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Beginning advice needed, please.

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Beginning advice needed, please.

Old 07-19-08, 07:59 PM
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xnihilo
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Beginning advice needed, please.

Hello, all!

Okay, lemme 'esplain this to you, Lucy.

About 5 years ago I got the bug to get a road bike. Found a great deal on a Cannondale R1000, got outfitted with gear and thought back to my kid years of riding everyday for many-a-mile. With this new tricked out, super-light Cannondale I thought I'd ride like the wind. Well, 25+ years of NOT riding took its toll. Less than a mile I was huffing like a 3 pack a day smoker. As an avid motorcyclist, it's so much easier to twist the throttle and be off. I tried on and off over a period of a month or so and gave up. The Cannondale started collecting dust and just got in the way of the Harley and KLR in the garage.

Well, now I'm back....or at least I want to be. Blew the dust off the thing, aired up the tires and gave it a shot today. As expected, no change.

What I would like to know is how can I *effectively* train without becoming discouraged? I know patience is part of it. I'm 44, 6'1" and about a buck-ninety.

I would love someday to just jump on the thing and do a century. Any advice or pointing me toward previous posts would forever be appreciated.

Peace,
-David

Last edited by xnihilo; 07-19-08 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 07-19-08, 08:41 PM
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Dedicate some time to ride

My suggestion is to just dedicate some time to ride. Try to make it at least 30 minutes a day. Start slow and keep track of how far you have ridden. You will get better. Later, increase time and intensity. Don't worry about speed until you can ride for at least 30 to 45 minutes at a steady pace. Most importantly, have fun.

I started riding only about 3 months ago. At first, I would ride only about 3 to 5 miles. Now, I routinely do 25. Yesterday, I did 44. I weigh 215 and I'm not in the best shape plus I ride a hybrid. I want a road bike. I never would of thought that I would be doing 44 miles in less that 3 hrs including 4 stops. Also, I have 3 motorcycles in the garage and I'm only riding my bike. It is addictive.

There are many others much better qualified to give you advice on the BF. I hope they reply. Have fun and keep pedaling.
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Old 07-19-08, 09:00 PM
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Patience and perseverance!

I hadn't ridden for many years. When I started riding again, initially, I could barely ride about half a mile without working up a lot of sweat and huffing and puffing! Now I can ride quite a few miles before working up a good sweat and puffing!

Don't set your expectations too high. Just build up your fitness gradually by cycling a bit further each time. Don't try to ride too hard or too fast. Easy/casual pace to start off with. Stop if necessary to catch your breath and have a drink of water while you're at it. Then continue after your rest stop. If for some reason you can't ride further than the previous ride, don't be discouraged. People have off days. I've had several off days when I seemed to lack fitness or energy. Just relax and try riding again on the next day or two.

Try to eat right (little or no junk food). Get as much rest as possible (no late nights). Make sure you're properly hydrated by drinking plenty water before the ride. And drink water from your water bottle periodically during your ride. Drink more water when you've returned home. During warm/hot days you'll have to drink more water and will probably have to supplement the water with sodium/potassium tablets to replace your body's sweated out salts.

Good luck!
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Old 07-19-08, 09:31 PM
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Three words: Car Free Fridays.

They make the weekend seem like it's arrived a day early.

Seriously, it takes about a year for a body to truly adapt to being on a bike. It's mostly about capillary growth and the ability to deliver oxygen to the legs. There's a reason most TDF champs have been riding a long, long time. You'll be surprised at the improvement you'll stilll be making after 2-3 years. I'm 44 myself and was a sub-5 mile errand running commuter for a couple of decades. After one year of semi-serious cycling, I got challenged to do the MS150, sucked it up, and finished it averaging just 14 mph. This year I averaged 20 mph for the entire 150 miles over two days and...

I was riding like crap after partying my ass off the whole weekend.
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Old 07-19-08, 09:34 PM
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Patience isn't part of it... it's ALL of it You have to give your poor shocked body a chance to figure out what the hell you are asking it to do! But I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you improve once you give yourself a chance. Make sure to build in recovery and cross training days to let your body adapt faster.

(I went from huffing and half dead in two miles, to this week's two rides of 40+ miles each, in a little under two years - and I started *severely* unhealthy and underweight, so you will most likely see better progress).
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Old 07-19-08, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by xnihilo View Post
What I would like to know is how can I *effectively* train without becoming discouraged? I know patience is part of it. I'm 44, 6'1" and about a buck-ninety.
42, 6'1", 215. At this point, I know I can do a century, so now I'm trying to get faster (and better on hills).

My opinion is that if you love bicycling, you'll keep doing it, and you'll just get better because you're doing it a lot. So the key is to make it something you just love doing, not something you need to be patient about. Whatever you can do to have fun with it and look forward to it every day, that's what I'd suggest. The more fun you have, the more you'll ride, and the more you ride, the better you'll get at it. That worked when you were a kid, and it'll work now.

For me, I commute to work by bike. It's the only possible time in my day that I can squeeze a bike ride in, because it replaces my subway ride (and takes more or less the same time).
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Old 07-19-08, 11:20 PM
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Just ride every day. Don't track speed at first, just try to keep a steady moderate effort. Once you can handle an hour ride, (took me a couple of weeks) start giving yourself a destination. The miles get easier pretty quickly after that.
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Old 07-19-08, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
Just ride every day. Don't track speed at first, just try to keep a steady moderate effort. Once you can handle an hour ride, (took me a couple of weeks) start giving yourself a destination. The miles get easier pretty quickly after that.
Unbelievable. Are you a 20 something olympic athelete? After the first month, I had to take a week off because on week four I did three 3.4 mile rides with a day off in between each, and still sprained my thigh muscle. After nine weeks, I still need a day off in between.
The 3.4 miles is the round trip to the grocery store. My current goal is to be able to make the 10 mile round trip to the closest shopping center. Will probably be at least another month.

58 years old.
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Old 07-20-08, 12:32 AM
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You gotta' want it.


S.
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Old 07-20-08, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by gldrgidr View Post
Unbelievable. Are you a 20 something olympic athelete? After the first month, I had to take a week off because on week four I did three 3.4 mile rides with a day off in between each, and still sprained my thigh muscle. After nine weeks, I still need a day off in between.
The 3.4 miles is the round trip to the grocery store. My current goal is to be able to make the 10 mile round trip to the closest shopping center. Will probably be at least another month.

58 years old.
Depends a lot on the terrain and the load (groceries/cargo, bicycle and rider weight), as well as the speed and the gearing one uses.

I was able to ride my 6 miles round trip to work 5 days a week within 3 weeks, starting from zip, with no trouble; but I am a small female in my 30s and my ride was flat. I also was not in any great hurry! When I moved another 6 miles away (making my round trip 18 miles and adding in a significant hill), I was back to riding 2 days a week with 2 days off in between, then worked my way back up to 5 days a week over the next 5 weeks. I also altered my route in week 3 to take out half of the hill!

A big part of the learning curve for me was learning to use my gears effectively so I was not fighting the gearing all the time. I would say that was a good 25% of my improvement in the first year I rode, and it's been a huge for me this year in my improvement on hills. (Figured out cadence at last!)
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Old 07-20-08, 01:11 AM
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+1 on not focusing on speed. Work on keeping steady on the bike rather than bursts of speed followed by a lot of huffing and standing on the pedals. It's ok to go slow on the hills. That's what the gears are for.

Start on flat terrain if you can find it. Makes it easier to focus on an optimal pace.

And make sure the bike actually fits you properly. Ill-fitment can make you exert more energy and/or hurt more than you should. Good luck!
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Old 07-20-08, 01:16 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by xnihilo View Post
Hello, all!

Okay, lemme 'esplain this to you, Lucy.

About 5 years ago I got the bug to get a road bike. Found a great deal on a Cannondale R1000, got outfitted with gear and thought back to my kid years of riding everyday for many-a-mile. With this new tricked out, super-light Cannondale I thought I'd ride like the wind. Well, 25+ years of NOT riding took its toll. Less than a mile I was huffing like a 3 pack a day smoker. As an avid motorcyclist, it's so much easier to twist the throttle and be off. I tried on and off over a period of a month or so and gave up. The Cannondale started collecting dust and just got in the way of the Harley and KLR in the garage.

Well, now I'm back....or at least I want to be. Blew the dust off the thing, aired up the tires and gave it a shot today. As expected, no change.

What I would like to know is how can I *effectively* train without becoming discouraged? I know patience is part of it. I'm 44, 6'1" and about a buck-ninety.

I would love someday to just jump on the thing and do a century. Any advice or pointing me toward previous posts would forever be appreciated.

Peace,
-David
I hate handing out an old cliché; however, I must. "Rome wasn't built in a day" First step is to dispel the myth that you have to go fast the first time you get out on the bike. Depending on how much time you have allowed to ride if it were me I would try to get out and ride the bike for one hour every day. Initially, I would just be interested in getting the feel of the bike; however, I would keep it interesting by setting up goals along the way. For starters, I would incorporate one or two short sprints like from one stop sign to another (something along the lines of a quarter to a half-mile apart) and over the course of the rides/weeks I would lengthen that sprint distance. For the most part though I would concentrate on the mental image of walking while on the bike that is a natural pace that would get you longer distances to the point where you can actually commute on the bike or yes even do centuries.
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Old 07-20-08, 03:57 AM
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Just buying a motorcycle would not make me competitive in AMA Superbike.

Just ride. The more you ride, the better you'll get. You don't even have to push yourself to ride fast all the time to see improvements. In fact it's better if you don't push yourself every ride.

Practice spinning a fast cadence. A fast cadence will take the load off your legs and put it on your cardio-vascular system, which has more endurance.
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Old 07-20-08, 04:14 AM
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Still I would question whether these symptoms are normal at your age. Maybe consider getting a medical checkup soon, if you haven't already. You're not overweight from the figures you gave, and seems like riding 1 mile on a bike (especially having done a lot of riding when younger) shouldn't wind you like that.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by gldrgidr View Post
The 3.4 miles is the round trip to the grocery store. My current goal is to be able to make the 10 mile round trip to the closest shopping center. Will probably be at least another month.

58 years old.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:38 AM
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Don't ride every day. Figure this will take time. In my case it took 500 miles on the bike.

1. if hands/ankles/knees/neck hurting check your fitting or get fitted
2. check your gearing, make sure you lowest gear is enough for your terrain
3. check your attitude, you're not in high school any more, it takes time
4. try not to go more than 2 days without riding, i.e. ride at least every third day. The longer you go between riding the more you have to start over.
5. it might help at first to keep the distance small, i.e. under 5 miles.
6. post your experiences more.

Yes gold wings are very nice and seductive, but they don't help your health.
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Old 07-20-08, 07:40 AM
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It depends on your background. Some riders reach back to their high school or college days when they were in some kind of competitive sports program like running, swimming, or club sports.

At age 40 we come to grips that it takes longer to get in shape and takes a bit of effort to stay in shape. The bike riding thing is a bridge that connects the many good thoughts and memories as a kid riding on his bike just having fun.

When riding keep in mind that you are undeniably entering a new phase in your life and you need to cross this bridge.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:12 AM
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First thing: ride to have fun, so at your fitness level, not very far, not very hard. 30 minutes at the most, don't push it, just enjoy the ride. Ride no more than 5 days a week, maybe 4 to give recovery time. Gradually you will improve and you'll know when to go harder.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:29 AM
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From your post, it sounds like you got a fast bicycle, rode fast, and got tired in a hurry. I can see that. That's what happens when I try to run. My legs are in pretty good shape, but I can run down to the end of the block, and I'm out of breath and have to stop. On the other hand, I can walk forever.

So first step is to slow way down. Ride where you aren't putting out any more effort than you do when you walk. If it's uncomfortable to do that on your present bike, pick up a cheap cruiser somewhere and ride it for while.

It may be a long time before you're completely "in shape" and riding like the wind, but if you ride regularly, you should be feeling much improved in a couple of months.

A minor thing, but make sure you're putting the right amount of air in the tires. If you're using the Squish Test, you may have them underinflated and feel like you're riding through oatmeal all the time.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
Just ride every day. Don't track speed at first, just try to keep a steady moderate effort. Once you can handle an hour ride, (took me a couple of weeks) start giving yourself a destination. The miles get easier pretty quickly after that.
7 months ago I stopped to rest 3 times on my first 6 mile ride.
Now I can do a 100 miles with just Two 4 minute stops to reload my water bottles.
Took 500 miles for my miles legs to get in shape.
Just go slow, rest some, then try again.
I did 50 miles one day, 5 miles at a time. that was around the block 80 laps.
Just Have fun.
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Old 07-20-08, 07:58 PM
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Everyone, I want to thank you not only for the sage advice, but for the compassion and understanding to my cry. I am a bit embarrassed, but you were so kind in your responses. All taken to heart!
Part of the stress is my location. My little mountain town is nothing but hills. Should I take the bike to even ground or train with what I have? I went to a bike shop and they suggested to swap out the chain rings for lower gearing to get over the ranges. Thoughts?
-peace
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Old 07-20-08, 09:28 PM
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You're in nearly my identical position when I started riding. DON'T RIDE EVERY DAY....at first. Ride maybe 3 miles your first time out on a flat stretch. Take a day off. Do it again the next day and take another day off. Then try 10 miles and again, take the day off. You'll get there. I can do centuries now pulling a loaded BOB trailer. I'm 51 and 190.

It helps to set a goal for yourself. Mine was a 50 mile charity ride on a rails-to-trails path. I had one month to get ready for it. I DID IT and thought I was going to die. But I was also hooked!! That was in 1994. I commuted 68 miles round trip last monday pulling the loaded trailer again. (I'm getting ready for a cross state, self supported ride next month.) You can do it, but like others have said, have patience and don't beat yourself up if you wimp out once in awhile.

Love your moniker too. Live up to it on the bike now!
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Old 07-20-08, 09:33 PM
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Oh yeah, get some lower gearing to start off with. You can swap it back later. I am a COMPLETE hill wimp and I LOVE my triple rings. Getting in the right gear makes a huge difference on hills!
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Old 07-20-08, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by xnihilo View Post
Everyone, I want to thank you not only for the sage advice, but for the compassion and understanding to my cry. I am a bit embarrassed, but you were so kind in your responses. All taken to heart!
Part of the stress is my location. My little mountain town is nothing but hills. Should I take the bike to even ground or train with what I have? I went to a bike shop and they suggested to swap out the chain rings for lower gearing to get over the ranges. Thoughts?
-peace
Check things out with someplace like mapmyride to see if you can work a route that minimizes the climbing by keeping your elevation fairly even. If you have to climb, look for gentle grades and take it easy.

And yeah, if you're in a lot of hilly stuff, depending on the bike maybe you should look for lower gearing - yours may be geared tall for speed.
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Old 07-20-08, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by xnihilo View Post
Everyone, I want to thank you not only for the sage advice, but for the compassion and understanding to my cry. I am a bit embarrassed, but you were so kind in your responses. All taken to heart!
Part of the stress is my location. My little mountain town is nothing but hills. Should I take the bike to even ground or train with what I have? I went to a bike shop and they suggested to swap out the chain rings for lower gearing to get over the ranges. Thoughts?
-peace
One approach is to use a bike with low gearing (probably a bike with a triple crank (say, 50/39/30) and with a cassette appropriate for hills (say, 12~27), and just try to grind your way up hills. However, given your apparent lack of fitness, this is probably not the best option for now. Even with low gearing, it can still be difficult to climb hills.

Perhaps the best option is to gradually build up fitness by riding on the flat first. As fitness improves, progress to riding up gentle gradients. Move on to climbing hills when you feel you're ready and fit enough.

Don't rush! Take your time building up your fitness.

Not necessary to have your bike fitted with lower gearing in the meantime unless you intend to attempt hill climbs (soon).
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