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Old 10-06-12, 06:33 AM   #1
Soaranator
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Found my stride

I'm 63, been riding for about two months. I've primarily been focused on distance and average speed when doing my rides. Quite often have the wind on my nose on the final leg home (north wind) and the last mile or two am totally gassed. Find the wind demoralizing - at least a hill ends.... Usually a 15 - 20 mile ride. Average speed has been steadily increasing and can do 25 miles in the morning and get thru the day without any negative side effects from the ride. Sometimes a power nap, but what's new about that? I've been taking it easy the first 2-3 miles, then pushing as hard as I can.
An interesting thing happened yesterday. Did the usual warmup, then focused on cadence and being in the proper gear instead of pushing. Let my legs do it instead of making them do it. Found I had been mentally and visually anticipating upcoming hills instead of listening to my legs. Didn't push quite as hard on the flats and downhills, throttled back to about 80% on the hills (probably a slight rise in the road to most of you) and boy oh boy was I surprised to see I had done my 15 mile loop .7 mph faster than ever and wasn't close to being gassed on the way up the "hill" I live on. (It is a hill, get 30mph coasting down it at the start)
Quite a revelation to me, as I haven't read any training material, nor do I have any experienced buddies to hang with ('cept you-all!) Now am looking at a 30 mile ride without any fear. Yup, good stretches before and especially after. Lost 12 lbs, am on the high fat low carb diet that I discovered here and feeling great!
I'm a musician, and kind of relate this to letting the music come thru you rather than making it happen. Just kind of stop thinking and let it happen.
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Old 10-06-12, 08:16 AM   #2
David Bierbaum
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... maybe the wind was slower that day...

I hate headwinds. I don't try and fight them anymore, beyond grabbing the far end of my butterfly, tucking down, and just going slow. Wind is almost always present on the Confluence Trail, since it's out on top of a levee by the Mississippi, so gusts of 15 to 20 mph (say about 20 to 30 kph) are more the rule than the exception in the afternoon hours.

Congratulations on your conquest of hills! I'm still working on doing my nemesis hill in one go. Even in my low-low gear this hill lights torches in my quads, and I have to turn off on a side-street halfway up to recover enough to finish it.
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Old 10-06-12, 08:42 AM   #3
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I don't seem to mind headwinds too much. My tactic is about the same as sailing a boat into a head wind - maintain decent forward momentum and don't try to do too much which will only slow you down to where you end up going sideways. Maintaining forward momentum is the same as keeping up the cadence.
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Old 10-06-12, 09:25 AM   #4
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You just crossed the line into enlightened bicycling, Grasshopper, now your rides will become a part of your soul and the riding will become..................aw, heck, glad you hit the stride Soaranator, it is a great feeling isn't it?

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Old 10-06-12, 09:35 AM   #5
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I just researched the topographic maps, and my nemesis hill on Rock Hill Road in Wood River, IL, averages about 6.2% grade, going up 100 feet in about 0.3 miles.

I think the steepest part is 7% grade, but still, I somehow thought that hill was steeper than that. I guess I'm too out of shape. Must tackle hill...
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Old 10-06-12, 05:57 PM   #6
MikeWMass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soaranator View Post
Yup, good stretches before and especially after.
Stretching is actually controversial. Some recent studies suggest that stretching prior to exercise can actually impair your power output (unfortunately I am too lazy to look up the reference). It seems to be a "what works for you" kind of thing. I used to have to baby my knees, but since I stopped stretching I have had no problems. The point of all this is if you are having any problems after riding, you may want to try altering your stretching and see if it changes.
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Old 10-08-12, 03:30 PM   #7
Timtruro
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Will you do the hill, or will the hill do you?.....that is the question, the answer is more in your head than in your body, the more I ride, the more I find this to be true. That is not to say fitness is not important, congratulations on your progress and if you concentrate on anything, make it enjoying your rides.
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Old 10-08-12, 04:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Soaranator View Post
. . . Just kind of stop thinking and let it happen.
That resonates here. When I decide to do a nice easy ride speed goes up, hills flatten out and headwinds are just increased breeze. Deciding to hit it hard, alas, has an approximately equal and opposite effect.
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