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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Slower = Harder?

    I have given up on figuring out why some rides are harder than others. For example, I did a 58 mile ride recently with slower riders, it was pretty flat, with a medium headwind on the way back. I was really tired at the end.

    But a few days later I did a 61 mile hilly organized ride. I rode really hard -- essentially racing someone else. I felt great at the end, and felt I could have ridden a lot farther.

    I've often noticed discrepancies like this.
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    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    I dunno, maybe mashing while going slower? Headwind didn't help.
    no goals , just ride

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Your body adapts to the way you ride. If you change the way you ride it takes time to adjust.

  4. #4
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Weather, rest, mental state, what you have eaten before and during the ride, etc all play a roll for me.
    "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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    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Perhaps on the slower ride you did all the pulling, while on the quicker ride you shared the duties.

    Also you were on the road longer during the slower ride. On a hot day that would take it's toll.

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I took a new rider out on a metric a few years ago. I kept him slow but that was not necessary- he was slow. This Metric normally takes 4 hours for me but this one was pushing 5 hours. By the end I was feeling just a bit tired. I put it down to never getting warmed up. The whole ride- Except for the few slopes where I did take my own pace- and I did not get anywhere near 75% of my heart rate. I drank more- I eat more and rested more. Not a good ride for me- but that new rider is regularly doing Metrics- the occasional full century and is taking a cycle tour holiday next year.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  7. #7
    tsl
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    I've found the same thing. I think it's because I don't get to ride at my natural cadence.

    Last Thursday I rode 36 miles with a group of slower riders, all of them only occasional cyclists. There were 11 stops on the ride, and it took from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Ride time was over three hours. I was exhausted by the end of the day. I've done centuries in similar time and felt just fine afterwards.

    The same thing happens when I'm walking. When I have to toddle along with my parents, I find I'm worn out in no time.

    EDIT: Stapfam may have a point too. Last Thursday my average HR on the ride was in zone 1, and my max in zone 3. Never really got warmed up.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  8. #8
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I've found the same thing. I think it's because I don't get to ride at my natural cadence.

    Last Thursday I rode 36 miles with a group of slower riders, all of them only occasional cyclists. There were 11 stops on the ride, and it took from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Ride time was over three hours. I was exhausted by the end of the day. I've done centuries in similar time and felt just fine afterwards.

    The same thing happens when I'm walking. When I have to toddle along with my parents, I find I'm worn out in no time.

    EDIT: Stapfam may have a point too. Last Thursday my average HR on the ride was in zone 1, and my max in zone 3. Never really got warmed up.
    That's not a ride, that's a hike. 7.5 hours to do 36 miles? There better have been 15,000' of climbing! LOL

  9. #9
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    That's not a ride, that's a hike. 7.5 hours to do 36 miles? There better have been 15,000' of climbing! LOL
    He didn't tell you one of those 11 stops was for a movie!

    11 stops! That is nuts!
    no goals , just ride

  10. #10
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    That's not a ride, that's a hike. 7.5 hours to do 36 miles? There better have been 15,000' of climbing! LOL
    Um, no. 1,154 feet of climbing. I've said before that it's really flat around here. There's the proof.

    Actual time-in-motion was 03:12:02

    Quote Originally Posted by kr32 View Post
    He didn't tell you one of those 11 stops was for a movie!

    11 stops! That is nuts!
    Actually, the 11th stop was lunch, dockside at the port.

    This was the annual Biking the Branches ride where the library bigwigs take the city budget and architectural people around to all 10 neighborhood branches to see how money has been spent and to show need for additional funding.

    I just went along for the ride. Since bicycles and libraries go so well together, I'm kinda hoping they'll develop this as a ride for the general public. Or maybe with four smaller loops, one in each quadrant of the city.

    I found that I'm going to have to advocate for bike parking for two of my co-workers at another branch. Traditionally staff have been allowed to park their bikes indoors. I've never had an issue with it. This particular branch has no room for expansion so they're reallocating space inside for another office. There goes the bike parking.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    I agree with the OP's observation. When I've ridden a longish rides with slower riders, I've been exhausted at the end. There's a group of really nice people I know who ride every weekend, and the rides just seem to last forever. Sometimes I'll do half the ride with them just to talk with some of them and then split off and ride back by myself.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    The discrepancy is more noticeable when doing long climbs. There seems to be a sweet zone with cadence and effort.

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    I have been told it is much harder to ride at someone else' s pace.

  14. #14
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    You are more tired because you have more weight on the saddle. At your normal tempo, you are pushing enough with the legs that weight is taken off the saddle slightly, improving circulation, and making the saddle less uncomfortable. On a slower ride, your butt takes the entire weight. This soreness translates to a general feeling of tiredness. It's a different tiredness than if you did the opposite, went too hard with a fast group. Now you're tired just because you're totally whacked! On a slower ride, the trick is to pedal out of the saddle every now and then.

    Luis

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    As I was reminded a couple weeks ago: It is all in your head. I'm one of those slow folks you deride. But, I have discovered that if we all remember this is supposed to be fun and have a good conversation while riding time passes quickly, we all enjoy ourselves and we all go away happy.

    I save the "hammer fests", although in my case it is probably more of a tack hammer than a framing hammer, for my solo training rides, or when I'm with someone who is just slightly stronger and we agree he is going to play rabbit for me.

    He who only competes with himself is one who is truly mature.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    As I was reminded a couple weeks ago: It is all in your head. I'm one of those slow folks you deride. But, I have discovered that if we all remember this is supposed to be fun and have a good conversation while riding time passes quickly, we all enjoy ourselves and we all go away happy.

    I save the "hammer fests", although in my case it is probably more of a tack hammer than a framing hammer, for my solo training rides, or when I'm with someone who is just slightly stronger and we agree he is going to play rabbit for me.

    He who only competes with himself is one who is truly mature.
    Why all the vitriol? TromboneAl and others (me included) were making simple observations based years of riding. I thought that the post above yours by Luis was really good and it makes a lot of sense. It also goes a long way in explaining a possible basis for saddle choices made by people with different riding styles. Thanks Luis!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    Why all the vitriol? TromboneAl and others (me included) were making simple observations based years of riding. I thought that the post above yours by Luis was really good and it makes a lot of sense. It also goes a long way in explaining a possible basis for saddle choices made by people with different riding styles. Thanks Luis!
    Vitriol? Maybe you are looking through a dfferent lens?

    The title is Slower=Harder? Not sure what that has to do with saddle choice. It had everything to do with my post.

    I quoted no one so it was a general reply, not pointed at any particular poster.

    Maybe your post is an example of how one's attitude and mental process affects their actions and supports my premise that it is all in a person's head?
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  18. #18
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    You are more tired because you have more weight on the saddle. At your normal tempo, you are pushing enough with the legs that weight is taken off the saddle slightly, improving circulation, and making the saddle less uncomfortable. On a slower ride, your butt takes the entire weight. This soreness translates to a general feeling of tiredness. It's a different tiredness than if you did the opposite, went too hard with a fast group. Now you're tired just because you're totally whacked! On a slower ride, the trick is to pedal out of the saddle every now and then.

    Luis
    Very well done! Adding on...I have been working on spinning faster and keeping a light touch on the handlebars while squeezing my shoulder together. I try to fire the glutes and de-emphasize the quads. This is an aggressive riding posture but great for power production and managing fatigue. On an easy ride, one will spin slower and use the quads a lot more. This may yield more fatigue.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    Vitriol? Maybe you are looking through a dfferent lens?

    The title is Slower=Harder? Not sure what that has to do with saddle choice. It had everything to do with my post.

    I quoted no one so it was a general reply, not pointed at any particular poster.

    Maybe your post is an example of how one's attitude and mental process affects their actions and supports my premise that it is all in a person's head?
    See Hermes post.

  20. #20
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Interesting idea about the saddle, Luis, thanks. I did notice that my butt was sore, which rarely happens. I do stand a lot when I'm riding hard.

    Latitude -- I thought your post was fine, but I can see how it could be interpreted as vitriolic. Written communication is always tricky, and expressions like "it's all in your head," "deride," and "immature" can set a bad tone.
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    Well, TA this has certainly taken on a life of its' own. Your original post certainly sounded to me like you were deriding the slow folks because you could ride faster. If that wasn't your intent then we certainly have gotten ourselves crossed up in the process of swapping written words. You are right it is tough to communicate meaningfully in this kind of environment.

    As for my comments about it being all in a person's head, let me put that thought into a different context. Many of us have had jobs where there are busy days and very slow days. It is a common for a person to feel tireder at the end of a slow day than at the end of a very busy day even though they expended much less energy. Difference? Mental attitude. There is something I call the Boredom Factor that makes a person feel tireder at the end of a slow day than if they had been busy all day.

    Put yet another way; the perception of time and energy is just about as important as the actual numbers measuring those factors. Think the old saw about 30 minutes of sex going much faster than 30 minutes in the dentist's chair; and leaving a person much less tired, maybe even invigorated. Difference? The mind?

    So, although there may be some physical factors influencing how tired a person is after riding slower than normal, the primary cause is probably mental attitude.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    In that case, you're wrong on all points. I had no derision for the "slower riders" (my wife and a friend), and that's an unreasonable and weird conclusion based on what I wrote (namely, "I did a 58 mile ride recently with slower riders").

    As for "all in your head" comment, that's just silly. We had a great ride, and had fun conversation on the way. I didn't mind riding at that pace, there was no boredom, the scenery was fantastic, and we enjoyed a nice lunch. I was just more tired at the end of that ride than an earlier faster ride.

    I guess the "why the vitriol" comment was justified after all.
    Step back and look at what was written. It looks like there is some misinterpretation on both our part. Before we get mired in a swamp lets' just move on.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  23. #23
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    I'm one of those slow folks you deride , , ,
    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    . . . It looks like there is some misinterpretation on both our part. Before we get mired in a swamp lets' just move on.
    Looks like a simple typoo. You were thinking of "the ride" but the flying fingers produced "deride," as if other posters were ridiculing or expressing contempt for slower riders.
    George
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  24. #24
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Um, no. 1,154 feet of climbing. I've said before that it's really flat around here. There's the proof.

    Actual time-in-motion was 03:12:02



    Actually, the 11th stop was lunch, dockside at the port.

    This was the annual Biking the Branches ride where the library bigwigs take the city budget and architectural people around to all 10 neighborhood branches to see how money has been spent and to show need for additional funding.

    I just went along for the ride. Since bicycles and libraries go so well together, I'm kinda hoping they'll develop this as a ride for the general public. Or maybe with four smaller loops, one in each quadrant of the city.

    I found that I'm going to have to advocate for bike parking for two of my co-workers at another branch. Traditionally staff have been allowed to park their bikes indoors. I've never had an issue with it. This particular branch has no room for expansion so they're reallocating space inside for another office. There goes the bike parking.
    The ride time isn't bad for recreational riders but the 11 stops is way excessive. I'd probably cramp up from all the stopping and starting!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    Looks like a simple typoo. You were thinking of "the ride" but the flying fingers produced "deride," as if other posters were ridiculing or expressing contempt for slower riders.
    I like "typoo".

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