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Old 01-30-12, 10:32 AM   #51
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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 think you have nailed the issue. Only riding on the weekend makes for slow progress. One day a week of rest (or even none) is fine. It all depends on the level of intensity of your rides. If I do a really taxing ride, a day off may be in order, or a day where I ride at a 'recovery' pace for an hour. I'm 57, and getting faster and faster. I ride 8-12 hours per week, depending on the goal for the week. When I started doing group rides, my goal became making it back to the parking lot before it was empty. After a year, that group has become my "slow easy group". What you need the most right now is hours in the saddle, building your aerobic base. Do that, and then add higher-intensity intervals.

51 is very very young from a 'can I get faster' standpoint.
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Old 01-30-12, 11:10 AM   #52
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Thank you so much for all the help! I am encouraged to spend more time in the saddle, read Joe Friel's book, and push myself out of my "comfort zone" and get out during the week (that's the good part
This forum is so wonderful, I'll hang around and see if I can help others as much as you have helped me !!
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Old 01-30-12, 12:44 PM   #53
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Four years ago when I started riding I was in the 10 hour century group also - at least I finished! I started adding intervals to my trainings and to make it easy I would sprint from one telephone pole to the next and then slow down for 3 poles and repeat over a couple of miles. My speed has now built up to an average of 13-14 mph. At 53, I'm not interested in running with the fast group but just staying in shape. BTW, we ride Rans recumbents which made the riding so much more comfortable. Yes, we can still climb hills it just took learning a different technique. Perhaps you can ask some your fast guys to train with you?
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Old 01-30-12, 01:49 PM   #54
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Thank you so much for all the help! I am encouraged to spend more time in the saddle, read Joe Friel's book, and push myself out of my "comfort zone" and get out during the week (that's the good part
This forum is so wonderful, I'll hang around and see if I can help others as much as you have helped me !!
trqtort (turquoise tortoise - maybe I should change it to speedtort? - they say that words are a powerful thing
Do you have any experienced women to ride with? It seems to me some of the women I have known enjoy riding and training with other women instead of always with the guys.
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Old 01-30-12, 02:20 PM   #55
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Lots of good advice here. Also work on leg strength and pedaling technique. When you are spinning or riding outside, work on pedaling technique and practice until it's automatic. While you're at the gym for spin, take a few minutes to work on quad and glute strength with weights. Here is a pretty good video on pedaling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z04uo...eature=related

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Old 01-30-12, 02:50 PM   #56
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Lots of good advice here. Also work on leg strength and pedaling technique. When you are spinning or riding outside, work on pedaling technique and practice until it's automatic. While you're at the gym for spin, take a few minutes to work on quad and glut strength with weights.
^ this.

Welcome to the sport. Don't take this wrong, but after 1 year on the bike you're really still a noob, both in terms of technique and physiologically. The muscles you use to power a bike will continue to develop for years to come.

To get fast, get smooth. Work on putting power into the bike smoothly. You'll never go fast all day with bad technique no matter how strong your muscles are. In fact, too much strength with poor technique will just get you injured.

Take a pain inventory after your next ride. What hurts? Back, butt, feet, shoulders? Whatever it is it should be investigated. A properly fit bike properly ridden won't hurt, you'll be fatigued after a ride but you won't be in pain.

Ride more often. If you work, and can manage it, maybe commute a day or two a week.

Have fun and stay with it.
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Old 01-30-12, 04:48 PM   #57
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Trqtort, I don't think you can improve just riding on weekends. However, did you really ride 400 miles this past month, just on weekends, and take a spinning class, and not become at least a little stronger than the previous month? Were you really blown off the back of the group you rode with in a quarter mile?

It's difficult to imagine any group starting off that fast – roll-outs tend to act as warm-ups, so this is an atypical group, or you indeed have some very slow twitch muscles - for now.

If you've been at this for a year and ride mostly on weekends, then that isn't enough time in the saddle. You're petite, too. You don't have the musculature other riders can draw on, even if you are riding half centuries every Saturday and Sunday.

- Ride more when it stays lighter longer.

- Go ride hills, lots of hills - you've got them out your way. Ride hills and you'll gain strength and endurance, without gym work.
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Old 01-31-12, 06:20 AM   #58
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You make good points! It helps to gain perspective with more experienced riders' advice! You are right, I have improved over the year and am pleased with my progress so far, I am thinking now that I need to pick up my efforts to ride with the faster groups.

The big "dust drop" happened last Saturday and since then, I have posted a message to the Facebook Page for the club. I got a very positive response! Apparently, the riders were "A" riders and they said that the "B" riders hibernated in the Winter and start coming when it warms up. I even got a couple of invitations to ride a "moderately paced" ride next time. WOW, cyclists are a really cool bunch of people and I am encouraged by such a welcome from my local Club

I love the idea of doing hills, the satisfaction when you look over your shoulder and see the climb is worth the effort!
BTW, I am starting with a Trainer from the Gym tomorrow to work on weights, per your suggestions about building muscle.

I am also looking at the fact that I have been on a "calorie deficit" with losing weight. I have reached my goal now and it's time to pick up the nutrition part of cycling.
So, my next question is: What do you eat before and after a ride? I don't really mean what do you eat normally during the day (I eat pretty healthy then), just specifically about when you do your cycling?
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Old 01-31-12, 06:57 AM   #59
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. . . I started adding intervals to my trainings and to make it easy I would sprint from one telephone pole to the next and then slow down for 3 poles and repeat over a couple of miles . . . .
I too use a similarly imprecise version of interval training and attest that it really does work. I just bring my cadence up; add gearing until my output seems maxed; hold speed until I really, really don't want to do that any more; and then ease back off to cruise. The only downside to this is that hills become a natural opportunity to blast away. That can be slightly annoying to others in a group ride.
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Old 01-31-12, 07:02 AM   #60
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You I am also looking at the fact that I have been on a "calorie deficit" with losing weight. I have reached my goal now and it's time to pick up the nutrition part of cycling.
So, my next question is: What do you eat before and after a ride? I don't really mean what do you eat normally during the day (I eat pretty healthy then), just specifically about when you do your cycling?
This tends to be very personalized, but IMO, it boils down to whether you are eating to fuel performance on the ride, or whether you want to maximize the training benefit of the ride. Those are two somewhat conflicting goals. Given that weight-loss has been one of the goals/benefits of your cycling, and given that you are in the phase of building your aerobic base, I would suggest you eat to maximize the training benefit of the ride. That means, for rides of a couple of hours, eat nothing before or during the ride. Force your metabolism to adapt to burning fat, as fat is the largest source of energy you have. You can go on fat for long periods of time, and the pace you describe likely has you in the "fat-burning zone". For rides that will be longer, eat something like oatmeal (complex, easily digestible carb's) 60-90 minutes before you ride. During the ride, if you are going to be pushing hard, use a carb liquid or gel of some sort. Hammer gel works for me, but the physiologist working with my team recommends a 50-50 mix of honey and water, and I'm trying that. It's natural, and provides some needed electrolytes. Don't neglect the electrolytes, especially when it warms up! Were I creating a training plan for you, it would be morning rides during the week that last at least an hour, done with no eating before or during. The group ride would be your higher intensity ride, as you push to stay with the group, sipping the honey mix every 5 minutes, starting after the ride begins, to avoid an insulin spike. On the weekend days with no group ride, do the longest ride you can do: I'd say 3-4 hours for now. Only eat if you need to. I'm a big believer in long training rides. They really build the aerobic system, and get you to find and break though all the limiting factors: from nutrition to having the right saddle and fit. You learn things on long rides you just don't get from the shorter ones.
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Old 01-31-12, 11:28 AM   #61
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Start your own club where the socializing is the theme,
Like feature stopping for a nice luncheon,
rather than demonstrations of athletic prowess.
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Old 01-31-12, 12:07 PM   #62
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Start your own club where the socializing is the theme,
Like feature stopping for a nice luncheon,
rather than demonstrations of athletic prowess.
Sure. And just let your weight creep back up, lose your fitness, and pay medical bills as your body decays long before it has to.
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Old 01-31-12, 08:52 PM   #63
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… At age 51, is there hope to gain speed? Or am I done with building muscle and have to settle with what I have? Does anybody know what I can do to get stronger and not have to be always riding by myself?
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… You'll have to work at it. Make sure that a good portion (but not all) of your riding is focused on riding outside your comfort zone. Ride a little faster than you are comfortable riding. To get faster you have to push yourself.

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Yes….It takes effort to achieve, and effort to maintain. Just plain old riding around won't do it, as it will when building endurance…by regularly and routinely riding harder than is comfortable, I've made progress. You can too.

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ride a little faster than you are comfortable with... at least maybe 1/2 of the time…be patient and don't get so ambitious that you ruin your fun.
I’m more of mileage junkie than a speed demon, but I'd like to get faster just to save time on my rides of specified distances. Nearly all my cycling, including training for centuries, is done on my early morning commute. Usually just to get on the road before 6 AM particularly in cold weather takes all my wherewithal, much less to do intervals or time trials. Timed intervals are problematic because of the varied terrain since I might be going uphill during a rest interval, and vice versa. Also, like commuters via any modality, I use the time to think about things like work, and don't focus intensely on the locomotion. This morning on the ride, I recalled a training technique I have used in the past to push myself, that is tolerable on my commute.

A well-known training tool is called Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE). As I understand it, it's basically a poor man's heart rate monitor for cardiovascular exercise. One assesses their perceived effort according to a verbal description, and a score from 6 to 13 is assigned to that level of effort. That score multiplied by 10 is equivalent to the heart rate. My modification is to change the scoring from 6-13 to 10-100. I then assign a score of 50 to my usual comfortable, non-conscientious riding effort (see comparison of scales below).

The mental trick I then use to ride faster is to increase my cycling perceived effort from 50 to 60. This is not too intolerable a jump, and one I can sustain for quite a while. Sometimes I then go up to 70. Once I’m “in the mode” as it were, I find it doesn’t take much mental effort to maintain the increased pace.

So thanks to the wise elders quoted above for reminding me about pushing myself. It made this morning’s commute more interesting than usual, and I hope to keep it up and I’ll monitor my progress. Hopefully my absolute exertion will gradually increase.

RPE Scale / Jim from Boston
- 6 = resting / 10 - 20

- 7 = very, very light / 20 – 30

- 9 = very light / 30 – 40

- 11 = fairly light (my 60% Max HR) / 50 (usual pace)

- 13 = somewhat hard / 60 (new training pace)

- 15 = hard / 70 (sometimes, after warm-up)

-17 = very hard (my Max HR) / 80
(lactate threshold; breakpoint between hard but steady breathing, and labored with gasping)

- 19 = very, very hard / 90 – 100 (chased by a dog)

* On RPE scale, 10 times the number is equivalent to heart rate. For cardiovascular effectiveness, one should exercise to ~ 60% of maximal heart rate: Max HR = 226 – age (for women), 220- age (men)

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Old 01-31-12, 11:34 PM   #64
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"What do you eat before and after a ride? I don't really mean what do you eat normally during the day (I eat pretty healthy then), just specifically about when you do your cycling?"

On randonneuring rides, I just gobble down crap from the convenience stores, whatever sounds good. After a few miles, chopped barbecue sandwiches are hard to beat. But Zingers, Twinkies, candy bars, chocolate mile, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Moon Pies, Rice Krispie bars, fried pies, Zebra cakes....the list goes on.

And a couple of other thoughts. On the possibility of randonneuring, that can be a lonely endeavor if you're slow. Except that if you're female, you may find it a lot easier to round up some company. If you're interested, check with the local group, tell 'em you're interested in a 200k, but don't want to be stuck in the boonies by yourself, either. They'll either say "Tough!" or let you know how they work things to avoid that. I've spent some time riding with slower riders, Homey has also, but then again Machka has told about doing a lot of rides solo at one of her Canadian clubs, so these things vary from place to place. The second thought: look into a tandem deal, particularly in randonneuring. I say this because about half the rando guys I know own tandems, but stokers are hard to find. Put out the word that you're interested, and you may find some opportunities there.
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Old 02-04-12, 07:11 AM   #65
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Speed

Accepting the frustration of riding with too fast a group, a slower groups are always an alternative. But to ride faster requires speed training. Intensity training is key. Cadence and gear ratio interval training works. There will always be a faster group, you need to know what you want from yourself. If speed is desired, I vote for interval training too.
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Old 02-04-12, 08:25 AM   #66
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Sure. And just let your weight creep back up, lose your fitness, and pay medical bills as your body decays long before it has to.


My local clubs (I'm a dues paying member of both the Louisville Bike Club and the Southern Indiana Wheelmen) have rides where the pace is relaxed and the ride stops at a boutique coffee shop or even a Southern cooking place like Claudia Sanders. These rides are pretty challenging. I'm usually so whipped by the time I get to the restaurant that all I get is a drink and some nibbles. How these guys can chow down a Hot Brown and not blow it on the next hill is beyond me.

These guys are in great shape. One of the ride captains is 82 and can go forever.

So, I think it is a false dichotomy where your choices are either 1) hammer until you spew, or 2) piddle until you die. There really is a happy medium.
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Old 02-04-12, 09:12 AM   #67
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I’m more of mileage junkie than a speed demon, but I'd like to get faster just to save time on my rides of specified distances.
FWIW. Pete Penseyres held the RAAM record and was expecting to see it challenged by Jonathan Boyer, a TdF rider, the next year. In order to try to beat Boyer, Penseyres trained hard by riding faster, not longer. When the race came Boyer decided not to race but Penseyres set a new record thanks to his speed training. The year was 1986 and the record was 8 days 9 hours and 47 min. I believe it still stands. Average speed was 15.4 mph.

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Old 02-04-12, 11:10 AM   #68
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FWIW. Pete Penseyres held the RAAM record and was expecting to see it challenged by Jonathan Boyer, a TdF rider, the next year. In order to try to beat Boyer, Penseyres trained hard by riding faster, not longer. When the race came Boyer decided not to race but Penseyres set a new record thanks to his speed training. The year was 1986 and the record was 8 days 9 hours and 47 min. I believe it still stands. Average speed was 15.4 mph.
Where this gets confusing, and sometimes a bit misleading, is that these folks had an enormous base of riding before they worked on the element of speed. I think for the mere >50 mortal, there is no substitute for building up the base. Speed comes later, and for some of us, never at all
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Old 02-04-12, 11:15 AM   #69
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FWIW. Pete Penseyres held the RAAM record and was expecting to see it challenged by Jonathan Boyer, a TdF rider, the next year. In order to try to beat Boyer, Penseyres trained hard by riding faster, not longer. When the race came Boyer decided not to race but Penseyres set a new record thanks to his speed training. The year was 1986 and the record was 8 days 9 hours and 47 min. I believe it still stands. Average speed was 15.4 mph.
Thanks for that story, I followed RAAM in those early years, so I know those names.

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I’m more of mileage junkie than a speed demon… The mental trick I then use to ride faster is to increase my cycling perceived effort from 50 to 60 [on a scale of 10 to 100]…
It’s only been three days now since that post, but I’ve become energized to keep up the routine as described, and it’s another incentive to get out and ride.
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Old 02-04-12, 11:50 AM   #70
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Lots of good advice here. Also work on leg strength and pedaling technique. When you are spinning or riding outside, work on pedaling technique and practice until it's automatic. While you're at the gym for spin, take a few minutes to work on quad and glute strength with weights. Here is a pretty good video on pedaling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z04uo...eature=related
I recently read an article, where a study concluded that cyclists over 50 can especially benefit from weight training for leg strength. squats, lunges, quad raises and you're done!
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Old 02-05-12, 06:23 AM   #71
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Where this gets confusing, and sometimes a bit misleading, is that these folks had an enormous base of riding before they worked on the element of speed. I think for the mere >50 mortal, there is no substitute for building up the base. Speed comes later, and for some of us, never at all
Very true. I think Pensyres was doing something crazy like 1,000 mi. a week. But, he had done that before and he only got faster when he incorporated speed training into his training. That was the point he was making in a book I read.
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Old 02-05-12, 07:34 AM   #72
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Find a bike club that has speed groups, c,b,a...insane and fall in with a group that you are comfortable with. Our club rule on the "slower" groups is not to leave a rider. If we have to wait a couple of minutes it's not the worst thing.
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Old 02-05-12, 09:17 AM   #73
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My local clubs (I'm a dues paying member of both the Louisville Bike Club and the Southern Indiana Wheelmen) have rides where the pace is relaxed and the ride stops at a boutique coffee shop or even a Southern cooking place like Claudia Sanders. These rides are pretty challenging. I'm usually so whipped by the time I get to the restaurant that all I get is a drink and some nibbles. How these guys can chow down a Hot Brown and not blow it on the next hill is beyond me.

These guys are in great shape. One of the ride captains is 82 and can go forever.

So, I think it is a false dichotomy where your choices are either 1) hammer until you spew, or 2) piddle until you die. There really is a happy medium.
The post I responded to questioned the need for "athletic prowess". But the OP is looking to go faster, and that requires some exertion, as opposed the "social" approach he suggested. Many people here see something wrong with maintaining athletic ability as you age. While there is certainly a happy medium that can apply to most people, he was clearly suggesting the OP give up on the "go faster" route. You can stop to eat on a high intensity ride, but that is certainly not a "best practice", especially for someone, like the OP, who has used cycling to reduce weight.
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Old 02-05-12, 09:20 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
Where this gets confusing, and sometimes a bit misleading, is that these folks had an enormous base of riding before they worked on the element of speed. I think for the mere >50 mortal, there is no substitute for building up the base. Speed comes later, and for some of us, never at all
This is undeniable true. Working on speed in a way that impacts your ability to build base, before you have a solid base, is counterproductive.
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Old 02-05-12, 10:31 AM   #75
trobinson017
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Another vote for intervals. I've had a similar issue as the OP so on my solo lunch time rides I started doing short sprint intervals about every 3 miles. The sprints only last about 15 seconds but my speed gets up to 29mph. After a month of doing this I graduated from the 18-20mph group ride to the 20-22 group that often gets up to 24mph on a 20 mile ride. I still have to work to keep up but I'm rarely at the back and almost always have enough left in the tank to sprint finish.
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