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3rd month in, first 60 mile done

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3rd month in, first 60 mile done

Old 10-20-15, 11:09 PM
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e30jean
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3rd month in, first 60 mile done

Hi!

I am looking to get some input on progress and how to best go about it w/o getting burned out while making good progress with cycling. I started cycling at the beginning of august when I bought my first road bike (last bike I had was a folding bike back around 95). I don't ride to/from work, and my only time for cycling is either after work for an hour or two at most before it gets dark, or pretty much for weekends.

Progress over the last 3 months:

-Started riding 5-10 miles a few times a week first, then after about a week pushed myself into 20-25 mile rides. At the end of August I did my first 30 mile ride and a total of 225 miles for the month over 15 rides total.

-September I rode less frequently with only 10 rides total, did my first 42 mile ride and a total of 226 miles.

-Now we are in October, I've done 4 rides, 42,31,42 and this past weekend did my first 60.5 mile ride in 3:46 hours. I should be able to hit my target of 300 miles this month with a few weekend rides left this month.

All these rides have been on a local bike trail with some elevation, but nothing crazy. For the longer rides I basically make a loop, starting at a specific mile marker and going x miles one way and then come back around etc. I remember when I first started I could barely do 5-10 miles w/o a quick rest, I think I definitely see improvement in that area after 2 months. I can do a 30-40 mile ride with one quick stop for bathroom or snack/water.

Now, what I am wondering is this. In general is it best to keep pushing for more miles every week/month, or do something else like try to increase my pace ? My average running pace has been 16-16.5mph for the longer rides, and I can do 18-19mph sprints for a few miles before having to slow down to 15-16 (I try to keep my average mph above 15mph at minimum basically, but conserve energy for longer trips). Is it okay to have one quick stop on a 40-60 mile ride, or does that show you haven't been cycling enough and need to keep pushing yourself harder?

I am not looking to compete, if anything it's more of a challenge for myself to see if I could do (30, then 40, 50 and now 60 miles). Sorry if I missed a good thread on this topic, really just trying to find out for myself what next steps I should take and if my own pace/distance covered since I've started is ok/avg/good for a newbie?

This weekend my plan is to do another 40-60 miles, and goal for sometime next year is to do a 100 mile ride w/o feeling that you are going to crash

Thanks for any input or suggestions in advance!

Last edited by e30jean; 10-20-15 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 10-21-15, 06:28 AM
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I approach cycling as exercise and play. Therefore, I try to have two goals. One is an improvement, the other an achievement or "have fun" goal.

The point of the improvement goal is to create a plan and see progress towards the goal. "Commute by bike 3 out of 5 days this week", then "4 out of 5", then "when the morning temp is below freezing"; "ride 20 miles at X pace"; "ride this 1.5 miles uphill at Y pace".

Some weeks, when I feel burn out approaching, my fun goal is "I'm not riding this weekend" or "I'm riding to the donut shop two towns over" or "I'm just going to follow the handlebars for 2 hours".
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Old 10-21-15, 08:02 AM
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As far as stopping is concerned, why are you stopping? There's no need to stop to eat or drink, you can do that while riding. If you find that difficult, practice. Obviously, if you need to pee, stop. But if you're stopping during a 30 mile ride because you're fatigued, then I'd say you need to just keep putting in time on the bike at your current pace to build endurance. Three months at 300 miles/month isn't a huge number of miles, it takes time.

If your goal is a 100 mile ride, there's no need for specific training. Just keep accumulating the miles, learn how much you need to eat and drink on a long ride, get to the point at which a 70 mile ride is not a problem, and you're pretty much there. Look in the long-distance forum, there's a stuck thread there giving tips on riding a century.

If you want to get significantly fitter/faster, keep doing what you're doing at weekends but use one or two of your hour-long rides during the week to go harder. There are lots of ways to do this, but for example, try warming up for ten minutes then go pretty much as hard as you can sustain for 20 minutes, then ride easily for 10 minutes, then repeat before cooling down. You'll find that the combination of longish easy rides at weekends plus a couple of short hard rides during the week will develop your fitness quite fast.

Take an easy/rest day before and after the hard rides. You need to be fresh, and to give yourself time to recover. You get fit not during the workout, but after it, as your body repairs and rebuilds.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by chasm54; 10-21-15 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 10-21-15, 11:00 AM
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I've found it useful to log the miles of each ride. Otherwise it is impossible to know whether or not you are piling miles on and doing too much too soon. It is easy to over-train which results in the need to recover for long periods and in turn, results in diminished fitness. Steady increases with scheduled rest periods seem to be best. Have a good look at Joe Friel's training website. Joe Friel - Five Fundamentals of Training
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Old 10-21-15, 12:25 PM
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Sounds like you are doing great to me. Just keep it fun. It's not a job.

I tossed my cyclometers away after I quit racing but admit that lately I have become quite enamored with the Strava app. Check it out.
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Old 10-22-15, 11:06 AM
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e30jean
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Hi,

I am using a cheap cateye and mapmyride currently to track my progress, sounds like maybe I am overthinking it at this point.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.
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Old 10-23-15, 06:32 AM
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I am doing the same with the cateye and mapmyride. I find it a tool for tracking my improvement (or lack of ) by monitoring it with those tools.
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Old 11-30-15, 12:17 PM
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e30jean
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Small update. I hit my goal of 300 miles in october so that felt good November was a slow month for me with a late start, ended up hitting my goal of 200 miles yesterday after 6 rides. I feel like I am getting better with being able to go longer or faster in sprints. Closing November with hitting 1000 mile mark.

The one issue I am having is I am not very comfortable in the drops, so I'll look into getting a 2nd set of eyes to look at the handlebars / angle / size etc.

Last edited by e30jean; 11-30-15 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 11-30-15, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by e30jean View Post
The one issue I am having is I am not very comfortable in the drops...
Well, that was my complaint/concern when I was still riding DF's. Ultimately, I wound up switching to recumbents because I couldn't solve the lower back pain problem despite two different professional bike fits and lots of tweaking on my own.

So, take this "advice" for what it's worth...
Unless you're "racing", you could consider raising the handlebars - counter-intuitive, I know. But by doing so, you may be able to ride the drops longer - if that is really the goal. Yes, you'll sit up slightly higher when not in the drops, but you may find the ratio of in-the-drops-time to not-in-the-drops time is better - with less air resistance and so on.

Consider the length and angle of the stem "throw" (I don't know the correct term - what I am referring to is the part that holds the handlebar itself). By selecting a different angle/length for the stem, you can change your riding position in 3 dimensions - height, distance and vertical height from the ground/seat. This may also allow you to find the most comfortable position both in and out of the drops.

Remember that "most comfortable" and "most efficient" are not necessarily the same position. You may have to choose.

I bought an adjustable stem and messed with it at various angles and heights for about 6 months before choosing my "final" handlebar stem (length and angle) and stem "setting"(height and angle). Then I bought a stem fitting those dimensions and sold the adjustable one for about 80% of its value on eBay.

As I said, though, ultimately, I went to a recumbent despite having gotten the DF set up so I could ride 40 miles on it and not need an ambulance afterwards.

Good luck.
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Old 12-01-15, 12:09 PM
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e30jean
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Thanks for the suggestions, I will look more into the handlebars stem length and angle. It may just be I haven't spent enough time riding yet, so I'll just keep at it
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Old 12-01-15, 01:40 PM
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If the weather allows you 6-6:30 on a bike without frozen extremities, I'll bet you could knock off a solo 100 miles right now.

+/- 100 km in 3:46 is pretty damned good after 3 months. Now almost 4-1/2 months in, you could do the 100 miles.
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Old 12-01-15, 04:28 PM
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I do set personal goals for me, I started out 15 miles a week with different elevations, but I had to build up because of lack of endurance and health.. then 4 weeks ago, i set a 25 miles goal, which has different elevations and made it 2 weeks ago and this past week I hit 34 miles and of that Wednesday I rode 20 miles but it took me 2 months of riding every Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday... after I get my bike out of the shop my next goal will be 40-45 by the end of December. I have not been keeping much time but the 20 took my 1:50 to ride. now to pick up the pace. .7 miles around the lake what would be a great time and for the 20 mile ? what is a great time per mile with elevations
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