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  1. #1
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Goals achieved - what else is possible?

    I'm just about to finish my third year of riding (I'm almost 56). With two more rides planned before the year is over, I've already achieved my goal which was to average 20 miles/day, including rest days and vacation days. Since it covered a leap hear, that meant 7320 miles. Right now I have exactly 7500 - but keep in mind that I can ride year round!

    In recent months I have discovered something about myself. If my riding is kinda slow, I really have a hard time making myself ride far so I rarely did. Typically I was riding 5 days a week for most of the year for 26-32 miles usually (I have a long rest in the middle of it).

    But when I got to the point where I could usually average 15 mph without killing myself, I found I didn't mind riding further. Oh, going further certainly dropped my average, but on my best day I did manage 53 miles at a 15.0 mph average. I switched to 4 days a week, but was riding 40 miles or more - lots over 50 or even over 60 and have been doing this for a couple months. Still had a long rest break, but would be doing 25-45 before the rest time.

    I figure if I could go faster - again without killing myself - or maintain a high speed longer, I may go even further.

    So, I was wondering what kind of speeds over distance other people around my age or older are able to achieve.

    Now that I have reached my goal, I expect to ride three days a week so I always get at least one day rest after a long ride. Ideally, I'd like to be able to ride 50 miles or more each time. This would be easy if I can do it faster than now.

  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    You may want to repost over in the 50+ forum. There are some free tips and ebooks here that may also provide tips on interval training and other ways to build speed. http://www.roadbikerider.com/
    By the way, the authors of that site offer a good free weekly online newsletter.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
    SSP
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    In '04 I rode 4000 miles, and averaged 16.515 mph, with 200,000 feet of climbing. My best day was a century ride with over 5,300 feet of climbing on which I averaged 18.827 mph (riding in a really good group). I turned 52 last December.

    Riding faster is mostly about anaerobic threshold, power to weight ratio, and aerodynamics.

    To improve your AT, do intervals - start off with 3 or 4 short intervals (1 minute), with 1 minute of rest between. Over a couple of months, increase the length of your intervals until you're doing 20 minute long sessions. These are "red line" efforts, and you should get a doctor's approval beforehand, and you should also not do them more than 2 times per week (with at least one day of easy riding between interval sessions).

    To improve power to weight ratio - lose weight. Ideally, you want a Body Mass Index of around 23 or so, though this isn't possible for everyone (especially if you lift weights, or are very tall).

    To improve aerodynamics, make sure your bike setup is good. Practice stretching (especially lower back), so you can get low. On the bike, think "narrow and low".

    Best of luck, and congrats on your distance goal...that's impressive.
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  4. #4
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    this may be off topic, but my gaol is to lose approx 20 lbs, current weight is 180ish and i want to be racing on a team this summer, i want my riding to exceed and i want to get myself into shape, and keep myslef in shape, and be able to make a midset to work out constantly every week.
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  5. #5
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    Add one new goal:

    Take three or four rides per ride on a bike that has no electronics. Ride any speed or distance that happens to occur. Adjust the stem on that bike so your hands are as high as the saddle. That will get you into a high enough position to see the flowers in the fields, and to enjoy the scenery as you go by. Turn whenever you feel like. Ride as long as you like.

    Most of us have jobs where we are watching the clock, and counting the widgits or the dollars, and computing our progress toward goals. One of the great pleasures of riding a bike can be an hour or two of escape from all of that sort of nonsense. Just the silly fun we had on our bikes when we were ten years old.

  6. #6
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    You may want to repost over in the 50+ forum.
    Didn't even notice that one! As for techniques for improvement, while I'll be looking for those, right now I'm just trying to get a ballpark idea of what other people who are older can do to give me an idea of what is practical.

  7. #7
    Da Big Kahuna
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    That's pretty impressive. However, you mention 18.827 on a century riding in a group. I've done a couple centuries some time ago. Never did better than 11.9 mph of actual ride time and the total trip with rests took rearly 12 hours! However, I am always riding by myself so I don't have any comparison to how much my speed would have been improved by being in a large group. So maybe I should add, in my search to see how others do, that I mostly need info on non-group rides. However, I'd also be interested in any comparisons people can make on how fast they ride just about any distance in a group compared to alone because I don't know how much difference it makes.

    And thanks for the suggestions.

    Bob

  8. #8
    Da Big Kahuna
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    > Take three or four rides per ride on a bike that has no electronics. Ride any speed or distance that happens to occur. Adjust the stem on that bike so your hands are as high as the saddle. That will get you into a high enough position to see the flowers in the fields, and to enjoy the scenery as you go by. Turn whenever you feel like. Ride as long as you like. <

    Well, I have some real good scenary, though I have to cover about 13 miles before it gets some really good stuff - one of the advantages of riding in Hawaii!

    But I actually find it most pleasant to be able to make good time - without straining myself. For some reason, if I go slower, I just run out of energy and want to turn around much sooner. Let me cover 25 miles at 15 mph or faster and I really enjoy the ride.

    > One of the great pleasures of riding a bike can be an hour or two of escape from all of that sort of nonsense. <

    I already escaped - I retired, though I still work some part-time. On my rides over the past few months (ever since I started riding further), I'll ride about 2-3 hours before stopping for breakfast at the beach. Between resting and eating, I'll kill another 90 minutes to two hours before riding home which takes about an hour.

  9. #9
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    That's pretty impressive. However, you mention 18.827 on a century riding in a group. I've done a couple centuries some time ago. Never did better than 11.9 mph of actual ride time and the total trip with rests took rearly 12 hours! However, I am always riding by myself so I don't have any comparison to how much my speed would have been improved by being in a large group. So maybe I should add, in my search to see how others do, that I mostly need info on non-group rides. However, I'd also be interested in any comparisons people can make on how fast they ride just about any distance in a group compared to alone because I don't know how much difference it makes.

    And thanks for the suggestions.

    Bob
    Riding in a group is different, and generally faster due to improved aerodynamics (when you're in the draft). It can be more dangerous, however, and takes some practice to get used to. On that century, I was with a good, fast group most of the day and only spent 29 minutes off the bike for 105 miles of riding. Riding in a group probably adds about 2 mph, or more, to average speed.

    By way of comparison, I did a fairly mountainous 71 mile solo ride with 4,800 feet of climbing, and averaged 16.148 mph (which was a fairly brisk pace for me, given all the climbing). On flatter, shorter rides, I average close to 18 mph, or better.
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  10. #10
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    Riding in a group is different, and generally faster due to improved aerodynamics (when you're in the draft). It can be more dangerous, however, and takes some practice to get used to. On that century, I was with a good, fast group most of the day and only spent 29 minutes off the bike for 105 miles of riding. Riding in a group probably adds about 2 mph, or more, to average speed.

    By way of comparison, I did a fairly mountainous 71 mile solo ride with 4,800 feet of climbing, and averaged 16.148 mph (which was a fairly brisk pace for me, given all the climbing). On flatter, shorter rides, I average close to 18 mph, or better.
    71 miles on flats would keep me below 16 mph! I don't have such places here in Hawaii though. If I go out to the east end of the island, I'll start off with 3.5 miles up and down small hills (say not more than 0.4 miles long), then flats for the next 10 miles before deal with Diamond Head, then another 11 miles of flat or small rolling hills before a couple tough hills.

    Bob

  11. #11
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    I'm just about to finish my third year of riding (I'm almost 56). With two more rides planned before the year is over, I've already achieved my goal which was to average 20 miles/day, including rest days and vacation days. Since it covered a leap hear, that meant 7320 miles. Right now I have exactly 7500 - but keep in mind that I can ride year round!

    In recent months I have discovered something about myself. If my riding is kinda slow, I really have a hard time making myself ride far so I rarely did. Typically I was riding 5 days a week for most of the year for 26-32 miles usually (I have a long rest in the middle of it).

    But when I got to the point where I could usually average 15 mph without killing myself, I found I didn't mind riding further. Oh, going further certainly dropped my average, but on my best day I did manage 53 miles at a 15.0 mph average. I switched to 4 days a week, but was riding 40 miles or more - lots over 50 or even over 60 and have been doing this for a couple months. Still had a long rest break, but would be doing 25-45 before the rest time.

    I figure if I could go faster - again without killing myself - or maintain a high speed longer, I may go even further.

    So, I was wondering what kind of speeds over distance other people around my age or older are able to achieve.

    Now that I have reached my goal, I expect to ride three days a week so I always get at least one day rest after a long ride. Ideally, I'd like to be able to ride 50 miles or more each time. This would be easy if I can do it faster than now.
    That's great. 7500 miles in a year is pretty decent for anyone, even a young strappin' lad. This year I hope to get in about 5,000.

    Have you ever considered doing some personal bests, such as a 1 hour TT or 50-miler? With all of those base miles you should be ready to tackle something like that. You don't need to become a full fledged racer or anything. Just find yourself a good course that you can ride continuoulsy and get down to business. It would be considerably different from logging miles and as such the training would be different. However, it may help keep your enthusiasm going.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  12. #12
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    when you drop the goals that solely rely on miles then you will hit your speed goals. Your goals should shift to time spent on the bike. Your body knows time, not miles.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  13. #13
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius
    That's great. 7500 miles in a year is pretty decent for anyone, even a young strappin' lad. This year I hope to get in about 5,000.

    Have you ever considered doing some personal bests, such as a 1 hour TT or 50-miler? With all of those base miles you should be ready to tackle something like that. You don't need to become a full fledged racer or anything. Just find yourself a good course that you can ride continuoulsy and get down to business. It would be considerably different from logging miles and as such the training would be different. However, it may help keep your enthusiasm going.
    I've done two centuries (last one was over a year ago). On the other hand, over the past 8 weeks or so, I've done a bunch of metric centuries - 3 in one week. All this was because I found out at the end of November that I was well below the pace I needed to reach my goal, so I really had to pile on the miles the last 3 months. I've done 20 rides of 50 miles or more since then others close to it (48-49 miles).

    Never did a 1 hour time trial - that's all out, right? Basically once I was able to do 12 miles at 15 mph at a nice steady cruise, I had less motivation for pushing hard. However, for a couple years, speed was my primary interest and I would really push hard for those 12 miles which, at 15 mph, took close to 50 minutes. Long trips regularly are quite recent.

  14. #14
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiPHRaPH
    when you drop the goals that solely rely on miles then you will hit your speed goals. Your goals should shift to time spent on the bike. Your body knows time, not miles.
    Well, I spent two years or so mostly focused on speed. Then it switched to trying to keep good speed for slightly longer trips - say 20 miles instead of 12 because I found myself rapidly dropping off.

    Now I'm trying to mainly get speed for even longer distances, though I'd be happy to increase my speed on the basic 12 miles to the beach as well.

    You mention the body knowing time, not miles. I guess that explains why, when I'm taking it really easy, I still get worn out over the same distance.

    I'm doing a lot of riding that puts me on the bike for 3-4 hours.

  15. #15
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    I've done two centuries (last one was over a year ago). On the other hand, over the past 8 weeks or so, I've done a bunch of metric centuries - 3 in one week. All this was because I found out at the end of November that I was well below the pace I needed to reach my goal, so I really had to pile on the miles the last 3 months. I've done 20 rides of 50 miles or more since then others close to it (48-49 miles).

    Never did a 1 hour time trial - that's all out, right? Basically once I was able to do 12 miles at 15 mph at a nice steady cruise, I had less motivation for pushing hard. However, for a couple years, speed was my primary interest and I would really push hard for those 12 miles which, at 15 mph, took close to 50 minutes. Long trips regularly are quite recent.
    Yes. A TT is pretty intense - as much as you can handle for a given length of time. You could even work on a few 30 minute Time Trials. I'm sure training for them would help you boost your speed.

    I'm training for my second century now. Hope to do it in early May around my 45th birthday. It's going to be my birthday present to me. The only twist is I'm going to do this century on my CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer! That should be fun! After that I'm going to start working on beating my personal best 50 mile time. It's nothing to brag about believe me, but it's something to shoot for which helps motivate me.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  16. #16
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius
    Yes. A TT is pretty intense - as much as you can handle for a given length of time. You could even work on a few 30 minute Time Trials. I'm sure training for them would help you boost your speed.

    I'm training for my second century now. Hope to do it in early May around my 45th birthday. It's going to be my birthday present to me. The only twist is I'm going to do this century on my CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer! That should be fun! After that I'm going to start working on beating my personal best 50 mile time. It's nothing to brag about believe me, but it's something to shoot for which helps motivate me.
    I'm thinking of getting a trainer - interested in the Kurt because it doesn't have leaking problems, and gets good reviews too. I want to use it for developing certain skills (I tend not to want to "mess up" a normal ride by doing such things), as a backup for when we gets lots of rain, and for recovery rides. With all the hills where I start my rides, its hard to take it easy for a recovery!

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Are you familiar with Randonneuring?


    Randonneur: A cyclist who is trying to complete sanctioned long-distance bicycle events inside a certain time allotment.

    Official rides or "Brevets" are over preset routes and distances, and must be completed within a set time limit with check-ins at control points. Riders are expected to be self-sufficient on all rides regardless of the distance or weather (rain or shine, day or night). Randonneuring is more like rallying than racing. All riders successfully completing the course within the allocated time are eligible for awards rather than just the front-runners. Riders are encouraged to work together they compete against themselves and the route rather than fellow riders. The theme of randonneuring is to promote individual health, goal setting, and achievement all within a non-competitive athletic environment.

    The standard Brevet series consisting of rides with distances of 200, 300, 400, 600 and 1000 kms. The standard Brevets are conducted under the rules of the world governing body (Brevets Randonneurs Mondiaux). Each ride in the standard series serves as a qualifier for the next longer distance. The Super Randonneur is an honor for randonneurs having done a full Brevet series of 200, 300, 400 and 600 kms in the same year.

    The "Super Randonneur" is also required to qualify for the longer distance events such as:
    --- The Rocky Mountain 1200 http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/rocky/rm1200.html a 1200K ride held every other year in British Columbia,
    --- The BMB (Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200K) held just about every year between Boston and Montreal http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/2750/
    --- and many others - see links below.

    I completed the RM1200 in 2002 (http://www.machka.net/rm1200/charlene.htm), the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 in 2003 (http://www.machka.net/pbp/machka.htm), and the Great Southern Randonee 1200 in 2004 where I was the first female to complete that ride (http://www.machka.net/australia/oct26.htm).

    The time limits for the distances are as follows:
    200K - 13.5 hours
    300K - 20 hours
    400K - 27 hours
    600K - 40 hours
    1000K - 75 hours
    1200K - 84 or 90 hours (depending on various qualifications)

    The clock starts ticking when the rider rolls off the start line and stops when the rider rolls across the finish line. All breaks (sleep, food, etc.) are included in that time. Randonneuring is really a test of endurance.

    The biggest event in the world of Randonneurs is the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 which is held every 4 years. It attracts over 4000 riders!


    And some more sites of interest:

    Audax UK: http://www.audax.uk.net/index2.htm
    Randonneur USA: http://www.rusa.org/
    Ultracycling: http://www.ultracycling.com/
    Links to specific Randonneuring clubs and events: http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/links/links.html


    One more thing ... the average age of a Randonneur is 49 years old. There are MANY riders who are well over 50.

  18. #18
    Da Big Kahuna
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    I've heard of it. I haven't really been into distance for most of my short biking career - that might be changing now as I have been going further, but nothing like you are referring to. My longest ride was 103 miles (9 hrs 11 minutes of riding but well over 11 hours total).

    Being on Hawaii, going to the events you mentioned would be far too expensive, even if I got into riding those kind of distances.

    I would guess that riding in a group would be more fun as well as faster, but my rides start between 2:30-3:30 in the morning! It's the only way to avoid major traffic problems here. A few times I've ridden with one or two others - usually someone I came across on the ride - but usually if I meet someone they are either going much faster than me or I'm going much faster than them.

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