I am 44, 5'8" and was 180 lbs, now to about 174. Have been road biking for only about six to eight weeks, never enough of course due to work. I am not fat, but not terribly fit, but extremely strong I feel from lifting, running, doing hobby farm work. I still do lift 2x week. Running has been limited the past years due to my knees. Got into cycling to improve my fitness. I live near a LOT of hills, I mean I have a half mile wall to climb to get home, no matter where I ride to, and I have absolutely NO (as in zero) flat ground to ride near me. I have Cannondale R6 with a triple. Here is how starting to ride helped me.
The bike shop owner told me the cheapest way to improve my bike was to make it lighter by taking weight off it (meaning me). Cycling for me was very, very tough at first with these hills. I could not get past 5 miles and never could make that wall climb home, always stopping once or twice with my heart about to vaporize. I averaged 8 miles an hour on my rides due to the hills, my maximum speed is always about 43mph. Cycling itself didn't help me feel much better due to my pounding heart and burning legs, not to mention short rides due to aforementioned hills, but it does make me think about my overall fitness even when not on the bike and I think this is an important benefit of cycling. You remember lugging your fat *ss up the hill and think twice about chicken wings the next time you're tempted. I decided not to truck my bike to flat land, but to keep tackling these hills, grinding it out and suffering, stopping to rest when needed, but never walking my bike.
Well today I had a breakthrough. I extended my ride to 8 miles, took the wall without stopping, and averaged 10mph. It was monumental to me and I feel so good about it. Can't wait to ride again but my legs are wobbly right now. I know 8 miles are not a lot, but I feel good at eight weeks into this tackling the hill our local bike club uses for training purposes. I guess the message is to stick to your guns, tackle the hills, don't give up and the improvements will come with time. It seems just this last week I got stronger and am less winded.
AWESOME!! Keep it up. There was a time period where I would just sit on my ******. Got into cycling about 3 years ago. There are a good amount of hills near me, so I was never able to make it far (maybe 2.5 miles). Now an easy day for me is 10-15 times that. Trust me, it only gets better.
Thanks astonmartinag (are you an Aston Martin car buff??). I feel so good about it, can't wait to get out again tomorrow and add another mile or two. Years ago I used to go on "death runs" training for soccer, just run using my stop watch, out 30 to 45 minutes, then I had no choice but to make it back. Once I get more leggage under me I may just pick an adjacent town about 15 miles away and head out. It's really when I get to within three miles of my house I have these danged hills to contend with so I need to have something left in my tank.
Well, did ten miles today, average up to 10.9 mph. I am still, just utterly amazed at you guys who ride 50-60 miles at a time. How do your legs and joints not just pop off, are they designed to do that??
it takes practice to get up to those distances. Dont worry though youll get there. Also its easier for someone like me as I have never even seen a mountain or hill where I live. The steepest things here are overpasses.