Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Weird performance

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

Weird performance

Old 05-30-20, 04:18 PM
  #1  
philbob57
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago North Shore
Posts: 1,774

Bikes: frankenbike based on MKM frame

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 501 Post(s)
Liked 277 Times in 171 Posts
Weird performance

On a number of rides this year I've started out with some strong miles, then seemed to run out of energy, and then finished strong. For example, yesterday I had 5 fun miles (12-14 mph, fast for me), 4 hellish miles (8-10 mph), then 13 great miles (13-17 mph).

It wasn't climbing - they don't call my home part of the great plains for nothing. As i rode, the wind felt like it might matter, but when I stopped, I felt little to no wind, and my weather app showed little to no wind.

Has anyone gone through this? Is it common? Anyone know why this is happening?

Thanks in advance.
philbob57 is offline  
Old 05-31-20, 02:57 AM
  #2  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 12,834

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 190 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4192 Post(s)
Liked 2,108 Times in 1,351 Posts
Very common. Depends on many factors, ranging from health, base fitness, diet, rest, road conditions, bike fit and many intangibles.

For me, the biggest improvement I've made toward consistency has been using a heart rate monitor (Wahoo Tickr chest strap) and monitoring my heart rate variability (HRV). I use HRV apps (Elite HRV and Wattson Blue, although now I mostly use Elite HRV) to check myself before every ride or workout. I checked that data over the same 20-30 mile route over time, with notes about how I felt that day and any variables, to get an idea of my baseline.

And I monitor my heart rate during a ride. I've set an alarm on my bike computer to notify me when I hit the transition point between maximum aerobic effort and anaerobic effort. I know that when that alarm sounds I have approximately 30 seconds at that heart rate before I'll gas out very suddenly.

These can vary a bit depending on my medications. My blood pressure is usually fine but occasionally I take a beta blocker for migraine headaches. That med will slow my heart rate 10-20 bpm, so my usual baseline and guidelines for exertion are way off. On those days I'll take it easy and not try for a hard workout.

And occasionally I need a Sudafed or ephedrine for sinus congestion and asthma when my steroid inhalers aren't working well enough -- depends on the airborne allergens, barometric pressure, etc. Those decongestants can elevate my heart rate around 10 bpm, so I adjust my maximum efforts accordingly. Despite claims by sports regulatory agencies, I don't find any performance benefits from Sudafed or ephedrine, which are mild stimulants. It's not a useful stimulant and there's no consistent performance effect. Caffeine is a far more effective stimulant and generally considered beneficial by most folks. It also enhances the effects of some OTC analgesics such as aspirin and seems to have a small pain relief effect, while not elevating my heart rate significantly.

Long story short, I ride according to my heart rate. Assuming I'm well rested, my diet has been good, etc. -- a good baseline for a workout ride -- my heart rate has been a good guide for gauging my effort. I don't worry much about speed because that varies depending on the wind, pavement, which bike I'm riding, whether I'm in an aero tuck or sitting up, wearing my comfortable casual fit jersey or a snug aero jersey, etc. But my heart rate is a pretty good guide.

Multiple tests on the indoor trainer and outdoor rides indicate my maximum heart rate is 173 bpm. At age 62 that's probably about right for someone who's reasonably fit. A tempo or Zone 3 effort would be around 145 bpm and on a good day I can hold that for 2-3 hours. And on a good day I can hold around 150-155 bpm for around 30 minutes before it gets uncomfortable enough that I need to ease back for a few minutes. I set my bike computer to sound an alarm at 161 bpm because when I hit that number it escalates very quickly and I'm usually able to hold it for only 30-60 seconds.

However I've noticed that since riding more methodically this year I can hold some of those efforts a little longer and more comfortably. So I may re-evaluate my maximum heart rate and estimated zones soon. I've stuck with my figures from last summer because I was dealing with some health issues (illness and injury) and wanted to be sure I was recovered fully before re-evaluating my baseline.

I also compare my results on Strava with other folks whom I know pretty well: a somewhat younger friend who's an absolute beast, a ridiculously strong cyclist for a guy in his 50s and a real inspiration to me; a few other fellows closer to my age and performance levels on the same routes and Strava segments. So if I'm faster or slower than usual, or just not feeling great, I'll check their rides for that day and see if we're in the same ballpark. Sometimes I'm significantly faster on some segments but our overall average speeds are about the same because I tend to loaf around and soft pedal between harder efforts. Or one of us might be riding in a group and getting the benefit of drafting and/or pacing, while the other guy might be riding solo. Or the wind conditions might have changed throughout the day on the same routes.

Generally I'm very middle of the pack among the group of a couple dozen pretty fit guys in their 50s-60s. Over the past couple of years I've crept up from slightly slower than middle of the pack to slightly faster, especially on climbs which used to be my nemesis. That's due in part to losing weight. I'm not really any stronger, but I'm hauling less of me uphill.

I've also found terrain and tires to be a factor. Increasingly our roads are being resurfaced with chipseal rather than smooth asphalt, so the paved roads feel sluggish. Switching from, say, 700x23 tires inflated to around 100 psi to 700x25 tires inflated to around 80 psi turned out to be a little faster and much more comfortable. Same with my hybrid -- switching from 700x32 to 700x42 tires (good tires, not just fatter and heavier) turned out to be faster and less tiring. I was a skeptic about the bigger is better hype but in my case it turned out to be true for pavement that isn't smooth.

Just being more comfortable over distance meant I had more energy on longer rides and could sustain a faster average speed. Again, I don't think I'm stronger than I was in 2017. But if I'm more comfortable and can sustain a consistent effort longer, my average speed is faster.
canklecat is offline  
Old 05-31-20, 07:58 AM
  #3  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 16,843
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2985 Post(s)
Liked 2,324 Times in 1,276 Posts
When I do longer rides there is usually some point when I don't feel as good as the rest of the ride. I just try to get through it and the goodness comes back.

Of course, if it's a really hard ride and I get really tired then I suffer and struggle to the end. Haven't experienced that in a while.
big john is offline  
Old 05-31-20, 08:58 AM
  #4  
Iride01
Hits [ENTER] b4 thinking
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 7,710

Bikes: '20 Tarmac Disc Comp '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3020 Post(s)
Liked 1,610 Times in 1,174 Posts
I start quite a few rides where my legs just feel like they can't do anything. I've learned to ignore that and after twenty sometimes thirty miles they come alive and I can easily go as far as I care too. I've even found that most of my better segment times are after thirty miles, even on days that my legs rebelled initially.

Since your ride is over an hour, you did every ten or fifteen minutes tap a sip of water or your favorite hydration mix?

If your riding comes in burst of a few days, then undetermined amounts off the bike, then anything goes as far as what your body will do.

Last edited by Iride01; 05-31-20 at 09:07 AM.
Iride01 is online now  
Old 05-31-20, 09:23 AM
  #5  
berner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bristol, R. I.
Posts: 4,340

Bikes: Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 661 Post(s)
Liked 490 Times in 296 Posts
I'm asthmatic and it gets a bit worst every year. Still, some days are better than others and on some days I start out poorly but get better over time. I think it is all normal variability. In baseball, a pitcher can throw a no hitter one day and a week later can't get the ball over the plate.
berner is offline  
Old 05-31-20, 10:13 AM
  #6  
skidder
Bipsycorider
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,313

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 629 Post(s)
Liked 370 Times in 264 Posts
Its amazing how even a small breeze can affect your riding. A few weeks ago no the local MUP I didn't feel any wind whatsoever, so put the bike in my usually 'grinder gear' and started off. After 5 miles I was getting exhausted. At 6 miles out I finally saw a flag on a pole and it was being moved by a constant breeze (easily <5MPH), so I shifted down and rode up to my planned turn-around point (9 miles out). Coming back was a breeze (pun ), did it all the way in a higher gear, even some of the 'dips' where it goes under roadways.
skidder is offline  
Old 05-31-20, 11:51 AM
  #7  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,558

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2983 Post(s)
Liked 903 Times in 685 Posts
When you notice a headwind no matter in which direction you're riding. you're moving right along. It's a good thing. When you feel that, think about getting more aero.

What's happening is that your blood sugar is dropping out and then your body's responding by recruiting fat reserves. My guess is that it's something to do with what you eat or don't eat right before the ride, and that you don't have a lot of miles in your legs this year. It takes you 1/2 hour to drop out, then you're down for 1/2 hour, then you're good to go for a while. You can keep doing this, even exacerbating it by going out in the morning with coffee but no breakfast. That way, you're burning fat right from the start. That's kinda tough but it works. The other direction is to eat a good meal with good carbs about 2 hours before your ride. Then you'll have steady energy for the first hour, but will than have to start eating on the bike. The other popular thing is to eat a Clif bar or similar 15' before you start riding and then keep eating on the bike about every 1/2 hour, at a rate of say 100 calories/hour. That also does a good job of keeping your BS steady. Riding is all about what goes in your mouth: hydration and fueling. Don't think of it as food, it's fuel. Another popular thing is to carry a sports drink in your bottle and take a drink maybe every 15'. Gatorade is the most popular, Cytomax and HEED are similar to that but better tasting and in powder form. There are others. Same sort of thing, 100-150 calories/hour.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 05-31-20, 03:43 PM
  #8  
rowerek
Senior Member
 
rowerek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Treasure Coast/Palm Beach County, Florida
Posts: 54

Bikes: Colnago C40 2004, 1985 Centurion Elite RS, Specialized Roubaix Elite

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
I guess more information would help with pinpointing the issue. Why the 4 miles were "hellish"?

Most obvious would be the wind. Does not have to be strong, moderate breeze can make you struggle and frustrated one way, and then when coming back with the wind pushing you biking with ease and happy. But there can be other issues, out of breath, heavy legs, bonking, lactate threshold, stomach cramps, dehydration, overheating/ heat stroke, cold/allergies/flu, over-training, etc.
For example in running, when i run with a few mph wind and is hot and humid (Florida!) I am most likely overheating and struggling, and coming back the wind cools me down and power in the legs comes back.
rowerek is offline  
Old 05-31-20, 07:05 PM
  #9  
TakingMyTime
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Los Alamitos, Calif.
Posts: 2,074

Bikes: Trek 7.4 FX, 5200 & 7700

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 778 Post(s)
Liked 567 Times in 346 Posts
Originally Posted by big john View Post
When I do longer rides there is usually some point when I don't feel as good as the rest of the ride. I just try to get through it and the goodness comes back.
+1
No matter how great the ride is... there is always some point where I'm questioning my sanity and why I chose to ride that day. It passes.
TakingMyTime is offline  
Likes For TakingMyTime:
Old 06-01-20, 04:01 PM
  #10  
CyclingFool95 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern NJ
Posts: 376

Bikes: 1987 Pinarello Montello, 1996 Litespeed Classic, 1996 Colnago Master Light, 1997 Litespeed Ultimate, 2006 Opera Leonardo FP, 2006 Pinarello Paris FP, 1984 Pinarello Record, 89-ish Cornelo Profilo

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Liked 90 Times in 64 Posts
I find the first 20-30 minutes I feel like garbage but then gradually loosen up (legs, heart, lungs, etc). I've been trying to avoid stops because lately I find the same issue after a stop of 10-15 minutes I'm back trying to get a rhythm. That never used to be an issue. With age comes all sorts of things.
CyclingFool95 is offline  
Old 06-02-20, 01:49 AM
  #11  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 12,834

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 190 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4192 Post(s)
Liked 2,108 Times in 1,351 Posts
Ditto, the warmup. And cooldown. I always take my time warming up before getting serious about a workout ride. I piddle pedal for 15-30 minutes, keeping my heart rate around zone 2 (or just guesstimate by how I feel and whether I can talk or sing while riding without choppy breathing). Same on the return leg, with a 15-30 minute cooldown. In between I'll aim for a 1-2 hour harder workout. But if I push it too hard, too soon, I'll redline and it's hard to recover.

On the other hand, doing an occasional high intensity interval session is helpful for real world riding scenarios when I don't have 30 minutes to warm up, and have to push myself to avoid getting dropped in a group ride. Took awhile but I was pleased to find I could approach my maximum heart rate during a ride, ease up for only a minute, and resume a reasonable effort, and do that for a couple of hours. Wasn't easy, took about a year of methodical training, but I did get good results. But interval training hurts. There's no way around it. If it doesn't hurt and you aren't on the verge of barfing or passing out, it's probably not a high intensity interval session.
canklecat is offline  
Likes For canklecat:
Old 06-03-20, 09:00 PM
  #12  
1saxman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: The Old Dominion
Posts: 232

Bikes: Trek 930 (1992), Motobecane Hybrid w/juice brakes, spring fork and Shimano 8-spd hub.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 11 Posts
The main thing that bothers me is seat pain. I only returned to cycling in October of last year and took a sabbatical when COVID hit. I was also needed at home during that period because of remodeling projects. But between October and March I never could get to the point where I could go for more than two hours, and usually the last 45 minutes was torture. I thought I had the solution with a Selle Anatomica that I carefully set up according to their excellent instructions, but while it was better, it didn't solve it. Pads or no pads make no difference. As soon as I get off the bike, everything is fine with little to no residual soreness.
I guess I have had some energy crashes and thanks to 'Carbonfiberboy's excellent explanation I believe I see the solution to those. I'm only riding for two hours at a time and that's only once a week, so I think what I need is to get in more seat time with at least three one-hour rides in the week between the longer ride.
When I was 40, I didn't really have a good bike but I was in a club that went on a 'Metric Century'. I had an old Raleigh 3-speed/coaster brake that I added a front caliper brake to. It was totally stripped and painted black. It had an ancient leather saddle with all the top layer of leather cracked off. I rode that thing on the ride and my biggest problem was having to stop every half-hour or so and get off the bike to take a few steps to get feeling back in my toes. My feet go to sleep but now with good cycling shoes it rarely bothers me. Anyway, I made the 100K and even managed to pass a few guys on the way back - many were having cramps for some reason. IIRC, I don't think I had a bottle cage on that bike and I don't think I owned a water bottle at the time.
Now, at 75, I still have good legs and decent aerobic capacity (still gigging on sax too) but the seat pain is causing me to not want to go riding sometimes. I'm not carrying much extra weight, only about 20 pounds overweight, so that's not it. I'll really work on getting in the shorter rides in the hope that seat time will be the answer, and I'll work on nutrition/hydration to see if I can increase stamina.
1saxman is offline  
Old 06-03-20, 09:43 PM
  #13  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,558

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2983 Post(s)
Liked 903 Times in 685 Posts
Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
The main thing that bothers me is seat pain. I only returned to cycling in October of last year and took a sabbatical when COVID hit. I was also needed at home during that period because of remodeling projects. But between October and March I never could get to the point where I could go for more than two hours, and usually the last 45 minutes was torture. I thought I had the solution with a Selle Anatomica that I carefully set up according to their excellent instructions, but while it was better, it didn't solve it. Pads or no pads make no difference. As soon as I get off the bike, everything is fine with little to no residual soreness.
I guess I have had some energy crashes and thanks to 'Carbonfiberboy's excellent explanation I believe I see the solution to those. I'm only riding for two hours at a time and that's only once a week, so I think what I need is to get in more seat time with at least three one-hour rides in the week between the longer ride.
When I was 40, I didn't really have a good bike but I was in a club that went on a 'Metric Century'. I had an old Raleigh 3-speed/coaster brake that I added a front caliper brake to. It was totally stripped and painted black. It had an ancient leather saddle with all the top layer of leather cracked off. I rode that thing on the ride and my biggest problem was having to stop every half-hour or so and get off the bike to take a few steps to get feeling back in my toes. My feet go to sleep but now with good cycling shoes it rarely bothers me. Anyway, I made the 100K and even managed to pass a few guys on the way back - many were having cramps for some reason. IIRC, I don't think I had a bottle cage on that bike and I don't think I owned a water bottle at the time.
Now, at 75, I still have good legs and decent aerobic capacity (still gigging on sax too) but the seat pain is causing me to not want to go riding sometimes. I'm not carrying much extra weight, only about 20 pounds overweight, so that's not it. I'll really work on getting in the shorter rides in the hope that seat time will be the answer, and I'll work on nutrition/hydration to see if I can increase stamina.
I also think that saddle time is the cure. I think the best plan is 30 minutes every day to start with. Butt tissues become deoxygenated because the pressure decreases blood flow. The good thing is that they get used to it. That said, lack of blood flow to the tissues between the legs is a disaster. Any numbness at all is a cause for alarm. Repeated numbness episodes add up. For your butt, simply stand and pedal for 30" or so every 10 minutes, by the clock. Makes a huge difference. As long as you're not getting numb dick or sores, saddle is OK.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 06-07-20, 09:30 AM
  #14  
Wanderer
aka Phil Jungels
 
Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Aurora, IL
Posts: 8,234

Bikes: 08 Specialized Crosstrail Sport, 05 Sirrus Comp

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 202 Post(s)
Liked 82 Times in 56 Posts
On some days, my legs just feel tired. My riding partner also says the same thing. We just haven't figured out WHY yet! Might be age, who knows? Might only be one day a week or month or whenever!
Wanderer is offline  
Old 06-07-20, 09:45 AM
  #15  
CyclingBK
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 240
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 52 Posts
Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Ditto, the warmup. And cooldown. I always take my time warming up before getting serious about a workout ride. I piddle pedal for 15-30 minutes, keeping my heart rate around zone 2 (or just guesstimate by how I feel and whether I can talk or sing while riding without choppy breathing). Same on the return leg, with a 15-30 minute cooldown. In between I'll aim for a 1-2 hour harder workout. But if I push it too hard, too soon, I'll redline and it's hard to recover.

On the other hand, doing an occasional high intensity interval session is helpful for real world riding scenarios when I don't have 30 minutes to warm up, and have to push myself to avoid getting dropped in a group ride. Took awhile but I was pleased to find I could approach my maximum heart rate during a ride, ease up for only a minute, and resume a reasonable effort, and do that for a couple of hours. Wasn't easy, took about a year of methodical training, but I did get good results. But interval training hurts. There's no way around it. If it doesn't hurt and you aren't on the verge of barfing or passing out, it's probably not a high intensity interval session.
Yes, I was going to say that maybe the issue is not warming up enough. My legs always feel a little dead starting out.

My average ride is 17-20 miles now and the loop I ride is 3.3 miles. Iíll warm up for a little over a lap, then ramp the effort on the second, then incorporate intervals on laps 3.4, and 5, then cool down for a lap.
CyclingBK is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.