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Old 01-09-07, 08:39 PM   #1
The Weak Link
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How much can your legs handle, you old coots?

I've been riding for about a year and a half and I would like to see how much I can improve, especially with climbing, speed, and endurance (I think that just about covers it). Up to now I've riden three days a week, something like this: Saturday, 1-2 hours of MTB. Monday, barf-fest spin class. Wednesday, road ride, 10-25 miles, depending on mood, weather and time available.

The question is, how much do you guys push your legs? I'm 54, healthy, about 25 pounds overweight, and no great shakes as an athlete. I've set up a trainer in the basement for the winter. Is it reasonable to ride 5 or 6 days a week? Or do my legs ned at least a couple of days to recover? When I ride, my heart rate is typically 80ish %, except when I trail ride, where I peg out almost immediately.
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Old 01-09-07, 09:05 PM   #2
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Golly, you'll get a ton of reply's to your question....but I'll start out. It depends sorta on what you are trying to accomplish. Many of us old coots (I'm 57) actually race and to do that you have to train hard. Training consists of tiring yourself, and then resting and letting your body adapt and then repeating the cycle. How much riding to tire yourself? and how much rest to recover? These are individual traits, but the more you train the more you CAN train. There are a ton of websites and books describing how to go about it, but I'd think the starting place would be to figure out your goal. Which you might already have As for me, when I overtrain, I can tell because I'm not as enthusiastic to go ride. I'll generally back off on the intensity and just sightsee then. 5 or 6 days a week should be no problem, but it all depends on how hard you ride on those days. Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 01-09-07, 09:39 PM   #3
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I'm 53 years old.

I ride 5 days a week in the warm months and 2 days (outside) and 2 nights (inside) in the winter.

8000 miles a year in 04 and 05, 4200 last year due to business travel.

If you're really serious, the only limitation is how much time you're willing to devote to your sport.
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Old 01-09-07, 09:47 PM   #4
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As a cycling coach once said, "Most riders go too hard on the easy days and too easy on the hard days." Which I reckon is true. Me, I can ride all day, but I go moderately pretty much all the time, which is no way to build speed, but it's very enjoyable. I also try to get plenty of rest.
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Old 01-09-07, 11:47 PM   #5
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I'm 55, 225# and ride around 7,500 miles a year. From the end of October until the mid of December I ride 4 days a week, the rest of the year it's 6 days a week with one of those day as a recovery ride. In 2004 I did 3 double centuries and 5 centuries. 2005 I did 1 triple century, 6 double century and 6 centuries. 2006 I did 1 triple century, 5 double century and 4 centuries.

It's just how you feel. Make it fun, don't push yourself to burnout or injury.
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Old 01-10-07, 12:33 AM   #6
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I expect that you'll get answers all over the map on this one. I'm 51. My current training pace is about 500 miles a month. When I started a year and a half ago, it was all I could manage to do an hour a day, three or four times a week, at 14 or so mph. Now I ride 6 days a week as long as I'm not traveling, with typical speeds of 18-19 miles an hour solo, and faster with a group.

It's entirely reasonable for you to ride 5-6 days a week if you feel the motivation to do so. Regarding recovery rides, I'd strongly recommend getting and reading a good book on cycling training... Joe Friel and Chris Carmichael are two good authors. And it's always a good idea to get regular checkups and to talk with your doc about your cycling plans. But cycling can be an extremely positive, even life-changing experience. If you feel the desire to up your mileage and your training frequency, then by all means go for it!
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Old 01-10-07, 07:12 AM   #7
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I'm 54 and I ride strictly for fun and fitness. I found the bike just this past May and before that was doing zero for fitness and it showed. I try to get on the bike at least 4 times a week, 5 better. The more I ride the better my knees feel and the better my clothes fit. I ride 15 to 25 miles now on most rides. None of them are barf fests.
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Old 01-10-07, 07:38 AM   #8
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I "push my legs" six days a week with varying intensity based on current goals.

It is quite reasonable to ride 5 or 6 days a week if you're reasonable in your approach to it. A good rule of thumb for me that every hard day is followed by an easy day.... unless I'm training for a specific event.

I suspect the only time your legs will need a "couple of days of rest" is if you really burn them out by over training.

I agree with Stevie47's notion that your goals need to drive your training routine.
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Old 01-10-07, 07:45 AM   #9
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There probably isn't much of a limit, but let yourself build into it. If there is anything us oldtimers should know by now is to be patient.

When you want to push harder - push harder. I tend to improve without thinking about it because I like to push. When I am tired and want to lay back, I feel no guilt. I am just listening to my body.
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Old 01-10-07, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanteB
I'm 55, 225# and ride around 7,500 miles a year. From the end of October until the mid of December I ride 4 days a week, the rest of the year it's 6 days a week with one of those day as a recovery ride. In 2004 I did 3 double centuries and 5 centuries. 2005 I did 1 triple century, 6 double century and 6 centuries. 2006 I did 1 triple century, 5 double century and 4 centuries.

It's just how you feel. Make it fun, don't push yourself to burnout or injury.
AWESOME!
I'm shooting for my first double century this year. Guess I won't whine about it in your presence .
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Old 01-10-07, 08:29 AM   #11
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What I have noticed for myself is it is easy to over train if you haven’t been riding a long time. By a long time I mean several years.

My typical summer average is about 150 miles a week. By about the 4th week my speeds really drop so I will stay off the bike until I get to feeling better then when I get back on the bike I’m a little faster.

I think over training can be a serious issue if your not careful. I’m not riding right now so I go to the gym and do intervals on the trainer so don’t get near as many miles but my legs should be good come the thaw J
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Old 01-10-07, 08:48 AM   #12
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Thanks all. My immediate goals are to do the Old Kentucky Home Tour Century this September, which I understand is a pretty tough one. There is a local MTB hill called Montana Hill that I'd like to make it up, a local mark of distinction.

There are some training questions that strike me as being almost more metaphysical than physical. When you're grinding up a hill and you really feel like stopping because you're legs are on fire, do you stop because you're a wuss or because you're working within your limitations? When you're in a spin class and the coach is yelling at everyone to dig down and give just a little extra and you already have blood streaming out of your ears, do you listen to the coach or the body?

That might be a question for a separate thread, but it is interesting to me that when you are trying to push the envelope, just when you should just be glad to be alive at our age and back off, or when do you need a psychic kick in the butt?
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Old 01-10-07, 09:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
I've been riding for about a year and a half and I would like to see how much I can improve, especially with climbing, speed, and endurance (I think that just about covers it). Up to now I've riden three days a week, something like this: Saturday, 1-2 hours of MTB. Monday, barf-fest spin class. Wednesday, road ride, 10-25 miles, depending on mood, weather and time available.

The question is, how much do you guys push your legs? I'm 54, healthy, about 25 pounds overweight, and no great shakes as an athlete. I've set up a trainer in the basement for the winter. Is it reasonable to ride 5 or 6 days a week? Or do my legs ned at least a couple of days to recover? When I ride, my heart rate is typically 80ish %, except when I trail ride, where I peg out almost immediately.
I've been riding some 14 years now. Each year I've improved in some manner. I'm now 62 and for four months this year I put in over 800 miles and for two of those months over 900 miles.

At the time I could ride 50 miles a day, every day and I'd take Monday and Friday off. After a ride it would take me about a hour to feel fresh again.

Believe me, when I took up riding again I would NEVER believe that I'd be capable of that.
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Old 01-10-07, 10:23 AM   #14
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I average 200 - 225 miles a week. I'm 55 and have ridden for about 33 years now.

Five days of commuting a 20 mile RT. Usually ridden at very high effort except on Friday in preparation for the
weekend.

Usually a club ride on Saturday, anywhere from 70 to 100 miles. I ride a 23 mile round trip to the ride start location so that ups my mileage. The day's effort depends on the route and the group mood.

Sunday, a shorter ride, never less than about 45 miles it seems, effort level is intense if ridden with the club,
a bit lighter if solo miles.

I live on a pretty good sized hill so EVERY ride has at least one noticable climb.
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Old 01-10-07, 11:01 AM   #15
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I'm 50 and ride 5 days a week for 100-140mi per week. I usually do 20mi on weekdays and 60+ on Sunday. I take Sat and Monday off riding.
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Old 01-10-07, 12:20 PM   #16
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68 years old - 215 lbs.

I try to ride 5 days per week (5 days and a two day rest on the weekend when everyone else is riding) and I usually don't do two long/hard days in a row. When weather permits 150 - 200 miles per week - 7002 miles last year. Long rides of 51 - 75 miles at least once per week. Did 109 miles in Tucson in November. I enjoy getting out and riding and I enjoy having a nice bike. YMMV.

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Old 01-10-07, 12:36 PM   #17
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Terrierman pretty much covered my story, as well. Coming up on 54, 204lbs (currently). I ride 3-4 days per week, mostly after work (8-12 miles each) with one longer Saturday ride (15-20 miles). I guess that puts me at about 50 miles per week. I expect that number to go up this year. In Pacifica, you have to work awfully hard to avoid hills so I do a fair amount of the ol' up & down. I sneak in a trainer ride here and there, too. I tend to keep my heart rate at about 135-140BPM average. I like to do "one-on/one-off". Sometimes, after a really strenuous ride, I'll do two days off.

My main rule is I do what I feel like I can do on any given day.
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Old 01-10-07, 01:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
The question is, how much do you guys push your legs? I'm 54, healthy, about 25 pounds overweight, and no great shakes as an athlete. I've set up a trainer in the basement for the winter. Is it reasonable to ride 5 or 6 days a week? Or do my legs ned at least a couple of days to recover? When I ride, my heart rate is typically 80ish %, except when I trail ride, where I peg out almost immediately.
I personally ride every other day at the most. One days hard ride- one day at least rest. If I do A very hard ride then I will get out the next day for 10 miles at a gentle pace- just to take the Stiffeness out of the body but If It has been an extreme ride then It will be the Gym 2 days after for gentle exercise and weights- As I won't be able to sit down for a while.

Legs for me are the last thing to give out. The lungs go before that and if I do not eat enough- then the rest of the body. The Butt is a problem of the Tandem- You cannot move around too much- or take the weight off the saddle unless the pair of you do it at the same time. On the solo's-I do not get the problem.
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Old 01-10-07, 11:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SesameCrunch
AWESOME!
I'm shooting for my first double century this year. Guess I won't whine about it in your presence .
You should have heard me after I did my first double "That was the hardest F*&^ing thing I ever done, I'm glad I don't EVVVVVER have to do one of those again". That was my first in 2001, then in 2004 I got bit by the bug to get my Triple Crown jersey and then to get my Gold Thousand Mile Club jersey. Sometimes I ask myself what the heck I'm doing out here. This year it happened 5 miles into the triple, with 295 miles to go.

What double are looking to do? If you need any help let me know. When you're doing one don't burn yourself up in the first 100 miles.
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Old 01-11-07, 07:51 AM   #20
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I'm 47 and no great shakes as an athlete either. Here's a graph profiling my riding habits for 2006. Maybe this will help out with your question. The graphing points are month to month
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Old 01-11-07, 08:16 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
Thanks all. My immediate goals are to do the Old Kentucky Home Tour Century this September, which I understand is a pretty tough one. There is a local MTB hill called Montana Hill that I'd like to make it up, a local mark of distinction.

There are some training questions that strike me as being almost more metaphysical than physical. When you're grinding up a hill and you really feel like stopping because you're legs are on fire, do you stop because you're a wuss or because you're working within your limitations? When you're in a spin class and the coach is yelling at everyone to dig down and give just a little extra and you already have blood streaming out of your ears, do you listen to the coach or the body?

That might be a question for a separate thread, but it is interesting to me that when you are trying to push the envelope, just when you should just be glad to be alive at our age and back off, or when do you need a psychic kick in the butt?
I'm no great climber, but I do a lot of it, and if I feel like stopping on a hill, it's usually not because of the legs. More likely my heart is jumping out of my chest or I have nausea. If you have the gears, you can back off and recover on a hill. You will figure out your own pace and learn how to find a rythym. My legs only scream after a rest or a long descent with an immediate climb. Never tried a spin class.
How much total gain in that century? I've ridden in Kentucky and those hills can be relentless!
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Old 01-11-07, 10:00 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
That might be a question for a separate thread, but it is interesting to me that when you are trying to push the envelope, just when you should just be glad to be alive at our age and back off, or when do you need a psychic kick in the butt?
If I translated your question correctly from English to Hebrew and back again you're asking: How far to push it?

My 2 cents:
It's highly individual depending on inherent and acquired physical traits such as ability to withstand high overloads without kickin the bucket or causing permanent damage.

It's also in the head (psychic) - depends on individual pain threshold.

It's also about motivation - for example, you're cycling up Mt Ventoux, every muscle screaming out for respite and then your head says "what am I doing this for?" Thus motivation is directly correlated to the amount of pain (push the envelope) you're willing to stand.

All the above three elements are dynamic: physcial ability, pain threshold and motivation and you are largely in control.
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Old 01-11-07, 10:14 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
I Is it reasonable to ride 5 or 6 days a week? Or do my legs ned at least a couple of days to recover?
I am an underage interloper on this forum (48). I check out this forum because for the most part I have a lot more in common with you guys than I do with the 20 something racers.

I had a heart attack 4 years ago, and ride for my cardiac health. I wanted to integrate the exercise into my lifestyle so I commute to/from work. Usually 5 days per week. In the summer I will do some fun weekend rinds too, but the bulk of my riding is to/from work. I ride at a moderate pace - enough to work up a bit of a sweat, but not so much that I am hurting after my hour or so commute (15 miles).

I do not find that riding 5 or 6 days a week is a problem, in fact when I am away on a business trip for more than a couple days, I really miss it.
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Old 01-11-07, 01:36 PM   #24
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In the summer, my hard ride for the week is a 30 miler, which I refer to as a 'toast-fest.' Everyone starts in a big group of up to 50 riders. Warm-up is 18 mph out of town. At about 2 miles, the pace picks up to 25+ mph. We have to stop for a highway crossing, then all h*ll breaks loose and the pace goes to 28-32 mph. In short order, lesser riders are shucked off the back in ones, twos, and threes. After about 5 miles of this, the pace dies off to an easier 24-25 mph. But they barely slow down for most of the hills - if someone can't keep up, he's spit off the back with no remorse. I have a problem with this ONE hill every time, but can usually catch back up after the climb. The ride is about 1:15, and my average HR runs about 160. BTW, I can't seem to MAKE it go over 168, so I'm running close to flat out, walking the tightrope between burning quads or no air.

I usually ride the next day, but try to keep my HR below 120. For me, that's harder than the hard day!
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Old 01-11-07, 01:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanteB
You should have heard me after I did my first double "That was the hardest F*&^ing thing I ever done, I'm glad I don't EVVVVVER have to do one of those again". That was my first in 2001, then in 2004 I got bit by the bug to get my Triple Crown jersey and then to get my Gold Thousand Mile Club jersey. Sometimes I ask myself what the heck I'm doing out here. This year it happened 5 miles into the triple, with 295 miles to go.

What double are looking to do? If you need any help let me know. When you're doing one don't burn yourself up in the first 100 miles.
I'm planning on the Davis Double. Fairly flate, well supported, longer daylight. Hope the wind isn't too rough. I'll be careful not to start out too fast. I was thinking of actually setting an mph goal for each half just to avoiding burning out too soon.
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