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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 08-18-07, 10:18 PM   #1
Funyet
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Help me with my pedaling please

I participated in an organized cycling event today that covered about 84 miles. This is pretty far for me.

Throughout the day other cyclists quickly gained on me and passed me, seemingly without effort. I matched their pedaling pace but I wasnít moving forward as quickly as they were. Theyíd pass by and vanish on the horizon. Iím not trying to break any speed records but Iíd like to know why Iím putting out so much effort without the same results as others. I donít seem to be able to get any speed going and I get pretty tired. It seems to me thereís something inefficient in my technique, but what? I weigh 186 pounds and am riding a Bianchi Eros. Iíve been riding all summer but I'm still a newbie.

Suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 08-18-07, 11:09 PM   #2
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I started this summer also, and I'm finding it takes a while for improvement. I see my average speed increasing all the time, I feel stronger on hills than I used to, my speed on the flats is much better, but folks still blow right by me. I think it just takes time to develop all the different areas of this sport. Spinning intervals and isolated leg training are supposed to improve cadence. Do you use a computer with cadence?
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Old 08-19-07, 12:00 AM   #3
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Just keep riding. Most of those riders have been riding for several years. You will not be able to do what they are doing unless you keep at it for a couple of years unless you are gifted genetically as a cyclist.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:00 AM   #4
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Like the others said, it takes time to increase speed. I live in a rolling hill area with some flats.I just started riding again in the fall of 2005. My average speed was about 12mph on a 5 mile ride. A couple weeks ago I hit 16.1 mph on a 24 mile ride. I'm always improving month-month. but it wakes time. By the way I'm 47 years old. 84 miles is a long ride, I've done a couple of 50's and alot of 40 mile'ers. you need to work on endurance, pacing yourself. and those nasty hills. They hurt average speed more than anything. (except for a strong headwind).
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Old 08-19-07, 11:48 PM   #5
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They were more than likely pushing a bigger gear than you but at the same rpm. Takes time to develope the leg strength and leg speed to do so.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:10 AM   #6
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They were more than likely pushing a bigger gear than you but at the same rpm. Takes time to develope the leg strength and leg speed to do so.
Exactly. Think of Lance Armstrong. Lance was / is great because he maintains a high cadence in a lower gear (especially in the mountains). Meanwhile, former riders like Jan Ulrich use leg strength rather than cardio.

To each his own, but I personally prefer to work on cardio to build a faster cadence. Very very strong leg muscles can actually make you slower, especially if you're trying to sprint. So, there really isn't an easy formula, you just have to balance things based on where you ride. The area where I ride has rolling hills followed by long and flat stretches. Thus, I work on cardio 2/3rds of the time, and build leg strength the remaining 1/3rd. I can live with the fact that I'm not the greatest at hills, because I catch up on the flats.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:22 PM   #7
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Funyet,

To put things into perspective, you may at your present fitness level be only able to maintain 80-100 watts of power for 84 miles. A good recreational cyclist will be able to maintain 150-175 watts for 84 miles so they will fly by you. A Tour de France cyclist will be able to sustain 175- 250 watt power outputs for up to 120-140 miles. They are really fast. It can take a few years to get close to your maximum riding potential.
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Old 08-20-07, 08:09 PM   #8
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To echo the prevailing thought on this thread--- it takes time and training.

I've done my first two centuries and 6 or 7 metrics this spring/summer, but the thing I'm most proud of is that I went 20 miles in less than an hour (59:54). I've been trying for that for two years!

So don't give up!

What worked for me was intervals and learning to pedal the full cycle with both feet (that really takes concentration-I'm still probably less than 50% effective)
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Old 08-21-07, 07:24 AM   #9
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but Iíd like to know why Iím putting out so much effort without the same results as others. I donít seem to be able to get any speed going and I get pretty tired.
That's one aspect of aerobic fitness - you can't see aerobic development of muscles, usually only the result.

Just keep riding, and remember, you can't try real hard all the time. Some rides should be easy on purpose and then some rides should be hard.
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Old 08-21-07, 08:25 AM   #10
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How well does your bike fit? Peter White Cycles, Colorado Cyclist, and Rivendell Bicycle Works all have very good pages on their websites about bike fit, read through those and see how their recommendations compare to the way your bike fits.

How many miles have you logged this summer, or in your life? Everybody performs physical tasks more efficiently after a lot of practise, all those people passing you might just have logged a lot more miles on their bikes than you have, and are consequently getting more power to the pedals for a given effort level on their part.

You say you weigh 186 lbs, how tall are you? Are you really fit or could you stand to lose a few pounds? You don't have to post an answer if you don't want to.

HTH,

mark
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Old 08-21-07, 03:59 PM   #11
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How well does your bike fit?
Good question. The dealer that I bought it from more or less asked how the bike felt to me. This was part of his $75 "custom fit service" built into the price of the bike. I was a newbie-sub-rookie when I bought it so didn't know better. It seems to fit fine but I'll have to look into some of the links mentioned.

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How many miles have you logged this summer, or in your life?
No idea how many miles in my life but I've logged around 650 miles this summer. Not much compared to what most people do, but for me that's a lot. After participating in a 7 day tour I was more or less hooked and have been on my bike as often as possible this summer.

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You say you weigh 186 lbs, how tall are you? Are you really fit or could you stand to lose a few pounds? You don't have to post an answer if you don't want to.
Don't mind answering at all. I'm 5' 9". At the start of summer I weighed just shy of 200 pounds. Though I didn't set out to loose weight through cycling, cycling took the pounds off and I intend to continue loosing. Even though I tended to stay active my current energy level is amazing compared to what it usually has been .47 years old.

Last edited by Funyet; 08-21-07 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:29 PM   #12
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World champion and Tour de France winner Stephen Roche was once asked by a reporter "What's the first step to becoming a great cycling champion?" His reply was "Get yourself a bicycle."

Eddy Merckx, greatest racer of all time, was once asked "What's the secret to becoming a top rider?" He answered "Ride lots".

I wouldn't presume to claim more expertise than these two gentlemen, and I think following their advice would solve your troubles.
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Old 08-22-07, 01:19 PM   #13
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I just got back into cycling this summer after being away from the sport for over 20 years, and can relate completely to your situation. One thing that I found helps was getting a computer; it gives me a much more accurate idea of my progress, etc. You should be commended for doing the 84 miles though, I've not reached that point yet, so now I have something new to shoot for !! Good luck, and enjoy !!
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Old 08-22-07, 01:47 PM   #14
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Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades.
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