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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 09-11-06, 04:01 PM   #1
DougG
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Peach of a Ride - my first half-century

This is an annual ride in Michigan's Thumb area, meaning lots of flat, open farmland and small rural towns. My previous long ride was 40 miles on my comfort bike a year ago, so I figured 65 on my fast new road bike would be no problem. Unfortunately I made two rookie mistakes: going out too fast and not accounting for the wind that turned into enough of a breeze to stiffen flags on the many flagpoles that I saw. "Flat and open" also means "can't hide from the wind." Last year I rode with a small group at a casual pace and with a lot of breaks; this year I was alone on the road the whole time and got in too much of a hurry to get to the next turn or landmark.

Anyway, I found myself at the 50/65 decision point after riding the last 4 miles right into the wind. A glance at the map told me that the 65-mile route meant another 5 or 6 in the same direction, so I took a right turn onto the 50-mile route. That was a good decision, as I finally ran out of steam at about 40 miles and pretty much limped to the finish after that (luckily with the wind at my back for once). My time in the saddle was 3:20 for an average of about 14.5mph, which is probably not bad considering.

Being in good condition for the running that I do, I was not stretched aerobically at all and did not even work up much of a sweat (it was in the mid-50s), but it was my legs that were giving out. Obviously cycling uses some different muscles, or uses the same muscles differently, or whatever, but today felt like I used to feel after running a marathon. It will probably take more than a day or two to really recover.

But I have another event in three weeks, and with what I've learned, and if the wind stays away, I might manage to "ride my age" on their 60-mile route just a couple days after my 60th birthday.
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Old 09-11-06, 04:48 PM   #2
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Wind is a real bummer when you are by yourself on a wide open road. I bailed at the 70mi mark in the Huntsville century 4yrs ago when I realized that I had another 35mi to go into a 15mph headwind, the backwash of a hurricane that blew up the east side of the state. Weather was nice otherwise. OTOH the nicest modern century I have done was about 8yrs ago on a nearly out and back flat course with a 15-20mph headwind out, muted by riding with 20+ riders and the same as a tailwind for 50mi going back.
Absolutely perfect.
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Old 09-11-06, 04:51 PM   #3
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Doug: I did the Peach of a Ride, too (see "My First Metric" thread). If the "next ride" you mention is the Blue Water Ramble, I'll be volunteering at one of the ferry crossings.

I did the full 65 miles and yeah, the wind was stiff. I took it easy on the first leg until I hooked up with a pack at the midpoint. As with you, it was my legs that finally started giving out the last 10 miles.
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Old 09-11-06, 08:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoppola
Doug: I did the Peach of a Ride, too (see "My First Metric" thread). If the "next ride" you mention is the Blue Water Ramble, I'll be volunteering at one of the ferry crossings.
Yeah, I'll be doing the Ramble on Oct. 1. That was the 40-miler I did last year that started getting me interested in road riding. Of course, I've since heard it was probably the best weather they've ever had -- sunny skies, cool temps, and zero wind -- and we may not luck out like that again. At least we also get some breaks on the ride like waiting for the ferries and going through customs (hope that goes smoothly this year).
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Old 09-12-06, 06:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougG
This is an annual ride in Michigan's Thumb area, meaning lots of flat, open farmland and small rural towns. My previous long ride was 40 miles on my comfort bike a year ago, so I figured 65 on my fast new road bike would be no problem. Unfortunately I made two rookie mistakes: going out too fast and not accounting for the wind that turned into enough of a breeze to stiffen flags on the many flagpoles that I saw. "Flat and open" also means "can't hide from the wind." Last year I rode with a small group at a casual pace and with a lot of breaks; this year I was alone on the road the whole time and got in too much of a hurry to get to the next turn or landmark.

Anyway, I found myself at the 50/65 decision point after riding the last 4 miles right into the wind. A glance at the map told me that the 65-mile route meant another 5 or 6 in the same direction, so I took a right turn onto the 50-mile route. That was a good decision, as I finally ran out of steam at about 40 miles and pretty much limped to the finish after that (luckily with the wind at my back for once). My time in the saddle was 3:20 for an average of about 14.5mph, which is probably not bad considering.

Being in good condition for the running that I do, I was not stretched aerobically at all and did not even work up much of a sweat (it was in the mid-50s), but it was my legs that were giving out. Obviously cycling uses some different muscles, or uses the same muscles differently, or whatever, but today felt like I used to feel after running a marathon. It will probably take more than a day or two to really recover.

But I have another event in three weeks, and with what I've learned, and if the wind stays away, I might manage to "ride my age" on their 60-mile route just a couple days after my 60th birthday.

Great job on the 50! My longest to date is 41 and I surely needed the next day to recover. 50 is no slouch man, 'you done good'.
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Old 09-12-06, 06:18 AM   #6
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Sounds like you made a very reasonable decision and learned a lot on this ride. Sometimes learning by doing is much more valuable, especially in cycling. I can't wait to hear your next report of nailing your next challenge. BTW, wind is another reason I hate to see the summer go here in the Mid-Atlantic states. It always picks up in September and stays brisk until about the end of May.
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