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  1. #1
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    Advice on pain and getting back into cycling please?

    Hi there, just discovered this site and it aeems to be quite impressive. Anyway, I'm 37 and just started to get back into riding after 10 years. I ride a Pianarello road bike. Here is my problem:

    I burn out, instantly. I'm actually a little worried. Don't really know if it would be considered normall. I know you cant just jump on the bike and run the Tour De France but this is ridiculous. 6' 1" and a little over weight by about 15 pounds. The problem is my legs. I have know power and no stamina, and I can barely maintain 20 Kph on level grade. Then if I hit the slightest incline, I mean an incline thats barely noticeable and I have to switch down to the lowest gear, and almost coming to a stand still. The top of my thighs are just burning in pain along with the sides of my thighs about 5 inch's back of the knee. This occurs if I hit any incline or try and put any power into the pedals. It took me 40 painfull minutes to ride 12 km's. I'm not obese by any mains, I still look fit but I'm out of gas from the start. The burn in the legs is to the point of not being able to pedal no matter how hard I try. This burn is only there while pedaling with any force. If I'm off the bike I'm fine and theres no carry over into the next day or even hours after. It's that lactic acid burn by the way. The kind you would feel in your arms or chest after a heavy gym workout.

    I'd love some advice if you have any. I'm a little worried.

    P.s: I should add that I'm riding with the Look Clipless Pedal sysytem. I dont't know if thats adding to the problem or just making the riding more disciplined

    Thanks
    Last edited by SHIM_105; 09-05-08 at 11:39 AM. Reason: information

  2. #2
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    You are starting from zero, conditioning wise. And you are kind of old. It's going to suck and there's not much you can do besides stick it out.

    I went though this when I quit riding for eight years and then started again after turning 40. I was so slow and everything hurt. It took a lot longer than I expected to get any speed or endurance back. But it did come back eventually. Since then I have finished the Death Ride five times, raced the Everest Challenge and Mt Evans, and some local races.

    For me what helped was also lifting weights a couple times a week. Not the least because I just couldn't handle riding two days in a row then, but also to strenghten the supporting muscles and ligaments around the leg joints. You might look into your bike fit, consider getting fitted by a pro.

    Another thing that helped me was to just concentrate on enjoying my rides. I didn't even have a bike computer for the first 6 months. I just rode routes that I had mapped out so they wouldn't be too long or difficult. Don't worry about how fast you are going, just enjoy the riding.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1) Have you had your bicycle fit checked? If your thighs are burning, your saddle could be too low. But before you raise it, also know that if you raise it too high, you'll end up with knee and Achilles tendon problems.

    2) Slow down ... relax ... start gradually increasing your distance.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice. I've no issue with taking it slow for a while. I just could not get over how out of shape I really am. Hearing that it's normal puts the mind at ease. As far as bike fit, I'm on the same one I had 10 years ago. My legs are almost dead straight with a slight bend in the knees when I'm at the bottom of the pedal stroke

  5. #5
    Neophyte Caribou2001's Avatar
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    I'm 39 and just started riding again after about 15 years myself. I started with 3-4 sessions of spinning classes (one a week) and those were absolutely killing me (and I was nowhere near keeping up with the group - not even close, but it did get better comparing week one to the last week I did it).

    Then I got on a real bike, and promptly bruised my tailbone which took 2-3 weeks to get mostly healed, but I changed saddle and kept riding short runs anyway. All the while I felt as you describe....

    Even 2-3 months after starting I found it was hard to get going, but that after the first 30 minutes my legs were warming up and it was less painful.

    Now, I'm doing 40-50 km on my average ride, and I've gone up to as much as 70. (about 4 months after starting, I think). Hills still suck, but I can see I've gotten lots better, but that I still have a lot of room for growth too!

    A couple points/questions though:

    Are you watching what/when you eat vs. when you ride? There may be a correlation between not eating the best pre-ride foods and how you feel...

    Also consider the time of day you ride -- even if you only feel mind-weary and not body-weary after a day at work if that's when you ride it's no shock if you feel lethargic. Try turning things upside down and ride at different times of the day and listen to your body for clues...

    Try a couple rides in the AM before breakfast... just drink some water and go for 30-60 minutes... compare how this feels with a ride 1-2 hours after a big meal....

    If you're finding food is related to your fatigue, try a "meal" of a cup of granola and some fruit about 90 minutes before a ride...

    Just some ideas!

    Good luck -- with persistence it will get better; just a lot slower than when you were in your 20s!

  6. #6
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    Right now I'm just riding in to work. 12Km. I work nights so coming home after 12 hours is brutal, but I can be consistent with it as long as the weather holds. I never really not about the food as of yet.

  7. #7
    I give up! cujet's Avatar
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    Don't discount nutritional issues. I find that a protein shake right after a ride really helps my recovery. I gain strength and endurance faster with this method, no question about it.

    From what I have read on this forum, the body absorbs nutrition faster within 1/2 hour of your ride. So I make sure to mix a shake of 1 banana, 2 scoops EAS vanilla protein powder, 2 flinstones vitamins, some cinnamon and ginger (I love the taste). I swear on my honor, my muscles get bigger/better toned doing this.

    I have very low testosterone, so muscle strength is quite hard for me to achieve.

    Try it, you might be happy with the results.

    Also, there are some cycling specific energy drinks like cytomax and perpeteum that work well for me.
    If it doesn't burn fossil fuel, I don't like it.

  8. #8
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    Just start by doing what you can do. Gradually, it will improve, and before you know it, you will be one of the people on Bike Forums posting about the double century they just came home from where they averaged 25 mph. Oh wait, that would mean you probably rode it in your living room while sitting in your Lazy Boy and looking at the bike leaning against the wall near the TV, or that your cyclocomputer was seriously mis-calibrated.

    Seriously, eliminate the numbers by getting rid of the cyclocomputer, and just ride to enjoy the ride. You will improve gradually. Sometimes it can be useful to have a loop from your home that is about 10 miles. Try to do it every day, weather permitting. All those living room century riders notwithstanding, you don't need mega-mileage to improve. That can come later if you want it. That initial 10 mile loop can be expanded to 20. It's easy to do as you get fitter. You will just find that the 10 miles isn't enough, and you want to go further. Ten miles 4-5 days per week with an added 20-30 mile ride on weekends will do a lot for fitness.

    But it might be worthwhile to be sure your riding position is somewhere near optimal especially in terms of saddle height and horizontal position. It does sound to me from how you describe your burning that this might not be the case.

  9. #9
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    I just took some measurement according the the Fitment calculator on Competitive Cyclist. It looks like I'm right in the middle of the Competitve range on everything but the seat tube. If I measured properly it appears to be 1 cm to short.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    All the comments, details, type of pedals, diet, etc. is just silly. You're really (I mean really) out of shape. Have you had a physical recently and been OK'ed to ride?

    Or maybe you can adjust your bike by 1 cm and everything will be OK.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  11. #11
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    get yourself a magnetic or fluid trainer (Kurt Kinetic makes great ones) and build your endurance off it during the winter. It's very low resistance and will get you to re-learn your cadence. Best of all, you won't feel stranded or hopeless should you start to really feel fatigued.

    While you may not be "fat" your nutrition might still be poor. Browse though these threads for more advice on what best to do.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the advice. As far as the 1 cm thing, I know that won't make a squat of difference, I was trying to point out that it's not the bike fit that is part of my problem, I just am trully way out of shape. I do own a Minoura Mag trainer and will be putting it to good use this winter season

  13. #13
    Mettle to the Pedals Dewbert's Avatar
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    1: Check to make sure your brake pads aren't rubbing
    2: Check with your doctor.
    3: Just keep pedaling and getting miles. It'll get better...
    2008 Giant FCR3 (kitted up for touring)
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    http://www.HowILost100Pounds.com

  14. #14
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    There is a shock when we are 30 something going on 40. At 20 we can easily get into shape with some effort. But after mid 30's it takes longer. We can't expect to do a few workouts and expect instant improvement. Its even more work at age 50.

    Also the older, the more one can get out of shape quicker. Maintenance is the key thing, even if its short, easy miles.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    There is a shock when we are 30 something going on 40. At 20 we can easily get into shape with some effort. But after mid 30's it takes longer. We can't expect to do a few workouts and expect instant improvement. Its even more work at age 50.

    Also the older, the more one can get out of shape quicker. Maintenance is the key thing, even if its short, easy miles.
    Shock?....after an Atomic bomb maybe. Wow how right you are. ANyway I went out and rode for about 30 mins. This time I moved the seat forward and raised it a notch. The burn was still there but I was able to pedal through it alot more. The pedaling felt a little more efficient.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIM_105 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. As far as the 1 cm thing, I know that won't make a squat of difference, I was trying to point out that it's not the bike fit that is part of my problem, I just am trully way out of shape. I do own a Minoura Mag trainer and will be putting it to good use this winter season
    Great! Try to find ways to keep it interesting. Depending on where you live, don't be afraid to ride during the winter. Best of luck.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

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