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  1. #1
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    Standard to achieve mediocre status

    When I started riding I decided I needed goals, so I picked two. The first was to get in shape and I have made progress, but still have 20 pounds to lose. I am not disappointed with where I am on that goal. The second goal has been hard to pin down. I want to achieve a "status" as a rider beyond beginner. During the past year I have seen good riders. They fly up hills that I crank up in granny. I am too old to ever become "good". I have finally decided I will work hard to improve to the point of being a mediocre rider. The problem with this decision is establishing a standard by which a mediocre rider can attain that lofty perch. My guess is that the total time to ride a century would work. If that sounds good, then what total time should be used? Also, if there is a better measurement for this goal, please make your case.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    Goals need to be solid numbers. I picked a 17-mile route and made a goal to do it under an hour. Meeting that goal made for a great day. I have now cut off a full 20 mintues on that route from when I started.

    Here's what I know: You can always get better. And someone is always better than you.

  3. #3
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Interesting topic you bring up. What makes a good rider? Is it someone who can ride a century at a pace in the mid 20's? There are lots of good riders on this forum who don't even ride centuries. IMHO you need to be a good rider to ride a century in 8 hours or less. It's not about the speed, it's about the distance. Just see how well you do on your first one, then get ready for the next one.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
    When I started riding I decided I needed goals, so I picked two. The first was to get in shape and I have made progress, but still have 20 pounds to lose. I am not disappointed with where I am on that goal. The second goal has been hard to pin down. I want to achieve a "status" as a rider beyond beginner. During the past year I have seen good riders. They fly up hills that I crank up in granny. I am too old to ever become "good". I have finally decided I will work hard to improve to the point of being a mediocre rider. The problem with this decision is establishing a standard by which a mediocre rider can attain that lofty perch. My guess is that the total time to ride a century would work. If that sounds good, then what total time should be used? Also, if there is a better measurement for this goal, please make your case.
    My suggestion: don't compare yourself to others. There are too many variables, age, physical condition, work schedules etc. Set goals for yourself. Kerlenbach has a great idea. Start with a goal that's within your ability. Once accompished , step it up a notch and so on and so forth. If you've haven't done an imperial century ( 100 miles) try it with a generous time limit and see how you do. Then ramp it up next time. I try to be a "good rider" vs. myself. There are too many riders out there that are much better. No sense depressing yourself. And besides, riding is supposed to be fun. Enjoy it and if you think you're good, then you are.

  5. #5
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    This decision was made for me by deciding on another goal. I decided to go as fast as I can across America by bike SAG supported. The tour required that we document an average speed of 16.5 MPH on reasonably flat ground and wind neutral (means round trip).
    I have pursued this standard for three years now. I met it three years ago but only with extraordinary effort. I did it on a CycleOps FL2 trainer and was sick as a dog after doing 100 miles.
    These days I can do better than 16.5 MPH and do 16.5 routinely.
    My next tour will be April 2008. I am aiming to be able to do 18 MPH for 100 miles. I am busy training for that now.
    BTW, my best time for shorter distances is >22 MPH. We are here talking 100 miles.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    Actually, I have ridden 3 centuries this year. My average time for the three rides is 6 hours, 45 minutes. My younger brother normally rides a century in less than 5 hours. I am not sure if there is an accepted standard time for a "good" rider, average rider, or even a mediocre rider as I strive to become. I have asked my brother if he is thinking of entering some local races. He says every time he considers such an adventure he rides with someone that does race some. He says he is then taught how average he is and all thoughts of racing are dashed. As it has already been suggested, I think probably the best thing is to time yourself and try to improve on that at whatever distance.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  7. #7
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Just enjoy your bicycling. Why make everything so complicated? Life is too short for all these complexities, IMHO! Why does everything have to be longer or harder or faster?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
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    I always felt a good cyclist is one who is at home on their bike.
    One who enjoys riding whatever the conditions or situation

    Those who climb faster are good climbers.
    Those who ride farther are good marathoners.
    Those who ride fast are good racers.
    But are they all good cyclists?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Just enjoy your bicycling. Why make everything so complicated? Life is too short for all these complexities, IMHO! Why does everything have to be longer or harder or faster?
    +1, and I don't usually see things the same way Denver does.

    I set try to set life goals and let the cycling help satisfy those that relate to fitness, outdoor activities, stress relieve, showing my kids individual sports, personal satisfaction.
    '81 Austro Daimler Olympian, '87 DeRosa Professional, '91 Gary Fisher SuperCaliber, 1999 Calfee TetraPro, '03(?) Macalu Cirrus, '04 Tallerico, '97 Co-Motion Tandem

  10. #10
    Pretend Racer dcvelo's Avatar
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    +2 ...I was a serious runner before I took up cycling. I started my racing career at the age of 48...always finished in the top 10%, but always knew I couldn't win the race. My motivation was to do better than the last time I'd raced that distance, and to meet my target pace (happily I always exceeded it).

    The most important performance goals to me are achieved relative to my previous performance.

  11. #11
    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    I don't think I'd ever have a goal to ride a century. It sounds too painful to be a goal in itself.

    However, if something really fun came up that just happened to be 100 miles long, then I'd want to do it. But I don't know how I'd have any extra energy to enjoy it if I was riding 100 miles. Seriously, after mile marker 80, it sounds like one big saddle sore.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Old School's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Just enjoy your bicycling. Why make everything so complicated? Life is too short for all these complexities, IMHO! Why does everything have to be longer or harder or faster?

    CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS
    (Faster, Higher, Stronger) -- The Olympic motto...
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by solveg View Post
    I don't think I'd ever have a goal to ride a century. It sounds too painful to be a goal in itself. However, if something really fun came up that just happened to be 100 miles long, then I'd want to do it. But I don't know how I'd have any extra energy to enjoy it if I was riding 100 miles. Seriously, after mile marker 80, it sounds like one big saddle sore.
    Have you thought about your bike fit lately?
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  14. #14
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Go to Amazon. Check out the blurbs on Bill Strickland's book, Ten Points. You'll probably want to read it. You probably "ought" to read it.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  15. #15
    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Paulie View Post
    Have you thought about your bike fit lately?
    Very funny. But really, I'm just basing the post 80-mile pain on what I read here in the 50+ forum! I don't know, firsthand!

  16. #16
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    My goals are somewhat low nowadays. All I want to do is keep riding with a smile. I no longer have goals that I train for- and hence have to push myself in training to get fit enough to reach the goal. If it ever gets to the stage that I am not enjoying what I am doing- I will stop.

    Just remind me of that when I make the hill that all the turks are walking- even though my legs and lungs are bursting- and Pride is not letting me walk the bike with the others.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    My viewpoint is that many or most of us come from some sort of work environment or other environment where we are pushed to our hardest to meet eomeone (or perhaps our own) goals. Incessantly. In my case, in teaching, there were tremendous daily pressures for achievement on the part of those I taught, for appropriate "classroom environment" for kiddos with serious and sometimes critical challenges in their own lives, in addition to the pressures we put on them at school, etc. In my personal world, I have been and am continuing in battles with huge systems of bureaucracy full of entropy and, at times, corruption, in a sometimes vain attempt to get services for individuals with disabilities. And etc., etc., etc.

    It seems to me that in at least one place in our lives we should be able to have refuge from this intensity and pressure, and that is in our recreation. Yet, I continuously see in these forums where folks are desirous of adding more and more and more pressure on themselves, even in their recreational pursuits.

    Why? I just don't understand it. We should all have a place of sanctity and peace, IMHO - at least I need that. I think reasonable goals of fitness and maintaining appropriate body weight are appropriate. Beyond that it just seems as if one is driven by something else that is beyond me.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    This thread is not where I was thinking when I wrote the subject, but it is interesting. Goals are important to me because I tend to not push myself without them, and yes I need to push myself to get physically fit. I played college basketball - 40 years ago - and I consider that competitive. It was competitive just to keep your scholarship, much less playing the other teams. For me, riding the bicycle is not competitive. If I were racing it would be, but I am not racing. Goals help me achieve the fitness I need to feel better, and I do feel physically better than I have in years. If I were riding just for enjoyment I would not make but a few miles per ride and I would not be in the condition I am today. Goals work for me, for some they do not.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  19. #19
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
    This thread is not where I was thinking when I wrote the subject, but it is interesting. Goals are important to me because I tend to not push myself without them, and yes I need to push myself to get physically fit. I played college basketball - 40 years ago - and I consider that competitive. It was competitive just to keep your scholarship, much less playing the other teams. For me, riding the bicycle is not competitive. If I were racing it would be, but I am not racing. Goals help me achieve the fitness I need to feel better, and I do feel physically better than I have in years. If I were riding just for enjoyment I would not make but a few miles per ride and I would not be in the condition I am today. Goals work for me, for some they do not.
    OK, that makes sense to me. You know yourself best. I likely over reacted a bit to your post, because I had just read another post with detailed daily achievement plans that just blew me away, and I sort of put the two in the same package in my head.

    I would support the concept of measuring one's self against one's self, and not others, and I do enjoy seeing changes and improvement in myself.

    Then, there comes into the question just what is "enjoyment?"

    Oh, this is all too much.

    Have a great day. Sorry to have detoured your thread a bit.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
    Actually, I have ridden 3 centuries this year. My average time for the three rides is 6 hours, 45 minutes. My younger brother normally rides a century in less than 5 hours. I am not sure if there is an accepted standard time for a "good" rider, average rider, or even a mediocre rider as I strive to become.
    Many cycling clubs have classifications to assist riders in choosing rides appropriate for their riding level. They usually state the qualifications for these classifications. Here are the guidelines from my club. Several clubs in the area have the same or very similar guidelines. Note..the time includes the time allowed for rest stops.

    Classification Speed Distance Time
    D...............9 to 12 MPH..........20 miles.......3 hours
    C..............12 to 15 MPH.........40 miles........4 hours
    B..............15 to 18 MPH..........65 miles.......5 hours
    A..............18 to 21 MPH........100 miles.......7 hours
    AA............. 22+ MPH............ 100 miles.......5.5 hours
    =============================================================
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  21. #21
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Cycling goals are like Enlightenment. When you achieve them, the achieving no longer matters. Or something like that.

    I do have concrete goals: ride my age (55), then a metric century, then an imperial century. Time therein is not an issue. I've been riding seriously for two years. I think It'll take me one more year to do the imperial.

  22. #22
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Just enjoy your bicycling. Why make everything so complicated? Life is too short for all these complexities, IMHO! Why does everything have to be longer or harder or faster?
    Couldn't agree with you more. If I only ride downtown on errands on my Surly Cross Check or do my 45 mile road ride on my Cannondale, I have fun and enjoy it. That's what cycling is all about for me. The more I ride the longer I can go and the faster I can go, but I don't make that a focus of my riding.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    ............................................................................ Life is too short for all these complexities, IMHO! Why does everything have to be longer or harder or faster?
    To each his/her own.
    Why do sports at all? Why climb a mountain? Why do anything what causes temporary discomfort?
    Why try to excel at anything? Why strive for excellence in anything?

    I agree that many, many more people agree with your point of view. That does not make you right for those of us who try to push the limits and have a ball doing it.
    I have a few people in my immediate family who liked your point of view and lived by it, to their detriment. There is too much room for abuse unless you find a good obsession which makes these abuses unattractive.

  24. #24
    Senior Member dorosz's Avatar
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    Both the don't make it to complicated to have fun and the you need goals viewpoints are valid we just need to have a balance between them that works for us.

    In late '05 my goal was to not be sick and fat anymore, I'm still pretty fat but I'm not sick. I walked away from the really fat sick part. And then part way into walking it off I realized the 50 year old knees weren't to happy so I dusted off the old mountain bike in May of '06 and started just commuting to work and riding a wee bit, and then the crazy idea that I could ride a century came to mind. I managed a 7.5 hour century on the mtb in Sept '06. This year I've fallen a lot, and not ridden as well, but I wanted to ride the century faster this time. SO I bought a nice entry level Jamis and this year I rode the century in 6.5 hours and my wife rode the 25 mile ride her first really long ride ever! I don't know what my goal is for next year yet, partly its going to be to really work on my weight again, I've been gaining all summer and really really don't like where that is headed. But my riding goal is still pretty nebulous, RAGBRAI keeps calling to me I've never done a really long ride and that sounds like a pretty cool goal.

  25. #25
    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    I am not a person who doesn't "push" myself. I kind of track how fast my speed is and how far I've gone. I've kept track of my weekly miles until recently. I'm always trying to get stronger...

    But it's not a quantitative thing to me... it's more like aquiring skill sets that will allow me to do something. Like Beverly's chart, I want to experience different rides and different people, and know it will take work and training to do that. I want to tour on my bike and need to build up to it. I want to do Ragbrai, I want to ride with people whom I would now be unable to.

    I want to do 70 hilly miles with Terrierman! That's my next goal! So the goals are fun-oriented, not record-keeping.

    I absolutely* don't* set out to hit a certain number. It's always some locationor activity, which progressively gets further away. I'm working at riding around Lake Millacs, which is over 70 miles if you take the long way. The mini goals are the different towns on the route, and that's all. If I wake up and don't feel like going to Garrison, I'll go somewhere else, even if the distance is shorter.

    Usually, when I'm gaining a skill set for an activity, I'm motivated enough where progress just happens naturally. If timing is critical or short, then* I'll block out intermediate goals.

    But mostly, if I get on my bike 5 times a week, I'll start playing games with myself and see how X (X=far, fast, long, slow, whatever) I can go. That just seems to naturally build my skills. I do force myself to do new things, based on what I read here. Like, I need to start playing some "Hill Games".

    I do the same with driving a car. If I'm on a long trip, I start playing games with cough drops and mile markers.

    As I've said many times, I'm a geek.
    Last edited by solveg; 10-07-07 at 09:45 AM.

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