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  1. #1
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    How to get over the hump

    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for some advice...I got my bike last June. Last summer I set out to ride a 20 miles route as my goal. It took me a couple months, but by August I had accomplished the goal. I stopped riding in the fall and got back on the bike at the very end of April this year. I ramped up pretty quickly. I started out at 8-10 miles easily. My goal this summer was a 30 mile trek. A few weeks ago I pulled off a 22 miler so I thought I would be well on my way. But since then I am struggling. The most I can seem to pull off is 19 miles and by mile 15 I am spent and can barely finish. I have been trying to focus on my cadence. I pedal at about 75-80. When I am on a training bike at the gym I am slightly higher and can easily pull off 15 miles in 40 minutes. On the road I am lucky if I hit 11 mph. I know weight is the issue there, the trainer doesn't take that into consideration. I feel like I am never going to get much above 20 miles. I usually ride twice during the week, either on road or trainer, for 40-60 minutes and do a longer ride on Saturday (90-120 minutes). I also do 1-2 other days of cardio- walking, hiking, elliptical, Zumba.

    So my question is, has anyone else encountered this? Is it normal? How did you push through? Also, when you go out for your rides do you stop along the way? I just ride 2 hours straight. Should I stop and rest?

    I ride a Jamis Coda Sport if that helps. I know it isn't a road bike per se. Someday I will take the plunge on upgrading, but not if I can't get my miles up and my weight down.

    Any help is appreciated since I am so discouraged.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    My wife and I started riding this spring and a 1.9 mile ride was all we could do. We have kept at it but after an hour or so we stop and take a break. She has trouble with her hands and for me its my backside that needs the break.
    Today we rode around the local reservoir and stopped for about 10 minutes halfway thru the ride. We drank and had a tiny snack, then we got back after it. We rode 23.5 miles and its our longest ride so far. I am 51 years old and she's 46 and together we have lost 50 lbs between the two of us since the end of march.

    Not sure if this will help you but we started taking breaks and our distance has increased. It works for us.
    Good luck on reaching your goals.

  3. #3
    Hi-Tech Redneck Johnny Mullet's Avatar
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    I learned to take a break every 30 minutes when doing a long ride and after time those breaks went to 45 minutes.
    Putting the fun between my legs.......
    '89 Reflex ALX Carbon - '96 Huffy Thunder Ridge

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    It takes time to build endurance. I have found that slow increments in distance are best for me.
    If you over do it then you run the risk of losing interest and feeling tired.


    Anyway good luck to you.

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I would try to ride the longer distances at a slower pace initially, then start increasing the speed for the 30 mile distance.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  6. #6
    Senior Member moochems's Avatar
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    The trainer doesn't provide air resistance as well.

    15 miles in 40 minutes is 20 mph. At 20 mph the primary deterrent to your speed, and ability to maintain it is air resistance. On level ground, weight is not significant as compared to wind resistance. Weight will come into play when climbing, and starting/stopping.


    if you want to ride linger rides, ride more every day during the week. One day a week go for a longer ride that is no more than half of your weekly miles.

    For example, if you ride 10 miles a day 4 days a week, you have set yourself up for a comfortable 20 mile ride on the fifth day, perhaps you would like to rest on the next two days.


    You want to ride a 35 mile ride? Set yourself up for an easy day by working up to 70 miles a week, plus a longer ride one day a week.

    if your bike fit is appropriate and comfortable, I bet you could ride 30 miles if you brought along enough food and paced yourself.

  7. #7
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I've got two ideas. First is medical, I'm assuming you're okay? BP is not starting to bottom out after 15 miles? Plenty of hydration?

    Second, I think perhaps you need to eat. When I was first starting I couldn't do much past 20 miles without eating. To go longer, I had to eat a little around mile 16 and then every 8 to 12 miles there after. My on bike fuel of choice was a couple of fig newtons or a 1/4 of a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

    On a ride is no time to diet especially when you're first starting out and building endurance. If you just feel bad, just don't feel like going any further I'd bet it's food/fuel.

    Enjoy your ride!

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    I stop focusing and enjoy the ride. Pretty soon, I'm further than before and feeling good. Once I do that, I can repeat it. In my case, it is mental and usually that is my problem. Once I'm past, I can start to focus again. Anytime I really focus on numbers, I start to burn out because I'm not really enjoying things as much and the rest of the body starts to feel demotivated with the brain.

    I stop at about the mid point of my ride because I've been doing out and back lately but my stops don't always happen midpoint. Ceaderville I need to ride a few extra miles to get 25 because that town isn't midway. Yellow Springs however is just shy over 25. If I do a loop, I'll usually stop about midway. I stop for around 30 to 45 minutes with a good 20 minutes of stretching and the last few weeks I've added in sit ups and push ups.

    My rides have been 50 miles lately and I start to bonk about 20 miles into my ride(about an hour and 15 to 30 minutes.) Not a total bonk but I do need some kind of sugar for the brain. Midpoint for my rides lately has been a very nice shady spot with benches and a public restroom near by. The brain perks up once I get some sugar. I'll drink my Cliff drink which is a Polar bottle with 2 scoops of mix, and 1 or 2 Cliff shots. This usually gets me close enough to home when I start to bonk again.

    This year I haven't had such a mental hump though. Could be my MP3 player. Haven't had music to listen to before this year and it keeps my brain nicely distracted when I'm focusing. I also stopped worrying so much about speed. I do check it at the end of the ride and I'm improving but I'm not so much of a rush to try and knock 50 miles out in 3 hours. I'll get there at some point but I'd like to drop about another 80 pounds before I think I'll start to try and push for that(I'm at 280 now.)
    Last edited by WrightVanCleve; 06-14-14 at 10:07 PM.

  9. #9
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    You are right, I should have said mass versus weight as the wind resistance is an issue. Weight definitely comes into play on the hills, even slight inclines. That and I suck at my gears. I always lose all my momentum immediately.

    Thank you for the advice. I will try taking breaks and maybe adding a snack at the half way point. I know it isn't mental. It is physical. My legs just start to feel like lead, my spinning slows down, and sometimes I feel so tired I am nauseous. I guess I just figured my body had more than enough stored fuel to tap into. I never snacked when I was training for and running a half marathon- at this same weight which defies the laws of nature- so I thought it would be the same on the bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need to build more of a base. Ride more days a a week even if only for a half hour. Don't go for speed, easy gear and fast cadence, not so fast that you are out of breath. I think breaks are counter productive unless you are going longer than an hour at a time and even then maybe not needed. Pre, post and on bike hydration is necessary IMHO and nutrition takes a close second. Stretch after each ride. Your goal is reasonable and achievable given a good base.


    Mark

  11. #11
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    some good tips here.

    what I found worked for me some years back was a HRM... I found that while I didn't feel like I was pushing very hard that once looking at the HRM I was pushing harder than I thought... when you are a clyd even a little bit of an uphill requires a lot more power output and I found that I was killing my HR especially on these sections... with a little time I found that as long as I didn't go over a certain BPM i could pedal and pedal and pedal... but getting over being sick, dehydration and other things can have a big effect also.
    mtbr clyd moderator

  12. #12
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    I also think in my non-expert experience perhaps you need something to eat. I am at.the exact same point as you. I get to mile 18 to 20 and I'm done, few miles sooner with hills. 18 on roller coaster hills is my best so far and at 16 miles it's been a struggle for the last 2 miles.to home.

    26 is my best on flat and I've been doing a lot more 20-24 mile rides and I'm pretty worn out at 18 to 20. I just went to Pittsburgh (live in the middle of nowhere and the city was really interesting.) I was having so much fun checking everything out I was in the saddle almost 3 hours. Figured I'd better head back to the car to get home, went back across the river and with 2 miles to the car, all I wanted was to make it back to the car.

    I know I need more water. I only have 1 on the bike and had 4 frozen bottles in the car. I downed 3 of them when I got back. I think I need something to eat too once I hit about an hour and a half.

    One thing I notice is, going for a ride really curbs my appetite. I'm not feeling hungry for hours after riding even if I'm hungry leaving work and stopping before home for a ride. I think it would be a forced feeding, but I think I need it.
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

  13. #13
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    some good tips here.

    what I found worked for me some years back was a HRM... I found that while I didn't feel like I was pushing very hard that once looking at the HRM I was pushing harder than I thought... when you are a clyd even a little bit of an uphill requires a lot more power output and I found that I was killing my HR especially on these sections... with a little time I found that as long as I didn't go over a certain BPM i could pedal and pedal and pedal... but getting over being sick, dehydration and other things can have a big effect also.
    Having the feedback is great. We think we know our bodies but they can fool us into thinking we are working harder than we are.
    sharon

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    Just a suggestion, but have you checked your tire pressure? And your seat height? When I first started biking and would have stretches where it seemed I was cycling through molasses, either low tire pressure or a slowly sinking saddle were usually the cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by debit View Post
    Just a suggestion, but have you checked your tire pressure? And your seat height? When I first started biking and would have stretches where it seemed I was cycling through molasses, either low tire pressure or a slowly sinking saddle were usually the cause.
    I am pretty sure the seat height is right. When I first got the bike the seat slipped so the bike shop did something to it to stop it from slipping. It has been fine since then. I get super fussy about my seat height- I got that trait from spin class where I am always fiddling with the height until I feel perfect.

    For the tires, I check them before each ride and add air if needed. They are 700c tires and the bike shop said the psi should be around 60. So I set that on my pump with the little plastic arrow and make sure they are there. Is that the right PSI for for those tires and someone that is quite big- not the average teeny tiny cyclist? Or do I need to change it? I do know as I hit the 60 the air going in is very hard to keep pushing so it seemed right.

    One other thing I forgot to mention was on the trainer bike at the gym I wear clipless shoes. On the road I do not. I am not confident enough at this point to switch away from platforms to clip less. I gather that helps on the trainer as I can use my full leg muscle, not just the push down muscles. I also feel the clip less forces my foot to be more over the center of the pedal, which is probably more efficient. Sometimes on the road I find my foot is being pushed to the outside of other pedal - like over-supination- because my hips are wide, which I am sure is not a good thing either. Probably what makes the hills even harder for me.

  16. #16
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    While clipless pedals do make a difference for me, I've had other people say they don't make a bit of difference for them. Frankly, I wouldn't worry about switching pedals for now; you'll know when you're ready.

    I'm not an expert on how psi affects rolling resistance, but in my personal experience a lower pressure tire is great for comfort but less wonderful for speed (and the effort to get up to and hold speed). When I commute in the winter, my studded tires are as 55 max (35 min) and my normal 12 mile commute goes from 45 minutes to over an hour (on one memorable, horrible cold and snowy night, almost 2). I can't blame the loss in speed all on lower pressure; studs, cold, ice and a much heavier bike all play into it. But, running a similar tire (minus studs) in the summer also results in slower ride times. If you feel inclined to experiment, you might want to try a higher psi tire (with smooth tread) and see how that feels for you.

    One last thing to check: brake rub. Pick up each wheel and give it a spin. Then give each brake lever a good, hard squeeze, release, and then spin each wheel again. Check and see if there is any rub on the rim. If so, you may need to get your wheels trued up or a brake adjustment.

    If it's not the low psi tires or something mechanical, then just keep plugging away at it. You will see improvement and will scamper up the hills that once made you whimper in pain.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Eat, as I get more fit I can go farther faster w/o food. I'm trying to specifically train this capability.

    Given that we have virtually unlimited fat calories (even thin people) and that it takes carbs to turn fat into fuel for muscles. You can stick to carbs to maximize your stored fat burning. It is best to add some protein as you will burn some even if perfectly fueled so best to come form food, not your muscles...

    Simple carbs are ok when depleted as the insulin spike will be kept at a minimum while blood sugar is already low.

    I'm not good at maintaining proper fueling intervals while riding. I tend to only notice after already into low blood sugar. Perpeteum is a supper fast digesting carb/protein mix I can see see my speed increase shortly after consuming. I'm trying to mix in longer slower digesting carbs to level it out a bit...

    You can only process different classes of carbs at certain rates. Digestion is one rate, liver turning into fuel another lower rate. Consume more /faster then liver can process and it will be stored.

    Being large and relatively strong I can burn a lot of calories an hour, when I get the ingestion correct. I think fructose is about 100 calories / hour available (far slower then ingestion!) Fat roughly 100 / hour. Perpetuem is about 300 / hour (this is more then I can expend sustained over even the mid term.)

    From the sounds of it, if you could get the fueling and hydration correct you could double your miles now...

  18. #18
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    So , back to tires and psi. I'm 235 lbs + gear and run my 700x35 mm tires @ 55 psi front and 60 rear. What width are your tires? It should say right on the side. The tires should be mostly smooth. Not something with knobs. Tell us more about your gearing as well. Are you able to commute by bike ? Mountain bike? Both should help you out.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
    So , back to tires and psi. I'm 235 lbs + gear and run my 700x35 mm tires @ 55 psi front and 60 rear. What width are your tires? It should say right on the side. The tires should be mostly smooth. Not something with knobs. Tell us more about your gearing as well. Are you able to commute by bike ? Mountain bike? Both should help you out.

    The tires are 700c x 32. I aim for 65 psi for both front and rear. They are smooth tires, not knobby. They are the tires my bike came with.

    I am really a dummy about gearing. I have 21 I believe- 3 big and 7 small wheels/cogs. I normally ride on the middle big and middle small- so right in the middle. When i hit hills I try to either stay middle on the small and take the big down a size or stay middle on the big and go to the very smallest little wheel. I know my terminology sucks. The gears scare me…I find that switching the big wheels makes scary sounds sometimes and I have a fear of the chain breaking. So mostly I sit on the middle big and then move up and down the small wheels based on wind/hill/tiredness/etc. I have no idea what are ideal gears for conditions. I just try to keep the cadence and strain the same.

    I commute by bike sometimes. It is about 7 miles each way. It kind of depends on the day. I have grand plans to do it more often, but I show up to work kind of sweaty from my backpack with laptop on my back. So right now I can only do it when I know I have a really light day of meetings…ha! I change clothes, but I miss the shower even with just a little spritzing.

    I do not mountain bike.

  20. #20
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    I used to be in the same boat as you. Just keep pushing yourself and eventually you will break through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calliebear9 View Post

    I commute by bike sometimes. It is about 7 miles each way. It kind of depends on the day. I have grand plans to do it more often, but I show up to work kind of sweaty from my backpack with laptop on my back. So right now I can only do it when I know I have a really light day of meetings…ha! I change clothes, but I miss the shower even with just a little spritzing.

    I do not mountain bike.
    Sweat is good for you! I do the exact same thing lol. I don't have showers, so I come in and wet some paper towel with cold water to cool off a couple times, dry it off, change, and then do the same thing when I'm all changed. by the time I get to my office it takes about 5-10 minutes to be completely set and ready to go.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    You guys are lucky you have jobs like that. I don't commute, I drive in with the windows down or air conditioning on. 5 minutes after I start working, I look like I just came out of the lake with my clothes on. 115 and 98+% humidity in a steam molding facility will do that. I would still be drier if I rode the bike to work 20 miles up and down the hills than I am 5 minutes into my 9-10 hour work day.

    We have 2 air conditioners kicking in the control room that I work in. They keep the room at a nice cool 95 when I'm in there. Winter is nice though. It only gets to around 85 in the facility when it was -30 outside this past winter.
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

  23. #23
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    definitely stop. make a day of it. that's how ppl do 100 mile centuries!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    I have just started end of May. I have personally found that I can only work on one thing at a time. If cadence, then I only worry about that. If speed, then only that. If distance, I know I am going to need more energy longer so I slow down everything. My normal average speed is 9.5 mph which I know might be slow for some. But when I decide to push for longer distance, I end up going around 7.5 mph.

  25. #25
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calliebear9 View Post
    The tires are 700c x 32. I aim for 65 psi for both front and rear. They are smooth tires, not knobby. They are the tires my bike came with.
    check out this little calculator for a good baseline on pressure

    Bicycle tire pressure calculator

    use the second one, and weight is your body weight PLUS the bike (and water bottles etc)... while it's just a baseline it's pretty close to what most people should be riding... if you want to get a bit more precise weight the rear wheel and then the front (sit the opposite wheel on a board to raise it up to the same height as the scale) have someone hold you steady while you are in riding position and then punch the number for each side into the first calculator...
    mtbr clyd moderator

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