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Old 08-06-14, 05:28 PM   #1
barrykai
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Why Am I Suffering on Short Easy Rides?

Today we rode 37 miles and it felt more like 137 miles. I've ridden this route about 5-6 times and it always feels the same--sometimes a bit better and sometimes worse. Contrast that with a 70 mile route in a different area done a few days ago on Sunday that felt almost effortless (this route has been done many times and always feels easy). Really very disappointing and screws with my confidence that I was so exhausted after the ride, especially considering that I'm about to do an 80 mile ride this coming Saturday and the Hotter'N Hell 100 in a few weeks. Average speeds and weather conditions are very close to the same other than humidity which is a bit higher on the short rides. The hill peaks are generally higher than my 70 mile route and my average heart rate is around 15-20 bpm higher on the short route. Breakfast and fueling on ride are the same. The only difference is the dinner the night before the rides. 70 miler has a huge Mexican food meal with lots of chips, soapapillas and 3 beers. Short ride dinner is much lower calorie--about 700 vs 2000 or more for the grande feast. My buddy rides both rides with me and can't tell much of a difference. I suspect he might be riding well below his fitness level which may not manifest a big difference in perceived exertion like it does me. Any ideas?
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Old 08-06-14, 05:36 PM   #2
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... and my average heart rate is around 15-20 bpm higher on the short route.
If this higher heart rate is getting you anywhere close to the maximum you can maintain over the course of the ride then that could explain your greater exhaustion. Backing off a little can make a huge difference in how you feel at the end of the ride.
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Old 08-06-14, 05:43 PM   #3
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What other stresses are in your life? Are you sleeping OK?
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Old 08-06-14, 06:06 PM   #4
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Short ride dinner is much lower calorie--about 700 vs 2000 or more for the grande feast.
I've read estimates that we burn 500-700 calories an hour biking at the clip most of us go. If so, there's your explanation. You're bonking.

BTW ... Sopapillas and beer ... yum.
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Old 08-06-14, 06:27 PM   #5
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"The hill peaks are higher." Maybe you should train more on the short ride with more hills or steeper or higher hills. You did not say what your fitness level is, but it sounds like you're just running out of gas. Eat better the night before, and the morning of the ride. Take some power bars, etc with you.

Last edited by RoyIII; 08-06-14 at 06:29 PM. Reason: added hills thought
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Old 08-06-14, 06:37 PM   #6
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Salt. The Mexican food is salty. You're probably over hydrated.
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Old 08-06-14, 07:44 PM   #7
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I'm 53 years old and average about 17 mph plus. Best was a 47 miler at 18.6 mph (very favorable conditions).

Sleep is pretty good and stays the same 7 days a week regardless if I have to get up to go to work or not.

Stress is low to moderate.

I've had good rides after normal to small meals the night before, however, I don't think I've had a bad ride with a large dinner preceding it.

I'm a salt-aholic but BP stays in a low pre-hypertension range that my doc is unconcerned about. I salt the hell out of those chips.

I have a 700 calorie breakfast and drink Powerade or G2 on my ride but have been experimenting with PFS powder and liquid shots but didn't on my bad ride.
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Old 08-06-14, 08:48 PM   #8
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I'm 53 years old and average about 17 mph plus. Best was a 47 miler at 18.6 mph (very favorable conditions).

Sleep is pretty good and stays the same 7 days a week regardless if I have to get up to go to work or not.

Stress is low to moderate.

I've had good rides after normal to small meals the night before, however, I don't think I've had a bad ride with a large dinner preceding it.

I'm a salt-aholic but BP stays in a low pre-hypertension range that my doc is unconcerned about. I salt the hell out of those chips.

I have a 700 calorie breakfast and drink Powerade or G2 on my ride but have been experimenting with PFS powder and liquid shots but didn't on my bad ride.
How many calories did you consume on your ride?
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Old 08-07-14, 05:30 AM   #9
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How many calories did you consume on your ride?
About 400-500
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Old 08-07-14, 06:16 AM   #10
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You rode 70 miles a day or two before? Perhaps you hadn't recovered enough and needed more rest. Also, humidity can really drain a person more than heat. Another thing that seems to affect me is terrain. It's not just the steepness or lengths of the hills, but way they can affect the tempo of the ride. I don't know if that makes any sense, but some routes just don't let you get going.
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Old 08-07-14, 06:41 AM   #11
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A slight increase in output-speed or hills-
will have a HUGE impact on the rider who is riding "closer to his max"
The simple answer is the shorter ride is more intense-more energy per unit of time-and perhaps faster climbing
Yeah it isn't the meals-you are pushing harder per unit of time.
Do you have actual average speeds of the rides?
or actual elevation gained per second during climbs?
actual elevation gained per ride time?
You are trying to keep up with your riding partner-and he/she is "faster" than you-so it kills you-
Sometimes prevailing winds change-but probably not the answer on a 110 minute ride
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Old 08-07-14, 06:46 AM   #12
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maybe you are going anaerobic on your hills and burning up all your muscle glycogen and just running out of gas. You are probably not fully recovered from your longer rides as well. You might need another rest day between the two rides.

you call this a "short easy ride" but it seems to me that at a average HR of 15 to 20 beats higher it is a short hard ride.

Last edited by RISKDR1; 08-07-14 at 06:48 AM. Reason: add
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Old 08-07-14, 07:59 AM   #13
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I think the answer(s) is some or all of the last three post above. I think two main factors are you need more recovery from the long ride and you need to learn what an "easy" ride is. It will be much, much "easier" than you think it should be and from what you've beeb riding as an easy ride. You are probably good for only two "hard" rides a week with one or two days off the bike and easy recovery rides and base endurance rides. "Hard" can mean long, or short and intense, or lots of climbing, or intervals. Lots of ways to ride "hard" and you need recovery from any of them. If you want to get faster and stronger ride easier a lot and when you ride hard, ride really hard.
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Old 08-07-14, 08:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
A slight increase in output-speed or hills-
will have a HUGE impact on the rider who is riding "closer to his max"
The simple answer is the shorter ride is more intense-more energy per unit of time-and perhaps faster climbing
Yeah it isn't the meals-you are pushing harder per unit of time.
Do you have actual average speeds of the rides?
or actual elevation gained per second during climbs?
actual elevation gained per ride time?
You are trying to keep up with your riding partner-and he/she is "faster" than you-so it kills you-
Sometimes prevailing winds change-but probably not the answer on a 110 minute ride
+1

I am fresh off an 11 day large group ride through Wisconsin and definitely noticed a difference based on who I was riding with that day. If I was the strongest in the group and had to take it easy on hills and inclines to keep everybody together --the day was a breeze no matter how long it was.
If I was the weaker of three or four breakaway riders and was pushing harder all day to keep up, I was feeling wiped out at the end of the day --almost no matter how long or short the ride was. I finished the last three days riding long mileage with two much stronger riders and it took me several days of feeling deeply exhausted to recover (today I finally feel a little better).
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Old 08-07-14, 08:42 AM   #15
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About 400-500
Considering breakfast that's probably a little low, but not enough to be a problem..
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Old 08-07-14, 08:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
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About 400-500
Where did you get that number? Riding 37 miles at 16 MPH takes about 2:18. If you weigh 180 pounds, this calculator would tell you that you burned waaaay more than that:

How Many Calories Do You Burn Cycling? | Bicycling Magazine

I've seen different calculators that come up with different numbers, but none of them would suggest you could ride 37 miles at reasonable speeds and only consume 400-500 calories.
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Old 08-07-14, 10:35 AM   #17
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Hills (and maybe winds) can make a huge difference on a ride.
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Old 08-07-14, 02:35 PM   #18
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I felt like I could die today after my ride. I went 40 miles, but the heat index was a 100. I think I'll lay off tomorrow.
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Old 08-07-14, 05:09 PM   #19
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I felt like I could die today after my ride. I went 40 miles, but the heat index was a 100. I think I'll lay off tomorrow.
You deserve a day off. And plenty of fluids.
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Old 08-08-14, 05:23 AM   #20
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Well it's a strange old game you learn it slow
One step forward and it's back you go
You're standing on the throttle
You're standing on the brake
In the groove 'til you make a mistake


Sometimes you're the windshield
Sometimes you're the bug
Sometimes it all comes together baby
Sometimes you're just a fool in love
Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
Sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all
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Old 08-08-14, 06:52 AM   #21
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^ Love Dire Straits. If you haven't heard it, the soundtrack from "Local Hero" is fab.
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Old 08-08-14, 10:37 AM   #22
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I did not know Dire Straits recorded that one, but I believe it's a cover for Mary Chapin Carpenter, which is the one I haveon my iPhone. It's a kick-ass song.
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Old 08-08-14, 03:15 PM   #23
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For me, keeping up with fluids is the biggest factor. Some rides I feel terrible, heart rate is 10-20 beats faster, and others I am fine. This is with similar distances (50-60 miles) and terrain. If I stop and replenish water bottles at 25 miles or so, all is fine, but if I stretch the distance out to 35-40 miles, I suffer for the rest of the ride.
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Old 08-08-14, 03:25 PM   #24
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Nothing to do with what you eat during the ride, it's pretty much impossible to bonk in that distance unless you haven't eaten for hours beforehand.

Almost certainly the intensity. A difference of 15-20 bpm in average HR is very significant, you're hurting yourself so much on the climbs that you're struggling to recover.
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Old 08-09-14, 04:14 PM   #25
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So if none of the above ideas sound likely, on your next visit to the Dr. ask them to check your skeletal muscular CK levels. Since it is your shorter ride that was problematic, this may not be your concern. But still worth having tested.
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