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lesson re-learned

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lesson re-learned

Old 06-23-16, 10:43 AM
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lesson re-learned

Last week-end I did my 1st metric century of the year (with the implication that I'll do more?). It was a 1st time local charity ride that I felt somewhat obligated to support. Additionally, a friend wanted some company along the early section. What can you do?

The routes were quite nice, reasonably well marked and had about 3500-4000ft of climbing which is pretty typical around here. The weather was cool at the start but was hitting 90 with a fair amount of humidity by the middle section. I was well hydrated and had enough food that calories weren't an issue. After a parting of the way with my friend, who opted for a shorter route I continued on my own. Being a reasonably experienced rider, I kept a comfortable pace until... At the rest stop where I got to chatting with a younger fit rider with whom I started riding. Oops! He was about 1-2mph faster than I knew I should be going. He was a nice guy and kept waiting for me at the tops of the hills despite my suggestion that he not let me hold him up. By the time we were about 15 miles from home, I was pretty well toasted. At the last rest stop I finally gave up the ghost and he rode off with another faster rider. That last 15 miles was all about trying to keep the leg cramps down to a dull roar.

Now intellectually I know better than to ride outside of my comfort zone, at least on a longer more strenuous distance. In my defense, the company was welcome, the conversation good, and my ego was working a bit as well. Just because I'm 65 doesn't mean I can't ride as I did 10-15 years ago, right? Literally, three blocks from home I had to stop, get off of the bike and spend 5 minutes stretching. I think that I would have had a problem walking those blocks at that point. A painful statement in the case for pace!

Last edited by rck; 06-23-16 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 06-23-16, 04:28 PM
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I know that lesson well.
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Old 06-23-16, 06:29 PM
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It happens... sounds like you had a good time over all.
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Old 06-23-16, 06:41 PM
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Yep. Sounds like what I experience every Spring. The mind is willing, but the old body just isn't up to the task...
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Old 06-23-16, 06:57 PM
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That's why I never progressed beyond intermediate level in amateur races in my 20s. I could ride all day with little rest, even centuries, as long as it was my own pace. But I couldn't adjust to the ebb and flo of the pack, and my endurance would be sapped by pushing only slightly harder than my comfort zone.

Nowadays I don't even worry about it. The only groups I ride with are casual city rides. And I only push my self when I'm riding alone, about once a week on the nearest thing we have to a hilly route. I can't think of a single time I've passed anyone who was riding a road bike locally -- I've tried pacing off them from behind but can never keep up for even a mile. Although I often pass other riders on hybrids and city bikes. Those city bike riders make my 12 mph loafing pace feel like I'm flying.
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Old 06-23-16, 09:35 PM
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I would think that there are many who've experienced the same / similar. While not challenged by another cyclist, I faced a headwind for most of an 80 mile ride last week with about 2,800 ft of climbing. The calf muscles were tightening by half way, but I managed to keep them from cramping, and finished the ride in my usual time. I was definitely dehydrated though despite eating and drinking what my experience would suggest is enough for this distance and effort. Two weeks earlier I rode a similar ride with the same distance and 7,300 ft of climbing which I sailed thru without a hiccup. Was the wind really that big of an influence this last weekend? Or perhaps it was the hill climb ride the night before? I don't know. It just happens I guess.
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Old 06-24-16, 03:53 AM
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Congratulations for persevering and completing the task at hand. Those "oops-now that was not the smartest thing to do" moments in time when the end is still a distance away are often helpful yet painful instructional lessons that can seem humorous in retrospect.

Some R&R and out you go for a 100 miler.
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Old 06-24-16, 05:04 AM
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That's what makes you faster and stronger even at 65. Good ride!
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Old 06-24-16, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rck
Last week-end I did my1st metric century of the year (with the implication that I'll do more?…After aparting of the way with my friend, who opted for a shorter route I continued onmy own. Being a reasonably experienced rider, I kept a comfortable paceuntil...
Originally Posted by rck
At the rest stop I got to chattingwitha younger fit rider with whom I started riding… By the time we were about15 miles from home, I was pretty well toasted. At the last rest stop I finallygave up the ghost and he rode off with another faster rider. That last 15 mileswas all about trying to keep the leg cramps down to a dull roar.

Now intellectually I know better than to ride outside of my comfort zone, atleast on a longer more strenuous distance….A painful statement in the case forpace!

Originally Posted by freedomrider1
It happens...sounds like you had a good time over all.
My aphorism when riding a challenging ride is “ride your own pace.” Not only riding too fast (with someone), but also not riding too slow (with someone) either. It sounds self-absorbed, but IMO that’s the best way to assure completion. I make that clear whatever I ride with someone, particularly if I hook up with a stranger.

In my ride description of a previous Fifty-Plus Annual Ride, I wrote:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
…Freedomrider, Irwin, John, rtool and I found each other at about 7:00 AM…Freedomrider, Irwin and I started out together and by agreement we rode our own paces so I left them early
The other two finished the ride in a timely manner, but I crashed well after the ride strung out at about mile 94 of my intended century. So acounter-argument to riding your own pace is that the solitude might be risky.

When I do occasionally ride a long organized ride, my strategy is to start early, so that perhaps a slightly faster group might pick me up and let me draft. Alternatively, I might catch up to an equivalently matched rider or group, and we can pull each other along.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 06-24-16 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 06-24-16, 05:47 AM
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About 15 years ago (when I was still young-just under 40), I was at a club ride where an older gentleman with a VERY nice Italian-frame bike who was in his mid 70's paced me for a long time. At the last rest stop, he said that he was going to go with slower riders for the rest of the ride, for the same reason. Now that I'm in my mid 50's, I finally understand why.
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Old 06-24-16, 06:41 AM
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This year, I haven't done as many fast (for me) group rides. Instead, more "zone 2" or "conversational pace" longer rides. I can do 50 or 60 miles quite easily, but I notice more cramping problems than usual if I try to hang on to a fast ride, where I have to work hard on hills. And I'm definitely slower on these hard efforts.

I've gotten in a few faster rides and a couple of solo hard efforts over the last 3 weeks, and it's made a big difference. I'm closer to my 2015 speed now.
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Old 06-24-16, 07:40 AM
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First thing- congrats on actually doing it! Secondly, I find that most people underestimate their abilities and thusly railroad their growth. You never know until you reach thresholds like you did! Keep it up, it really does get easier.
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Old 06-24-16, 08:11 AM
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Sounds all to familiar. Feel good about it, you hung with the younger faster rider for longer than you expected. Good job. I did the same thing with a younger faster group at a charity ride this spring. I hung with them up to about 40 mile mark. This ride was on roads I ride every day, and I knew the 18 mph head winds were coming up. I struggled a bit up one hill in that wind and they dropped me like I was dragging an anchor.

I caught them at the last rest stop which is at about 48 miles. Hung with them for another few miles and lost them again, but I only finished a few minutes behind them. I was beat, but I felt good about the day.
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