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Help With Expectations and Goals

Old 06-17-17, 09:02 AM
  #1  
LabRat55
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Help With Expectations and Goals

OK...I have just started riding regularly. I began back in March and was riding 5 miles 3 times each week. Then 6 miles, then 7 miles...etc. I am now riding 10 miles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and today (Saturday) I rode 12 miles. This is my longest ride so far. I intend to ride 10 miles tomorrow for a total of 42 miles this week. My goal is to average 50 miles each week and eventually work up to a 25 mile ride in one day.
The 12 miles today was a challenge.
I have been averaging 12 to 14 miles/hour on a Giant Roam 3 Hybrid. Most of these miles are in my neighborhood with a few mild hills. Today's ride was at Beckley Creek here in Louisville and there are (what I consider) a couple of challenging hills. I averaged 12.3 mph today. I am tracking these rides with the Map My Ride app.
I am curious how long it might take me to get to a 25 mile ride and get some feedback from all the experienced riders on this forum. How far do you ride each time and each week? I have read where some of you folks ride 50-100 miles in one day! To me, that is amazing and probably unrealistic for me. I am 62 years old and in relatively good health.
Let me hear from you on your routines and how long it took you to reach your milestones.
Thanks!
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Old 06-17-17, 09:19 AM
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Congratulations on your progress so far! The important thing is staying happy in achieving your goals. There are two extremes in reaching goals like yours. One is gradually increase efforts like distance and speed over time. This comes naturally over a long period. The other is using a structured process and often involves objective monitoring with tools like a HR device. It's more strenuous and involves denication. Then are in various in between approaches.

It's really what you want. The advantage of just taking it easy and enjoying yourself is its stress free.
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Old 06-17-17, 11:28 AM
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I'm nearly 80 and began cycling about 7 years ago. I began as you have riding 5 miles then 10 etc. Bit by bit I got to 30 miles and then signed up for a 50 mile cancer fund raiser. I continued increasing miles adding 10% mileage increases, as recommended by the people who study these things. I did that ride and from that point forward 50 to 60 miles became a typical ride.

I was not very comfortable on the bike at first. Many aches distributed all over. I've messed with my fit on the bike, been through a number of different saddles (about 6 I think) and the bike feels good. The longest ride has been 72 miles and I ride 3000 miles a year. If you keep doing what you are now doing, you will get up to, what now may seem to be astonishing distances. Once you get to those astonishing distances, especially for older riders, you will need be be familiar with the recovery process. Google "sports recovery" and the many and videos on this topic.
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Old 06-17-17, 11:36 AM
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For the 4 years prior to last year, I was basically not exercising at all; on July 1st last year, parked my car a few miles from work, and rode the rest of the way.

For 3.5 months, all I did was to focus on doing that, as many days a week as I could. Once I start something, it's my tendency to obsess, overdo, and then quit, so I focused on scenery, different routes, basically every way to focus on anything that made it more likely to continue. Yes, I did use MapMyRide to track my trips, but (I told myself) more to focus on how many days a week I rode, not how fast/far. (Mostly worked). Gains were minimal, seemingly non-existent that year, but lowered stress, and better mental clarity at work was worth it.

This year, started in May, and initially felt like I had lost all my gains from last year, but quickly upped my mileage to 8 miles each way/16 total during the week, and at least one longer ride most weekends. I have an exercise journal, where I reflect on what works for me, and it's my way of making cycling an integrated part of my life.

Started with 95 miles total the first month, did over 170 in May, on target for over 200 this month, and might make my goal of riding 20 out of 30 days. Commuting speed has increased only slightly, but last week my weekend ride was over 14mph, and over 16 for the middle 5 miles (out of 17 miles total).



Just under 1 year back, and I feel confident that I could do 20-25 miles at a slightly relaxed pace if I wanted to, though I haven't yet. Oh, I'm 57, so just a little younger.

I totally agree with StanSeven, the more you enjoy it, the more you will accomplish naturally.

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Old 06-17-17, 12:08 PM
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Congratulations. You're doing great if you're satisfied.
FWIW, I started riding at 64 and decided to JUMP IN DEEP! (That's always been my standard style (idiocy?))
  • Week 1 (starting 6/1/2010) = 3 rides, 27 miles total, long ride 13 (a group ride)
  • Week 2 = 5 rides, 103 total, 38 long (group ride)
  • Week 3 = 4, 127, 45 (group)
  • Week 4 = 6, 162, 40
  • I decided I was going to stick with this, so I stopped riding my 35 year-old Lotus with a used CF bike with indexed shifting.
  • Week 5 = 6 rides, 241 miles (!!!), long rides of 48, 51 (Wednesday club ride), 56 (Sunday club ride), and 60 miles
  • My insanity continued to the end of the year.
  • Week 15 = 2 rides, 47 miles on Wed, 1st century on Saturday (15.3 mpg avg, AHR 127, MHR 144, avg cadence 83, avg ascent per mile 49')
  • Week 16 = new bike (also used, CF, better fit), shakedown ride on Friday (15 miles), 2nd century on Sunday (15.3 mpg avg, AHR 123, MHR 150, avg cadence 85, avg ascent per mile 57')
  • Total to end of year (7 months total) = 4,945 miles - that included riding in weather as cold as 16 (I don't do that anymore)
  • 2011 = 4300 miles total, 4 rides in Jan, 0 in Feb, and then I lost the final 8 weeks for prostate surgery
This was NUTS, but it might give you a sense that it's possible you have less limits than you think.
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Old 06-17-17, 12:23 PM
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Take it slowly, build up by degrees. If you push too hard all at once, you risk injury. Slow and steady. I've gone from 2 miles to 30 mile rides, needed a bike fit to get comfortable enough to do it. My butt on my Brooks saddle still talks to me around the 30 mile mark, so it might be a while before I go further. Just focus on enjoying the ride as you go, not on the #. You'll get there before you know it!
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Old 06-17-17, 12:35 PM
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Started road riding when I was 65 y/o on a 23 y/o $15 road bike.

Did a lot of 5 mile rides, rest then 5 more.

Met a group of long distance riders one day.

11,200 miles First year, 15,923 Second year.
Average ride was 72 miles.

Ride as much as you have Time.
Take Rest Days when you need them.
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Old 06-17-17, 01:07 PM
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LabRat,

Seems to me like you're starting off on the right foot and doing pretty good so far. My advice is to just ride as much as you can and don't worry about miles, speed or time. All three will come together at some point. Enjoy the ride because it's always about the ride. When someone asks me the same question, I always quote a sign I saw over the counter in a small bike shop in Illinois that read, "The more your ride, the better you get. The better you get, the more you ride." If you have a wireless computer, put it in your jersey pocket. If you have a wired on, tape over the display. That will take your mind off the stats and put it more on the ride.
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Old 06-17-17, 02:13 PM
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I started riding again in my mid-50s. I was building my mileage up at an okay rate, but when I got up to about 18 miles, I couldn't imagine riding much further than that.

Then I started riding with groups. The first group ride was 25 miles; it felt much shorter than my solo rides of 28 miles. I wasn't going faster (at first), just farther. So, if there are biking groups available, I'd suggest you try some rides with them.

(Fair warning... if you start riding with groups, you're probably going to end up on a road bike.)
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Old 06-17-17, 02:49 PM
  #10  
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Each person is different. You have about 10 years on me, so I can't really say how much I'll be riding in a decade.

I've cycle-commuted most of my life. Not all the time, but regularly. My riding hit a minimum about 5 years ago, then I started riding a bit more. Two 16 mile rides in a day was tough, but I started riding a bit more. I went car-free about 2 - 3 years ago, and now ride almost everywhere by bike. Still mostly commuting and errand miles, but what I call a commute, some consider more epic.

My longest single day one-way commute ride has been 200 miles. But, I hit 150 mile commutes a few times a year, and several rides over 100 miles.

I think I hit around 3000 miles 2 years ago. Around 6000 miles last year, and probably will hit about 6000 this year too. I average about 800 miles a month during the summer, and drop down quite a bit during the winter. I'll have to work on that a bit.

I suppose I'm a bit lazy... so I like road bikes

I was at a ride up in Portland a few weeks ago with a mostly > 50 crowd , and there were several comments, that while many riders raise their stems as they age, I've been lowering mine
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Old 06-17-17, 03:04 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised if you could ride 25 miles now. Instead of riding 12-14 mph, ride at 10-12 mph. Take a few short breaks and you're there.
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Old 06-17-17, 03:40 PM
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Congratulations on your bicycling.

Started at age 59, within 3 months rode a 100 mile day on a mtn bike over high passes. Each person is different. Compete only against yourself.
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Old 06-17-17, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by LabRat55 View Post
OK...I have just started riding regularly. I began back in March and was riding 5 miles 3 times each week. Then 6 miles, then 7 miles...etc. I am now riding 10 miles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and today (Saturday) I rode 12 miles. This is my longest ride so far. I intend to ride 10 miles tomorrow for a total of 42 miles this week. My goal is to average 50 miles each week and eventually work up to a 25 mile ride in one day.
The 12 miles today was a challenge.
I have been averaging 12 to 14 miles/hour on a Giant Roam 3 Hybrid. Most of these miles are in my neighborhood with a few mild hills. Today's ride was at Beckley Creek here in Louisville and there are (what I consider) a couple of challenging hills. I averaged 12.3 mph today. I am tracking these rides with the Map My Ride app.
I am curious how long it might take me to get to a 25 mile ride and get some feedback from all the experienced riders on this forum. How far do you ride each time and each week? I have read where some of you folks ride 50-100 miles in one day! To me, that is amazing and probably unrealistic for me. I am 62 years old and in relatively good health.
Let me hear from you on your routines and how long it took you to reach your milestones.
Thanks!
I think you are probably ready now. At your current pace, that is only two hours on the bike. Go out at an easier than normal pace for the first 20 minutes or so, then see how you feel. Drink plenty of water. Stop and take a break if you feel tired.
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Old 06-17-17, 05:44 PM
  #14  
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Sounds like you're doing fine.

I resumed cycling in August 2015, after a 30 year I-hate-us. I intended to ride the three miles home on the heavy but plush comfort hybrid I'd just purchased. I made it one mile and collapsed on the side of the road. Fortunately a city bus was only a few hundred yards away. The driver scooped me up, showed me how to put the bike on the front carrier, and dropped me off in front of my apartment even though the official stop was down the block.

Between asthma, Hashimoto's and a busted up back and neck I kept my goals reasonable. One was a 12-mile round trip to and from a favorite local outdoor theater. I made that by the sixth week, with rest stops along the way.

Hills were always my nemesis, even when I was younger and occasionally rode solo and group centuries (100 miles or more). So I'd tackle nearby hilly routes. Even if the total distance was only three miles I'd call it a win if I could ride the entire way without walking the bike.

No specific distance goals for the next several months. I'd set a goal for a place to ride to and take as long as I needed and as many rest stops as I needed to get there. Progress came very slowly.

For my one year anniversary of resuming cycling, in August 2016, I set a ride-my-age goal of 58 miles. I went a bit over, 63 miles, riding 20 miles in the morning, resting a bit, then riding to downtown to join some friends for a casual group ride, then rode home again. Since then I've ridden several 40-60 milers in a day.

After completing that I decided I was ready for a somewhat lighter bike and got a good used early '90s steel mountain bike. I added riser bars for comfort since I still have a lot of neck pain from a car wreck. The second bike was much lighter than the first and a better fit, so I rode farther.

My average per month has gone from 100 per month the first year, 200 the second, and 300-400 per month now. Mostly I ride 20-40 miles at a time, 3-4 times a week. With family stuff it's hard to find time to ride more often or longer on any given day.

Last week I bought my first drop bar road bike in more than 30 years, a good used '89 Centurion Ironman. Still not sure I'll be able to get along with the more aggressive riding position. Due to neck pain I'm limited to 10-30 miles per session, and I'm not really any faster despite the more aerodynamic position. It's much more uncomfortable, although the bike fits me properly. But I'm working on neck strength and flexibility, and may swap the skinny 700x23 tires for something a bit wider that can safely be ridden at lower pressure -- our rural chip seal roads are atrociously uncomfortable.

But any ride is a good ride. Some days I'll just ride around the block for a few minutes to get the blood circulating. Helps.
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Old 06-17-17, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gobicycling View Post
Congratulations on your bicycling.

Started at age 59, within 3 months rode a 100 mile day on a mtn bike over high passes. Each person is different. Compete only against yourself.
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Old 06-17-17, 07:33 PM
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Goals are nice and have their place, but if you start beating yourself up because you haven't achieved them, they're doing more damage than good. Just ride your bike and enjoy it. You'll find that you'll naturally want to increase your distance, will take harder routes, ride faster, all without worrying about it, simply by listening to your legs and heart (emotions). On the other hand, if you're psychologically tuned to chase training programs, do that. It's a matter of finding out what you like doing and while that'll change through the year and over time, if you do what makes you smile, be it cruise or chase a training program, you'll keep riding. Force yourself to do something that doesn't suit you, and you'll stop.
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Old 06-17-17, 08:47 PM
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I'm retired. Training schedules sound too much to me like taking on another job.

Ride often. Keep it fun. Mix up your rides as much as you can. If you can figure a way never to ride the same route twice, that would be ideal. Whenever a day's ride stops feeling like fun, cut it short and just go home. Always save a little something in your tank for the next day. If you do that far and fast will just happen.
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Old 06-17-17, 09:13 PM
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you can do 25 now
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Old 06-17-17, 10:15 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Mix up your rides as much as you can. If you can figure a way never to ride the same route twice, that would be ideal.
That's one of the secrets. When you're riding, keep your eyes out for detours or other places you want to ride to. You don't have to ride them that day, but if you know about them, you're more likely to do them another time. Of course, just taking a random turn and seeing where it leads you is also a time honoured method, even if you do find yourself in someone's back yard.
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Old 06-18-17, 07:54 AM
  #20  
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Well, thanks to each of you for your feedback and positive comments. I plan on riding 25 miles very soon and will take your advice on not worrying about speed, etc. and take breaks when needed. I have arthritis in my right hip and was concerned about this pain while riding. The pain is almost totally gone thanks to riding and a couple of simple exercises.
Best of luck to each of you.
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Old 06-18-17, 09:55 AM
  #21  
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I don't know, every case is different, especially as we age.

But I just wanted to congratulate you on your progress!
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Old 06-18-17, 10:07 AM
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62 was a good age. I'm 72 and rode 117 miles yesterday. I started riding again at 50 after a break of 30 years. My training method was pretty simple: See hill, ride up it. Ride away from home until I was really tired, then ride back. Take food and water. Eat Clif bars, 1/4 bar every 1/2 hour for now. Wear good quality shoes and use clipless pedals. Concentrate on a smooth pedal stroke, every pedal stroke. Try to do 3 perfect pedal strokes in a row.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:29 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
62 was a good age. I'm 72 and rode 117 miles yesterday.
I agree, 62 was a good age. I'm 67 now and hope to keep riding until I'm 72 like Carbonfiberboy. I've ridden two double centuries this year but yesterday only rode 35 miles and that's fine with me.

Regarding the OP's goals and expectations, within reasonable limits, you can really accomplish whatever mileage goals you set. Speed goals, not so much, since age in more limiting, but the real question is: How much of your time do you want to put into this?

As noted above, though, when it stops being fun you're doing something wrong. Enjoy the ride, set goals if you like, but don't think it's tragic if you don't meet them. Life has a habit of getting in the way of cycling goals so be sure to leave some time for the inevitable unexpected to pop up and ruin your plans.

You sound like you have an excellent attitude and are well on your way to a happy cycling future!

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Old 06-19-17, 08:21 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
I agree, 62 was a good age. I'm 67 now and hope to keep riding until I'm 72 like Carbonfiberboy. I've ridden two double centuries this year but yesterday only rode 35 miles and that's fine with me.

Regarding the OP's goals and expectations, within reasonable limits, you can really accomplish whatever mileage goals you set. Speed goals, not so much, since age in more limiting, but the real question is: How much of your time do you want to put into this?

As noted above, though, when it stops being fun you're doing something wrong. Enjoy the ride, set goals if you like, but don't think it's tragic if you don't meet them. Life has a habit of getting in the way of cycling goals so be sure to leave some time for the inevitable unexpected to pop up and ruin your plans.

You sound like you have an excellent attitude and are well on your way to a happy cycling future!

Rick / OCRR
Looking at the sentence I've bolded . . . on that 117 mile ride I had to start 1 hour behind the group of mostly younger (early 60's) riders with whom I've been riding for many years. Riding solo, I put an hour into them and caught them in 64 miles. For the what you put into it part, my legs started hurting after 20 minutes and just kept it up, spreading to my back and calves. But that's how one gets strong. The rest of them were somewhat worn out, so I pulled for the last 25 miles.

I don't really train that much or that hard, at most 12 hours/week, but mostly I ride tandem or hike with my wife and I recommend both those very highly for building endurance.
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Old 06-19-17, 11:50 PM
  #25  
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Awesome! I love reading these inspiring stories of people discovering, or rediscovering, the joys of riding bikes. Go far, go fast, go slow, go short, it's all great and all have their place.

The only advice I'll offer is to be sure to keep your training well-rounded. Do some yoga (or just stretch if you don't like that term). Weights can be useful and fun, in their own way, as well. Cycling can lead to some annoying over-use type of injuries, especially during those first months when our enthusiasm and muscle strength can outstrip the strength of our joints if we aren't careful and lucky. Listen to your body and learn its language.
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