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  1. #1
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    New but want to learn

    Hi everyone I've recently begun cycling again, basically as transportation but someday, I would like to do a tour or a century or something like that. I have never "trained" before so I got this book called "The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling". Interesting read but I think I need something A LOT more basic. For example, the book talks about 'spinning' and 'intervals' - what? It discusses max heart rate and LT testing - say what?

    Can any of you recommend a book that will help get me started the right way and that will explain thes concepts mentioned above in terms a newbie can understand?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    This is going to be long, so beware. LOL

    If your not going to race and just want to ride better and longer, it's not too hard. Just ride. Mileage is your friend. If you want to race then all the other factors come into play. HR, LT and intervals and such. But if you just want to rec ride, then dont worry about those things for now. You can and will learn what they are for later use which will help you go further in your training but for now you really only need Base miles.

    Just ride 3-5 days a week if you can. A couple or at least 1 day off is good for your recovery. Or you can Spin on your off days.

    When you ride to build up, then ride at what you think is about 60-80% of you max effort. If you can talk to people while riding without broken sentences and gasping, your at about 50% or so. Doing this allows you to ride longer without killing yourself. Each time you go out and ride try to put in and extra mile or 2. Whatever you think you can achieve that day. Intervals are pretty easy and can also be real in debth. To make it easy than all you need to do is every few miles up your effort to your max or near max speed you can maintain. When your gasping for air and your legs are on fire from the Lactic Acid build up then slow to a spin and recover. Spinning is pedaling without much if any real effort. This will build on your base miles and help you aerobicly as well as Anerobically "strength". Aerobics is your lung work and increases your efficiency to supply Oxygen to your muscles. Which in turn helps you ride harder, faster and longer. Just plain base mile without going to hard is Aerobic and helps your lungs and heart supply better. Which you really want to work on when you start. I wouldnt worry about Intervals and the rest of the stuff until you feel ready.

    I have been riding for a little over a year now after not riding for nearly 20 years. I was 36 when I started again. I bought my bike and went around my block "less than a mile" and I thought I was going to die. LOL I started riding in my neighbor hood and though I was doing awsome when I hit the 6 mile mark. THis took me a few weeks of riding. Then I was riding up to 20 miles in about a month. I then was up to 30 miles in about 2 mnths at which time I found a local group that has rides several days a week and started to ride with them. This is when I started to build on power and speed. Started to figure out the HR, LT type of stuff. A little anyway. I was at the time I started riding at an avg speed of about 12-15 mph when I started. I had moved up to the 17 mph mark. Once I started with the group rides it got much better. These guys and gals are fast. 1st day out I kept up with the lead group for 2 miles at about 21 mph avg, then it went to 4 miles the next week, 8 miles, 12 miles, 16 miles and so on. each time I increased my riding level. I ended up doing my first century at the Hotter N' Hell this year. The first long tour ride I had was a 92 miler and I finished it very well. The most I had ridden before my 92 miler was 45 miles so i was worried. But it was fine. I now avg in the low 20's mph avg, joined a race team about 4 months into my riding and am having tons of fun.

    Make sure you get a bike that fits you first thing. The wrong size bike can hurt you. I mean physically hurt you as in injury. Get the right size bike and then get fit for it. A knowledgable person at certain bike shops can do this. Ask around on who is the better fitter in your area. They will tweak your bike specifically for you. Seat height, Stem rise and lentgh, crank lenght bar width and such. It all really does matter and will help you. I had really bad low back pain with hip and shoulder pain. Hands would go numb after about 5 miles. Got fit to my bike and cured 90% of it. The rest was just stuff I was getting used to.

    Hope this helps and I hope it wasnt too much or boring. Just ride and have fun. You'll get better quickly Im sure. Find a riding partner or group, they'll be lots of help and will help you push yourself just a little harder which is always good.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ellenDSD
    Hi everyone For example, the book talks about 'spinning' and 'intervals' - what? It discusses max heart rate and LT testing - say what?
    Thanks!!
    Cycling is such a great sport in part because almost everyone can ride a bike, yet you can also spend years in getting better (faster/longer) at it. Even the serious training books (e.g. "Cyclists Training Bible") recommend that the first few years, you just ride as much as you can.

    You've probably noticed that you can go a certain speed either in a high gear where the pedals don't go around as fast, or you can be in an easier gear and pedal faster. The faster pedaling speed (also called higher "cadence") is in general, called "spinning". It's considered good because 1) it puts less strain on your knees, and 2) with practice, you can get more power out of all parts of the "circle" that you make when you pedal. When you only push on the "down" part of the pedal stroke, it's called "mashing".

    "Intervals" are a training technique when you go all out for a while, rest, go all out, rest, etc. The "all out" could be sprints or hill climbs. It's a structured way of pushing your limits.

    Your limits can be measured in a number of ways, but one popular way is to determine your maximum heart rate, and then use this as a yardstick (e.g., ride at 65% of your max heart rate for 10 minutes). Thi is more deterministic than just saying "ride hard for 10 minutes".

    One point on the spectrum of exertion is called the lactate threshold (LT). It is the point at which your muscles are creating lactate acid more quickly than your body can get rid of it. Popularly, it's known as when your muscles "burn". It turns out that with training, you can increase this threshold.

    I'd suggest that you start out by putting these terms into google or searching these forums to learn more. I don't think books are necessary to understand the basic ideas, but to employ them in a training program is a different matter.

    I agree with Taxman - just ride for now (and enjoy it!)

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info guys! Taxman, I didn't find what you wrote boring at all but very helpful. And Jazzy, your explanations make a lot of sense.

    I did 12 miles yesterday and made an effort not to push too hard but to 'spin'. It felt great and I feel like I could do it again today. Jeez, if only there weren't laundry, cooking, cleaning...<sigh> Maybe tomorrow!

    Fortunately, I use my bike for any errands that are close to home & to escort my son to school so I get to ride at least a little every weekday (barring inclement weather).

    Again, thanks for the tips!

  5. #5
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    glad to help. I always end up saying tooooo much. LOL

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