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Old 06-06-11, 03:27 PM   #1
YokeyDokey
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Geezers and Clydesdales are kicking my ___

Frustration. I've been riding with some kind of persistence and regularity for six months or so. Bought a modern lightweight road bike with fancy components and a bunch of spandex. I ride at least 100 miles every week, usually 20 miles or so at a time but sometimes more. I find my natural pace to be around 18 mph in this level country and I maintain that pace most of the time... so I should be getting strong, no? No. I go out with a bunch of riders for a 30 miler and I'm left in the dirt by 75 year olds and 260 pounders. What's up with this? I'm 53, thought I was fit, not carrying extra weight... Am I just a weak weenie?
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Old 06-06-11, 03:32 PM   #2
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Yes.
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Old 06-06-11, 03:39 PM   #3
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Gain some weight.
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Old 06-06-11, 03:46 PM   #4
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Get used to it.
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Old 06-06-11, 03:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by YokeyDokey View Post
Frustration. I've been riding with some kind of persistence and regularity for six months or so. Bought a modern lightweight road bike with fancy components and a bunch of spandex. I ride at least 100 miles every week, usually 20 miles or so at a time but sometimes more. I find my natural pace to be around 18 mph in this level country and I maintain that pace most of the time... so I should be getting strong, no? No. I go out with a bunch of riders for a 30 miler and I'm left in the dirt by 75 year olds and 260 pounders. What's up with this? I'm 53, thought I was fit, not carrying extra weight... Am I just a weak weenie?

It may not be that you are a "weak weenie"; it may just be that they are a lot stronger than you are. The one thing you didn't mention is how long have the "Geezers" and "Clydesdales" been riding. Don't judge their fitness level by their age or weight... Just as not all thin people are physically fit either.
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Old 06-06-11, 03:56 PM   #6
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20 miles is a warmup for someone who is in shape, even if they are big and old. You need to put in some serious distance rides to hang with the faster guys. 1. get a heart rate monitor. 2. get a stress test on your bike. Learn what your aerobic max is and train as much as possible at that HR for long periods of time. Ride hills, although I don't know if Arkansas has any hills. Mostly, it is time in the saddle. Swallow your ego and learn from the guys that are pounding you into the ground.
Don't think that equipment will buy you speed. It is about the engine, not the machine.
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Old 06-06-11, 04:15 PM   #7
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If you really feel you must compare to someone, compare to someone else that's only been riding 6 months. I've been riding about that long (since a long hiatus) and I don't know that I could sustain 18mph - but I don't have anywhere flat or windless to test that theory.
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Old 06-06-11, 05:02 PM   #8
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Need to do intervals to improve. Check Cris Carmichael's book "Training for the Time Crunched Cyclist". I prefer it over Friel's "Cycling Past 50" which really aint bad either.
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Old 06-06-11, 05:18 PM   #9
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Weak? Maybe not for other activities but you need a training plan for cycling improvement. So far, you have conditioned yourself to ride 30 miles at 18 mph. Mix it up. More intervals, more climb repeats, more sprints, more riding. Just develop a plan.
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Old 06-06-11, 05:58 PM   #10
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In my club there is an old guy (could be 70 for all I know) - fast as all get out. Come to find out he use to be a racer. Then there are a few "big" guys who are fast and can climb like goats, how can this be - come to find out one does Iron mans, the others race or put several hundred miles per week on the bike.

So take a serious look at your training and keep records. Find a good circuit to ride with preferably no stops and about 12 to 15 miles on distance and ride it every week or so and see how fast you really ride. Riding at an 18 mph pace does not give you an 18mph average speed, your average may be only 16 if you are doing a little coasting, stopping for traffic and slowing for other obstacles.

Riding with a group is all about having the power to accelerate when called on to sprint and close a gap, drafting to rest and climbing hard to stay up with the group. A group of good recreational riders can easily cruise at 20mph for a long time, sharing the work along the way. You may already be fit enough to do this, but you may not be applying the skills needed to stay with the pack. Not enough information in your post to say.

Just keep at it, sometimes it can take a few seasons to really get in good shape and gain the experience where you don't have to do all the work yourself.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:17 PM   #11
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There's normal person "fit", and then there's cycling fit. It takes a while to get the latter. Keep at it.

I prefer to do my tests on a climb. It's more consistent because wind does not affect climbing speed as much.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:40 PM   #12
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Cyclists and Gun Slingers.....If you're out to prove yourself, you'll surely find someone who's faster.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:49 PM   #13
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Biking never gets easier, it just gets faster. You'll get there by pushing yourself. There's some good advice above this post, take it. I started riding after a 25 yr absence & the first ride was 3 miles like to have killed me. Before my surgery 7 wks ago did 50 in the hills & was fine, no speed records just hard work. It was GREAT. I wanna get back there !!!!!
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Old 06-06-11, 07:19 PM   #14
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I really don't think 6 months is enough time for most of us to catch up fitness-wise to people that have been riding for a long time. Riding with a group requires the ability to match their speed. Groups will naturally yo-yo a little, and if you are at the back the string might snap. Also, I assume they are drafting, are you comfortable in a draft? If not, you're probably using a lot more energy than everyone else and so it's natural to have trouble keeping up.
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Old 06-06-11, 08:05 PM   #15
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I rode 1,400 miles last month, and I'm still trying to become a "good" cyclist. But I do see some improvement.
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Old 06-06-11, 08:07 PM   #16
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There are two absolutely immutable rules of cycling:

1. You can always get faster and stronger.

2. There will always be someone better than you.

Accept those rules, understand their consequences, and you'll understand this silly sport.
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Old 06-06-11, 09:06 PM   #17
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Speed is over-rated. The idea of wanting to go faster is a product of the media. Slow it down and enjoy the ride. Fast riders miss out on so much. I've asked them, "Did you see such and such?" Invariably they did not. I've even stopped and watched the mallards in the pond.

The only time you should be concerned about riding fast is when a storm is approaching and you need to get home in a hurry.
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Old 06-06-11, 09:09 PM   #18
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The best way to get faster is to ride with faster people on a regular basis, especially if they are willing to wait for you when you get dropped.
How is your position? Are you aero? Do you draft?
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Old 06-07-11, 02:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
There are two absolutely immutable rules of cycling:

1. You can always get faster and stronger.

2. There will always be someone better than you.

Accept those rules, understand their consequences, and you'll understand this silly sport.
+1 and I might add as corollaries to 2. There will always be someone better than you who is older than you, fatter than you, and older and fatter than you.
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Old 06-07-11, 04:38 AM   #20
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There are two absolutely immutable rules of cycling:

1. You can always get faster and stronger.

2. There will always be someone better than you.

Accept those rules, understand their consequences, and you'll understand this silly sport.
True, but when everybody is faster, return to post #2 above.
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Old 06-07-11, 06:53 AM   #21
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We all do better when we reach higher and further than we've done before no matter the distance, max speed, intervals speeds, avg speed and other various data.

If we expect to kick someone's butt out on the road we first have to start with our own. And you know how a one-legged man does in that arena.
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