can ride all day in that beautiful environment. And on the side of an extinct volcano no less... Sigh...
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Old 07-09-13, 09:41 AM   #15
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Well, I did parrot hill all the way to the top for the first time (and I thought it was impossible) then did my easier training hill, "calle de amor" (only about a 20 minute climb). It was the first time I've biked over an hour since I started riding again last week. I saw three toucans at the top of a huge tree, "cawing" back and forth at each other. You have lots of time to see stuff when you're going so slow up these damn hills. I'll have to bring a camera one of these rides when I don't think it's going to rain. While on the ride this morning when saw wild toucans I had one of those "OH WOW" moments, when I realized again how lucky I was to be riding instead of thinking of it a dreaded exercise.
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