At 45, I weighed 265, smoked 2+ packs a day and my idea of exercize was walking to the fridge to get a beer. The light came on and I decided this must change. Now at 50, I kicked the smoking 4 years ago. Last fall decide I need to tackle the weight and using a threadclimber and bicycling and healthier eating have my weight down to 210, but I am still not where I want to be. I tell all this just so you know you are not dealing with some super fit healthy type.... (YET! )
Bicycling has become something my wife and I enjoy doing together more than just exercize. In fact we are considering a tandem just for kicks. I do not see us ever worrying about being competitive though. I might ride a charity event for fun, buts thats about it.
When I ride, I use a HRM and try to stay between 120 and 160. I had a full cardio work up and the doc says my heart can take that. I just found this website recently and have been reading a lot. Apparently I am what is known as a masher instead of a spinner as I don't use very high RPMS but I have been trying that since I read here it can reduce chance of injuries.
My issue (finally huh!) is with leg cramps. I do hydrate and eat bananas before rides. I did also read about the ecaps and have ordered some to see if they help. But from what I am gathering in my reading, frequent leg cramps are usually a sign of the lack of fitness, which in my case, makes sence. If I am riding my normal style to date with the higher pressure low RPM's, I can usually get 20 miles or more before I start feeling the leg cramps. However, yesterday I went out delibrately trying to keep my RPM's higher and within 5 miles of spinning, I cramped badly.
I know I need to ride more and strengthen my leg muscles. Would I be better to do this with my current riding style, or would I have better results getting used to spinning first and then building my distance?
I read a lot here about training, but it is clear most of you are very fit seasoned riders and your routines would frankly kill me right now. I am looking for a good start and hopefully someday, I will be near your level.
Thanks for any tips on these cramps.