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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 06-14-11, 07:59 AM   #1
DrSpiv
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Training up, sore knees. Just building too fast?

My goal is a century, which is something I've never done before. The longest I rode before a few weeks ago was ~40 miles (and I did a few of those), but then I took the winter off so I've pretty well been starting over.

I've been making regular 20 and 33 mile rides throughout the week for a month or so, and did my first 50 two weeks ago. It seemed pretty grueling then, and last night was no different. 30 felt like a walk in the park, 40 felt like some work, and the last 6-8 miles were all willpower and hurt. Total time: 3.5 hours. Today my knees are sore; not limping but close.

Where should I be going from here? Repetition of the same? Scale back? Something I'm doing wrong that I should correct?

Also: butt complains most of the ride. New seat coming in (have a cheapie on there now). But this wouldn't effect my knees so much I wouldn't think?
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Old 06-14-11, 08:32 AM   #2
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Sore knees? Two things come to mind - bike setup and trying to push too hard a gear.
You're already (thinking about) changing out the saddle - this could/might change your riding position a bit. Realistically, I think most people can handle 20 miles on almost any bike that's setup reasonably close to what it should be for that person's body. OTOH, the further one rides, the more discomfort is likely based on incorrrect bike setup - even in terms of a few centimeters. So, I'd start there - minor adjustments looking for the optimum personalized bike setup.

Trying to push too hard a gear rather than spinning an easier gear is the other primary consideration, I would think. This remains applicable to me because spinning (high cadence/anything above 85 for me) still feels abnormal. So I have to remind myself to push an easier gear at a cadence that is not yet "normal" for me - when I do, I generally finish rides feeling "fresher".

Lastly, consider whether you're riding with your knees over the pedals or outside them. This is basic technique but has a defiinite impact on power and comfort for me.

I'm sure others have additional comments/advice. Good luck.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 06-14-11 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 06-14-11, 08:54 AM   #3
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Butt soreness is kinda normal when you're building up base miles, but knee pain shouldn't happen at all. Usually knee pain is from improper saddle position, or incorrect pedal/cleat retention setup.
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Old 06-14-11, 09:29 AM   #4
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"sore knees" isn't quite enough to diagnose the problem. My knee problems come from sitting too far back in the saddle on climbs and hyper-extending my knees. I do generally feel a sharp pain when I do that and then it becomes a dull ache whenever I pedal too high of a gear. However, there are all sorts of reasons that people have knee problems.
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Old 06-14-11, 11:00 AM   #5
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Seat position is certainly a possibility. I've adjusted it several time to try and match various fitment guides out there, but I know those are generally just good starting places. I do also put a bit too much weight on my hands, so this may be indicative that I need to move the seat back a little?

Pedal/cleat: I use baskets/straps/whatever you want to call them. I generally pay good attention to my form, knees over feet, clean up and down motion. I suppose my feet could set on the pedals anywhere in maybe a 3cm area laterally, but I don't think that would make that much difference. No?

Soreness is back of the knee, if that helps. I'm definitely not hyper extending them, and I don't have much in the way of hills here to climb. Just heavy winds.

I could be keeping too high of a cadence, rarely do I find myself pushing any real force but that may be the problem. No tension, too low of a gear, too high a cadence?
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Old 06-14-11, 05:26 PM   #6
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Of course I have no real idea as to the cause of your sore knees, but would like to say that increasing you mileage too quickly is a possible reason. Don't try to do too much too soon, it takes time.
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Old 06-14-11, 05:37 PM   #7
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Add it up: How many miles/week have you done for how many weeks? Sore back of knee = lower saddle 1 cm. Try that. Do you eat during your longer rides, and if so, what?
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Old 06-15-11, 06:25 AM   #8
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130 miles last week, 90 the week before, and 50 so far this week. No food, just gatorade/water so far (~4.5 bottles of fluid for 3.5 hours riding, temperature swings from about 95f to 75f over that time). I figured I would have to get in to the food thing when I was ready to go past 50, but enjoying the weight loss in the mean time.

Saddle lowered 1cm, will try that out for this afternoon's ride. Fortunately I do recover pretty quickly.
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Old 06-15-11, 08:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSpiv View Post
130 miles last week, 90 the week before, and 50 so far this week. No food, just gatorade/water so far (~4.5 bottles of fluid for 3.5 hours riding, temperature swings from about 95f to 75f over that time). I figured I would have to get in to the food thing when I was ready to go past 50, but enjoying the weight loss in the mean time.

Saddle lowered 1cm, will try that out for this afternoon's ride. Fortunately I do recover pretty quickly.
Kind of what I thought. Eat more. Gatorade and water, even at the rate you're drinking it (which is good), is only like 30 cal/hr, which is much too little for a ride over 2 hours. Besides the Gatorade and water, eat 1/4 of a Clif bar every 15 minutes, starting after the 1st hour if you ate a meal before you started your ride, or at the very beginning of the ride if you didn't. Or eat the whole bar all at once, starting the same. Tear open the Clif bar packages before you start, and put them in your jersey pocket. Or use some other food source, but make sure you get ~200 calories of carbs per hour. Anyway, that's the reason you fade after 40 miles. Your weekly mileage is enough to easily ride 50 miles. You could do a century if you had your nutrition down and your knees weren't bothering you. Don't increase mileage to over 100 miles/week until your knees get better.
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Old 06-15-11, 08:24 AM   #10
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You can definitely cause sore knees by ramping up the miles too fast. I did that years ago but I was going from basically nothing to 100 mile, 200mile then 300+mile rides in less than a year. I don't think you're going long enough distances yet to cause that. I'd guess you have a fit issue.
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