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My first club ride didn't go well

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My first club ride didn't go well

Old 09-20-14, 06:23 PM
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woodyman4916
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My first club ride didn't go well

Got my Trek DS about a month ago. Put 400 miles on it with some hill climbs thrown in just to get my feet wet. Last week I was invited to a 45 mile "hilly" club ride by a friend who found out that I had started riding. I thought 400 miles in a month was enough that I could at least bring up the rear. WRONG!!

I went today and got dropped on the first climb. I was the only flat bar there but thought I could at least keep up with the lady old enough to be my mother. Wrong again! Everyone in the group climbed past me on the first hill. They eventually assigned a 68 year old diabetic on a 2013 Modone 5.2 to stay back with me. He had to check his blood sugar every 10 miles and would wait for me. We got back to the meetup point with just my friend and the old guy's wife left in the parking lot.

I just didn't realize how much work I have to do on my engine. Frankly, I left embarrassed.

Recovery tomorrow and Monday I hit the hills again. I may never climb as well as that old diabetic, but I am gonna try.

Last edited by woodyman4916; 09-21-14 at 08:25 AM. Reason: edit for grammer
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Old 09-20-14, 07:01 PM
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If you just crushed yourself on the hills today I'd suggest not doing it again on Monday. Do some recovery rides for a few days, starting shorter and maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday go a bit longer but still at an easy pace.

Then maybe later in the week head for the hills and crush yourself again.

Seeing as you have less than 500 miles total in your legs you don't have the base to hammer yourself into the ground every other day, you're just going to wear yourself out and you'll never keep up.

EDIT: at 400 miles in your first month you were probably a little worn out and fatigued before that ride and it may have contributed to you bringing up the rear.
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Old 09-20-14, 07:29 PM
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I been riding about 200-300 miles a month and only been riding since May of this year. I recently did my longest ride of 49.8 miles and barely made it. We both need to ride more longer rides!
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Old 09-20-14, 07:52 PM
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Most of us have probably been there in one form or another. Charlie has it right. Rest is equally as important, if not more, than the training part.

The good news is, it won't get any worse. The better news is, training on a heavier bike works for you. Though despite the lower gears of a triple, they don't climb as spritely as a road bike does. No matter, set a regimen, lose some body weight (if you need to), and don't forget to take some time off the bike between efforts.
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Old 09-20-14, 08:22 PM
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At least you finished. This was an opportunity to learn more about your body. You aren't alone. I have had to sag in on a few long rides. It is not pleasant but I lived to ride another day. If hills are your weakness then work on them. Monday might be a little too soon but don't wait too long. If you can ride the first hill again ride to the top and back down and then up again. Do this a few times to see if you can improve your time and confidence every two or three days. Try shifting to a lower gear when your cadence drops from your flat land pace by 10% or more and each time they drop.
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Old 09-20-14, 08:31 PM
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A hilly 45 mile ride would tend to select the stronger riders in the club. They probably have other rides that are easier. Start with a ride you can easily do, then try some faster rides.

My local club has some very casual, conversational paced rides. Those start at 20-25 miles, and an easy 11-12 mph average for the ride. There's all levels of faster rides.

A few of the rides are an out-and-back or follow a spraypainted route, so the rides break up into many small speed groups, since a ride leader isn't necessary.
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Old 09-20-14, 08:40 PM
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I started cycling on Memorial day and if you believe Strava I have a lot more than 400 miles on flat MUP's (1% inclines at worst). My longest ride has been around 20 miles, and I do it twice a week. I just cracked 10 mph for the entire 20 miles. Maybe it's the type of bicycle I have, maybe my age (55), but I would not try 45 miles, hills, and at 'club speed' all at once.

So, take it easy, decide if it's speed or distance or hills to conquer first, and go for it. There is excellent advise in this thread!
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Old 09-20-14, 08:45 PM
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I'm not usually in the "you just need a better bike" camp, but I can't help but feel you're making it difficult on yourself riding the only hybrid in the group. I started riding again with a hybrid (Trek FX 7.3). After about eight group rides, I bought a road bike. It made a big difference.

What's big? Maybe 3-4 MPH faster. Doesn't sound like that much, until you're trying to keep up with a group. After half an hour, 3-4 MPH slower translate into 1.5-2 miles behind. And once you lose the pack, you lose the advantage of the pack (drafting, etc.), not to mention the discouragement.

I've gotten a fair bit stronger than those early rides; my current average speed on my hybrid is a good deal higher than my initial average speed on the road bike. Still, my performance difference (road bike vs. hybrid) is still about the same. So while I agree with the others that smart training with make it easier to keep up, the deck is always stacked against a suspension hybrid in a road-bike group.

Keep those wheels rolling...
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Old 09-20-14, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by woodyman4916 View Post
They eventually assigned a 68 year old diabetic on a 2013 Modone 5.2 to stay back with me. He had to check his blood sugar every 10 miles and would wait for me.
A few points here:

1. That line had me giggling on the inside. I hope you can look back at this in the not so far away future and appreciate the humour in yourself
2. After cycling only 400 miles, I'm pretty sure he's your mortal enemy for inviting you to a hilly club ride of 45 miles.
3. Old people are not slow - I've been smoked by plenty of people 2X my own age.

You'll get there eventually, expect it to be in the thousands of miles, not the hundreds. Congrats on finishing the ride!
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Old 09-20-14, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by woodyman4916 View Post
Got my Trek DS about a month ago. Put 400 miles on it with some hill climbs thrown in just to get my feet wet. Last week I was invited to a 45 mile "hilly" club ride by a friend who found out that I had started riding. I thought 400miles in a month was enough that I could at least bring up the rear. WRONG!!

I went today and got dropped on the first climb. I was the only flat bar there but thought I could at least keep up with the lady old enough to be my mother. Wrong again! Everyone in the group climbed past me on the first hill. They eventually assigned a 68 year old diabetic on a 2013 Modone 5.2 to stay back with me. He had to check his blood sugar every 10 miles and would wait for me. We got back to the meetup point with just my friend and the old guy's wife left in the parking lot.

I just didn't realize how much work I have to do on my engine. Frankly, I left embarrassed.

Recovery tomorrow and Monday I hit the hills again. I may never climb as well as that old diabetic, but I am gonna try.

This gave me a good laugh at least. You tell a great story. We've all been there (and in my case never left). I still ride very slow after an ankle injury. But one thing occurred to me. It could (in part) be the bike. I had a DS 8.4 a few years ago -- basically the same bike. It really did hold me back. I wound up giving it away to my daughter's flute teacher, who loves it. But I found it nearly impossible to get up hills with it. I never really figured out why.

Also, it could just be a question of fit. If the seat is only 1 or 2 cm too low, for example, I find it extremely hard to climb hills.

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 09-20-14 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 09-20-14, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by KBentley57 View Post
A few points here:

1. That line had me giggling on the inside. I hope you can look back at this in the not so far away future and appreciate the humour in yourself
2. After cycling only 400 miles, I'm pretty sure he's your mortal enemy for inviting you to a hilly club ride of 45 miles.
3. Old people are not slow - I've been smoked by plenty of people 2X my own age.

You'll get there eventually, expect it to be in the thousands of miles, not the hundreds. Congrats on finishing the ride!
#3 Never underestimate older riders period.
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Old 09-20-14, 09:01 PM
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+100 on #3 . Older gal in my group has diabetes. If it weren't for that, she could leave me for dead. And we have the same ftp.
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Old 09-20-14, 11:35 PM
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imo your bike isn't made for road group rides. imo your bike is a just get out there enjoy and push yourself to a healthier you.

great story and you have a great bike. cheers
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Old 09-21-14, 03:00 AM
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Am also a begginer in biking and thanks for sharing t story But one thing, is a trek ds the right bike for that kind of roadtrips? I thought the suspensjon fork took to much of the power when your going up hills? I have bought my self a bike computer where you can see your hart rate. Garmin Edge 510 HRM Performance Bundle | Chain Reaction Cycles its great for training couse you see hartrate and speed/cadence sensors sow you can see if you pushing too hard or not.
You would not see me in a start group like yours befor 2016 good luck with your cycling
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Old 09-21-14, 03:26 AM
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I agree with those who said DS isn't a right bike for group rides. If you wanted to stick with flat bar you should've gotten an FX.

Look how Specialized advertise their Crosstrail, which is the same type of bike as the DS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPk_VnT_84I
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Old 09-21-14, 06:06 AM
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I couldn't help from laughing when I read your opening post. Because we have all been there!!!!!! Can't hang with guys that have been riding for years right out of the gate. Road bikes are different from hybrids too. I ride a hybrid I feel your pain. I had back surgery years ago, and a road bike is not an option for me. Just the fact that you finished a 45 miler with big hills, is awesome.
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Old 09-21-14, 06:21 AM
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It took me a good year to lose enough weight and get the cardio base to just roll up hills on my cyclocross. Now three years in I do hill repeats and don't really feel it. Your muscles and cardio have to have time to be conditioned to constant output. Also it never really gets easier, you just go longer and harder. Now days the 'I'm going to die' threshold is 300km with 3000m of climbing or so but the feeling is exactly the same and theres always someone faster than me. I saw an old lady on a cruiser holding 28kmh the other day. Just because you are old means nothing if you got the engine!
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Old 09-21-14, 06:24 AM
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I won't say the ds is the wrong bike, just maybe the wrong bike for that pace, which you didn't mention. I put "street" tires on mine and when I'm healthy, I can make it roll at 18 mph without too much effort. And on wed nights the group ride is 15-18, so Trekking it isn't a problem.

But Monday ad thursday nights are 18+. I definitely bring the road bike for that.
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Old 09-21-14, 07:01 AM
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Maybe look for another club. The group I ride with has a very fast A group and a very slow B group. Hanging with the A group is hard, but I can pull the B group on my hybrid all day long. I always take my road bike now because I think it makes some road bike folks feel bad to be behind a guy on a hybrid.
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Old 09-21-14, 08:29 AM
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am going to keep at it. I love my DS as heavy as it is. I will keep tuning the engine. I will just adjust my expectations.

Last edited by woodyman4916; 09-21-14 at 08:31 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 09-21-14, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by woodyman4916 View Post
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am going to keep at it. I love my DS as heavy as it is. I will keep tuning the engine. I will just adjust my expectations.
Bingo. One more thing. When going out, try not to go too hard too soon. Leave something for the trip home.
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Old 09-21-14, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by woodyman4916 View Post
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am going to keep at it. I love my DS as heavy as it is. I will keep tuning the engine. I will just adjust my expectations.
You got it!!!!
the first month I had my bike I was happy to do a 12 mile ride. Don't get down, and discouraged!!!! Your rocking, just keep training.....
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Old 09-21-14, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by chipndale9 View Post
I agree with those who said DS isn't a right bike for group rides. If you wanted to stick with flat bar you should've gotten an FX.

Look how Specialized advertise their Crosstrail, which is the same type of bike as the DS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPk_VnT_84I

Agreed here too, I ride a crosstrail and know I'll never be as fast as roadies but I ride solo or with my 10 year old for fitness and fun and really never more than 20 miles. I like sitting up and seeing the sights and am nervous when I get above 20mph. I did have a proud moment yesterday, my 1st real ride in a month due to a couple injuries (1st was a bike wreck) and while this moment started with getting passed by a spandex+carbon roadie at the foot of a big hill, I did hang 20-30' of him the whole way up, him standing me sitting. He was close to twice my age at like 60-something though. (but even at that age someone on a road bike smoking me bad is a lot more common.)

Last edited by John Redcorn; 09-21-14 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 09-25-14, 08:55 AM
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The 68 year-old diabetic may ride year round, especially if s/he is retired. Thus, the person may be in very good condition. If you don't have a road bike, consider investing in slick tires for your Trek DS. This likely will make your bike go faster. Also, continue to work on your own fitness and practice riding on hills without the group. In time, you will notice significant progress. Have fun.
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Old 09-25-14, 09:17 AM
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Agree with those who say old does not necessarily mean slow. Last year on my first ride, I had an experience with an old timer riding a cf Cervelo. He rode alongside me for awhile, but when he got bored riding at my pokey pace (for him) he dropped me like a bad habit.

I have done my share of group rides since last year and I must say, though I have a drop bar road bike (more the endurance/touring variety than one built for pure speed), I still hesitate to do rides that advertise themselves as "hilly". IMO, seek out rides that advertise themselves as social rides. It does you no good to go out at a hard pace, only to bonk halfway out. That is no fun. Maybe tackle the tough hills on your own so you know your own limits, and can work on your fitness without the pressure of keeping up with a bunch of experienced riders on lighter bikes than you ride.

I have to wonder about your "friend" who invited you to this ride. Is he or she a sadist? They must have known it would be a struggle for you to keep up with strong road riders. For you to keep up with road riders on your DS, you need to work significantly harder because of the weight, the suspension fork, and the upright riding position. If you really want to do fast group rides, maybe consider buying a road bike. Right tool for the right job. Trying to keep up with road riders on a trail bike is like trying to keep up with a group of joggers running in winter hiking boots.

That said, bad days happen to the best riders. Just make sure you have a cue sheet, and familiarize yourself with the route so you can ride home alone if you get dropped.
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