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  1. #1
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    How long until I can/should start riding back to back days???

    Hey everyone,

    I'm 40 y/o and weight somewhere in the 240lb range 6' tall. I have the typical football player build so I'm not going to ever get down to 150lbs. I've been riding pretty steady since January and have almost 600 miles down for the year. I'm having a tough time riding consecutive days without one or two rest days between. I had back surgery last October and was only released to start exercising in January. I want to ride more frequently but find my legs are needing a lot longer recovery time than I use to need. For example I did a 53 mile ride Monday(which was VERY hilly compared to rides around here) and Wednesday I went out for a ride and my legs just weren't ready so I had to cut my ride short at 27 miles. I vary my ride lengths, intensity and am only riding recumbents from now on. I've gotten past most of my fit issues on the bikes and ride with no joint pain any longer. I'm just wondering if there is anything I could do to where I could ride more than just 2-3 days a week? My eating has been pretty clean and am trying to get down to the 220lb range, I haven't been drinking caffeine or coffee, taking daily vitamins, and getting a good nights sleep.

    Any thoughts/suggestions????
    Catrike Expedition trike, Catrike velomobile, Cruzbike Silvio 2.0

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Yep. Just dial it way back. It's good to do a normal hard or hardish ride, then a recovery ride with the same number of hours, then a day off. Dial the recovery ride way back. It is said that you should see girls on pink bicycles passing you. I have had one drop me on a hill, perfect. On a recovery ride, pedal at a relatively high but comfortable cadence, feeling no strain in your legs. Gear way down to go up hills.

  3. #3
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    The harder you go on Monday, the more uncomfortable it will be for you on Tuesday or Wednesday. If there's any muscle microtrauma from the initial ride (pretty common if you push hard, especially up hills, especially without sufficiently low gears), it takes 48 to 72 hours for the muscles to recover.

    Sleep is important. Add 16 oz of juice + 1 oz protein powder after each ride to speed up recovery.

  4. #4
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Not much to add here except to say that 600 miles since January is only 120 miles per month. In that context it is hardly surprising that you find a hilly 53-mile ride quite challenging.

    I'd suggest that at this stage you keep the intensity low, and increase the time on the bike. Long steady rides are easier to recover from than short hard ones, and your first priority should be to just build a base.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
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    Chasm....I would like to clarify something here because you dismiss my 600 miles as very little. We had a very odd late winter/spring where it was unseasonably cold and days when the weather was good I usually had to be in class or family obligation. I've carefully tracked my mileage:

    January 17.5
    February 42
    March 37
    April 155
    May 324

    Considering I had serious emergency back surgery last October I have a great feeling of accomplishment to have ridden the miles that I have. I had a goal of 400 for May and if it wasn't raining today I was going to try to do the 76. I've slowly increased my mileage on at least one ride a week. In January I could hardly squeeze out 7 miles without being exhausted due to back issues(was on a conventional bike also). I've done a couple 50 mile rides and the 53 this past Monday was my longest. I would have twice the mileage if not more by now if 1. there had been a more seasonal/dry spring and 2. I had the gear to ride in sub 50* weather.


    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Not much to add here except to say that 600 miles since January is only 120 miles per month. In that context it is hardly surprising that you find a hilly 53-mile ride quite challenging.

    I'd suggest that at this stage you keep the intensity low, and increase the time on the bike. Long steady rides are easier to recover from than short hard ones, and your first priority should be to just build a base.
    Last edited by leeinmemphis; 05-31-13 at 10:19 AM.
    Catrike Expedition trike, Catrike velomobile, Cruzbike Silvio 2.0

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeinmemphis View Post
    Chasm....I would like to clarify something here because you dismiss my 600 miles as very little. We had a very odd late winter/spring where it was unseasonably cold and days when the weather was good I usually had to be in class or family obligation. I've carefully tracked my mileage:

    January 17.5
    February 42
    March 37
    April 155
    May 324

    Considering I had serious emergency back surgery last October I have a great feeling of accomplishment to have ridden the miles that I have. I had a goal of 400 for May and it wasn't raining today I was going to try to do the 76. I've slowly increased my mileage on at least one ride a week. In January I could hardly squeeze out 7 miles without being exhausted due to back issues(was on a conventional bike also). I've done a couple 50 mile rides and the 53 this past Monday was my longest. I would have twice the mileage if not more by now if 1. there had been a more seasonal/dry spring and 2. I had the gear to ride in sub 50* weather.
    I don't think chasm was dissing your 600 miles. Rather, he was questioning your long rides given your amount of riding so far this year.

    If I was you I would forget about trying to get in 76 miles just to hit an arbitrary target. 76 miles is over 12% of your year to date mileage. That's way too much if you want to start riding back to back days.

    The answer to your original question is today. You can start riding back to back days today. There's no reason you can't be riding 6-7 days per week if you dial back your long rides. If you rode 20 miles/day for 6 days a week and increased the the total weekly distance by 10% a week you should be fine. Next week ride 20 miles/day but add 12 miles (10% of 120) to one of you rides making it a 32. The following week do two 32 mile rides with an easy 20 mile day in between. Keep adding to your mileage in a controlled fashion and in 7 weeks you'll be up to 240 miles/week.

  7. #7
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    I am 6' 1'', 235 and 50. Back in my 20s/30s, I lived on a bike and was 175/180, so I get it. I was not built to be a cyclist either....but I am.
    Like the others said, a recovery ride does wonders. Your post ride food intake is extremely important too. If you know about food and nutrition, experiment. If not research it.

    Here is the good news, as your mileage increases, it gets better. So keep pedaling Good luck.

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    I don't think chasm was dissing your 600 miles. Rather, he was questioning your long rides given your amount of riding so far this year.
    ^^This. The point is, if the OP hasn't had the opportunity to get many miles in so far, he shouldn't be surprised that a long, hilly ride leaves him fatigued.

    OP, keep ramping up the time on the bike slowly. The back-to-back stuff will come naturally if you ride at an intensity that allows you to recover.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
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    At 62, I have ridden for almost 30 years. My suggestion is, if you want to ride back-to-back days, cut down intensity and distance. For example, if you rode 53 hard miles, and the next day 27 miles killed you, split the difference. Try 40 miles two days in a row, and lower your intensity. SLOWLY throttle up miles until you are doing an easy 50 miles two days in a row. Then, you might increase your intensity. By all means, don't neglect hydration and nutrition while riding.

    I am up to several Metrics a week and am getting to where, although I need to go to the gym several days a week, (don't forget a part-time job), I can ride several Metrics on back-to-back days. I don't do easy training rides any more. However, I am in good shape, 5' 11", and weigh 154 lbs, down from 185 for the cycling season.

    I KILLED myself in the gym and on the trainer for this season, and intend to make the most of it.

    WE DO THIS FOR FUN, RIGHT? Riding hard IS fun when you are prepped for it. LOL

  10. #10
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeinmemphis View Post
    Chasm....I would like to clarify something here because you dismiss my 600 miles as very little. We had a very odd late winter/spring where it was unseasonably cold and days when the weather was good I usually had to be in class or family obligation...Considering I had serious emergency back surgery last October I have a great feeling of accomplishment to have ridden the miles that I have.
    But that has nothing to do with whether your body is ready for a 53 mile ride! Stop being precious and engage brain - does the mileage you have been doing prepare you for a 53 mile hilly ride so well that it should be a snap? Sanely, no.

  11. #11
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    ^^This. The point is, if the OP hasn't had the opportunity to get many miles in so far, he shouldn't be surprised that a long, hilly ride leaves him fatigued.

    OP, keep ramping up the time on the bike slowly. The back-to-back stuff will come naturally if you ride at an intensity that allows you to recover.
    Emphasis on slowly: jumping intensity is a great way to get injured.

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