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Old 10-10-05, 02:33 PM   #1
cheeseflavor
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Riding smarter?

I've seen more than a few posts by posters here, and also the older riders in the roadbike forum, relating to older riders riding smarter than their younger counterparts. Being a relative newcomer to the sport, and not wanting to miss out on any of the benefits of said age, could any of you elaborate on some of your "secrets" to riding smarter?

I mean, how can you beat raw power and stamina with guile and experience in a sport that requires more of the former?

In a related story, Linda and I were overtaken on our ride last night by a youngster in a moutain bike. We caught him, but man, was he hammering. Don't think I've ever seen anyone going that fast on one. I know we had to sustain 25mph for about a mile to catch him. I could see him looking over his shoulder the whole time

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Old 10-10-05, 04:17 PM   #2
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I used to be advisor for a high school cycling club. Now, they had much lighter bikes than my beat up Schwinn Super LeTour. Many talked about being pro cyclists and they were good.

My secret was in pacing. When they first took off, they paced at about 22 miles an hour. I drafted on them. About 15 miles of this, they were pretty spent. I just kept on going at a moderate pace, never allowing myself to get into a panting mode. Most of them would give up before completing an entire century.

This was probably in my late 30's or early 40's, but I still think it holds true. Patience and pacing will win the day. Even now, I do the same thing when I want to go longer distances. I just go at an almost effortless pace and save what I need for any push at the end. Not out to break any speed records, I get off the bike around every 15 miles for a good stretch and a big gulp of fluid. I eat lightly on rides and never gulp down a big meal, as I might have when I was twenty.
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Old 10-10-05, 05:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
I've seen more than a few posts by posters here, and also the older riders in the roadbike forum, relating to older riders riding smarter than their younger counterparts. Being a relative newcomer to the sport, and not wanting to miss out on any of the benefits of said age, could any of you elaborate on some of your "secrets" to riding smarter?
I mean, how can you beat raw power and stamina with guile and experience in a sport that requires more of the former?
...snip...
Steve
I'd luv to learn some of those, also.
Seems like ridin with any sizeable group of 25-40 yr olds who are knowledgeable, frequent riders with good miles in their legs; they can drop TEAM 'wrinkle', at any time desired. I have no real 'counter-measures'... anymore
Other than that, becoming a tenacious and unrelenting wheel-suckin leech proves effective, for moi, when they're just toyin with each other.
Course goin out to play with the yung-uns is the problem. I should stick with kids my own age
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Old 10-10-05, 05:25 PM   #4
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Age usually means wisdom. At 63 my knees aren't what they used to be. I've learned to spin to keep the pressure off my joints.

This week I rode 315km from Kingston, Ontario to Montreal into a stiff 25km wind and my buddy and I used our heads. I transfered all the items from my bike onto his and then broke the wind for the whole trip so as he could draft. As soon as I felt pressure building up opn my knees I would drop a gear.

Probably the toughest ride of my life but at the same time it was very satisfying cuz my joints don't hurt at all.

Remember the story of the rabbit and the turtle.
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Old 10-10-05, 06:32 PM   #5
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I've had to fight some of these changes every step of the way, but here are some to consider:

Lower gears
higher handlebars
More stretching
More abdominal work
A little less hammer time
A little more recovery time
More pure enjoyment just for being on the bike
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Old 10-10-05, 08:13 PM   #6
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Yeah, I've learned to quit being in such a hurry all the time. I ride for the workout now, and I'm not racing anybody. Less pain, less stress, more enjoyment. When you pass me by, remember: I'm not in your hurry. bk
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Old 10-10-05, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
Being a relative newcomer to the sport, and not wanting to miss out on any of the benefits of said age, could any of you elaborate on some of your "secrets" to riding smarter?

I mean, how can you beat raw power and stamina with guile and experience in a sport that requires more of the former?
Steve
Steve:
I started being serious 2-3 years ago.
Spend serious money on good equipment. About $10,000 for three bikes.
Learned to adjust these bikes better.
Trained 200 to 300 miles per week. Learn about interval training.
Lost 50 lb. doing so.
Use every gizmo I thought might help such as aero bars, HRM, trainer, etc. .................
Get serious with nutrition. Fish & veggies, pasta, oat meal, good wine.

All of that makes me very competitive BUT there is always someone faster and that is OK. The satisfaction is breaking your PR at any age.
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Old 10-10-05, 10:32 PM   #8
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Thanks to everyone that replied, and you all bring up some good points. Some of it I think I've figured out already, like spinning, so here's what I've gathered from your posts and my limited experience:
  • I found that with a higher cadence, I felt fresher all through the ride, and actually felt stronger in the last half of the ride. Not sure what a "good" cadence is, but for me, I'm usually between 90-110 RPM over the course of a ride. 90 seems like the "Sweet spot" for me.
  • Work on your mechanics. Proper position on the bike and a smooth pedal stroke.
  • A good bike is a necessity. Light weight is good.
  • Proper bike fit is as important (or more so) than the above.
  • There is no substitute for practice and training.
  • Work on core strength. Back and stomach. Legs as much as you can.
  • Watch what you eat. A good machine to sit on, and a good machine to ride it.
  • Get a good HRM and cyclometer with cadence to monitor progress.
  • In group rides, be patient. Draft. Let the hammerheads wear each other out in the front of the group. Your time will come at the end of the ride

Did I forget anything? There has to be more to it than that

Steve
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Old 10-11-05, 05:29 AM   #9
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You'll find lots of references on BikeForums to Cycling Past 50, an excellent resource for "older" cyclists.
Read it and you'll "ride smarter".
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Old 10-11-05, 07:34 AM   #10
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Great posts! This is my first year cycling and I have not ridden in the winter and it does not get too cold here in N. Louisiana. I have been riding 100 miles a week and hope to ride as much as possible during the winter, any ideas on riding smarter during the cooler months?
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Old 10-11-05, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonH
You'll find lots of references on BikeForums to Cycling Past 50, an excellent resource for "older" cyclists.
Read it and you'll "ride smarter".
Thanks for this info, I did find a good review of the book here
http://www.bikexchange.com/su03f4.htm

Last edited by glassman; 10-11-05 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 10-11-05, 07:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor

Did I forget anything? There has to be more to it than that

Steve
Motivation.
I think we all need an obtainable challenge ahead of us to keep our spirits up and get going every day with a positive outlook on life.
There is an old classic novel called "Animal Farm" by I believe Oliver Huxley.
This novel addresses the need for motivation. A bunch of animals get conned (by the smart pigs) into building a windmill. That is how they keep the troops in line.
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Old 10-11-05, 11:19 AM   #13
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riding smarter is based on knowing oneself which in turn is based on years of riding experience. knowing your thresholds, limits, capacities. how to carefully allocate your resources over the planned route. also reading and avoiding glitches and potentially dangerous situations. reduced desire to chase down every tom, dick and harry and focus only on the real competition (if racing is your bag), not really giving a twit about what other people think about how you look or how fast you go. ability to savour the true benefits of riding.
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Old 10-11-05, 01:17 PM   #14
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You ride with your head. Let the other riders go off like rockets at the start while you attune the body/legs/lungs to exercise. Your warm up will add stamina which means that you will still be there at the end of the ride. You buy the equipment that suits you- Bike is up to you and your wallet, but Don't buy the latest goodie because the magazines say that it is the "Inthing". Buy the products that work for you. Pretty pointless having the Super narrow tyres if your body can't take the punishment that they will give. (talking roadie point there, but for mountain Bikers- Don't buy the ultra wide tyre that you can run at low pressures when all you are going to get in return is Drag).

All this takes experience, but by using your head, the experience comes quickly. Think about what you are doing.

I don't do sprints up the short hills at the start of the ride. I wait until the others have lost their initial energy and then I am able to compete with them and even beat them. On the flat I ride with the others, but if it is too high a pace, point out to one of the others that they may have a buckle in the wheel, or are they losing pressure in the back tyre. It gives me just enough time to recuperate and then stay with them.

The other point is you must ride your ride. That is the smart way to ride. My group recognise that I am not a racer, so will not be at the front when speed is the operative word.They do realise that I have stamina though so if I feel that they are getting a bit above themselves, I throw in an extra hill, Or I find a tricky downhill that I know will worry a few of the faster riders in my group. Or failing that I actually get out of my lazy riding habits and blast them for that mornings ride. Can't do that very often, but it does occur occasionally. And that makes them realise that there is more to riding than being a fit 30 year old with the latest bike and equipment.
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Old 10-11-05, 01:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will dehne
Motivation.
IThere is an old classic novel called "Animal Farm" by I believe Oliver Huxley.
)
George Orwell.

One of the books I was forced to read at school for my Sins. Good novel- never saw moral to the story at 15, but the Lesson keeps cropping up ever since.
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Old 10-11-05, 02:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
George Orwell.

One of the books I was forced to read at school for my Sins. Good novel- never saw moral to the story at 15, but the Lesson keeps cropping up ever since.
Stapfam: Thanks for setting me straight.
How could I forget George Orwell (1984, Animal Farm and more)
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Old 10-11-05, 02:51 PM   #17
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When I was 18, 2 jumping jacks and 2 toe touches constituted a warm up. Today, I must realize that a warm up consistes of at least 40 minutes of activity. It took a couple years after returning to cycling 3 years ago to understand that.
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Old 10-11-05, 03:37 PM   #18
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Eat before you are hungry. Drink before you are thirsty.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist! )

Here are a couple of tips:

Find the good, steady riders and follow them.

Stay away from erratic riders.

On long rides stay away from the "red" zone early. You can always push it hard later in the ride if you still have some "gas".

There is more to cycling enjoyment than "dropping" people.

Don't go too extreme in getting the latest and greatest "racer" bike. They can be very harsh and cramped for a more "mature" rider. A bike that is 1% faster does you no good if you hate to ride it.
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Old 10-11-05, 04:22 PM   #19
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It seems to me that is good to "go your own pace" to conserve energy but in a "race" it will do you no good at all once you are off the back, riding by oneself while the pack continues ever onward, gaining time on you, to never see them again till the finish. To be competitive with the young ones, you cannot train like a time-trialist, motoring along at one pace, but rather train with leg burning surges and jumps, and climb, climb, climb!
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Old 10-13-05, 11:12 PM   #20
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To be competitive with the young ones, you cannot train like a time-trialist, motoring along at one pace, but rather train with leg burning surges and jumps, and climb, climb, climb!
How many of you here stand up out of the saddle and pedal up a hill?

Steve
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Old 10-13-05, 11:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
How many of you here stand up out of the saddle and pedal up a hill?

Steve

I do, but I do it because I like to get out of the saddle and it feels good and the hills here are not big hills.
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Old 10-15-05, 10:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassman
I do, but I do it because I like to get out of the saddle and it feels good and the hills here are not big hills.
I need to practice it, I guess. I've just never picked up the skill. I mean, I can, and I do occasionally. Like when taking off from a dead start, but overall, I stay in the saddle, even up the tough hills. I notice all the old-timers on the club rides have perfected the skill, and they're some of the best riders I know.

I'll work on it.

Steve
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Old 10-15-05, 01:31 PM   #23
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How many of you here stand up out of the saddle and pedal up a hill?

Steve
Never found the need to do it to keep in touch with someone, but offroading keeps throwing the odd Uphill steep bit at me without me realising it,. That is the time when I am in too high a gear to stay seated, no time to change gear and the only option is stand and go for it.
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Old 10-15-05, 01:59 PM   #24
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I find that half way up a long climb I have too much lactic build up for sustained out of saddle stuff. (Not so oddly I guess, I can usually muster enough juice to stand up just before cresting a hill...must be that surge of relief!) Among my middle aged cycling partners, out of saddle climbers are mostly good for short spurts. Usually steady, seated grinding will keep me in touch with them, and sometimes pass them when their "stand-ups" have tired them.
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Old 10-16-05, 05:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
How many of you here stand up out of the saddle and pedal up a hill?

Steve
Steve: Perhaps you want to try doing what I do. I find standing up less efficient with any kind of headwind. I also get exhausted quicker.
Therefore I use my aero bars, lever my-selves off the saddle using the elbows and power down on my legs. That lifts me off the saddle a few inches. the saddle is still between my legs and helps keeping the bike from rocking side to side.
This method works quite well and I keep up with some real hotshots going uphill.
I do not have this technique down pat for downhill. It does work great for sprinting on flats also.
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