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Thread: Daily Rides

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    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    Daily Rides

    I recently extended my daily ride (5 times a week) from 15 miles to 20 miles. I'm not sure that at my age (mid 60s) it would be beneficial to extend further except to prep for a 50 miler or century. Maybe subtle changes in gearing, cadence or speed would help but doing longer distances would probably require longer recovery periods. Do you agree?

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    Maybe. Maybe not. Well, how do you feel after 20, compared to after doing 15? You may need more time of doing the 20-milers to better compare your recovery to post 15-milers. Also depends on what ailments you have that may make the 5-mile increase counter-productive. Level of intensity is also a factor.
    Benefits from the increase (assuming you're moving at a decent clip sufficient enough to result in a positive training effect): (1) Burning a few more calories; (2) more exercise for your heart, legs, and lungs, especially if you're doing some hills.

    I guess the big question is, at this particular time, do you have a good reason why you should not do 20-mile rides?

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    Senior Member TacomaSailor's Avatar
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    Today, I became an official "old timer" and eligible for Medicare.

    I ride 25+ miles three or four times a week and try to get in at least one additional 50+ mile ride a week. I have no "recovery time" between rides.

    My understanding of recovery time, based only on my 40+ years of serious running and riding, is that I need to rest a day or two only after near max efforts that extend over many hours. For example - a mountain bike ride that climbs 3000' in a couple hours in 85 degree heat.

    Wednesday I rode 53 miles at a 15.1 mph pace, including over 2,000' of climbing - that seemed to be a medium effort ride for me so Thursday I rode 15 miles around town at a nice sightseeing pace. I guess you would say Thursday was a recovery day but it did include some exercise to stretch and loosen all my muscles.

    Benefits of longer rides:

    1) I can drink more beer after the ride without gaining weight

    2) I get to see a lot more interesting scenery

    3) I get to visit places I wouldn't normally visit

    4) I feel like I have accomplished something even more worthwhile

    5) I feel like I have time to stop and take some pictures

    6) I don't feel like I have to do "intervals" that stress my cardio-vascular systems

    7) I feel like I can just ride for the fun of it

    As you suspect - bike fit, cadence and speed (level of effort) are important for doing an age over-60 longer distance ride.

    I have spent years getting my Specialized Roubaix Triple setup to be comfortable - I can ride two hours non-stop in relative comfort. My saddle is seven years old and fits me perfectly. I make very small saddle height adjustments depending on how my old stiff knees ( 7 surgeries) feel on any given day. I rotate my handlebars very small amounts to accommodate my old gimpy shoulders, elbows, and wrists (three dislocated shoulders, two broken collar bones, dislocated elbow, and two broken wrists) as they demand each day.

    When riding long distances I try to spin at 85 - 95 rpm most of the time. But once every 15 or 20 minutes I go to a MUCH higher gear, standup and really hammer for a couple minutes - that gets my heart pumping and stretches my legs nicely.

    The big difference for me when riding longer distances (more than 40 miles) and shorter rides is that I pay attention to my short ride average speed and try to keep it at whatever target I set. When riding more than 40 miles I just ride whatever pace feels comfortable and don't pay much attention to my average. The key is COMFORT - my long rides are for enjoyment and comfort.

    When riding more than 50 miles - I stop every 45 - 75 minutes to eat a little, take a picture or two, and stretch my back. But - I never stop for more than 5 minutes so that my legs and back don't have a chance to tighten up.

    The biggest problem I see with consistently riding long distances is that those rides are addictive - the more I do long rides - the longer the rides get!

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    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    That's an interesting perspective. I ride a fixed gear bike on a level route. I've been thinking of changing the rear cog from 16 to 15. The 20 mile daily ride takes me about an hour and a half but there is some city traffic mixed in. I think the distance is about right and the time is about all I can afford. I do a little more on Sundays because I have more time.
    I intend to retire in less than a year and I would like to do some longer rides but right now I think I have to be satisfied with what I'm doing in terms of mileage. Maybe the only improvement would be in terms of picking up the pace.

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    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    For me, recovery needs depend much more on ride intensity than distance. One twenty (or fifty) mile ride can be like a walk in the park. Another can be a pure pain fest.
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    Senior Member Mort Canard's Avatar
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    Frankfast,
    I don't know that limiting yourself to 20 miles makes that much sense. I would say that there are several considerations to look at rather than an arbitrary number

    1. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you need to back off. Your level of enjoyment of riding will also tell you. If you get to the point when you have to force yourself to ride then you may have pushed yourself too hard.

    2. You do want to require some recovery time after a ride because that means you have pushed your body to the point where it is improving your physical conditioning.

    3. Since you are still employed, you need to stay within the time constraints that a job and an otherwise reasonable lifestyle allow for riding.

    I find myself in agreement with TacomaSailor about the benefits of longer rides as well as his observation that longer rides become addictive. Right now my favorite ride is about 30 miles and takes a little over 2 hrs. A few times a month I do a 40-50 mile ride and I do require some definite recovery time after it. I could see a time when I would do more of those longer rides.
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    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    For me, recovery needs depend much more on ride intensity than distance. One twenty (or fifty) mile ride can be like a walk in the park. Another can be a pure pain fest.
    +1

    My need for recovery is based on intensity and level of fitness. I adapt to what my body is telling me. Some days, I feel strong and ride hard, and others, I spin easy over short and longer 30+ mile routes with no need for recovery.

    For me, riding 15-20+ miles a day or equaling 1 hour or longer 4-5 days maintains my current fitness.

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
    . . . I need to rest a day or two only after near max efforts that extend over many hours. For example - a mountain bike ride that climbs 3000' in a couple hours in 85 degree heat.

    Wednesday I rode 53 miles at a 15.1 mph pace, including over 2,000' of climbing - that seemed to be a medium effort ride for me . . .
    This highlights that everyone is different. For me 50 miles @ 14 mph avg put me at a rest stage for one or two days. Like SanTac, I ride nearly daily, 10-20 miles per day split between morning and afternoon commutes. I don't really plan on taking recovery days after a fifty mile ride, I just do what my body tells me to do.

    When I started back riding a year and a half ago, one days ten mile commute @ 10-12 mph avg required a rest day.
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 07-27-12 at 05:08 PM.
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    Someone said "listen to your body", this is something I learned during many years of running and it applies to cycling and all athletic endeavors. Some days 14 or 15 miles is ok, other days I fell like 30 is not enough. Don't perseverate on a certain distance, do what feels right for your body that day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankfast View Post
    I recently extended my daily ride (5 times a week) from 15 miles to 20 miles. I'm not sure that at my age (mid 60s) it would be beneficial to extend further except to prep for a 50 miler or century. Maybe subtle changes in gearing, cadence or speed would help but doing longer distances would probably require longer recovery periods. Do you agree?
    What do you enjoy the most?

    What are your cycling goals?

    I don't see much of a difference between 15 to 20 mles, unless the extra 5 miles are straight uphill or something like that. I really don't se how age (60's) makes much of a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankfast View Post
    I recently extended my daily ride (5 times a week) from 15 miles to 20 miles. I'm not sure that at my age (mid 60s) it would be beneficial to extend further except to prep for a 50 miler or century. Maybe subtle changes in gearing, cadence or speed would help but doing longer distances would probably require longer recovery periods. Do you agree?
    No, I don't. Going further is easy and at low to moderate intensities amounts to a pretty trivial increase in stress. It would be much, much more challenging to go the same distance, but increase speed by, say, 15%. So if you want to ride more but limit your need for recovery, increasing distance - which amounts to just increasing time on the bike - will be fine.

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    I have met many local riders that get in 15-20 mile rides.

    They are limited in the time they have to ride.
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    You might need a longer recovery period with longer rides. I would think that need for recovery is more closely related to the intensity of the ride than length. Everyone is different though in their need for recovery. I recovery time were plotted on a chart we would see the familiar bell curve with a large spread in times. It is certain that as fitness improves, recovery is sped up as the body adapts to the extra work.

    Last week-end I rode two approximately 40 mile days in a row, with another Bike Forums member, with loaded panniers, to a beautiful state park in Massachusetts. I could ride a somewhat longer distance at this point. I enjoyed this tour so much there are now plans afoot for other similar tours this summer.

    For myself, if I've done a longer ride, (50 to 60 miles for me), next day I'll do a slow lazy ride of 10 miles through the local state park which is nicely landscaped with many flowers. This works for me and you will find what works for you and leaves you satisfied and healthy.

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankfast View Post
    I recently extended my daily ride (5 times a week) from 15 miles to 20 miles. I'm not sure that at my age (mid 60s) it would be beneficial to extend further except to prep for a 50 miler or century. Maybe subtle changes in gearing, cadence or speed would help but doing longer distances would probably require longer recovery periods. Do you agree?
    There is nothing wrong with longer recovery periods. If your body says to rest, then let it rest. Besides, on longer distances, you naturally ride at a slower pace. I see it as a way to build your aerobic capacity. By that I mean you would be able to ride for a longer period of time at below threshold. I see that you are in San Juan Puerto Rico, so that means you ride all year round. That's great. Although you might be getting "island fever" much like the Hawaiian's.

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I'm in my mid 60's as well. If I have a ride that requires any significant effort, I take a rest day afterward. Especially if you're trying to get ready for a century, recovery time is essential at our age. You might try building up to a 40 mile ride on day 1 and day 3, and then a 60 mile ride on day 5 or 6. Once you can do a week with 40/40/80, you should be ready to go.
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    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    What do you enjoy the most?

    What are your cycling goals?

    I don't see much of a difference between 15 to 20 mles, unless the extra 5 miles are straight uphill or something like that. I really don't se how age (60's) makes much of a difference.
    Extending from 15 miles to 20 miles is a 33% increase. I believe that is substantial. And for most of us, I believe, there is a big difference being in your mid-sixties than being in your mid-fifties.

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    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    There is nothing wrong with longer recovery periods. If your body says to rest, then let it rest. Besides, on longer distances, you naturally ride at a slower pace. I see it as a way to build your aerobic capacity. By that I mean you would be able to ride for a longer period of time at below threshold. I see that you are in San Juan Puerto Rico, so that means you ride all year round. That's great. Although you might be getting "island fever" much like the Hawaiian's.
    I do ride all year round and have a route that parallels the coast. There's a head wind going east but you are rewarded coming back with a tail wind. The roads are terrible with no shoulders and drop-offs that are deep. And the potholes make it seem like an obstacle course. I've had two flats in the past four days. Most drivers respect bicyclists but like everywhere, you have to watch. Everyone, and I mean everyone, drives with a cellphone on their ear.

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    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankfast View Post
    Extending from 15 miles to 20 miles is a 33% increase. I believe that is substantial. And for most of us, I believe, there is a big difference being in your mid-sixties than being in your mid-fifties.
    And extending from a 1 mile ride to a 2 mile ride is a 100% increase. The point being that 5 additional miles on level ground is not a particularly stressful event, IMHO.

    If you increased from 15 to 30 - yes, that would be a significant increase.

    But, you know your body the best. As other have stated, listen to you body and follow its instructions. Rest when your body tells you to rest.

    As far as age goes, I ride 20 - 40 miles most every day and I am almost 10 years older than you. Today I did extensive resistance exercises (80 dips, planks, etc.), rode 20 miles, stretched, and swam for 45 minutes. I try to do a lot regardless of my "age."

    Good luck.

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    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    I'm turning 66 in October and I ride 30-32 miles a day with some rides up to 50 miles. I also ride 9 to 12 charity rides a year; most of them being metric centuries. My daily rides are normally under two hours. I seldom do recovery rides but often take one day a week off from riding so I can get things done around the house (wife's orders). I think it all comes down to what your body gets in the habit of doing on a daily basis.
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    Senior Member Frankfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    And extending from a 1 mile ride to a 2 mile ride is a 100% increase. The point being that 5 additional miles on level ground is not a particularly stressful event, IMHO.

    If you increased from 15 to 30 - yes, that would be a significant increase.

    But, you know your body the best. As other have stated, listen to you body and follow its instructions. Rest when your body tells you to rest.

    As far as age goes, I ride 20 - 40 miles most every day and I am almost 10 years older than you. Today I did extensive resistance exercises (80 dips, planks, etc.), rode 20 miles, stretched, and swam for 45 minutes. I try to do a lot regardless of my "age."

    Good luck.
    I think extending one mileage might be considered a very relative event. What is stressful to one may not be stressfull to another.

    And I think that one may consider you the exception rather than the rule because of your age and routine. For the rest of us senior pedestrians (and I don't mean that literally) we'll continue to struggle with 5 mile a day increases.

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