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  1. #1
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    Couple Beginner questions

    Ok so I finally got my bike from my shop and I have a few questions after my first couple of rides. The first question is how do I build up my tolerance to lactic acid build up. It seems that at the ends of my ride my legs are on fire way more than throughout the rest of the ride. It gets to the point where I have to stop pedalling for 30 seconds to let it subside and then I can continue pedalling for 2-3 minutes. I don't really want to take a lot of breaks, Id rather pedal the entire ride. Is it as simple as increasing my distances and eventually my body will become climatized?

    The second question is about bike shorts. I have a pair because I was warned they really help however after my first two rides of 8 and 14 miles(starting out small) my bum is just killing me. Is it the shorts? Or do I need to get use to that as well? Any recommendations for shorts or pants would be great!

  2. #2
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to BF!

    Legs: Couple things here. 8 and 14 miles is a long way for a beginner, congratulations. However, that leg pain if from over stressing your muscles. I did the exact same thing when I started riding. My desire and cardio were ahead of my legs. Give yours a break and slowly build the distance. The other thing you can do is to increase your cadence, that's how fast you spin the pedals, fast cadence works the cardio and give the legs a break. You'll still need to work up to the mileage. You don't need to get used to leg pain.

    Shorts/bum pain: Since you have padded bike shorts it could be one or both of a couple of things. Could be your sit bones need to toughen up. Again work up to the distance and time on bike. It can also be that your saddle is not a good match for you. Only time will tell and there is no magic pill for this one. You don't need to get used to bum pain. Time and trying different saddles will take care of that.

    When I recommend building up to the mileage, it doesn't take long. You'll be amazed at how quickly your body adapts.

    Enjoy your ride!

  3. #3
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    1. Learn to spin and embrace it.

    2. Butt callous ... it takes time to arrive but it will and then you're good to go. Until then, it'll hurt a bit. Just pay attention and don't allow saddle sores to arrive or go untended.

  4. #4
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    As ill.clyde says - learn to spin., I suspect you are "mashing" (google to figure out the difference between mashing and spinning). Cycling is an aerobic sport - intended to build endurance, fitness and weight loss - if you want to build muscles, lift weights, its more efficient.

    So to make cycling matter, don't pedal and coast, pedal and coast... you need to pedal, pedal, pedal... keep the spin up for aerobic benefit. Learn to use your gearing properly so you reach a comfort zone where you can pedal without pain or burn...

    Here is the thing about your bum hurting... are you sitting bolt upright? Is your saddle wide and padded? If so, even a good pair of shorts won't help. Those saddles and bike geometry is intended for short, easy rides (cruises to get coffee). If you watch the pros, their bum is not on the saddle because their posture (bent forward, arms cocked). Also make sure your saddle height is not too low forcing more pressure on your butt. Although to finding comfort on a saddle - takes alittle fiddling to find out what works best for you.
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  5. #5
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    Hi Norco; quick question, are you using the stock saddle that came with the bike? those are often simply throw away saddles and should be replaced with one of the proper width and fit for you. As others have said, pedal faster not harder. My own advice to you is to pay attention to what your body is telling you, some soreness is to be expected as your body adjusts to the new form of exercise you're undertaking but there is a difference between "I'm not used to this" pain and "something is wrong" pain. In the beginning don't worry strictly about how far you can go, look for small improvements in each ride. Get further without resting, finish the distance at a slightly faster pace, recover your strength a bit faster than before... all are positive signs that you are improving. The miles will come as long as you keep getting on that bike!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorcoRyder View Post
    Ok so I finally got my bike from my shop and I have a few questions after my first couple of rides. The first question is how do I build up my tolerance to lactic acid build up. ....

    The second question is about bike shorts. I have a pair because I was warned they really help however after my first two rides of 8 and 14 miles(starting out small) my bum is just killing me. Is it the shorts? Or do I need to get use to that as well? Any recommendations for shorts or pants would be great!
    Lactic acid buildup and recovery is part of the conditioning process. You don't do much here, your body does it for you. Two basic elements are involved. First muscle strenght and capillary growth to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscle are part of the leg conditioning pocess. Then the heart and lungs, especially the heart improve their capacity to take in and deliver the oxygen throughout the body.

    Both happen at the same time, and depending on your overall fitness one may lead the other from time to time. Some people feel more leg burn, while others find the heart and lungs straining sooner. Even in the same person, the choke point can vary between legs and heart/lungs over time, or depending on specific conditions. Give yourself some time, but if you find it's always the legs burning first, consider using one gear lower and spinning a bit more, especially on long grades.

    As for the seat pain. It's not the shorts (though tight ones make certain part go numb), it's your weight and the shape of the saddle. For some people this goes away over time, others have to try different saddles. There's no easy answer, but if things don't show signs of real improvement within a month or so, shop saddles.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member asque2000's Avatar
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    For the first part of your question, just keep riding. You'll get past the burn once you build up endurance. Also eating the right stuff helps, lots of carbs a few hours before long rides etc. The second part, my guess is that it's probably your saddle. No saddle is perfect, but finding one that is right for you makes loads of a difference. I took my stock bontrager crap saddle off and replaced it with a WTB Speed V Pro Gel (some road bikers will laugh at me for that) but it seriously saved my butt a LOT of pain. If I were you, go by your LBS, and they should let you try out a bunch of saddles until you find the right one for you. Good luck!
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  8. #8
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    When I got my wife back into riding I had to "re-train" her. She apparently learned to ride mashing - always, and would wear out with knee pain after 5 miles. She a spinner now, and we do 35 mile rides together with no drama.

    She also rides with one of those giant Giant "Silk" saddles; looks like something you'd put on a horse. But she loves it, and she's not changing.

    One out of two isn't bad.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post

    She also rides with one of those giant Giant "Silk" saddles; looks like something you'd put on a horse. But she loves it, and she's not changing.
    If it works, it works.

    My SO, Mary loves her Dolche. Even the stock seat that it came with. Thin hard thing you'd think would be more at home on a racer then an Endurance bike. But works for her...

  10. #10
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    The bum pain will subside or go away in 2-3 weeks

    Ride slower to address the lactic acid issue

  11. #11
    Senior Member szewczykm's Avatar
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    The short answer is time + miles. A friend once told me that it takes about 200 miles to settle into your saddle without pain and that has pretty much rung true with me. However each spring after months and months off, it seems to get easier.

    The padded shorts help and the choice of saddle helps. I switched to a Brooks B-17 and that made a world of difference for me. It's a leather seat that forms to your sit bones over time. I've heard good things about the Selle Anitomica Titanico X, but I'm not sure that one is available anymore. I think they've changed the product name. But the leather seat made a big difference for me to make getting to the 200 mile "iron butt" milestone easier.

    As for the burn. I'll echo what people have said and hopefully add a little something. First, time. Keep on riding man. Your body WILL condition to it and you'll find it happening less and less. Next, pedal faster not harder, like everyone has said. It really does make a difference.

    Lastly, even if you're not clipping into the pedals, changing your pedal stroke can help. Mashing down then resting the leg while the pedal pushes it through then mashing it down again can get tiring. I was on a ride with a friend who was new to riding and we were getting deep into the ride. He complained about fatigue and soreness. He has regular pedals on his bike. I said, "Just imagine you're lifting the pedal when it is coming up. Don't rest your foot on it, lift the pedal. And his burning subsided for a while.

    There are other things like making sure you're not pointing your toes down on the down stroke and also making certain your foot is position correctly on the pedal. These are fine adjustments that can help. I'm still trying to get my wife to not have the pedal positioned in the middle of her foot. She's got some kind of mental block with that. But the times I get her foot on the pedal correctly she rides twice as far and doesn't complain about hills.
    Giant Defy 2

  12. #12
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    Hey guys, Thanks for all the help, Ill have to google what mashing is as like I said I'm very new to cycling. Anyways thanks for information on the saddle, it is stock and I'll have t go and check out some other options at my local bike store. Thanks!

  13. #13
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    Pedal faster in a lower gear using less muscle and more cardio. At the very least do some cool down at the end of your ride with the faster spinning. It will flush out the lactic acid.

  14. #14
    squatchy
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    You'll figure it out. Too often people think more padding/more gel. That is not the answer. The best over time will be a minimum of both. Your but will get harder and you legs will get in shape. Like said in above learn to spin,,,, 85/95 rpm. Use your gears to achieve that. Get checked at a shop to measure your sit bones and buy a saddle to match. Get a couple different opionions,,, I used a 143 for 6-8 saddles to finally realize I needed a 155. First 155 worked great for me. Good bibs will also make a huge difference

  15. #15
    SpIn SpIn SuGaR! FIVE ONE SIX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorcoRyder View Post
    Hey guys, Thanks for all the help, Ill have to google what mashing is as like I said I'm very new to cycling.
    mashing is using more energy to push a higher gear, translates to using more energy to push the pedals slower. spinning is using cardio to spin a lower gear, translates to using less energy to spin the pedals faster...

    and as far as the saddle goes, most LBS's will have test saddles, definitely look into that. some may even have take-off saddles laying around, ask them if you can try those out too...

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