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Old 08-04-06, 08:49 AM   #1
HiYoSilver
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Duh, 60 minute ride is harder than a 30 minute ride

It would seem obvious but I'm surprised how my body reacted to a 60 minute ride instead of the normal 30 minute ride. Biggest problem is a tightening of the left calf muscle. Didn't expected that. Did expect and get slower avg speed, more need for water. I was happy avg speed only dropped 1/2 mile. I was planning on going on a 2-3 hr ride tomorrow, but after this morning I'm not sure I'm in good enough shape to do that yet. I went thru one water bottle. I only have two so I think without refills, 2 hours is my max.

Anyway thought I'd share the obvious and see if anyone had any suggestions to prevent problems with calf muscles.
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Old 08-04-06, 09:17 AM   #2
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Walking up inclines does wonders for strengthening calf muscles. I walk around our hilly neighborhood with my wife. Also, that may be your dominant leg and you are working it harder. I really didn't believe the dominant leg theory until I started taking longer rides (4+ hours) and my left groin started hurting (bad). A more experienced rider told me that was probably the dominant leg and I was pushing harder with it. The next time I rode I was more aware of it and damn, I was pushing harder with my left leg on every stroke. So now I unclip my left foot and pedal with just my right for a while to strengthen it. Of course you won't break any speed records pedaling with one leg!
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Old 08-04-06, 09:24 AM   #3
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What always amazes me is how much doing a long +2hr ride at least once a week helps my shorter rides. When I miss this my 20mi daily ride seems much harder than when I do at least one 50+ mile ride a week. It does not really matter how hard I ride the miles its just the fact of riding for that length of time.

HiYo - the first few long rides can hurt especially if you try to stay at the pace you use for your shorter distances. Best to go slow until you build up the miles/time then you can work on increasing your pace.
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Old 08-04-06, 09:35 AM   #4
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Off the wall, but are you curling your toes or tensing any other part of your leg? Sometimes as our body tires, especially in something with repetitious motion like cycling, we tend to tense up various body parts and go static. I find myself at times curling my toes which also tenses my calf muscles. Anyway, going tense and static can certainly cause soreness. You might check yourself towards the end of longer rides and consciously relax, move around on the saddle, roll the neck, stand on the pedals, sit up, generally wiggle around a bit.

When I was getting therapy for some torn ligaments, a physical therapist suggested the best home calf strengthener was calf raises. Standing with the balls of your feet on the edge a step or block of wood or whatever, lower your body a few inches, feel your calves stretch, then use your calves to push up to tiptoe and return to level. Do 40 of those and your calves will feel it. This movement mimics the calf machine in the gym. Of course, be careful of your achilles on this.

But do try the relaxing and stretching.
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Old 08-04-06, 09:56 AM   #5
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Just stick with it, and it will come. I go through the same thing just about every year--I start serious riding in March or April, as soon as the weather permits, and work my way up to 30 or 40 mile rides pretty quickly. But it's hard to find the time for more than that. When my friends (mostly retired or in positions that allow them lots of training time) start talking about centuries, in late summer (we try to do one or two a year just to prove we still can), I'm always behind. I can generally stick with them for the first couple of hours, but then I fall off because that's all I'm used to. As somebody else suggested, it's really helpful to make time for one longer ride per week, maybe 50 percent longer than your normal ones, even if you have to cut back somewhere else.
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Old 08-04-06, 10:20 AM   #6
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Hang in there Hi Yo! You'll find your legs and heart/lungs just keep getting stronger. I've only been riding 2 years and can cruise up hills in the big chain ring now that I would have got off and pushed even a year ago. And I'm sure no spring chicken Jock!
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Old 08-04-06, 10:40 AM   #7
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Find a route where you can refill your water bottlse! Don't let running out of water determine the length of your ride.

If possible, get some instant water.

http://www.instantwater.com

But be sure not to get any of that phony dihydrogen monoxide. It is extremely dangerous and can cause death if over consumed. It is frequently sold (without proper warning labesl) in stores using a number of different product titles and brands. Also, over time, it will totally dissolve just about anything.

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Old 08-04-06, 10:49 AM   #8
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longer rides ARE more work

Our typical ride of 11 -14 miles takes anywhere from 48 minutes (just flogging myself along the route) to an hour and a half. When I rode 56 miles in 4.5 hours, my body let me know that this was beyond its normal duty. In Cycling after 50, Friel (sp?) suggests that one can do a long-distance ride that is twice your normal ride without too much strain. But without training, one couldn't sustain that unaccustomed distance for many days without injury or exhaustion. So increasing the time/distance of your 'normal' ride to an hour will mean that you can, if desired or necessary, do a two-hour ride at some point.

Shoot, 2 hours on a bike at a steady pace will increase the range of pie availability exponentially! That's a goal worth pursuing...
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Old 08-04-06, 01:21 PM   #9
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Interesting. I'm not hardly extending length of ride. It was a 5 mi 25 min ride and a 5 mi 20 min ride. Today was a 13 mile ride all in one swoop.

A while ago I went on an hour and half ride and noticed the same thing. I think somehow I am locking in toes during pedaling. It's always the left calf, so there's something I'm doing wrong.

Thanks for the calf exercise plan, sounds good. I think it's more not flexing calf for longer times and it kind of starts to cramp.
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Old 08-04-06, 01:22 PM   #10
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I have a damaged left calf that causes me problems on rides occasionally. Little bit of stretching works wonders. Easy enough to do- Out of the saddle and preferably down a slope- left leg at the bottom stroke of the pedal - leg straight and push down on the heal. Stretches the calf so watch out for any muscle pain and just take it steady- After doing the left leg- Do the right.

Incidentally- I damaged the muscle in the Gym when I was on the treadmill. Don't run on the thing but was just a bit cold and went from 4 mph to 6 mph fast walk too soon. Just about to go to 7mph and Bang- One cramp in the left calf that did not go away. Still hasn't completely gone a year later so I always do this calf stretch exercise when 5 minutes into a ride and as soon as I feel the slightest ache in that muscle.

Crosschain- That calf exercise is just the action you get from the calf machine at the gym. I may not be as strong as I used to be but my calves still pull maximum weight on that machine. perhaps- Hi-Yo, you should try this exercise to strengthen the calfs as they do pay an important part in riding leg strength. A Lot more than you would think.
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Old 08-04-06, 01:42 PM   #11
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you might check the alignment on your seat nose...? It has happened to me (evidently while getting the bike down off the hook or maneuvering around rearview car windows in the garage) but somehow knocked my seat alignment slightly off & I felt something strangely straining in my leg during the ride. At the end I happened to look at the seat & it was a few mm. off-center. But then again I may be imagining that my bilateral symmetry is sufficiently perfect to cause something like that to make a difference. Now I check it almost every time I get on the bike (just another obsessive checkpoint of comfort).
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Old 08-04-06, 09:02 PM   #12
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This could be a fit problem if it's only the left calf. Some of us are very asymmetrical and need special fit help. I, for example, toe way out on the right side and my knee has to stay close to the bike or my calf hurts on the outside. I spent a lot of time adjusting my cleats to find out what worked for me, and can do many hours on the bike without any leg problems,(other than exhaustion).
BTW, if there's no place to refill your bottles, you might consider a small Camelbak, and practice your spin!
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Old 08-05-06, 11:57 AM   #13
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Thanks for reminding about the camelbak.

Went on a 25 mile ride today with "group" of 2 others. They were nice and patient with the old fart who couldn't make speed up hills. Interestingly enough my speed for 25 miles and 13 miles was the same, 13mph plus change.

Thanks for the suggestions on the leg. I was using 1/2 of a stroke on the left left and not following thru. Since I wasn't racing today, and group said they wouldn't drop anyone, I paid a bit more attention to pedaling pattern. It sure helps to follow thru and not stop rotating the foot at 2 oclock position.

However, the bad needs is a saddle that is comfortable for 10 or 15 miles starts to wear when get 20 to 25 miles.
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Old 08-06-06, 07:29 AM   #14
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Saddles are such a personal thing, again, trial and error will find you the right one. I had a Fizik leather saddle, nice shape, beautiful looking, and in 25 miles my butt was killing me. I gave it to a friend.
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Old 08-06-06, 08:14 AM   #15
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I'm considering 2 right now:
fizik arione and profile design tristryke. If go with the fizik, plan to get desoto saddle pad.
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