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Ride distances

Old 08-13-22, 11:52 PM
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VegasJen
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Ride distances

I know we have a lot of dedicated riders here. Some of us go hard and heavy, some of us slow and steady, some of us just do whatever it is we can do. But I'm curious to know what's a "good" ride for you. Do you enjoy the distances? Elevation? The challenge? Scenic views? Just getting out and clearing your head?

As for me, it's all about pushing myself. I push the whole time, but that limits me. No centuries in my future. Depending on the mood, the conditions and what I have planned, I have three basic distances I go. A "short" ride is 20 miles or less. I'll really try and push myself on these rides, maintain a 17-18mph (or better) pace if I can. A "regular" ride is 21-34 miles. These are more of my training rides I do preparing for triathlons. I try to maintain a good pace and finish as strong (or close to) as I started. Finally, a "long" ride is 35-50 miles. I don't do these very often, mainly because of conditions. The only time it's suitable to do a ride that long for me is probably October into early December or maybe late February into early April. I find these rides drain me and I have to plan accordingly, pace myself and pay attention to conditions like wind and elevation. The long rides are bad for me because my competitive nature compels to push to failure and I really have to focus on pacing so I don't hurt myself.
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Old 08-14-22, 12:31 AM
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Every ride is a good ride. I enjoy everything from pushing until I collapse right down to soft pedalling along the shoreline cycle path. 🙂

Whether my ride is ducking out for an hour of sunshine mid-week, hammering a 40km time trial at full gas, or a laid back 100km with friends on a Sunday. It's all good.
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Old 08-14-22, 03:56 AM
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why not set up a pole with various distance and difficulty criteria? Just a thought
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Old 08-14-22, 04:21 AM
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A good ride for me is when I get into a rhythm leaving the world and bad memories behind. Breath in thru the nose, expand the belly, breath out in zone 2.

My goal is to make more and more power at a modest heart rate of 118-120 where I pretty much make the power that used to take me 140-150 BPM HR. To increase fitness, I increase the time and the amount of energy per week. Maybe once a week or every 10 days, I do a killer interval session. Consistently building one's aerobic engine over years is the key. Not getting injured and not overtraining is critical. Intensity of one's ride is very poorly correlated to ultimate fitness. Merckx was right, "Ride Lots" YMMV.



https://www.alancouzens.com/blog/vol...-intensity.php
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Old 08-14-22, 05:52 AM
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I walk out the door, point the bike and take off. No route, distance or time is pre planned. Just ride. I do my "training" on a stationary bike at the gym.
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Old 08-14-22, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
But I'm curious to know what's a "good" ride for you. Do you enjoy the distances? Elevation? The challenge? Scenic views? Just getting out and clearing your head?

.

Yes to all of the above...I would say that 95% of all my rides are Zone 2 rides. The only time I do hard efforts above Zone 2 is when I have to climb a hill or ride through some technical sections of singletrack or ride through deep snow.. ..I don't race, I don't follow any structured training, I don't use my bike for HIIT intervals, I don't count calories or watts, I don't imitate the pros, I don't obsess about performance. I just love getting outdoors and enjoying the ride and the world around me. My training is done at home using weights.
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Old 08-14-22, 07:06 AM
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I was in a Club that tracked Milage.
My 1st and 2nd year I became their high milage rider.
Won three of these.
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Old 08-14-22, 07:33 AM
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I have three types of "good" rides:

One is commuting. To work and back, running errands, or meeting someone.

Another type is a fun or pleasure ride, where I pick a destination and ride to it, either completely planned or with room for exploration or even a complete change of destination, just going where the spirit moves me.

The third type of ride is when I feel like riding, but can't find the motivation to just go ride, I tell myself, "The motivation is out there waiting to be found."...and it always is. Always.

Since that covers everything, so I will say all rides are good rides for me.

Also because I have something to prove. Twelve years ago I was off the bike for a year due to a non-biking injury. I worked hard to get back on the bike and back to becoming a daily bike commuter...which I did. And now at 60 I am using the bike and bike commuting to stay healthy into my senior years.

I'm fighting the good fight, and my bike is one of my main weapons, so every ride is a good ride.

Sure, I like to push myself for a little more speed or distance now and then...but I guess I'm really in a years long marathon ride, whose finish is hopefully years off in the future.
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Old 08-14-22, 08:29 AM
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Midweek, I ride 20-25 miles with about 1000 feet of climbing. How hard I go depends on what day it is, how I feel, etc, so figure 16-19 mph.

Sundays, I ride 55-70 miles with 3500-5000 feet of climbing, mostly at a slower pace, so more like 15-17 mph.

Most coaches recommend a variety of levels of effort, rather than going hard all the time, so you might do well to find a motivation for longer rides that isn't about pushing harder. For me, most of my rides include a nice, slow dawdle down a back road shaded by trees that arch over the road, interspersed with some sections that are less scenic, and thus good for going harder, maybe getting aero and riding more at Tempo pace.

In other words, some variety. And riding for me is about more than just pushing myself. It's about being outside, being alone, clearing my head, sometimes getting into that mental space where I don't think consciously about stuff but still figure things out that I couldn't by consciously thinking. If it were just pushing myself or getting faster, I'd probably have stopped years ago. Or I'd only do short, hard rides.
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Old 08-14-22, 08:36 AM
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Short ride of a mile to the local coffee shop or brewpub, long ride of 400 km/day on a brevet. I don't really find my rhythm until about 40 miles; sometimes it doesn't happen at all, but when it does it's pretty sweet. I think it's a matter of finding equilibrium. From there, the perfect ride is one where I can maintain that balance with fueling, hydration, and pacing all day long.
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Old 08-14-22, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
why not set up a pole with various distance and difficulty criteria? Just a thought
How far apart would you place the "poles" ?

gm
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Old 08-14-22, 08:57 AM
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Any ride is a good ride. Somedays I don't cover the distance or meet the pace I want, some days I go farther or faster. Some evenings I think about the bike I'm going to ride and plan where I'll go and the next morning I go out and take a different one off the wall and ride somewhere else. I like to do what I want, when I want, where I want and I never try to compare my effort to someone else.
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Old 08-14-22, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
why not set up a pole with various distance and difficulty criteria? Just a thought
Mainly because there are simply far too many options, and I'm sure if I tried, I would miss some.
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Yes to all of the above...I would say that 95% of all my rides are Zone 2 rides. The only time I do hard efforts above Zone 2 is when I have to climb a hill or ride through some technical sections of singletrack or ride through deep snow.. ..I don't race, I don't follow any structured training, I don't use my bike for HIIT intervals, I don't count calories or watts, I don't imitate the pros, I don't obsess about performance. I just love getting outdoors and enjoying the ride and the world around me. My training is done at home using weights.
What is "Zone 2"?
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
The third type of ride is when I feel like riding, but can't find the motivation to just go ride, I tell myself, "The motivation is out there waiting to be found."...and it always is. Always.
I like this! I can relate as I've done the same thing, just not put it into words. There have been times when I kind of just didn't want to get out of the house, for whatever reason. But I pushed myself to mount my bike, or put on my running shoes or whatever, and the next thing I know I've left all that behind.
Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Short ride of a mile to the local coffee shop or brewpub, long ride of 400 km/day on a brevet. I don't really find my rhythm until about 40 miles; sometimes it doesn't happen at all, but when it does it's pretty sweet. I think it's a matter of finding equilibrium. From there, the perfect ride is one where I can maintain that balance with fueling, hydration, and pacing all day long.
What's a "brevet"? I can't even imagine doing 400km/day.

One thing I think a lot of people don't get about the desert is how towns/cities are like islands in the ocean. There can be 50 or 100 miles in between towns/cities, and absolutely NOTHING in between. That can put a damper on planning long rides like that. There are no coffee shops or convenience stores to get something to drink or use the restroom. If you have a mechanical issue, you're fixing it there or your walking home. Where I live, it's about 45 miles from the last 7/11 in town to the nearest 7/11 in Vegas with nothing in between .
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Old 08-14-22, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
why not set up a pole with various distance and difficulty criteria? Just a thought
Mainly because there are simply far too many options, and I'm sure if I tried, I would miss some..
Good choice on your part.

I do a lot of HR Zone 3 and 4 on a 22 mile route with about 980 feet of total climbing. Sometimes I do laps to get 35 and 45 miles or more out of it. Zone 2 time is maybe 6 minutes and Zone 5 time usually exceeds that. When I go for rides in the 60 mile range, I'll have more Zone 2 time but the only time it is a majority of my time is when I'm riding in a group where everything is easier with someone else in front busting the air.

This year I've been sticking to the MUP quite a bit. It hasn't been as crowded as it had been when COVID hit and now the heat has most staying indoors or elsewhere. I think quite a few other cyclist here avoid the MUP for various reasons. But for me it gives my intervals of hard effort on the short climbs and rest on the downslopes. A flatter route would be boring to me.

When it gets a little cooler I'll probably go off on the other routes I've been ignoring this year. Partly because they are off in nowhere and fewer people to encounter and harder for help to get to if needed.
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Old 08-14-22, 10:17 AM
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[QUOTE= One thing I think a lot of people don't get about the desert is how towns/cities are like islands in the ocean. There can be 50 or 100 miles in between towns/cities, and absolutely NOTHING in between. That can put a damper on planning long rides like that. There are no coffee shops or convenience stores to get something to drink or use the restroom. If you have a mechanical issue, you're fixing it there or your walking home. Where I live, it's about 45 miles from the last 7/11 in town to the nearest 7/11 in Vegas with nothing in between .[/QUOTE]

If there is NOTHING for 25 miles in either direction, I don't worry about waiting for an indoor restroom at 7/11.
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Old 08-14-22, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
I know we have a lot of dedicated riders here. Some of us go hard and heavy, some of us slow and steady, some of us just do whatever it is we can do. But I'm curious to know what's a "good" ride for you. Do you enjoy the distances? Elevation? The challenge? Scenic views? Just getting out and clearing your head?

As for me, it's all about pushing myself. I push the whole time, but that limits me. No centuries in my future. Depending on the mood, the conditions and what I have planned, I have three basic distances I go. A "short" ride is 20 miles or less. I'll really try and push myself on these rides, maintain a 17-18mph (or better) pace if I can. A "regular" ride is 21-34 miles. These are more of my training rides I do preparing for triathlons. I try to maintain a good pace and finish as strong (or close to) as I started. Finally, a "long" ride is 35-50 miles. I don't do these very often, mainly because of conditions. The only time it's suitable to do a ride that long for me is probably October into early December or maybe late February into early April. I find these rides drain me and I have to plan accordingly, pace myself and pay attention to conditions like wind and elevation. The long rides are bad for me because my competitive nature compels to push to failure and I really have to focus on pacing so I don't hurt myself.
I get a Saturday AM ride in with a group - usually 50-60 miles @ 18-19mph av. Climbing 2500-3500 ft, depending on the route. I try to get 1-2 30-35-mi rides in during the week, either solo or with 1-2 others. Pace variable. I’ll try for a solo/small group century every few months
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Old 08-14-22, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
One thing I think a lot of people don't get about the desert is how towns/cities are like islands in the ocean. There can be 50 or 100 miles in between towns/cities, and absolutely NOTHING in between. That can put a damper on planning long rides like that. There are no coffee shops or convenience stores to get something to drink or use the restroom. If you have a mechanical issue, you're fixing it there or your walking home. Where I live, it's about 45 miles from the last 7/11 in town to the nearest 7/11 in Vegas with nothing in between .
A lot of people, maybe even most, do centuries without ever being more than 30-40 miles away from their start point; if you live on a civilization island, look at riding around the periphery.
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Old 08-14-22, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
As for me, it's all about pushing myself. I push the whole time, but that limits me.
I used to do that, too -- push myself hard on every ride. But the experts says that's not the best was to get stronger on the bike, so I've started doing things differently.

Experts say that to get stronger, most of your rides should be easy to moderate pace (z1-3), with two hard rides per week (some pros do 3 hard rides per week, but they're pros).

My week looks like this currently:

Monday - threshold climbing intervals (z4)
Tuesday - easy/moderate pace (z2-3)
Wednesday - long easy ride (z2)
Thursday - easy/moderate pace (z2-3)
Friday - long tempo climbing (z3)
Saturday - easy pace (z2)
Sunday - easy/moderate climbing (z2-3)
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Old 08-14-22, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post

What is "Zone 2"?
Zone 2 is a longer duration low intensity effort, typically at around 60% - 70% of your maximum heart rate. Some people also call it a fat burning zone or aerobic zone... Zone 2 is where majority of your riding and exercise should be done.
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Old 08-14-22, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post

As for me, it's all about pushing myself. I push the whole time, but that limits me.
You need to stop pushing so hard all the time, it's not good for you long term. Pushing hard all the time isn't sustainable long term.
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Old 08-14-22, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
Mainly because there are simply far too many options, and I'm sure if I tried, I would miss some.

What is "Zone 2"?

I like this! I can relate as I've done the same thing, just not put it into words. There have been times when I kind of just didn't want to get out of the house, for whatever reason. But I pushed myself to mount my bike, or put on my running shoes or whatever, and the next thing I know I've left all that behind.

What's a "brevet"? I can't even imagine doing 400km/day.

One thing I think a lot of people don't get about the desert is how towns/cities are like islands in the ocean. There can be 50 or 100 miles in between towns/cities, and absolutely NOTHING in between. That can put a damper on planning long rides like that. There are no coffee shops or convenience stores to get something to drink or use the restroom. If you have a mechanical issue, you're fixing it there or your walking home. Where I live, it's about 45 miles from the last 7/11 in town to the nearest 7/11 in Vegas with nothing in between .
Brevets are a type of organized long distance that emphasize self sufficient and camaraderie. Distances typically range from 200 km to 1200 km, with 400 km the longest usually done without sleep. The clock is always ticking, as there's an overall time limit for all distances. You don't have to be fast, but you have to be relentless.

I lived in west Texas for a year, and know what you mean. It's not so much that Texas is big, as there's a whole lot of nothing between things. Particularly to a cyclist, between water.
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Old 08-14-22, 01:08 PM
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Jen, do yourself a favor and read the Mid-Life Cyclist. What was said earlier about not doing yourself any favors for building strength and stamina by going all out all the time is backed up as well as other training dos and don’ts. The most important thing to remember is that muscles build on rest days. If you are going at it non-stop, your fitness will go backwards rather than improve since you are not letting your muscles repair.

When I got started I did the same thing, thinking more and harder days are always better. As a result I found myself perpetually tired and sick. After reading training books and more begrudgingly listening to experienced people here, I now incorporate a rest day (which can either mean not biking or going out at a super slow easy pace on the flats. Then added a couple of moderate distance days and my overall performance improved. Best of luck

and to answer your question: on moderate days I do 50-60 miles between 15-16 MPH with 2000-3000’ climbing. On hard days, 20 miles at 20MPH with 500’ climbing. But then I am 67.

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Old 08-14-22, 02:10 PM
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Without any kind of power data, a rule of thumb is too go harder on hard days than you think is possible, and easier on rest days than you think is possible. That is, if your goal is improvement rather than enjoyment. Good hard days are not enjoyable, and good rest days seem pointless.
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Old 08-14-22, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
A lot of people, maybe even most, do centuries without ever being more than 30-40 miles away from their start point; if you live on a civilization island, look at riding around the periphery.
That's a big "if". There are a lot of people who wouldn't consider my little town to be civilization, but I like it here.
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Zone 2 is a longer duration low intensity effort, typically at around 60% - 70% of your maximum heart rate. Some people also call it a fat burning zone or aerobic zone... Zone 2 is where majority of your riding and exercise should be done.
Thanks for that. New concept to me. Is there someplace that explains the different zones?
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
You need to stop pushing so hard all the time, it's not good for you long term. Pushing hard all the time isn't sustainable long term.
I know. I'm bad about beating myself up. Now that I'm in my 50s I'm starting to feel it.
Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Brevets are a type of organized long distance that emphasize self sufficient and camaraderie. Distances typically range from 200 km to 1200 km, with 400 km the longest usually done without sleep. The clock is always ticking, as there's an overall time limit for all distances. You don't have to be fast, but you have to be relentless.

I lived in west Texas for a year, and know what you mean. It's not so much that Texas is big, as there's a whole lot of nothing between things. Particularly to a cyclist, between water.
OK, that's just nutty. I'll just stick with my 30 mile rides.
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Jen, do yourself a favor and read the Mid-Life Cyclist. What was said earlier about not doing yourself any favors for building strength and stamina by going all out all the time is backed up as well as other training dos and don’ts. The most important thing to remember is that muscles build on rest days. If you are going at it non-stop, your fitness will go backwards rather than improve since you are not letting your muscles repair.

When I got started I did the same thing, thinking more and harder days are always better. As a result I found myself perpetually tired and sick. After reading training books and more begrudgingly listening to experienced people here, I now incorporate a rest day (which can either mean not biking or going out at a super slow easy pace on the flats. Then added a couple of moderate distance days and my overall performance improved. Best of luck

and to answer your question: on moderate days I do 50-60 miles between 15-16 MPH with 2000-3000’ climbing. On hard days, 20 miles at 20MPH with 500’ climbing. But then I am 67.
Ya, I have a hard time pacing myself. But also, I don't ride every day either. Actually, I only ride two, maybe three days a week. I try to vary my routine to be well rounded. For instance, today was skating, I skate most Sundays. I try and take at least one day a week off entirely. Sometimes two days a week but I always feel guilty when I do that.
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Old 08-14-22, 02:39 PM
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The Zone 2 HR thing is of real training value. However when we that do training in other Zones mention the other Zones, then invariably you find people taking that to mean all we do is work in the extreme high Zones. Both are good for you, you do need to mix it up.

But don't just get into the habit of only Zone 2 rides and scolding those that speak of higher Zone workouts! <grin>
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