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  1. #1
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    Fitness and Health question

    Please let me describe someone I care about and I am worried. I like to know if someone knows this issue better then I do.
    Male, 43 years, 190 lbs, 6ft 2", waist 35-36, active hiking and casual biking with a beater bike.
    Smoker.

    So what seems to be the problem? I got him a good road bike and we went riding. He cannot maintain a steady cadence of say 15 MPH on flat (no wind). Pedals at 80 RPM + and needs to stop every few minutes.

    Should he and I worry that something is wrong or is this not surprising?

    In other words: If he were to go to a sports doctor and be put on a resistance trainer, he could not do it for any length of time.
    He can hike at a good clip for ten miles.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Did you try slowing down the pace? 15 mph is pretty fast!

    Just because a person does well at one sport, doesn't mean that the same person will do well at another. I can ride forever, but can only run for about 10 minutes.

  3. #3
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    Different types of strain from hiking and biking. Now, if you were to do that for 3 or 4 months and there is no improvement, you might start to worry.

  4. #4
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    Select a more suitable gear ratio with him. I assume he has a triple so start small and work up to a more suitable gear for him. Work with the mid ring and the 19 or 20 cog and adjust to where he is comfortable and can maintain for a while. If he gets discouraged remind him "That is why the experts invented all those gear combos..."

    And like the Warden said, if after a while there is no improvement, then worry...

    Also, be careful not to discourage him by suggesting a tougher ratio, this may turn a training ride for you into a pretty slow and dull ride but keep in mind that he will get there after a while. It is better not to turn him off to cycling and subsequently make him regret the bike investment.

    And tell him to quit. Best thing I ever did...

    Good luck!
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  5. #5
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    I thank both of you for your comments. I guess I am too nervous about it.
    I met an older biker on a longer bike ride. He tried to keep up with me at about 17-18 MPH on flat. I noticed that he intermittently stopped pedaling which is odd since he had a fine custom road bike and was dressed and behaved like a dedicated biker. We started talking and he volunteered that he has developed some illness which causes him to stop pedaling after a few minutes for just a moment.
    Seeing that made me concerned about my 43 year old son.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_77
    Select a more suitable gear ratio with him. I assume he has a triple so start small and work up to a more suitable gear for him. Work with the mid ring and the 19 or 20 cog and adjust to where he is comfortable and can maintain for a while. If he gets discouraged remind him "That is why the experts invented all those gear combos..."

    And like the Warden said, if after a while there is no improvement, then worry...

    Also, be careful not to discourage him by suggesting a tougher ratio, this may turn a training ride for you into a pretty slow and dull ride but keep in mind that he will get there after a while. It is better not to turn him off to cycling and subsequently make him regret the bike investment.

    And tell him to quit. Best thing I ever did...

    Good luck!
    slim-Many thanks. I guess I am too paranoid about this smoking? I will give him your advise.

  7. #7
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    As has been said already in this thread, different exercises have different endurance requirements. I definitely can't run a marathon, or even a 5K (3 miles) to save my life, but I can easily do a 40 mile bicycle ride at a 15 MPH pace (by the way, this includes stopping for stop lights, so it's probably higher; I don't have a cyclo-computer, and judge my pacing by the time it takes me to get to my destination).

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    I quit smoking 1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks, 23 hours, 15 minutes ago (as this is written). I smoked 3-4 packs a day, and had smoked for 30+ years. I started cycling 7 months ago, to try to lose some of the weight I had put on. Dropped 30+ pound (211 pounds to 175-180, 5'10", 46 years old). But, I am still affected by the smoking, even though I have quit for over a year. I have to be working at it to average over 16 mph, and my best average is 17.1 mph for a 1 hour ride. I am generally about 15-16 mph average for a 2 hour ride, with a total elevation gain of 2000 feet based on my Edge 305. It is getting better, but give your buddy a bit of a break. He is still smoking, and there is no way I could have averaged 15 mph while I was smoking. Let him ride, let him smoke, and maybe he will want to improve his performance, and quitting may be part of it. Or maybe not. At least a smoker who exercises is better off than one who doesn't. You CANNOT shame or harrass a dedicated smoker into quitting, we need to make that decision on our own. For me, a 7 year old daughter was tyhe deciding factor, I would like to see her grow up. And, my trip to the bicycle shop 7 months ago was to buy her her first "real" bicycle.....

  9. #9
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, take it easy on the guy, 15mph is damn fast for someone first starting out biking. Let him dictate the pace at which he's comfortable in the beginning. He actually should be able to talk to you while riding. At least for the 1st month. Then start adding some intensity.

  10. #10
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne
    slim-Many thanks. I guess I am too paranoid about this smoking? I will give him your advise.

    No way. Smoking will prevent someone from doing all kinds of fun things (like riding a bike fast! or even slow for a duration). I am annoying the $hit out of my brother to do the same...wish me (and him) luck!

    My father quit three years ago after 40 years of smoking, he now runs and works out regularly...and is getting better. It is NEVER too late! Plus it is too damn expensive...I'm talking the up front costs, not to mention the even higher long term real costs!

    good luck and stay on him!
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_77
    No way. Smoking will prevent someone from doing all kinds of fun things (like riding a bike fast! or even slow for a duration). I am annoying the $hit out of my brother to do the same...wish me (and him) luck!

    My father quit three years ago after 40 years of smoking, he now runs and works out regularly...and is getting better. It is NEVER too late! Plus it is too damn expensive...I'm talking the up front costs, not to mention the even higher long term real costs!

    good luck and stay on him!
    Someone on the 50+ BF had this to say. Any opinions on this are welcome:
    Quote:
    The 43 year old smoker probably has a symptom called "intermittent claudication" that is caused by narrowing of the arteries in the legs - peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The narrowing is caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and it is a result of smoking for many years. It is the same as angina but in the legs. When someone who gets angina (pain in the heart) during exercise then stops exercising the pain disappears. Intermittent claudication responds to rest in the same way. That is why the 43 year old cyclist stops pedaling every so often as this allows his muscles to re-oxygenate through very narrow arteries. If he stops smoking and continue exercising he should be able to reverse the condition to a certain extent - assuming that he has PAD of course.
    End of Quote:

  12. #12
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    I am 33, smoked until I turned 30. You can easily make a lot of inferences about how you can reverse the affects of smoking, but its partly true.

    Genetics plays a big roll in it too.
    I run marathons and ride centuries, but believe me when I say its not like I just get up one morning and decide to do this. It takes time to develop into anything, especially more cardio-specific exercises.

    I run 49+ miles a week just for maintenance. If I drop running for a week, I have to drop down into the 35 mile a week range and work for 8 more weeks to recoup the lost mileage.

    I also have to tempo run sheering off 2 mins. for 7 miles every other week and add in 1600 sprints w/ 800 jogging cooldowns to continue to cut speed.

    Add in a two hour leg session for strength and endurance training and that just pushes me into the 'I can run this without dying in under 3:45 mins. (for 26.2 miles).

    The point of that isn't to be daunting at all, its to show you that because someone with 8 weeks worth of time on a bike is finding the work a bit daunting, doesn't mean they've got anything wrong at all.

    I have a friend who is fond of saying "You can't buy this kind of fitness in a store, baby, you have to EARN those chops." I think that addage is one to live by in our 'profession'
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  13. #13
    Pat
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    Well, if he hikes routinely, he should be in reasonable shape. But cycling even at a modest speed like 15 mph requires a fairly high aerobic output and it requires the work to be done mainly by the quadriceps muscles. It takes some time and conditioning in cycling to get to that level. He can probably do it. I recall my first rides where I was routinely dropped at modest speeds. But with time, I was able to maintain the pace.

  14. #14
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    Santaria- I will forward your story as a motivational hint. I am sure that many fathers feel as I do. We wish we could............

  15. #15
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    Hi everyone:
    I am so grateful for all the responses. Please do not think of this as trivial. I manage a company and I travel often as I did from last Tuesday. Upon return, I find out that the 46 year old wife of a long term employee died from lung cancer spreading to her brain. Of course she smoked.
    Of course I could not help to project that to my smoking son.
    I really detest this poison.

  16. #16
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    1 person's will to quit is stronger than a $6+ billion industry. Trust me Just gotta have the will
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  17. #17
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria
    1 person's will to quit is stronger than a $6+ billion industry. Trust me Just gotta have the will
    +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  18. #18
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    Just don't rag on him. Trust me, it does not work, and instead builds resentment. Have fun, go riding, he'll get tired of being "dropped" (don't we all!!). Let him figure it out. He will. Us smokers aren't complete dumbazzes, we just really like them smokes. Seeing the positives, being able to ride faster and longer, like you, will make more of an impression than all of your "look who has cancer now speeches." And again, even if it does not cause him to quit, a smoker who is getting exercise is healthier than one who does not.

  19. #19
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    Hi guys. I thought I will share with you a letter just received from my son. Consider this a thanks to you guys for your contribution:

    "I had a good weekend: 50 miles in 3 hrs ...........................

    I'm pretty happy with my progress. Yesterday, I was dropping guys right and left. None dropped me, but I write that off to it still being early, or timing (no fast guys going my way at same time). I saw plenty of guys going the other way that looked pretty formidable. I doubt that I could've dropped them.

    For now, I'm thinking that I should ride to work 3 of 5 days, plus Saturday if applicable. Then, maybe later this spring, I will try pure commuting.

    Gosh, I hate to jump the ***, but it feels like there are not going to be any long-term side-effects from all those yrs of smoking. However, I believe that I pushed it about as far as a human can. (Of course, that is my style.) Nonetheless, I do not know how much time I had before my first heart-attack, but I would bet the farm that it was less than two years. Oh well, all behind me now."

  20. #20
    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    whew...

    I bet reading that felt pretty good!
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_77
    whew...

    I bet reading that felt pretty good!
    Yep, Thanks.

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