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Thread: Flat or Hills

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    Flat or Hills

    When starting out from ground zero (triple bypass, 280lbs, 60, 3 BP meds) does it matter if I ride flat or hills? I'm assuming I'll be able to go further on a flat bike path then the rolling small hills around my house, plus being 10 miles from DC the traffic is a real pain.

    Bruce

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    Grammar Cop Condorita's Avatar
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    Have you spoken with your health-care professional(s)? Start out slow and easy, work your way up. If you're like most of us getting back into it, that first 5-miler will be a struggle. Then each ride is just a little easier, just a little longer. And maybe just a little farther up that hill before turning around and zooming back down it.
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    Definitely talk to your doc. He probably will help you establish what your target heart rate should be etc. Then do what he and your body tells you to do. A slow progression is a good idea for all of us noobies and re starters. Have fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce282 View Post
    When starting out from ground zero (triple bypass, 280lbs, 60, 3 BP meds) does it matter if I ride flat or hills? I'm assuming I'll be able to go further on a flat bike path then the rolling small hills around my house, plus being 10 miles from DC the traffic is a real pain.

    Bruce
    I'm reading a lot into your post that you didn't state, so if I am off the mark, disregard.

    I'm thinking that the doc has told you to get some exercise (or you told yourself that) to lose weight and get that heart and cardio system in shape. And that you haven't exercised for quite awhile, and you really haven't enjoyed exercising in the past???

    The thing that is really important about exercising is to find something that you enjoy, and to do it in an enjoyable way. Otherwise, folks give up on their exercise. So, if you have chosen bicycling as an exercise activity, great, except don't think of it that way. Think of it as doing something fun, and make it fun.

    So, in regards to your post, assuming I am correct in my assumptions (and I am probably far off the mark, and forgive me), don't push yourself too hard, as much as possible make your rides fun so you don't get discouraged and give it up.

    Good luck.

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    First off, check with your cardiologist before starting. Having said that I would start on the flats. My dad, 80, had a triple bypass a couple of years back and still has problems on any sort of incline. The doctor likes the fact he is riding but basically told him to take it easy and not worry about target rates and if he gets tired or short of breath to stop and take a rest.
    Last edited by steve0257; 07-30-09 at 08:31 PM.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    3 months after my triple I did a 40 mile ride. We don't have flat bits round here but if I had known how hilly the ride was going to be- I would have trained for it. 4 years after, I did a tough ride that proved that I did not have a heart problem- what I had was a re-conditioned heart that although not perfect- was far better than the old one.

    Two things will limit you on health recovery right now. One is mental as you don't know how hard to push yourself. The other is the beta blockers you will be on that will limit the effort you can put in so that eliminates the mental problem.

    Take it gently- build up within your capabilities and plan the century ride for next year. Hills will not be a problem. And be prepared to modify the bike to take strain off the chest bone till it heals fully. That took about 2 years for me
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    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Condorita View Post
    before turning around and zooming back down it.
    I love that part!!

    Oh and as others have said , talk to your doc first and I would go with flats at first and be careful.

    Good luck and enjoy the rides!
    Last edited by kr32; 07-31-09 at 04:40 AM.

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    Sorry guys. Too little information on my part.

    My bypass was in 2004, but DnvrFox hit it on the head. Between me and Doc we decided it was time to get off my a$$ and lose weight.I actually started last August, but in January of this year I broke 4 ribs and spent a week in the hospital. I'm only now getting back on my bike.

    I actually rode yesterday on the road rather than the trainer. I was able to get my heart rate up to 99, Doc wants a max of 105 as I start out. Only problem was lactic acid in my lazy legs. Around my house is hilly in every direction, so this weekend I believe I head to the WOD bike trail and ride the flats for a while.

    Again sorry about mis-information, and thanks for the suggestions. I'll keep you posted.

    Bruce

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    Sounds like for the near future your heart rate monitor will be your guide. Nothing wrong with riding flats if you can get your heart rate where you and your doctor think it needs to be. Good luck and happy riding.
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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have to agree that 5 years is a long time before getting out and riding. So treat yourself as a brand new rider. You've got the bike so get it to fit first of all. Then try 5 mile rides and increase from there.

    On the HR. If the doc says 105 and you hit 95 then good for a starter. Only problem is those BB's if you are on them. They will limit your HR so don't put yourself into the "Legs falling apart- can't breath stage" Well not till you get the milage up.

    Just get on the bike and ride to get the body working- the legs pedalling and the Lungs still breathing. I have a system that works for me. I go at a pace that means that the lungs are working hard so -- I have to take--- a breath ev---ery few seconds. Then when feeling OK- For a couple of hundred yards- on the flat for you- push harder so---that-- you-- have to-- breath-- more--often. The dashes are the intakes of breath.

    And go by that heart monitor to keep yourself under controll.

    And whatever you do- Do not give up. It will be hard initially but things will improve. 5 miles this week- 10 in a few weeks and the birthday ride may be next year.
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    Pain ?? What Pain !!
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    Glad to see your getting out there and taking action. Personally I believe cycling saved my life, and my cardiologist agrees. Four years ago I was riding and had some problems with my chest burning, 5 stents and 1 angioplasty later I'm symptom free. The doc told me hard exercise brings problems to light quicker and before more damage is done, I believe that is true. As said by others before, tell the doc what you intend to do, get advice and personal guidelines. Don't do hills at first, you'll get discouraged. At 202 lbs. hills are still my toughest adversary, but I'm not afraid of them anymore. I curse at them on the way up and it keeps me going. The key with doing hills is recovery time. If you can recover from repeated hills, which I can now do, you won't fear them. Remember, don't make yourself miserable out there....have fun....and you won't give up. Good Luck !!!
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    Hey man, all I can say is - good for you!
    Just give it time.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    See your health professional etc etc.... then spend quite a bit of time (perhaps many months) on relatively flat ground before you go hillclimbing. And don't forget the fun factor, as someone said. Use available MUPs to help you get comfortable.

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    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    The issue, I suggest, is building a lifelong riding habit.

    Take it slow, easy and flat to start. Ride areas you enjoy even if you have to haul the bike to them.

    As the miles accumulate, start doing as much interval training as you want to do. As more miles accumulate, ride place you enjoy where hills are part of the mix.

    By this time next year, you can easily find yourself a cycling addict who rides about as far as he wants.
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    Crazy ole cat lady
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    I am no physician but don't you think it would be best for you to start out with a stationary bike at a health club?
    That way if you should have heart problems there would be someone around to call 911 and administer CPR. Also, if you hit your limit you won't find yourself exhausted and a long way from home.

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    tsl
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    Start with the flats. The issue is cardio, right? "Base miles" build cardio.

    Everyone knows the purpose of these miles it to build the heart and lungs in order to support other riding. But what's forgotten is that it builds capillaries in the muscles. Those capillaries are important when it comes to strength building, like climbing. They'll facilitate easier climbing with less panting and less "burn" in the legs, plus faster recovery.

    Finish out the year on the flats. Get to where a 50-miler is no big thing, and you can snap off 20-milers in your sleep. Then work on climbs in the spring.

    I'm off on a nice flat 20-miler for this morning's long loop to work...
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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    you can snap off 20-milers in your sleep.
    I tried that once - woke up and didn't know where I was...
    "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.

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    Senior Member PSPSARGE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce282 View Post
    When starting out from ground zero (triple bypass, 280lbs, 60, 3 BP meds) does it matter if I ride flat or hills? I'm assuming I'll be able to go further on a flat bike path then the rolling small hills around my house, plus being 10 miles from DC the traffic is a real pain.

    Bruce
    Just stumbled onto this post and thread and made me think back 6 yrs. - I was 58 - 293 lbs and was discovered to have 3 blockages in my heart. Today I weigh 178 and ride 4 to 5 thousand miles a year to include centuries. Great advice in the thread - looking back let me give you some hindsight observations. My doctor sent me to heart re-hab first where essentially the message was exercise based on target heart rate. I then moved to the gym and became fairly dedicated but an hour on a stationary 4 times a week gives a new definition to boring. I did see weight loss results but I sincerely believe that exercising beyond 40 or 45 minutes is when you start to fat burn. Now to your question, flat or hilly? I split time between a flat and hilly locations but started out doing biking on the flat and from the starting point that you and I come from, I believe flat is better because it is easier to get a steady heart rate and that will be important when you start. Biking in my mind is the answer for weight control because as you enjoy the sport more it will be increasingly easy to get 2 hrs. of aerobics without the boredom of the gym. Good luck with it. I lost 90 lbs the first year and the next 25 lbs over the second year.

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    Thanks to all for the information, advice, and encouragement. I went to my LBS yesterday and got fitted for a Trek 2.3. The guy spent over an hour with me on trainer and trying 56, 58 and 60cm Treks. This was after he adjusted my MTB cleats to the right position. We settled on the 60cm after I had ridden the 58 and 60 on the roads behind the store. I just felt more comfortable with the slightly more upright position. And if I need to I can always lower the stem a bit.

    No excuses now, have to get my fat a$$ out there on the bike trails and just ride.


    Bruce

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