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Old 01-29-12, 04:57 AM   #1
Trqtort
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HELP! Tired of being left in the dust . . .

I've been riding for a year. I went to ride with the local club yesterday and after 1/4 mile, they took off and left me in the dust. I never saw any of them again (I continued the route by myself). This happens so often, even with trying other clubs. I can do Centuries (takes about 10 hr to complete) so I have the endurance figured out, but am having trouble with speed, I am usually one of the last to roll in to the finish and the festivities are over. 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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Old 01-29-12, 05:25 AM   #2
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Well, how old are the people leaving you?
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Old 01-29-12, 05:48 AM   #3
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If you have only been riding a year, you have a lot of room for improvement. Even at 51.
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Old 01-29-12, 05:54 AM   #4
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You need to do speed training. Intervals is what helped me.

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Old 01-29-12, 06:34 AM   #5
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Riding with groups is a great way to build your speed, even if you're getting dropped. Trying to stay with them as long as you can will push you to work harder than you might on a solo ride. BUT if you're getting dropped after just 1/4 mile, I'd say you are riding with the wrong group.
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Old 01-29-12, 07:15 AM   #6
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Two solutions:

1. Work on speed. Ride 20 MPH for as long as you can. Rest a little and do it again. You'll find that gradually you'll be able to hold that 20 MPH speed for longer distances but it won't come easy. I did say WORK on speed.

2. Cheat. If the people that you want to ride with don't have the decency to wait for you to finish, why should you wait for them to start?
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Old 01-29-12, 07:18 AM   #7
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Leave ahead of the group. ^ ^ ^ ^
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Old 01-29-12, 07:21 AM   #8
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Welcome to Bike Forums.
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Old 01-29-12, 07:25 AM   #9
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Another vote for intervals. However, I need to take my own advice since after my back injury, I have not been doing any. Speed is there, but the distance at that speed is getting shorter and shorter. It is a lot of work, but it gets results. Just don't expect it to be immediate.
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Old 01-29-12, 07:40 AM   #10
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There's a lot of good advice here. FWIW, I'm now 65 and last year I was faster than the year before. BTW, at 5'9" and 185 lbs., I do not have the cyclist body type so there's hope for the "average" guy. If I could ever get down to 175 lbs. things will be even easier. In any event what makes me faster IMO is my once or twice a week 15 mi. Time Trial where I ride as hard as I can for the entire route.

As someone else mentioned here you have lots of room for improvement and it will take time so don't get discouraged. About 8 yrs. ago I came back to cycling after an 8 yr. layoff. It took me several years to build myself back up. Bear in mind I wasn't focusing on cycling just starting to ride again. I've gone from doing my 15 mi. TT at 13-14 mph to a best of 17.5 mph. You sound motivated so you may improve more quickly. As French coach Cyrille Guimard (guessing at his name here) said, "To get faster on the bike you must do three things...ride, ride, and ride." Or something like that.
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Old 01-29-12, 07:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Well, how old are the people leaving you?
+1
Age does matter in many cases.
There are several groups around here but the ages of the riders looks to be 20-40. No way my 67 year old body can keep up with them. That's why I ride alone mostly.
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Old 01-29-12, 08:14 AM   #12
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You need to work this from every angle you can. Gain all the speed you can, for starters. Work on finding groups that are riding your speed, or will accommodate your speed. (Specifically, look for "non drop" rides. Check local bike shops and bike clubs for non-drop rides.)

I'm 51. The 4 people I rode with yesterday were around 51, 48, 54, 59, and 63, give or take a couple of years. We rode 133 miles, I think it was. The 51 and 54 year-olds were the two slower ones in that mix.

I also ride with Greater Dallas Bicyclists. They have one ride that I always get dropped on. They have another ride that I can hang with. They have another ride that tends to go too slow. So it's just a matter of getting the right one. For training, you want one going a tad faster than what you can do. For socializing, you want one going your speed or slower. For training, you want to ride in a paceline with your tongue hanging out going up hills. For socializing, you want to ride in kind of a little mob where you can talk to people, on flattish ground.

In addition to intervals, just put in a gob of miles. If you're overweight, work on losing it. Upgrade your bike if you think that's slowing you down.
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Old 01-29-12, 08:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
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+1
Age does matter in many cases.
There are several groups around here but the ages of the riders looks to be 20-40. No way my 67 year old body can keep up with them. That's why I ride alone mostly.
I end up riding alone often too. I'm a solid B rider with my club and that means 40-60 mi. at 15-16 mph or so. The problem I have is that these are Saturday rides and I don't want to commit most of the day to riding. And, some of the people on the B ride are hot to ride half way and stop for drinks, ice cream and donuts. That usually means a 1/2 hr. stop or more. This makes the second half of the ride difficult for me. I'd much rather ride 40 mi. w/o stopping and go home to do other things.
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Old 01-29-12, 09:48 AM   #14
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If you enjoy riding relatively long distances at 10 mph or so, you might look for a local randonneur club. It's not racing (except with yourself), and I think the minimum speed required to complete a ride is often about 15 kph. I have not participated (yet), but it's the most appealing cycling sport to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randonneuring

Quote:
Randonneuring events must be undertaken within set time limits. There is some regional variation in these, but the following list is typical:
200 km - 13.5 hours (14 hours in the UK, as in the original events.)
300 km - 20 hours
400 km - 27 hours
600 km - 40 hours
1000 km - 75 hours
1200 km - 90 hours (or 80 or 84 hours by choice)
1400 km - 116:40 hours (optionally 105:16 or 93:20 hours)
If you are in the US, and want to find a local club:

http://www.rusa.org/

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Old 01-29-12, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
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If you enjoy riding relatively long distances at 10 mph or so, you might look for a local randonneur club. It's not racing (except with yourself), and I think the minimum speed required to complete a ride is often about 15 kph. I have not participated (yet), but it's the most appealing cycling sport to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randonneuring



If you are in the US, and want to find a local club:

http://www.rusa.org/

Mike
Forgot the obvious:

http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...urance-Cycling
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Old 01-29-12, 09:54 AM   #16
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You can definitely get faster if you want to. 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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Old 01-29-12, 09:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
If you enjoy riding relatively long distances at 10 mph or so, you might look for a local randonneur club. It's not racing (except with yourself), and I think the minimum speed required to complete a ride is often about 15 kph. I have not participated (yet), but it's the most appealing cycling sport to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randonneuring


If you are in the US, and want to find a local club:

http://www.rusa.org/

Mike
In randonneuring, it's highly variable as to the group riding arrangements- you may find everyone in your local group going twice as fast as you, and you're still left in the dust, or maybe not. One thing handy is that a lot of the participants around here are about my age (ie, they no longer have kids at home so they have time to ride all weekend). Generally, if you only do the minimum speed required to complete an event, you're not going to be riding in a group.
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Old 01-29-12, 10:40 AM   #18
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Learn how to draft. Group riding is not a bunch of ppl on bikes going the same route. It is working together. Ask some of the club members to teach you. It takes some confidence and skill. You will be able to ride at 2-3 mph faster with the same fitness. When a group is riding well, everyone to working to their ablilty. Strong riders are on the front and weaker riders are drafting. The objective is not that everyone takes a pull, it is that everyone is together. If a weak rider is pulling only to get dropped, then the group is not efficient. This is how team leaders win races, they ride efficiently.
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Old 01-29-12, 10:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trqtort View Post
At age 51, is there hope to gain speed?
Yes.

I started at age 49. Each year I've gotten a little faster. I'm 55 now and last year was my fastest yet.

It takes effort to achieve, and effort to maintain. Just plain old riding around won't do it, as it will when building endurance.

Some people like focused, specific, training regimens. Some don't. I fall into the latter category, which probably explains why it took so long to build decent speed. Nonetheless, by regularly and routinely riding harder than is comfortable, I've made progress. You can too.

Early on, I learned the value of picking and choosing the right groups and rides. What worked best for my schedule turned out to be a bunch called the Fast Friends. They left me in the dust within the first quarter mile. I found another group at a less convenient time that rode just beyond my comfortable pace. Again it was a bunch of racers, but this time it was their recovery ride. That one worked well for me.
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Old 01-29-12, 11:06 AM   #20
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Are they the only group in town? When I was MUCH younger and living in Madison, WI there was one main riding group, the Two Tyred Wheelmen. Some of the members were Olympic quality riders while a lot of us were good but far from that level. It was always frustrating to catch up with the fast group and have them immediately take off again with no rest for the slower group. Eventually, the touring group started their own club, the Bombay Bike Club, and it was much more fun to ride after that. I think that both clubs are still in existence after several decades. Maybe you need to start a second club if your town is large enough to support two bike clubs.
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Old 01-29-12, 11:06 AM   #21
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Lots of room for improving. Use that frustration you are feeling to be determined to get those improvements. Gains come slowly, intervals are the pathway. Also do core strength exercises, its not just the legs. Additionally, I warm up slower than some. But once loose and rolling I can roll pretty well for a long period. Listen to your body. Does it like to go hard from the start, or does it take a while to get moving and then takes off.

And welcome to a fun bunch. You'll enjoy it here.

There is a 60 year old rider in Henderson, NV where I live. He kicks all the 20somethings rear ends, as well as mine. Cycling does not care about age.
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Old 01-29-12, 11:18 AM   #22
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Two solutions:

1. Work on speed. Ride 20 MPH for as long as you can. Rest a little and do it again. You'll find that gradually you'll be able to hold that 20 MPH speed for longer distances but it won't come easy. I did say WORK on speed.

2. Cheat. If the people that you want to ride with don't have the decency to wait for you to finish, why should you wait for them to start?
Or take a short-cut back. If the ride is a loop, perhaps you could chop off part of the loop and re-join the group on the return leg.

Don't any of the local rides have a "B" group of riders who aren't speed obsessed?
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Old 01-29-12, 11:22 AM   #23
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Are they the only group in town? When I was MUCH younger and living in Madison, WI there was one main riding group, the Two Tyred Wheelmen. Some of the members were Olympic quality riders while a lot of us were good but far from that level.
By that, VegasTriker literally means "Olympic Quality." When I lived in the Madison area in the mid 70s and 80s, Eric and Beth Heiden were both often on the Two-Tyred Wheelman rides.

Quote:
It was always frustrating to catch up with the fast group and have them immediately take off again with no rest for the slower group. Eventually, the touring group started their own club, the Bombay Bike Club, and it was much more fun to ride after that. I think that both clubs are still in existence after several decades. Maybe you need to start a second club if your town is large enough to support two bike clubs.
Bombay Bike Club was my preferred group. A good variety of rides, mileage clearly stated in advance, decent pace and good companionship.
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Old 01-29-12, 12:50 PM   #24
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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.
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Old 01-29-12, 12:50 PM   #25
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If somebody hasn't already recommended it: "Cycling Past 50" by Joe Friel.
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