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Old 01-29-12, 01:41 PM   #26
big john
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There are some people who are relatively fast into their 70s. Yesterday I rode with our club's 'B' group and there was a 73 year old guy who stayed with the group the whole 65 miles and did very well in the hills.
I do think riding with faster people will help your speed, as long as they don't leave you in 1/4 mile. Are you aero? Getting low will save energy.
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Old 01-29-12, 02:32 PM   #27
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I ride with a guy who talks a bit too much to suit me. About 40 mins in I am willing to risk a heart attack to get away and it has done wonders for my speed. You simply need the right inspiration.
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Old 01-29-12, 03:02 PM   #28
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I figure that with your 100 mile distance in 10 hours, you were cruising at something less than 15 mph. For even moderately paced group rides, you have to be able to cruise at 17-19 mph. Sometimes one can find a slow ride with a "no drop" policy that will cruise at 15 mph and maybe a bit slower.

I agree with some of the others, until you get some ability to hold speed, you should not get into a group ride.

Assuming that you have been cleared for intense exercise, you can improve your speed even at your advanced age (I am even more advanced in age then you are, catch me if you can!).

You should certainly be able to increase your speed. Intervals are a good way to do it. But remember, the best routine that you don't do is not as good as a pretty good exercise routine that you do. The best can be the enemy of the good. So go out and push yourself. I would suggest not to make it a duty. People who push so hard that each and every ride is painful often end up quiting. The bike becomes a device of torture and who wants that?
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Old 01-29-12, 03:08 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
My two cents:
1. stay out of group rides for awhile
2. ride a little faster than you are comfortable with... at least maybe 1/2 of the time
2a. mix in some intervals and mild hills when you feel good
3. possibly lose weight
4. be patient and don't get so ambitious that you ruin your fun

Also, I think people could give better advice if you would better describe your physical characteristics and riding habits, i.e. frequency, distance, speed, etc.
+1 I started this way and liked it so much that I am a solo ridder almost exclusively. I like the idea of stopping, doing intervals, recovering, etc when and where I feel like it. I can extend or shorten my rides as I feel the need. I don't have to listen to unwanted advice, you get the picture. Good luck and hang in there, it will come.
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Old 01-29-12, 06:08 PM   #30
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I can't imagine wanting to ride in a group, any more than I'd want to hike in a group. To me, outdoor activities are pleasures to be enjoyed in solitude, or perhaps with a good friend.
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Old 01-29-12, 06:19 PM   #31
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I hope I am this guy 19 years from now!

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Originally Posted by big john View Post
There are some people who are relatively fast into their 70s. Yesterday I rode with our club's 'B' group and there was a 73 year old guy who stayed with the group the whole 65 miles and did very well in the hills.
I do think riding with faster people will help your speed, as long as they don't leave you in 1/4 mile. Are you aero? Getting low will save energy.
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Old 01-29-12, 06:22 PM   #32
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If the group you're riding with is dropping you that fast, there is one thing you can do:

Bring an aftermarket car/CB antenna with you, and lash them all across the Achilles tendons before the ride starts. If you don't leave raise welts, you're not swinging hard enough.
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Old 01-29-12, 07:24 PM   #33
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I can't keep up with group rides at all. The B rides are too fast. I've never found anything organized that works for me. But I did find four guys in my area that just ride and they ride pretty slow, maybe averaging 10.5 to 11mph over 25 to 30 miles, stopping every so often. I ride with them on my hybrid bike with knobby tires so I have to work harder than I would on my road bike. I am really enjoying this. And I think that I am getting faster. Every once in a while I am tempted to ditch the knobbies but then I think the ride would be too slow.
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Old 01-29-12, 07:50 PM   #34
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At 1 year your century time sounds like you have a good solid base to work from. I'll second Loogi's recommendation for Joe Friel's Cycling Past 50. You should read some of the replies in the 50+ racing thread(in the stickies) and then ask for advice on improving your speed. The guys there like Hermes, Cleave, Billydonn and others are not judgemental and have lots of good advice and input for you. Best of luck in your continued cycling adventures.

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Old 01-29-12, 07:59 PM   #35
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I've found that my speed is inversely correlated to my weight. When I lose weight, my speed goes up, and vice versa.
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Old 01-29-12, 10:55 PM   #36
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Take a look at all angles.
Equipment. Do you have good wheels and fast tires? Are your tires always properly inflated.
Aerodynamics. Are you sitting upright or are you leaning? Does your bike fit? Are you carrying panniers or wearing flapping loose clothes?
Nutrition/Hydration. Do you fuel and drink correctly before and during rides? How's your blood sugar?
Recovery. Do you get appropriate rest between rides?
Measuring. Do you have a heart rate monitor? Do you know what kind of power you produce? Cadence meter?
Engine. Are you carrying extra bodyweight? How's your cardiovascular fitness? Are you on medications?
Training. How hard do you push? Are all your rides at the same pace? Do you do short rides at time trial pace?

I had a pretty good increase in speed during my 3rd year back on the bike age 55. During 2010 I struggled even on short rides at 11mph. I wanted to try a century but couldn't meet time constraints (and in TX I did not deal with the heat well enough to be exposed that long). This year I improved on the points above and have done some 50 mile rides avg 15mph. I can't pinpoint one exact thing, but I have changed these aspects:
* Rode fewer miles and got more rest between rides
* Lost 25 pounds. Less weight, easier breathing, handle heat better. Still many # to go.
* Changed tires to 23c fast tires (had 25c bulletproof tires w/ liners)
* Got a camelbak as I have great difficulty using a waterbottle while riding .: less dehydration and not having to slow down to drink
* Changed pre-ride diet to get blood sugar higher and found a sports gel that works for me. Probably borderline low blood sugar had a LOT to do with lack of speed.
* Changed to slower cadence -- not everyone is designed to spin smooth at 100rpm without blowing up
* Found that I can generate a lot of torque during part of the pedal stroke. The more I stomped, the stronger my legs got.
* Got a heart rate monitor to see when I needed recovery and to see when I was overdoing it.
* Stayed healthy and able to train consistently for most of the year. No long downtimes.

We have a 77-year-old in our bike club. He used to be a runner and started riding a bike 2009 when his knees told him to quit running. He had to take a long hiatus after a nasty bike fall (broken neck vertebrae, got several plates/screws) last year but he's back on his road bike hanging with the strong 50-year-olds including the climbs and on the hottest days. Very inspirational.
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Old 01-30-12, 12:37 AM   #37
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On the other hand; I've been intentionally slowing down, avoiding the grind, and avoiding the 'cyclist' mindset and those pods of Wheelers. If I'm not commuting I'm often out by 8, back 11-12, ...hey, I got other stuff to do than ride a bike. If I want more saddle time I'm back out at night, maybe to spin.

Daily riding and spin class did improve my speed dramactically over years ... but it was a grind chasing that next +1 mph. In a word, DUMB. Each to their own, but when you get up to that 18-20mph pace Tqtort be sure you ask yourself how much fun are your having.
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Old 01-30-12, 04:55 AM   #38
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This forum is fabulous!

WOW, I am so inspired and impressed with your responses to my plea for help!! You make me feel welcome and not so alone
Some details, per request. First, clarification: I have ridden with a club that has slower rides and a "no drop" policy but they are 45 miles away so I'm trying to ride with closer groups. The one that is the fastest is the one at home (bummer!). So, I do drive the 45 mile now and then to get the satisfaction of camaraderie.
So, I am hearing from you that I'll need to work pretty hard to pick up my speed. I'll try the intervals, ride faster than is comfortable, maybe leave ahead of the group (a great idea for doing the Centuries too!) as per your suggestions.
Some stats, I am 5' 3", weigh 115 lbs, and ride a Trek Madone 5.2 WSD bike. When I started riding a year ago, I weighed 180 lbs I've ridden about 400 mi so far this month. I also do spinning class at the gym. I think that my problem is that I am a "weekend warrior" and do my riding on the weekends and not much during the week. I heard somewhere that we who are older need more days of rest So, the next question is: Is that true? How much "rest" do we really need?
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Old 01-30-12, 06:13 AM   #39
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Welcome Trqtort!!!

I'm like you as I've lost a lot of weight in the last 2 years and have a season of riding in now. I'm also slow (14 mph/average on 20 mile rides). I believe that it takes awhile to recover from the weight loss before you can build speed. I'm a farmer so last fall I had a month where I didn't have time to ride and spent very little time at the Y. By the time I got done farming the weather made riding unpleasant for me. I switched focus and worked on strength training and am up 50% overall compared to last fall and almost 100% in my legs. I haven't neglected cardio but I've found that after you're in decent shape you can't expect to gain cardio, strength and lose weight all at the same time.

After the first of the year I decided I needed to drop a few holiday pounds and work harder on cardio. It's become difficult to maintain the strength gains I've made. I'm still holding on but I think any weight loss will be very slow probably less than a pound a week maybe a pound a month. It may take 3 more years to to achieve my potential. I'm OK with this as I'm already in the best overall shape of my life.
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Old 01-30-12, 06:38 AM   #40
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Two things that helped me a LOT- this training plan ($4.00), and a "trick" for riding with a buddy- take turns doing this- One of you ride a steady speed. The other drops back 100 or so yards, then catches up as fast as you can. Then switch roles. This is basically interval training, it's just not as boring as doing them by yourself.
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Old 01-30-12, 06:51 AM   #41
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Get a heart rate monitor and a book to go with it. Then use them. Ya gotta work hard enough to do some good, then you need rest days following. Without the HRM you'll never push yourself hard enough - or go easy enough on the rest days.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:00 AM   #42
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I started riding at the age of 66 and I did get faster. I just keep mixing my training up. I'll ride by myself and when a group of riders come along, I'll just jump on. Usually I don't have any problems with B groups, but I get shelled by the A groups, but it's all fun. It does take a long time to get to where you can average 15 or 16. It did for me anyhow. Welcome to the forums.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:29 AM   #43
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My wife is 64 years old and is very near your size. She started riding some about 4 years ago, but did not really get "into" riding on her hybrid. A little over two years ago she bought a Canondale with a triple. She started going on group rides and some loaded tour rides. Got much stronger, but still not very fast. She kept telling me she wanted to ride with me on a Sunday afternoon group ride. I finally told her I could not help her, she could only help herself. She signed on with a local instructor that rode professionally for several years. He pushed her very hard.

Also, I told her to stop complaining about how hard it is to get up a hill and start using that complaining energy to ride harder. Same on faster group rides.

For Christmas I had a new full set of Ultegra (compact double) installed on her bike along with a Mavic Ksyrium SL wheelset (Well over $2000.00 upgrade). She took to the new gears immediately.

It was odd to see this post because yesterday we rode the Sunday afternoon group event together. For the first time she hung onto my wheel the entire way. I would occasionally look over my shoulder to see her still there, even on the small hills where she would normally fall behind. She even stayed on my wheel on a downhill around a curve. Our speed on the flats was around 20 MPH.

This morning she had a hard time getting started on our daily morning walk, but she had this big smile on her face as she told me again how she stayed up with the group.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:37 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trqtort View Post
Some stats, I am 5' 3", weigh 115 lbs, and ride a Trek Madone 5.2 WSD bike. When I started riding a year ago, I weighed 180 lbs I've ridden about 400 mi so far this month. I also do spinning class at the gym. I think that my problem is that I am a "weekend warrior" and do my riding on the weekends and not much during the week. I heard somewhere that we who are older need more days of rest So, the next question is: Is that true? How much "rest" do we really need?
Sometimes in the winter months I only ride on weekends. It's not enough and if I get even a 2 hour ride on Wednesday it helps a lot. If I can do the Wed thing plus a hard ride Saturday and easy Sunday I am ready for a hilly century anytime.
If I could I would ride more often, 4 or 5 days per week. You do need rest days and this varies for each of us.
At your size you could probably become a good climber. They may drop you on the flats but you'll crush the bigger people in the hills.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:38 AM   #45
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I'm also the guy that gets dropped leaving the parking lot. It sometimes seems as if the fast guy sets the pace and everyone else works to keep up (That's just the perspective from the rear). The problem is, if I push myself to keep up, then I'll burn out. I can do better if I go at whatever speed my legs want to carry me at. Once I warm up, I can hold a better pace but by then I'm dropped. I finally decided that when I show up on a group ride, it is to have someplace new and different to ride. I would be riding on my own anyway. Sometimes there is someone my own pace or slower that I can stick with. As I've built my strength and lost weight my pace and endurance has picked up, but I don't think I'll ever hold those "nice easy 20mph" averages.

I've also found via this forum, some other local groups to ride with that are more casual.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:42 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trqtort View Post
WOW, I am so inspired and impressed with your responses to my plea for help!! You make me feel welcome and not so alone
Some details, per request. First, clarification: I have ridden with a club that has slower rides and a "no drop" policy but they are 45 miles away so I'm trying to ride with closer groups. The one that is the fastest is the one at home (bummer!). So, I do drive the 45 mile now and then to get the satisfaction of camaraderie.
So, I am hearing from you that I'll need to work pretty hard to pick up my speed. I'll try the intervals, ride faster than is comfortable, maybe leave ahead of the group (a great idea for doing the Centuries too!) as per your suggestions.
Some stats, I am 5' 3", weigh 115 lbs, and ride a Trek Madone 5.2 WSD bike. When I started riding a year ago, I weighed 180 lbs I've ridden about 400 mi so far this month. I also do spinning class at the gym. I think that my problem is that I am a "weekend warrior" and do my riding on the weekends and not much during the week. I heard somewhere that we who are older need more days of rest So, the next question is: Is that true? How much "rest" do we really need?
I don't believe that's necessarily true. I think the amount of recovery is a matter of intensity and how much we stress ourselves physically. I'm certainly not going to try to train like I did in HS track or football - I might never recover at all. But at the level I do train at 52, when I train hard relative to my own capabilities, the same patterns of recovery hold up. Personally speaking, being more focused and more aware of my condition now as opposed to then, it might be even fewer days off (with more lighter workouts).

As a caveat, I don't do any race training or fast group rides. I just ride to get stronger and faster, with a lot of room for improvement ahead so take that for what it is, one man's opinion.
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Old 01-30-12, 09:14 AM   #47
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Two things that helped me a LOT- this training plan ($4.00), and a "trick" for riding with a buddy- take turns doing this- One of you ride a steady speed. The other drops back 100 or so yards, then catches up as fast as you can. Then switch roles. This is basically interval training, it's just not as boring as doing them by yourself.
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Get a heart rate monitor and a book to go with it. Then use them. Ya gotta work hard enough to do some good, then you need rest days following. Without the HRM you'll never push yourself hard enough - or go easy enough on the rest days.
Really good ideas there. Trqtort: It seems you have lost 1/3 of your bodyweight in one year. That sounds pretty stressful and might result in some weakness that will take some time to recover from. Tell us more about your typical training and riding schedule for a week. I still don't have a good feel for that.

You are a young senior but, yes, more recovery time will be needed after hard efforts. Keep in mind that recovery for us may involve taking an easy week after two or three hard ones.
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Old 01-30-12, 09:43 AM   #48
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Welcome Trqtort.

It is too bad you dont have a slower group to ride with that is closer. That can help you to build a base, and confidence, to ride longer distances at a higher speed. But, as you cycle more, you could add a few rides a week that are shorter, but at a higher speed. A few years ago I found I got better by adding 2 or 3 10-12 mile rides that I attempted to average 20 mph. I got stronger and faster.

but, please work up to that at your own pace, not at anyone else's pace
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Old 01-30-12, 10:02 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
My wife is 64 years old and is very near your size. She started riding some about 4 years ago, but did not really get "into" riding on her hybrid. A little over two years ago she bought a Canondale with a triple. She started going on group rides and some loaded tour rides. Got much stronger, but still not very fast. She kept telling me she wanted to ride with me on a Sunday afternoon group ride. I finally told her I could not help her, she could only help herself. She signed on with a local instructor that rode professionally for several years. He pushed her very hard.

Also, I told her to stop complaining about how hard it is to get up a hill and start using that complaining energy to ride harder. Same on faster group rides.

For Christmas I had a new full set of Ultegra (compact double) installed on her bike along with a Mavic Ksyrium SL wheelset (Well over $2000.00 upgrade). She took to the new gears immediately.

It was odd to see this post because yesterday we rode the Sunday afternoon group event together. For the first time she hung onto my wheel the entire way. I would occasionally look over my shoulder to see her still there, even on the small hills where she would normally fall behind. She even stayed on my wheel on a downhill around a curve. Our speed on the flats was around 20 MPH.

This morning she had a hard time getting started on our daily morning walk, but she had this big smile on her face as she told me again how she stayed up with the group.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:26 AM   #50
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Anyway, one geeky way of keeping track of your progress: Strava. On it you can select segments of your ride so you can keep track of how you're doing without having to factor in traffic signals and warm-ups.

However, other folks on Strava can see and race on your segments. There is a hill that takes me about 3 minutes to climb on my bent. Some roadie can make it up in 1:30. That's almost as bad as getting shelled out the back on a group ride
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