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  1. #1
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    Newbie needs advice............

    Here are the particulars: Age 65, runner for 34 years until knees said "no more" about two years ago. Tried sitting on my butt for two years and discovered that is not very good exercise, 20 new pounds now on butt. Used to enjoy casual biking 30 years ago, so I bought a new bike (this one http://fujibikes.com/2006/bikes.asp?id=175) about a month ago. Ride almost exclusively on the Santa Fe trail near my house, 30 miles of smooth dirt road (no cars, only runners, bicycles, families) with a little crushed granite gravel thrown in for excitement (the bunny slope for mountain bikers). Trail is rolling hills superimposed on a steady 2-3% grade and at an elevation of 6200-7500 feet. Have gone from five mile rides a month ago to about 15-18 miles now, 3-4 times per week. Thanks to previous running, aerobic capacity has not been even the slightest issue. HOWEVER, the thighs/hamstrings are an issue! They turn to jello way before I even think about getting winded. Now, winter is coming and I expect to get in an average of only two, sometimes three rides/week, if that. What do you suggest for a reasonable training regimen. I just want to burn some calories, puff a little and more importantly, get the legs into good enough condition that I can enjoy some longer rides when spring comes. I have hills of every length and steepness just outside my door here in Colorado Springs. Thanks for your suggestions...

    Roger Hill

    "Life's been good to me so far............."

  2. #2
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    Just ride and don't worry about it. With time you'll build up some additional circulatory system in your legs and you'll find that you slowly start recovering faster with time.

    Exercise is weight x distance. Notice that there's nothing about SPEED in there? You should be up in your work heart rate zone of course but that is fast enough to know it but not so fast that you can't talk without gasping for air. Try riding as fast as you can while singing or reciting a poem to "gauge" yourself.

    Over time that speed will increase. As your speed increases, increase your distance in order to maintain at least an hour and a half of exercise to continue improvement or an hour to more or less maintain your fitness levels.

    Like lifting weights you don't improve your fitness by increasing your speed but you improve your strength and hence aerobic capacity.

    At 65 you should have fun on most rides or you're riding too hard.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Cyclintom is right on for this point in your cycling development. Your legs are conditioning themselves after a 2 year lay-off-- but in addition their "muscle memory" is for running, not cycling...a very different movement. So, ease into it....it's time on the bike more than power and speed. (I suspect our older muscles, sometimes like older minds, need more "memory" work.

    Some soreness could also come from a bike which is not fit as well as it could be to your body. Seat height is crucial-- especially for those sore legs. Do some reading here at BF, elsewhere, or go to a local bicycle shop (commonly know as your "LBS") where they'll talk to you seriously and have them evaluate your riding set-up/position. Otherwise, stay with the Forum here and post your experiences, questions, thoughts.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  4. #4
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    +1 for both Cyclingtom's and CrossChain's posts. You may find that it takes a full year or more before you develop cycling muscles that will respond after a few weeks layoff (i.e., winter), but if you're healthy, the legs will get there.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  5. #5
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    I want to add a little to the great advise above.
    Exercise can become a positive addiction and compensate for many bad things in our life which we should not do or at least minimize. To get this positive addiction you need to get a routine together. The experts say one hour or more.
    I can testify that this worked for my wife and me.
    I found that a trainer is very good because I can go on it as time permits and weather is not an issue.
    After work, I jump on that trainer and do one hour at a nice clip. Everything looks better after that.

  6. #6
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    In addition to the responses so far, I would add that you go get a heart rate monitor. You can monitor and measure your progress much more effectively. (You probably know all about this, being a runner for so many years.)

  7. #7
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    & a cadence counter... that's one thing I wish I had on my bike since sore knees and gearing seem to have a close relationship in terms of the gear & cadence at which one rides (and about which I seem to be relatively ignorant in relation to many of the BF 50+ posters).
    centexwoody
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  8. #8
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclintom
    At 65 you should have fun on most rides or you're riding too hard.
    Best advice ever on this forum!

    If you are not having fun at age 65, then why in the world do it?

    and WIll Dehne is right on about using a trainer when you can't ride outside, (and, IMHO, some training tapes/cd's.)
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  9. #9
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    You have been given some good advice and I second the trainer and increasing your cadence. Ride in lower gears while pedaling faster until you get your base miles in and eventually you will find the cadence that works best for you.

    The normal training method is ride one day hard, one day easy for recovery, and then take a day off. This gives your muscles time to rebuild themselves. Learn about recovery rides and work this into your riding schedule.

    I would also suggest doing a search on BF and on Google with the words bike fit. Plus, you can find some good information by reading through the Nutrition and Training forum.

    Have fun!
    Born Again Bicyclist! I found my Faith.

    Giant Cypress, GF Wahoo, Trek 7.3FX, Schwinn Sprint

  10. #10
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    Thanks, everybody. Appreciate your thoughts. I'll just keep doing what I've been doing, kinda' like fishing,best time to go is whenever you can get away. I am skeptical of my own ability to use a trainer. Tried a Nordic track for a while and the boredom was excruciating. I'll see if I can find one cheap so I can enjoy giving it away if I can't stand it. ;-) Thanks again,

    Roger Hill

  11. #11
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    Pedal faster in lower gears - that puts less stress on legs and more on cardiovascular.
    Korval is Ships
    See my Hyperlite 411 it's the photo model on OutRiderUSA web page

  12. #12
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    ......and whenever possible eat pie and drink thick beer--small bites and little sips but done in rapid succession so as not to overtax the connective tissues in your jaw.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  13. #13
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    Maintain a high cadence for maximum benefit from the mileage you're doing, as suggested above. A bike computer that monitors your pedaling cadence would definitely help. In the meantime, just make sure that you switch to an easier gear whenever your cadence drops below what your running pace was. Distance runners keep a pace of between 90 and 95 strides a minute; that's where you want your cadence to be on the bike, or even a bit faster.

  14. #14
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Since you had trouble indoors handling the Nordic Track, I would say pass on the trainer. Use that money instead to purchase warm duds and gear so you can extend your riding season into the cooler times. Riding in Winter is a blast IMO.
    Keep it 'tween the ditches

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  15. #15
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRUM
    Since you had trouble indoors handling the Nordic Track, I would say pass on the trainer. Use that money instead to purchase warm duds and gear so you can extend your riding season into the cooler times. Riding in Winter is a blast IMO.
    Yup. I have a short commute, but I do it all winter long. Riding in the winter can be very enjoyable if you're dressed properly. I used to enjoy running in the winter as well.

    So a few personal observations about the difference between running and biking: Hills hurt a lot more on a bike than on foot. I've convinced myself to take a defiant approach to them. I used to stress about even the smallest hills around here (there aren't any big ones). Then I started doing an annual tour in WI with a local group. Some of those hills were unimaginable but we did them anyway. I highly recommend joining a regular group. Your enjoyment will increase and your comfort level on a bike will too.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  16. #16
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg
    Yup. I have a short commute, but I do it all winter long. Riding in the winter can be very enjoyable if you're dressed properly. I used to enjoy running in the winter as well.
    Yep, like they say, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  17. #17
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I've had trouble with the trainer,(torture rack), as well. I have put it in front of the T.V. and watched football. That helps a little. I lived in the mountains for 4 years and loved snow biking. Good knobbies, good clothes, and fun times. It's pretty rough on the drivetrain and brakes, but on my beater mtb, who cares? I'd love to go ride in the snow this winter if I can talk anyone into going with me.

  18. #18
    Pat
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    The suggestions for riding a high cadence are pretty good in my opinion.

    Since you are having muscle ache problems, don't worry about pushing hard. Take it easy for most of the ride. Let your muscles warm up for a number of miles by riding easy. Then cruise easy. If you are getting near the end of your ride and feel that you still have plenty of ooomph, well then go fast. Just remember to spin some and get the kinks out afterwards.

    It is also OK to stop and catch your breath and let your legs recover.

    Remember no one is paying you money for doing things in record time.

    The important thing is getting out there and doing it without beating yourself up. When you can ride and feel comfortable in a reliable fashion. Then you can start worrying about performance.

  19. #19
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    Thanks, guys. I have been through the fit sites and am still tweaking seat height and handlebar position. My bike has an adjustable stem and angled handle bars, so I can do lots of fiddling. I am trying to ride at a higher cadence, right now 60 rpm seems sustainable but a little faster than natural. Almost all my riding is on the middle ring, gears 4-6 on the rear. I immediately downshift at the slightest slowing of cadence or feeling of tiredness in the thighs. I may downshift three or four gears on a steep hill. But I must say, it does irritate me when some overweight female roars by me and on out of sight! So far, I have resisted the urge to speedup. Somehow, I think I am still 40 and able to run a marathon! I do plan to ride in the cold.........have run at -20 deg temps here in Colorado and it is exhilirating (such temps here are usually accompanied by no wind and 10% humidity). I will find the ski mask and goggles before I try riding the bike in extreme cold. Thanks again for the advice.

    Roger Hill

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