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Lessons learned on today's ride

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Lessons learned on today's ride

Old 02-20-16, 11:18 AM
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Lessons learned on today's ride

First, I should say: I'm a fairly new rider. I've only been riding about a month, and I've only ridden anything over two miles in the past couple of weeks. I'm also a Clyde (5'10", 230 lbs). So, now that the excuses are out of the way...

I rode about eight miles this morning, and learned a few things...about my bike, and about myself. First off, I grumbled and moaned about "having to ride today." That was crazy...I don't have to ride any day. Once I got on the bike and started moving, my bad mood stopped. It was a beautiful day, and I was happy to be out and riding.

I only get to do any kind of distance on the weekends, and I thought that I would probably lose everything I'd gained on my last weekend rides. I was happy to find that this was not the case. I do walk a mile a day to the train station, so that helps a little. But my legs felt stronger this weekend than last weekend. I also realized that last weekend I was "mashing" (I believe that's the correct term), and that there was more progress to be made and more fun to be had just by using an easier gear and taking my time. The next realization...it's Saturday morning, I'm not in a hurry. I shouldn't try to compete, even against myself. I'll get where I'm going eventually.

I think when I started riding, I thought that I had to have everything at once. I had to be able to do long rides, I had to get in shape immediately, and I had to get really good at riding in just a week. And that took a lot of the fun out of riding. Today I relaxed, stopped to take some pictures, checked out the beautiful scenery (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of that except for a big ship docked at the marina), and I checked out the nice parks along the way.

That's it. I realize this is sort of a rambling post, and if you've read this far, I hope you got something positive out of it.

Oh, yeah...if you're a 50+ newbie, you might want to buy some bike shorts. I think the older you get, the more susceptible you are to a sore tailbone. Or maybe that's just me.
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Old 02-20-16, 11:25 AM
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@dougmon - thanks for the post and some good lessons learned. As an aside they have saddles with a "v" shaped cutout or indentation at the rear - that's for tailbone pressure relief.

I'm like you, although have been riding off and on since age 10. I just air up my tires, put on a helmet then start riding around with no particular place in mind. I've left home before in bad moods, only return home back to my cheery self.
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Old 02-20-16, 12:00 PM
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That's how it starts. Before you know it, you'll have a garage full of "weaponry", some kind of clothing addiction, and a frowning spouse. Welcome to the club. Or, quit while you're ahead.

Just kidding. Welcome aboard and you're doing it right. Long slow rides burn fat. Hard short rides build strength and muscle memory. But the rest in between is what really counts.
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Old 02-20-16, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
@dougmon - thanks for the post and some good lessons learned. As an aside they have saddles with a "v" shaped cutout or indentation at the rear - that's for tailbone pressure relief.
My bike does have one of those kinds of saddles. I was probably just sitting on it wrong. Now I have a little soreness around the tailbone, and I'm trying to talk myself out of running some errands on the bike this afternoon -- just because I don't know if the soreness means I should rest from biking.

I do want to do the same ride tomorrow, though.

Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
That's how it starts. Before you know it, you'll have a garage full of "weaponry", some kind of clothing addiction, and a frowning spouse. Welcome to the club. Or, quit while you're ahead.

Just kidding. Welcome aboard and you're doing it right. Long slow rides burn fat. Hard short rides build strength and muscle memory. But the rest in between is what really counts.
Funny you should say that about the "frowning spouse." Just this morning I mentioned to my wife how nice it is that she's being so tolerant of my storing my bike in the dining room (our garage is for storage). She said she's just so happy I'm doing something for my health, she doesn't mind a slight mess. I married well.

I don't know how she'll react to the second bike. I don't have it yet, and probably won't for a few years, but you and I and everyone who frequents this board know that you don't stop at one.
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Old 02-20-16, 12:39 PM
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Valuable truth: just get on the bike and ride. Never depend on feelings. Just sling your leg over and ride off. Everything changes.
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Old 02-20-16, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmon View Post
First, I should say: I'm a fairly new rider. I've only been riding about a month, and I've only ridden anything over two miles in the past couple of weeks. I'm also a Clyde (5'10", 230 lbs). So, now that the excuses are out of the way...

I rode about eight miles this morning, and learned a few things...about my bike, and about myself. First off, I grumbled and moaned about "having to ride today." That was crazy...I don't have to ride any day. Once I got on the bike and started moving, my bad mood stopped. It was a beautiful day, and I was happy to be out and riding.

I only get to do any kind of distance on the weekends, and I thought that I would probably lose everything I'd gained on my last weekend rides. I was happy to find that this was not the case. I do walk a mile a day to the train station, so that helps a little. But my legs felt stronger this weekend than last weekend. I also realized that last weekend I was "mashing" (I believe that's the correct term), and that there was more progress to be made and more fun to be had just by using an easier gear and taking my time. The next realization...it's Saturday morning, I'm not in a hurry. I shouldn't try to compete, even against myself. I'll get where I'm going eventually.

I think when I started riding, I thought that I had to have everything at once. I had to be able to do long rides, I had to get in shape immediately, and I had to get really good at riding in just a week. And that took a lot of the fun out of riding. Today I relaxed, stopped to take some pictures, checked out the beautiful scenery (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of that except for a big ship docked at the marina), and I checked out the nice parks along the way.

That's it. I realize this is sort of a rambling post, and if you've read this far, I hope you got something positive out of it.

Oh, yeah...if you're a 50+ newbie, you might want to buy some bike shorts. I think the older you get, the more susceptible you are to a sore tailbone. Or maybe that's just me.
Doug, I've been riding on and off since I was 7 and am now coming back from a 1-year layoff. It's good to be reminded that I do not have to regain all my cycling abilities at once. I was actually feeling a little anxious about that!

So keep posting, and thank you!
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Old 02-20-16, 06:33 PM
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I learned that getting older really does impact some things. Went MTBing on my SS this morning and then for a road bike ride this afternoon. Learned my recovery time is a lot longer than when I was younger!!!

OP, just keep riding and all will be fine.
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Old 02-20-16, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Doug, I've been riding on and off since I was 7 and am now coming back from a 1-year layoff. It's good to be reminded that I do not have to regain all my cycling abilities at once. I was actually feeling a little anxious about that!

So keep posting, and thank you!
You're very welcome. If I help anybody in any real fashion, that just makes my day! So thank you!

Originally Posted by Kindaslow View Post
I learned that getting older really does impact some things. Went MTBing on my SS this morning and then for a road bike ride this afternoon. Learned my recovery time is a lot longer than when I was younger!!!

OP, just keep riding and all will be fine.
Yeah, I went over some bumps on my ride today, and it feels like I bounced on my tailbone; I think I was sitting badly on the seat, because I've been on this route twice before and this hasn't happened.. It's now 4:30pm, and I still have pain from something that happened at 7:30 am. I can only hope that an evening of resting and ibuprofen will help, because I really want to do the same ride tomorrow.
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Old 02-20-16, 09:16 PM
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When you go over bumps you can use your legs to ever so slightly lift your butt off the saddle and let your legs be shock absorbers. Have your feet at 3 o'clock & 9 o'clock while doing this. Avoids pain on your rear end.
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Old 02-20-16, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen View Post
When you go over bumps you can use your legs to ever so slightly lift your butt off the saddle and let your legs be shock absorbers. Have your feet at 3 o'clock & 9 o'clock while doing this. Avoids pain on your rear end.
Thanks! I did eventually figure this out, but too late to save my tailbone from some pain.
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Old 02-20-16, 09:59 PM
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Way to go, dougmon! You are approaching this with the correct set of expectations. keep riding and keep having fun.

Great advice from velocivixen. Try it. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be surprised how much it helps.
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Old 02-21-16, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Valuable truth: just get on the bike and ride. Never depend on feelings. Just sling your leg over and ride off. Everything changes.
So true. And, one thing I always have to deal with is patience. Basically, I have none. I always find myself putting pressure on myself to be faster or stronger or more fluid. Sometimes you just have to go ride and forget all the markers. That also makes it easier to want to get on the bike the next time.
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Old 02-21-16, 07:35 AM
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Another note about tailbone pain. If your saddle is too narrow, it may be pushing your sit bones apart and there are two tiny ligaments that stabilize the tail and it's likely they are being strained. I survived 47 miles out of 60 on a bad saddle and couldn't sit right for a week.
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Old 02-21-16, 07:53 AM
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I started riding about a year ago in the same circumstances as you and after a year a 40-50 mile ride is great fun. I stop when I want to and sit down and eat an energy bar, drink some water, take some pictures, look at the scenery. I have a nice bike that will go fast if needed but I really enjoy the rides just for the sake of riding. I have found that getting your bike set up for you in fit and gearing has made a world of difference in my comfort level on longer rides.

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Old 02-21-16, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
So true. And, one thing I always have to deal with is patience. Basically, I have none. I always find myself putting pressure on myself to be faster or stronger or more fluid. Sometimes you just have to go ride and forget all the markers. That also makes it easier to want to get on the bike the next time.
I don't think that "more fluid" is the worst thing. I try to be more fluid in my pedaling; to get to the point where the bike is working with me on the pedaling. Does that make sense?

Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
Another note about tailbone pain. If your saddle is too narrow, it may be pushing your sit bones apart and there are two tiny ligaments that stabilize the tail and it's likely they are being strained. I survived 47 miles out of 60 on a bad saddle and couldn't sit right for a week.
Are you saying this bike makes my butt look big?

This could be a valid point. After an evening of ibuprofen and rest, my tailbone feels better. It could also be that I was sitting too far forward when I hit the potholes that bounced me off the seat. I can bike down to my LBS (only about a mile, mostly flat) to talk to them about it. They're pretty good about stuff like this, and they cater to people like me who just want to ride around town, commute, and go on the occasional longer trip.

Originally Posted by Caymandiver1 View Post
I started riding about a year ago in the same circumstances as you and after a year a 40-50 mile ride is great fun. I stop when I want to and sit down and eat an energy bar, drink some water, take some pictures, look at the scenery. I have a nice bike that will go fast if needed but I really enjoy the rides just for the sake of riding. I have found that getting your bike set up for you in fit and gearing has made a world of difference in my comfort level on longer rides.
I've come to adopt something like your attitude; sort of a "if it doesn't feel right, do something else" view. I gave up the idea of riding with one group because that group's style is to ride at 20 mph on every ride. I might need to start my own bike group that only does rides where there are coffee shops every five or ten miles.

One other lesson learned, with sub-lessons: it's ok to reward yourself with something good to eat after a ride. It's probably not good if that reward is a bagel with loads of cream cheese and a couple of small bags of potato chips on the side. I'm starting to reward myself with half a PBJ sandwich and a brisk walk to stretch out the tight muscles.

Thanks to everyone for the constructive advice and the supportive attitude.
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Old 02-21-16, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dougmon View Post
I don't think that "more fluid" is the worst thing. I try to be more fluid in my pedaling; to get to the point where the bike is working with me on the pedaling. Does that make sense?
Agreed and I don't think faster or stronger is bad either. It's the way I put pressure on myself to attain goals rather than just enjoy the ride that's my problem. I might add this comes from many years of HS and College football where you are always pushing yourself to get "better." Really it's a problem of my own making.
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Old 02-21-16, 08:35 AM
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Next order of business, bunny hop. It's pothole season.
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Old 02-21-16, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Next order of business, bunny hop. It's pothole season.
Um..."bunny hop"? Clarify, please?

Edit: ah, never mind. I googled it. And yes, certainly, that will be the next thing I learn to do.

Last edited by dougmon; 02-21-16 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 02-21-16, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Agreed and I don't think faster or stronger is bad either. It's the way I put pressure on myself to attain goals rather than just enjoy the ride that's my problem. I might add this comes from many years of HS and College football where you are always pushing yourself to get "better." Really it's a problem of my own making.
I certainly understand the desire to be faster, stronger, etc. And I think we're alike in that we both want to be better NOW!

I'm trying to approach riding as something that will allow me to stay fit through the next few decades, and not as something that will force me to push myself every time I get on the bike. I don't ever want to get to the point where I think I have to be faster because that's the only measure of how good I am at riding. For me, I don't want to ride faster before I feel ready to ride faster. A friend of mine has told me I have a mature attitude, but I think of it as pragmatic; riding faster, harder, etc. before you're ready is just asking for problems.

Sorry, I don't mean to apply all of the above to you, @bruce19. It's not you, it's me.
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Old 02-21-16, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by dougmon View Post
I certainly understand the desire to be faster, stronger, etc. And I think we're alike in that we both want to be better NOW!

I'm trying to approach riding as something that will allow me to stay fit through the next few decades, and not as something that will force me to push myself every time I get on the bike. I don't ever want to get to the point where I think I have to be faster because that's the only measure of how good I am at riding. For me, I don't want to ride faster before I feel ready to ride faster. A friend of mine has told me I have a mature attitude, but I think of it as pragmatic; riding faster, harder, etc. before you're ready is just asking for problems.

Sorry, I don't mean to apply all of the above to you, @bruce19. It's not you, it's me.
I think you have the right perspective and I'm trying to refine mine to match yours. Damn you, Strava.
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Old 02-21-16, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I think you have the right perspective and I'm trying to refine mine to match yours. Damn you, Strava.
I've spent the past 3mos riding in slo-mo, fully ignoring the low miles and avg speed. The day is coming and soon where Strava and I will have a celebration at the top of a particular and locally infamous hill.
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Old 02-21-16, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Valuable truth: just get on the bike and ride. Never depend on feelings. Just sling your leg over and ride off. Everything changes.
This is a good thing to remember. I often have a bit of a struggle with subconscious voices telling me I'm a bit tired and riding will be hard. I've only had one ride in the last month. Had a long string of days in the 50s and I just can't get motivated for that. First time since I started riding about 4 years ago that I've been off the bike for more than week. It's well into the 70s today, but I still struggled to get started.

Once I hit the bottom of the driveway, I felt much better and 30 miles later I felt great.
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Old 02-21-16, 02:26 PM
  #23  
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Once the bunny hop is mastered, the next item is a wheelie across the parking lot. I've not been on the bike much in the last month as weather has been snowy with ice patches on the roadways. So the first ride a few days ago, a mere 8 miles around town, my butt was a bit sore again. It does not take long to lose conditioning, wherever that conditioning should be. Not every ride has to be of epic proportions. Often, If I'm not feeling too athletic, a leisurely ride around town and in the nearby state park of about 5 to 10 miles is just the thing to satisfy a cycling appetite. Sometime though, when feeling less than enthusiastic for a ride, I'll go anyway and get stronger as the ride progresses. One doesn't know how it will turn out unless you go.

Glad you found us Dougmon.
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Old 02-22-16, 11:00 AM
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Its like going to church, rats, who wants to take time for it. Once you are there, you know it was the right choice.

Rambling? At our age, that is what we do best!
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Old 02-22-16, 11:41 AM
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I have a couple of bikes, from carbon to steel, new to old. My wife has a some too, road and two commuters, and a fitness bike. We both like to do the all day distance rides.
On Saturday we did our first ride of the season, about 20 miles. Our average speed was < 8. It was very enjoyable to cruise on the boardwalk along the Jersey shore. We just cruised and had a really good time. we even stopped for lunch, and a beer.
To have a good ride, you don't have to ride far or long, or 20 mph, with 10 thousand feet of climbing. You just have to get out and do it.
Why don't you make your second bike one for your wife? It has benefits beyond cycling.
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