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mthayer 12-06-09 11:12 PM

Just rode 30 miles for the first time
I just rode a 30 mile ride for the first time today. I did it in 3 hours, averaged just under 10 mph which is kinda disappointing for me. Ive been averaging close to 12 mph on rides up to 15 miles. What would be good training exercises to get my speed up? I am working on my goal to do the 90 miles with the livestrong challenge in october. I just dont know where to turn to for help.

10 Wheels 12-06-09 11:14 PM

Keep riding, Get some miles on your legs.
Go for distance. Once you can ride 70 miles you will be able to ride the 90 miles.
Go for speed after you get the 70 mile ride completed.

mthayer 12-06-09 11:30 PM

Any suggestions for climbing? I need to work more on that because there are going to some hills that I know that Im going to have trouble with. I plan to ride on a old 1982 Trek 614. It does have a low gear for climbing but I have trouble getting out of it so I dont like using it.

10 Wheels 12-06-09 11:47 PM


Originally Posted by mthayer (Post 10115217)
Any suggestions for climbing? I need to work more on that because there are going to some hills that I know that Im going to have trouble with. I plan to ride on a old 1982 Trek 614. It does have a low gear for climbing but I have trouble getting out of it so I dont like using it.

Hills for me, I would shift to the lowest gear and go slow, never look at the top of the hill.
See how slow you can go up until you get stronger.
Once you get stronger go faster and go with higher gearing depending on the hill.

txvintage 12-07-09 01:37 AM

Just keep riding. Don't worry so much about average speed so much as finding a routine and sticking with it. Wehn you are just starting out "base" mileage will give you the biggest performance boost of anything. Nothing replaces miles to build endurance and strength.

As you log more miles your climbing will improve as well. It's better to sit and spin your way up hills right now than to try and mash/hammer your way up. Again, it's all a matter of building your foundation, or "base".

Remember to hydrate and eat for fuel as your mileage picks up. Hard to go when the tank is empty.

bbeck 12-07-09 07:40 AM


Just keep working on it and the speed will come. I still average 10-11 mph average on longer rides. I may run 14-18 on the flatter parts of the ride but on the bigger hills I may fall to 5-6 mph on some and have seen 4. Overall the slow hills will drop your average fast. The only way to get faster on hills is practice and determination.

I made the mistake last year when I first started training to ride tour de cure. I hadn’t rode in 20 plus years and signed up for the thirty mile. I trained for distance and rode flat roads and greenways and got to where I could ride 30 flat miles but I didn’t train for the hills. When we left out of the park the morning of the ride we took a right turn and hit the first hill before 1/4 mile. That was the beginning of the end the hills did not stop. There was no flat area on this ride everyone around us was complaining about the number of hills. I couldn’t complain because I couldn’t catch my breath long enough. I thought I was dying at mile 29 I had a flat and had to get the sag truck to take me back to the finish for the last 2 miles. I have never been so happy to throw my bike on the back of a truck before. I hurt everywhere and only averaged about 7-8 mph. this year is different I have rode my longest training ride of 46 miles 2 weeks ago. I am training on some steeper hills this year. I plan to enjoy this tour next may and be more prepared.

Good luck and train hard train for distance to improve speed but train the hills to build strength.

Neil_B 12-07-09 08:07 AM

Distance, then speed. Once you get the distance the speed will come.

MrClyde 12-07-09 10:12 AM

Congrats on reaching 30 miles. If it was your longest ride yet, don't worry about the average speed. I have never been able to maintain my "normal" average speed on a new distance record for me.

For speed, are you doing some sort of interval training? Take one day a week, and after warming up ride as fast as you can for 2-5 minutes, then ride at a slow pace to recover for 5 minutes or so, more if you need to, then repeat. You can also do this with hills. This should help increase your speed.

Rob P. 12-07-09 01:47 PM

Good deal for riding the 30 miles. I remember my first 30 miler. . .

There is a huge difference between a 15 mile ride and a 30 mile ride. So you can't expect your overall speed to stay the same. Too much terrain and energy level difference that account for a slower speed on the longer ride. You see this for everyone.

FOOD is your friend. (BACK AWAY from the chili-cheese grease burgers!) I mean that during a ride you MUST eat in order to keep up your energy levels. This will let you ride at higher speeds than if you try it on "empty." It will also get you up hills in better shape. Energy gels are a necessity, IMO, for everyone who rides while pushing their limits even if it's "only" 30 miles in 3 hours. Take a gel 1/2 hour before you start to climb and be sure that you have one for the last 45 mins before your ride ends (take it while about an hour or so from ride end to give you the energy to finish strong). Power bars (or equivalent) should be eaten on at least a 1/2 hour/45 min basis for rides lasting over 2 hours.

Climbing ability comes from climbing. LOTS & LOTS of climbing. There is nothing else that works to do this. Nothing.

Distance is achieved by riding longer distances. If you can ride 30 miles now, then you should be riding 30 miles AT LEAST 1X per week and working up to regularly riding 40-45 miles 1X per month within 3 months and increasing your distances from there. Without considering health/etc limitations, 6-7 months should get you to be able to ride 65-70 miles 1X per week comfortably & the ability to ride 100 miles if you pushed and the ride was flat-ish. 100 miles should be do-able on a fairly regular basis in a year. These are my personal findings/observations and your ability/mileage may be different.

Last, they say it's the engine not the bike that makes the difference. That's BS. Old or junky equipment is slow and will hinder your development. Newer bikes are built to go faster because of changes in materials, components, and geometry.

bretgross 12-07-09 02:42 PM

Congratulations on the 30-milestone!

Forget the 'speed'. Such things mean a lot to racers, but the main thing for us is JUST DOING IT!
Just follow the basics and you'll be fine as you aim for that Longer Ride:

Nothing take the place of time in the saddle, so ride.
Hydration & Nutrition -- if your piss isn't clear or light yellow, you're not drinking enough water
Spin, don't mash -- let your heart & lungs stay ahead of your legs
Rest & Recovery -- is there anything that feels as good as having your feet up after a ride?


Oh, yeah. Climbing.
Get a good base of miles under your belt and then then start doing hills at least one day per week.
Baby steps!

cyclokitty 12-07-09 04:02 PM

That's excellent!

Feels great, doesn't it? The wind whistling past your helmet and sunglasses? Feeling the blood rush when you fly down a hill? Mashing pedals up the next hill? Sweating like a demon? Speeding past pedestrians on their super slow legs?

10 mph is a perfectly respectable speed. You can only go up from here.


mthayer 12-07-09 07:17 PM

I would like to thank all of yall for the advice. I try to ride every chance I get but here lately the weather has just been crappy. Do the indoor trainers work well? From the way its looking we are going to keep having alot of rain this winter so I may have to change my game plan.

xray1978 12-09-09 12:35 AM


Originally Posted by mthayer (Post 10118732)
I would like to thank all of yall for the advice. I try to ride every chance I get but here lately the weather has just been crappy. Do the indoor trainers work well? From the way its looking we are going to keep having alot of rain this winter so I may have to change my game plan.

Congratulations on your first 30 mile ride!

Trainers are better than nothing but, nothing beats being on your bike. I feel like I have not gotten as good a work out on the trainer as I do when I put in a day on some serious hills. Perhaps some strength training in conjunction with the trainer would help on the hills come next spring.

I plan to do some strength training to help me with my hills this winter; now that finals are over I can get some time in the gym when I am not working

bigtempo 12-09-09 02:06 AM

For hills, I do two things. I go slower on long climbs but I push a harder effort on short hills. When I started riding again after being off the bike for a few years, I actually went up a short 1/4 mile hill in a 42X32 gear on that very first night I decided to ride. I was completely wiped. But I had made it. I could not afford to overhaul the bike I had at the time, so I had to climb with that ratio for some time. It actually made my legs stronger. I am a stronger rider now then when I was 19 and weighed 50 lbs less. I am looking forward to see how strong I will be when I lose all the weight. Just be careful of your knees. If they hurt, then maybe it is too hard of a gear.

Another thing about pushing a harder gear when climbing, replenish with protein afterwards. Treat the ride as an anaerobic workout.

Cyril 12-09-09 08:31 AM

first off....mthyter,
congrats on your 30 miles!
you made it. and you'll do it again.
and you'll be a bit faster if you follow the good advice in the preceding posts.

Not to hijack this thread, but i want to touch on something you brought up a couple of posts
sometimes its just to crappy outside to ride your bike.

My solution?
I walk.
Not the same as riding, I know, but it has great fitness benefits.
And I'd much rather put in 1 hr on the trainer and then walk 2 hrs in the ice and snow, than put in 3 hrs in on the trainer.


zoste 12-09-09 10:24 AM

For long distance training, start poking around the UMCA website.

You can get a great workout on an indoor trainer, but you have to do more than just turn the cranks. Try Spinervals, or some other trainer DVD's. You will work up a sweat...and if you are doing it right, you will be working too hard to be bored.

To improve your climbing, you have to climb. Find a hill and one day a week ride up it over, and over.

nkfrench 12-09-09 04:17 PM

Speed does matter for longer organized event rides. There are often "gate" times where cyclists must get to a certain point on the course by a cut-off time or they will not be supported/allowed to continue on their intended route. Things can go ugly in a hurry if you are counting on being able to get water refills from rest stops and they are closed when you get there.

Equipment does matter. I am noticing some slowdowns from putting on the tire liners, thicker tubes, and wider/heavier tires. I do a lot of riding alone in the dark / commuting and don't want flat tires that will put me in an unsafe position or make me late to work. I might consider getting a second set of tires for special / organized events.

I recommend taking a spinning class during bad weather now and then. You will be standing on the pedals much of the time which will help you both on the hills and in general.

OnyxTiger 03-21-16 08:38 PM

Watch GCN (Global Cycling Network) on YouTube for some great riding/gear/anecdote/interviews etc. Between that and this website, I'm now a Pro CAT1 cyclist with multiple tour wins under my bib straps. At least in my mind. Just waiting for my body to catch up.

Velocivixen 03-21-16 08:42 PM

Good job and keep up the strong work! I know with my running I don't try to increase distance and speed simultaneously. I work on one or the other. Also I observe that I'm faster running shorter distances than I am running longer distances.

You've ve gotten some good suggestions. Keep it up. Consistency in training is a contributing factor in improving.

rfmarotti 03-22-16 11:25 AM

Congrats!! All the advice here is good. I did 30miles for the first time back in August. Now my normal weekend ride is 60mi and my avg speed keeps going up. Just keep riding.

DrIsotope 03-22-16 04:03 PM

Necropost level: Day 2,296.

Pretty good, at least Top 10 range.

TrojanHorse 03-22-16 06:36 PM

OK, OnyxTiger, what prompted you to dig this one up... :lol:

Beachgrad05 03-23-16 11:18 PM

Just rode 30 miles for the first time
Congrats! I very much recall my first 20+ mile ride and my first 30 mile ride. Getting past those two milestones led to so much more!

NYSteve 03-24-16 04:22 AM

I was really interested in The UMCA website from way back when. Currently, I a not finding anything with it on Google.

Thanks for the heads-up Onyx on Watch GCN (Global Cycling Network)

dagray 03-25-16 12:04 PM

good for you, keep it up and you will go faster and further.

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