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  1. #1
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Looking for a little endurance advice please

    On Saturday at 7am, I met with a group (for the first time) out of my LBS, about 14 riders. The ride would be approx 37 miles. I hung in for 26 and had to peel off and "limp" back to the shop finishing with 30miles total. The avg speed was around 21. I'm hoping to hang in with them this coming Saturday and am looking for any advice on where I might have screwed up and what I can do to endure....

    I hydrated well the night before and ate a banana and PB sandwich for breakfast. I took along a pack of shot bloks and a banana. I was at the LBS at 630am and warmed up for about 1.5 miles.

    The ride went well and it was great to cruise at 21-23mph with the group. A few times, the group increased pace and sometimes broke out and sprinted. I simply tried to hang with the crew and managed to do so. But those sprint sessions, although not too long, sucked power out of me. at about 18miles, I ate two shot bloks and how anyone can chew and swallow while keeping pace is beyond me. Around 22miles, I began to fall to the back and a couple of the guys were cool enough to slow for me. They were encouraging but I wasn't there for their sympathy and didn't want to ruin their ride. I told them I was going to hang as long as possible but if I had to cut out, I'd see them next week. Sooooo, at around 25.8miles, I was cooked. I stopped, ate another banana that I brought with me, drained a water bottle and rode about 5miles at 18mph back to the LBS.

    Is it that I just need to ride more? Did I not eat enough before, during etc? I have ridden two metric centuries in the past, just not at the pace these guys were keeping....

    I called the LBS and told one of the guys I hope I didn't cramp their style and would like to continue riding with them. He said to keep coming, that I'll improve... He also said the ride was pretty aggressive at times and that wasn't always the case when they get together.

    So where did I fail and/or what can I do to keep up?

    Thanks,
    Mike

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    A ride that short doesn't require much in the way of food or extra worrying about hydration the night before. I don't eat anything on the 2.5 hour group rides I do regularly.

    But it does require the ability to go hard and recover. You can get that by doing intervals, or by doing more fast group rides. Doing group rides you will also teach how to manage yourself in the pack so you spend less time in the wind, don't let gaps form and then have to bridge them, etc. The amount of energy you can save when you are pack savvy is noticeable.

    The shop guy's right, just keep showing up and you'll get better at it. But there'll always be some days when you're slow and the group is fast and you may get dropped or have to sit on the back... if not, then you're with a group that's too slow for you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    A ride that short doesn't require much in the way of food or extra worrying about hydration the night before. I don't eat anything on the 2.5 hour group rides I do regularly.

    But it does require the ability to go hard and recover. You can get that by doing intervals, or by doing more fast group rides. Doing group rides you will also teach how to manage yourself in the pack so you spend less time in the wind, don't let gaps form and then have to bridge them, etc. The amount of energy you can save when you are pack savvy is noticeable.

    The shop guy's right, just keep showing up and you'll get better at it. But there'll always be some days when you're slow and the group is fast and you may get dropped or have to sit on the back... if not, then you're with a group that's too slow for you.
    Thank you for the advice. I was at the LBS a few minutes ago and the guy there suggested that I had my HR way too up for way too long and couldn't recover. I'll buy that but when the pack slowly disappears in front of me then what?

    So I guess becomming a better rider requires riding riding riding.

    M

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    50000 Guatts of power 127.0.0.1's Avatar
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    ride 70 milers all the time then a 40 miler will be cakewalk
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    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbUSA View Post
    Thank you for the advice. I was at the LBS a few minutes ago and the guy there suggested that I had my HR way too up for way too long and couldn't recover. I'll buy that but when the pack slowly disappears in front of me then what?

    So I guess becomming a better rider requires riding riding riding.

    M
    When the pack dissappears in front of you, well then you have to get home on your own.

    Also, the next guy suggested riding 70 milers. That may or may not help. If you ride 70 miles at 18 mph, they will still drop you. You need to be able to ride 40 miles at the speed they ride at. You need to ride at that intensity to get to the point where you can do it.

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    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    When the pack dissappears in front of you, well then you have to get home on your own.

    Also, the next guy suggested riding 70 milers. That may or may not help. If you ride 70 miles at 18 mph, they will still drop you. You need to be able to ride 40 miles at the speed they ride at. You need to ride at that intensity to get to the point where you can do it.
    That's exactly why I will be there ready to go each Saturday morning. If I bonk or get dropped, **** happens. If I don't make the attempt several times, I will never know my potential anyway.

    My LBS guy also suggested an HRM. Any opinions? Also, would one that wrist mounts or bike mounts w/ cadence be better?

  7. #7
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Shop guy was right. Keep coming back. You may get dropped again; your goal is to make it a little bit further next time. If it's the same route, pay attention to where you're likely to get dropped: is it a hill or a cross wind section? Is there a sprint line where the group starts gunning it?

    Re HRM. They're great for solo training and intervals, but during group rides you may not have a chance to look at it much.
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    Pat
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    Well heart rate monitors are not magic. But they do give you decent feed back.

    I used to use them. I used to think that I got dropped because I was not "trying hard enough". I discovered with heart rate monitors that I did not really give up, my body gave out. Well, I would pull up before I gave out so I would have something in the tank to get home on my own. But generally, I did not pull up until I had been running near my max heart rate for some time.

    A heart rate monitor will help you know just how intensely you are working. This feedback can be really good for solo training. You will know that if you don't hit a certain number, you ain't trying hard enough. After awhile, you will develop a good idea of what a maximum effort feels like and what a sustainable long cruise pace feels like and so on.

    If you use a heart rate monitor routinely, you will find times when it feels like you are working much harder than the number indicates. I have taken that to mean that I am beaten up and need to do a recovery ride instead of a hard ride.

    But there is nothing magical about heart rate monitors. There were great cyclists who managed to get that way without them. There are people who use them, who really do not develop very well. They are a useful tool. Given the fact that heart rate monitors are pretty cheap, what do you really have to lose? If it helps you train even slightly more efficiently, it will be money well spent.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Shop guy was right. Keep coming back. You may get dropped again; your goal is to make it a little bit further next time. If it's the same route, pay attention to where you're likely to get dropped: is it a hill or a cross wind section? Is there a sprint line where the group starts gunning it?

    Re HRM. They're great for solo training and intervals, but during group rides you may not have a chance to look at it much.
    I'll pay attention to the route better. Having lived in my area for 35 years, I know where I can bail and/or what to expect up ahead. Members of this group turned it on in a couple neighborhoods where there was not much traffic and according to my LBS guy they like the turns etc. because has CRIT characteristics.

    Caloso, wrist mount or bike w/ cadence HRM?

  10. #10
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    Well heart rate monitors are not magic. But they do give you decent feed back.

    I used to use them. I used to think that I got dropped because I was not "trying hard enough". I discovered with heart rate monitors that I did not really give up, my body gave out. Well, I would pull up before I gave out so I would have something in the tank to get home on my own. But generally, I did not pull up until I had been running near my max heart rate for some time.

    A heart rate monitor will help you know just how intensely you are working. This feedback can be really good for solo training. You will know that if you don't hit a certain number, you ain't trying hard enough. After awhile, you will develop a good idea of what a maximum effort feels like and what a sustainable long cruise pace feels like and so on.

    If you use a heart rate monitor routinely, you will find times when it feels like you are working much harder than the number indicates. I have taken that to mean that I am beaten up and need to do a recovery ride instead of a hard ride.

    But there is nothing magical about heart rate monitors. There were great cyclists who managed to get that way without them. There are people who use them, who really do not develop very well. They are a useful tool. Given the fact that heart rate monitors are pretty cheap, what do you really have to lose? If it helps you train even slightly more efficiently, it will be money well spent.
    Just like my dive computer, I'd treat the HRM as a tool. Would only be as valuable as I learn to understand it and use it. Thanks for the advice.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    I truly appreciate all of your input!

  12. #12
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbUSA View Post
    I'll pay attention to the route better. Having lived in my area for 35 years, I know where I can bail and/or what to expect up ahead. Members of this group turned it on in a couple neighborhoods where there was not much traffic and according to my LBS guy they like the turns etc. because has CRIT characteristics.

    Caloso, wrist mount or bike w/ cadence HRM?
    Depends on whether you'd use it for running or other training. I have a wrist mount (Suunto T3c). If you run, lift, play soccer, whatever, the wrist mount makes more sense. But it's harder to look at while you're riding your bike. I have a cheap rubber gasket thing that goes on your handlebars and I just attach the watch to that. On the other hand, if I find myself focusing on the HRM too much, I'll just wear it on my wrist. When I'm really hammering, I can't look at it, which is just as well.
    Last edited by caloso; 07-20-09 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Spelling
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    i'm always amazed at the speeds that are posted- in my years of riding i've never had an average speed over 20- i can ride at 20 but in the end traffic, stop signs and traffic lights always seem to bring the speed back down to 17. kudos to you guys that can come back from a ride with an average spped that high- i must be pathetic or something
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  14. #14
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I typically return from the Saturday shop ride with an avg. speed of 21 mph over 50 miles, but that usually means long portions of sustained 27-30 mph. If it's a big group and it's a calm day it's hard but not killing. This is a flat ride, so the quantum of hurt is in direct proportion to the wind speed.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lshaped View Post
    i'm always amazed at the speeds that are posted- in my years of riding i've never had an average speed over 20- i can ride at 20 but in the end traffic, stop signs and traffic lights always seem to bring the speed back down to 17. kudos to you guys that can come back from a ride with an average spped that high- i must be pathetic or something
    21mph for me was simply by monitoring my computer during the 25.8miles I hung in there. You are correct in that lights, etc bring it down. After I bonked and was left for the buzzards, I stopped under a tree, ate a banana and took a leak. That did in fact give me 17.7mph avg back at the truck.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I typically return from the Saturday shop ride with an avg. speed of 21 mph over 50 miles, but that usually means long portions of sustained 27-30 mph. If it's a big group and it's a calm day it's hard but not killing. This is a flat ride, so the quantum of hurt is in direct proportion to the wind speed.
    There was one stretch where we all held 25mph. Of course, that was the 'cobra to my mongoose' 'mongoose to my cobra' 'nail in my coffin' 'noose around my neck' 'one remaining square of tp'

    But as stated, I'm taking my masochistic self back for more this Saturday.... It can only get better???

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbUSA View Post
    There was one stretch where we all held 25mph. Of course, that was the 'cobra to my mongoose' 'mongoose to my cobra' 'nail in my coffin' 'noose around my neck' 'one remaining square of tp'

    But as stated, I'm taking my masochistic self back for more this Saturday.... It can only get better???

    my jaw is dropped- absolutely amazing. the majority of my mileage is commuting (21 miles each way)and on the way home the elevation is down- i try to go balls out as hard as i can to where i feel like i'm going to throwup and when i get home i look at the computer and it still says 17- one time i picked it up and threw it
    i even rode my roubaix to work one day and went all out on the way in and still could only muster 18.
    hats off to all you guys that can ride that hard- feel free to drop me anytime
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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Group rides on level ground are much faster than solo rides, because of the drafting. They don't compare.

    I try to not look at my HRM when I am in a group ride or race. If the pace is really hard and I am just hanging in, I don't want to know my heart rate. If I do I am more likely to back off when I perhaps could have kept going.

    OP your HR was too high because you don't have the conditioning yet to go fast when the pack is going fast (and not yet knowing how to "surf" the pack won't help).. Keep showing up to the ride and it'll come.

    (of course there's no way the LBS guy could know what is "too high" for you, as individual's HRs vary quite a bit)

  19. #19
    Senior Member mrbUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Group rides on level ground are much faster than solo rides, because of the drafting. They don't compare.

    I try to not look at my HRM when I am in a group ride or race. If the pace is really hard and I am just hanging in, I don't want to know my heart rate. If I do I am more likely to back off when I perhaps could have kept going.

    OP your HR was too high because you don't have the conditioning yet to go fast when the pack is going fast (and not yet knowing how to "surf" the pack won't help).. Keep showing up to the ride and it'll come.

    (of course there's no way the LBS guy could know what is "too high" for you, as individual's HRs vary quite a bit)
    Thank you. I believe that proper conditioning via cycling is the only way. I've read it here time and again, that the only way to improve the ride is to ride. I also believe that "surfing" the pack is also learned by doing? To be sure, I will be there for the beating this Saturday.
    Mike

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    ride 70 milers all the time then a 40 miler will be cakewalk
    +1

    I had someone ask me what to do to make a century ride easy ... and I told him to ride a double century.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lshaped View Post
    i'm always amazed at the speeds that are posted- in my years of riding i've never had an average speed over 20- i can ride at 20 but in the end traffic, stop signs and traffic lights always seem to bring the speed back down to 17. kudos to you guys that can come back from a ride with an average spped that high- i must be pathetic or something


    My suspicion is that a lot of people have their computers set on kilometers rather than miles, and think they are reading mph.

    Either that or they glance at their computers once during the ride ... during a downhill or tailwind section ... and assume that's their average speed.

  22. #22
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post


    My suspicion is that a lot of people have their computers set on kilometers rather than miles, and think they are reading mph.

    Either that or they glance at their computers once during the ride ... during a downhill or tailwind section ... and assume that's their average speed.
    Neither. It's the magic of drafting.
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  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Neither. It's the magic of drafting.
    Drafting has never worked that well for me.

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    Well, it's pretty simple. You don't have the condition that they do.

    Group riding does take a fair bit of anaerobic condition, it also takes a lot of aerobic base. The riders in the group you are riding with are likely able to ride aerobically at power levels that push you anaerobic.

    So you can make some improvement with intervals, but my guess is that it won't be enough. You get aerobic base in the long term, through months or years of riding.

    You can keep showing up, but you may still find yourself having issues.

    The other point is that late July/August is the worst time to start riding with a new group. Everybody is in top form and riding at their fastest during that time. The best time is March, when even the fast guys are going to be a lot more restrained.
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    Liquid calories are your friend in rides like this. As mentioned, it's just too hard to pop a cliff bloc or energy gell. Load your bottles with 200 calories and drink one an hour and you'll be set with energy. Everything else improves with time and training. Keep going back to the group ride - you'll improve each time!

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