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Old 07-26-15, 11:32 PM
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Perspective

So I've been back on a bike for approx. 3 months now. I try and commute whenever possible and then go for longer rides on my days off. I'm averaging 40-50km/week commuting and another 10-50km on my days off, some of which are climbs up a mountain. So let's say maybe 75km/week. Now when I go browsing through these forums I start to feel a little inadequate. People post comments like 'did a short 25 mile (40km) ride today,' and I'm thinking that's not short!!! If I want to do a 40km ride that's half my day preparing, eating, showering, napping, etc. I know it's all relative but what I'm wondering is if I keep at it and increase my distance per week will the longer rides start to feel short? Am I that out of shape? I'm 36, 5'8" female, approx. 145 lbs with a thin athletic build (minus the thick thighs). Before taking up cycling I wasn't super active or inactive. I work on my feet and walk everywhere. The longer rides aren't excruciating but I do need to take a few breathers after really exerting myself and when I near the end I am happy to be almost done. My goal is to be able to do longer and longer rides but I fear that my body just won't get used to it or that I will become discouraged. I guess I am just trying to gauge where my fitness level is at. If a 25 mile ride doesn't seem short to me does that mean I have a long way to go?

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Old 07-26-15, 11:37 PM
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Be happy with your progress. In time, 25 miles will seem easy. Make sure to have some fun getting there, literally and figuratively!
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Old 07-26-15, 11:54 PM
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First of all understand that the rate of improvement is proportional, so if 25km is long to you adding 20% is only another 5km. OTOH as you become stronger the rate of improvement will increase, and thing will happen faster.

There's also the hill factor. People in hilly areas have to work much harder than those in the flats to cover the same distances. If the hills are steep, one mile of climbing may be more taxing than 10 or 20 miles at a comfortable pace in the flats. In my experience, hills are the biggest cause of discouragement for cycling because there's nothing you can do about them. However, you'll find that with time, the hills get flatter and shorter (seemingly), and you'll have the advantage of being to climb when necessary whoch removes the biggest barrier to longer rides.

Finally, do not ever compare yourself to other riders. That's an exercise in futility. All that matters is that you're getting stronger and the ratio of enjoyment to effort is tipping in your favor. As you gain the power to climb hills, and ride the distances that you choose or time allows, you'll be riding without worry and your bike will take you wherever you want to go.
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Old 07-27-15, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
So I've been back on a bike for approx. 3 months now. I try and commute whenever possible and then go for longer rides on my days off. I'm averaging 40-50km/week commuting and another 10-50km on my days off, some of which are climbs up a mountain. So let's say maybe 75km/week. Now when I go browsing through these forums I start to feel a little inadequate. People post comments like 'did a short 25 mile (40km) ride today,' and I'm thinking that's not short!!! If I want to do a 40km ride that's half my day preparing, eating, showering, napping, etc. I know it's all relative but what I'm wondering is if I keep at it and increase my distance per week will the longer rides start to feel short? Am I that out of shape? I'm 36, 5'8" female, approx. 145 lbs with a thin athletic build (minus the thick thighs). Before taking up cycling I wasn't super active or inactive. I work on my feet and walk everywhere. The longer rides aren't excruciating but I do need to take a few breathers after really exerting myself and when I near the end I am happy to be almost done. My goal is to be able to do longer and longer rides but I fear that my body just won't get used to it or that I will become discouraged. I guess I am just trying to gauge where my fitness level is at. If a 25 mile ride doesn't seem short to me does that mean I have a long way to go?
It means you have a way to go ... not necessarily a long way.

You say you do another 10-50 km on your days off. Does that mean you're doing a 50 km ride on one day of your day off?
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Old 07-27-15, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindaslow
Be happy with your progress. In time, 25 miles will seem easy. Make sure to have some fun getting there, literally and figuratively!
Ride with other people. A group made things easier for me, plus when a flat happened, an extra pair of hands became useful.

Had a 105 mile celebration/memorial ride yesterday. Mostly by myself and in the rain, but when a friend finally joined me, things improved.

Get out and enjoy, the fun is only beginning.
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Old 07-27-15, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
So I've been back on a bike for approx. 3 months now.
I guess it is all a matter of who is commenting, but I don't think 3 months is a long time. Our bodies don't adapt overnight just because we want them to.

One thing you don't want to do is get injured by doing too much too quickly.

It may come across as patronizing (which I don't mean it to be), but my gut reaction was: Patience. Life is long.
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Old 07-27-15, 07:27 AM
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[MENTION=407423]LoriRose[/MENTION] It's not the distance that matters in terms of evaluating achievement, but rather intensity.

I know people who do long rides but at low effort levels, so theirs is more a triumph of leisure time than fitness.

Personally, I don't care to do long time in the saddle, but I work hard for 2, 3, and 4 hour rides. In combination with my 1hr stationary sessions, it's enough to put my somewhat-overweight, 220lb self into the 90th-something percentile on Strava (according to VeloVeiwer) in my affluent, midsize, cycling friendly, midwest, university town. What I'm saying is that there are plenty of cyclists around, so it's not as though I'm comparing myself to just a dozen guys. It's not SoCal 7k rider segments, but we're north of 1.5k on the popular ones.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty fast and strong, but I rarely do long rides. Distance is just not a good indicator of much; effort level is where the action is.

If you're climbing mountains, then your distances will almost certainly be shorter than flatland rides, and effort level on par or greater.

My advice is to get signed up on Strava, put the app on your phone, and see how you compare to others on the routes you ride. You can sort by sex, age, and weight to get a pretty relevant comp set. I also find Strava very motivating, and a fabulous tool for battling discouragement.

In addition to giving some basis of comparison with other riders, Strava lets you track activities, mark progress, set goals, explore new routes, and make friends. It's really an awesome tool for someone engaged with cycling on the level you've expressed here...provided you're not a total introvert.
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Old 07-27-15, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
It means you have a way to go ... not necessarily a long way.

You say you do another 10-50 km on your days off. Does that mean you're doing a 50 km ride on one day of your day off?
Yes, on my days off I will do longer rides. If I go to the mountain they are shorter, about 15k, and then longer on more level land. So far the longest has been 50k.

Originally Posted by chaadster

My advice is to get signed up on Strava, put the app on your phone, and see how you compare to others on the routes you ride. You can sort by sex, age, and weight to get a pretty relevant comp set. I also find Strava very motivating, and a fabulous tool for battling discouragement.

In addition to giving some basis of comparison with other riders, Strava lets you track activities, mark progress, set goals, explore new routes, and make friends. It's really an awesome tool for someone engaged with cycling on the level you've expressed here...provided you're not a total introvert.
I'm on strava, though I'm not really certain who I am comparing myself to. On one of my faster longer segments I placed 204/521 amongst women. Not sure what that means as I don't have access to the premium content. I guess it means I'm not awful! I do like comparing my commute times and can see that I am getting faster. I suppose you are right though, I would get a better idea if I had access to strava demographics and could control for more variables.
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Old 07-27-15, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
So I've been back on a bike for approx. 3 months now. I try and commute whenever possible and then go for longer rides on my days off. I'm averaging 40-50km/week commuting and another 10-50km on my days off, some of which are climbs up a mountain. So let's say maybe 75km/week. Now when I go browsing through these forums I start to feel a little inadequate. People post comments like 'did a short 25 mile (40km) ride today,' and I'm thinking that's not short!!! If I want to do a 40km ride that's half my day preparing, eating, showering, napping, etc. I know it's all relative but what I'm wondering is if I keep at it and increase my distance per week will the longer rides start to feel short? Am I that out of shape? I'm 36, 5'8" female, approx. 145 lbs with a thin athletic build (minus the thick thighs). Before taking up cycling I wasn't super active or inactive. I work on my feet and walk everywhere. The longer rides aren't excruciating but I do need to take a few breathers after really exerting myself and when I near the end I am happy to be almost done. My goal is to be able to do longer and longer rides but I fear that my body just won't get used to it or that I will become discouraged. I guess I am just trying to gauge where my fitness level is at. If a 25 mile ride doesn't seem short to me does that mean I have a long way to go?
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Old 07-27-15, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
I know it's all relative but what I'm wondering is if I keep at it and increase my distance per week will the longer rides start to feel short?
Definitely.

I let myself get fat and was only riding 25 miles/40km a week commuting until I developed a sweaty crease between man-boobs and beer belly.

I worked up to 25-30 miles/40-50km before work every weekday, my 6 mile/10km commute, and a longer 50-60 mile/80-100km ride on Saturdays.



With a 3-4 hour ride on Saturday my weekday rides feel very short - a solid 25 mile/40 km effort is 1:15-1:20; 30 mile/50km ride at an endurance pace or with intervals about 1:45-1:50.

Am I that out of shape?
It's all relative. You're probably fine for a non-athlete but fall short of a bicycle racer which is expected when you're not training 10-20 hours a week.

I work on my feet and walk everywhere.
Cycling uses different muscles.

The longer rides aren't excruciating but I do need to take a few breathers after really exerting myself and when I near the end I am happy to be almost done.
There's a sustainable effort which decreases with duration. If you try to go harder you'll have to stop. At higher intensities it drops fast - work 10% too hard and your endurance drops from one hour to ten minutes. You need to pace yourself to avoid that.



There's also an easy pace that you could probably maintain all-day as long as you didn't have fit issues, kept hydrated, and ate 200 Calories of mostly carbs per hour to sustain yourself, although it might be with children passing you on tricycles.

My goal is to be able to do longer and longer rides but I fear that my body just won't get used to it or that I will become discouraged. I guess I am just trying to gauge where my fitness level is at. If a 25 mile ride doesn't seem short to me does that mean I have a long way to go?
At the same intensity you can increase duration about 10% a week. If you skip a day before your long ride you can comfortably at least double your weekday average.
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Old 07-27-15, 05:59 PM
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Everyone needs to develop "base," especially if they are just starting to ride a lot. Developing base takes time. The adaptations come slowly. Think many months. So you commute now. Do you feel tired the next day when you commute? If so, slow down. Try to ride at a pace that doesn't leave you more tired the next day. So then after your week's commuting, you are also doing longer riders on the weekends. Manage your pace and distance on those rides so that again, the next day you don't feel significantly more tired or slower. But mostly manage your pace. Going hard for a short time isn't good for you now. Instead, go easy for a long time.

As has been suggested, keep track of your weekly mileage. Actually, keep track of your weekly time. If you always ride at about the same pace, the two may be interchangeable. However as you get stronger, you'll gradually ride faster, so time is really better. You can try increasing your weekly total time by 10% each week, though that may be too much, and like compound interest, it'll get away from you quite rapidly. So don't necessarily do that. Rather increase your weekly time at a rate that still allows you to recover between rides so that, as I said, you don't become progressively more tired from ride to ride. As you gradually build base in this fashion, your rides will naturally get longer. Don't rush the process. Feel your way along. It's good to reduce your volume about every 4th week, then resume at your former or a slightly increased volume. After 3 or 4 months of this process, you may want to reevaluate and try adding a little intensity by riding one or more of your rides at a faster pace, but carefully so that you don't need to take time off to recover.
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Old 07-27-15, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
......... Now when I go browsing through these forums I start to feel a little inadequate. People post comments like 'did a short 25 mile (40km) ride today,' and I'm thinking that's not short!!! If I want to do a 40km ride that's half my day preparing, eating, showering, napping, etc. I know it's all relative but what I'm wondering is if I keep at it and increase my distance per week will the longer rides start to feel short? Am I that out of shape? ..... My goal is to be able to do longer and longer rides but I fear that my body just won't get used to it or that I will become discouraged. I guess I am just trying to gauge where my fitness level is at. If a 25 mile ride doesn't seem short to me does that mean I have a long way to go?
I don't know if this helps but I started cycling again 18 months ago. My first ride was 6 miles and it took me almost an hour (well 48 minutes to be precise IIRC). Adaptations take time. Building a base will increase the size and number of mitochondria as well as associated enzymes that allow you to ride longer distances without getting so tired. 25 miles now seems short to me. If your goal is to ride longer rides, slowly and consistently increase the distance of your one long ride per week. The one long ride per week is key in addition to riding at least four times per week. So, I went from fat and slow to contemplating trying to do over 420 miles in 24 hours next Winter and despite what another poster wrote, it ain't easy riding 22 mph nonstop. Again, the key is consistently increasing the load and particularly the long ride. 10-15% increases in mileage per week are the max. Every month or so, take an easy rest week (say maybe half the miles and lower intensity). Try to be patient. You can do it!
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Old 07-27-15, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
Yes, on my days off I will do longer rides. If I go to the mountain they are shorter, about 15k, and then longer on more level land. So far the longest has been 50k.
See ... you can do it.

Just keep building up.

One of the recommendations is to increase your long ride each week by 10%.

So let's assume that 50 km was a bit of a stretch for you right now, and that you can do 30 km quite comfortably. Do a 30 km ride this weekend.

Next weekend, do something in the 33 to maybe 35 km range. If you feel fairly comfortable with that, do something in the 35-40 km range the following week. If you feel fairly comfortable with that, go for something in the 40-45 km range.

If you feel a particular distance is pushing your limits, back off to what you did the previous week, and start building again. Also about once a month or so, you might want to back off a little bit just for a rest.
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Old 07-27-15, 07:42 PM
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I started cycling a little less than 2.5 years ago, was exactly where you are now. It took me 5 months to build up to a 60 mile/2500 ft ride.

Now I'm one of those people who considers a 25 mile ride to be "short". Cycling builds upon itself and you can start to accomplish more and more once you've built a solid foundation.

I rode around 2000 miles before I even really started climbing. Someone told me that's what I needed for a base and that I needed a base before I could do much else, so that's what I did.

Within a year, I had ridden my first century, 100 miles/3500 ft. In the 12 months after that, I rode maybe 8 centuries, including two 10000 ft climbing centuries, three double metrics and one double century.

Since then, I've done climbing endurance races and have started time trialing. I have two road bikes, a TT bike, three power meters, a coach, and a zillion cycling friends. It really does all build upon itself and your progress will pick up.

One thing that works for me is to always have a clear goal, something I'm preparing for. Keeps things moving along nicely on the bike. Sometimes I think people have these vague goals, like "to get better". You really need something like "I'm going to ride a metric century on Sept 15". This is where event-type rides and races start to become useful. You figure out what you want to do and then how to get the goal accomplished.
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Old 07-27-15, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Everyone needs to develop "base," especially if they are just starting to ride a lot. Developing base takes time. The adaptations come slowly. Think many months. So you commute now. Do you feel tired the next day when you commute? If so, slow down. Try to ride at a pace that doesn't leave you more tired the next day. So then after your week's commuting, you are also doing longer riders on the weekends. Manage your pace and distance on those rides so that again, the next day you don't feel significantly more tired or slower. But mostly manage your pace. Going hard for a short time isn't good for you now. Instead, go easy for a long time.

As has been suggested, keep track of your weekly mileage. Actually, keep track of your weekly time. If you always ride at about the same pace, the two may be interchangeable. However as you get stronger, you'll gradually ride faster, so time is really better. You can try increasing your weekly total time by 10% each week, though that may be too much, and like compound interest, it'll get away from you quite rapidly. So don't necessarily do that. Rather increase your weekly time at a rate that still allows you to recover between rides so that, as I said, you don't become progressively more tired from ride to ride. As you gradually build base in this fashion, your rides will naturally get longer. Don't rush the process. Feel your way along. It's good to reduce your volume about every 4th week, then resume at your former or a slightly increased volume. After 3 or 4 months of this process, you may want to reevaluate and try adding a little intensity by riding one or more of your rides at a faster pace, but carefully so that you don't need to take time off to recover.
I don't feel tired after my commutes. They are easy. 20 min to work (5.2k) with about 50 stop lights, and 15 min home (4.8k). On my days off I started off with rides at about 10k and have increased to 50k. I pace myself so that I don't overdo it. My biggest worry is my blood sugar dropping, or bonking as they say, as I have blood sugar issues so I only go hard when I start getting closer to home ( I do bring carb snacks with me and eat after about an hour.) The rides that really tire me out are the ones up the mountain. They definitely require a nap after. I keep those ones short. At the end of my 50k I'm not suffering and I could push on energy wise, I just start getting achy everywhere which tells me it's time to wrap it up. Now I'm wondering how hard to push myself. I think I could push a little more.


Originally Posted by RR3
I don't know if this helps but I started cycling again 18 months ago. My first ride was 6 miles and it took me almost an hour (well 48 minutes to be precise IIRC). Adaptations take time. Building a base will increase the size and number of mitochondria as well as associated enzymes that allow you to ride longer distances without getting so tired. 25 miles now seems short to me. If your goal is to ride longer rides, slowly and consistently increase the distance of your one long ride per week. The one long ride per week is key in addition to riding at least four times per week. So, I went from fat and slow to contemplating trying to do over 420 miles in 24 hours next Winter and despite what another poster wrote, it ain't easy riding 22 mph nonstop. Again, the key is consistently increasing the load and particularly the long ride. 10-15% increases in mileage per week are the max. Every month or so, take an easy rest week (say maybe half the miles and lower intensity). Try to be patient. You can do it!
Thanks for the encouragement! I guess I didn't realize how much time it takes to build a base. I thought after 3 months that I would see more progress than I have. I will keep on keeping on!
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Old 07-27-15, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka

If you feel a particular distance is pushing your limits, back off to what you did the previous week, and start building again. Also about once a month or so, you might want to back off a little bit just for a rest.
I'm glad you mentioned this. I think I might need to back-off a little from the 50k. I did 36k the previous week so perhaps I made too much of a jump.

Originally Posted by Heathpack
One thing that works for me is to always have a clear goal, something I'm preparing for. Keeps things moving along nicely on the bike.
Great advice. My goal is 200k. Montreal to Ottawa, when I'm ready .
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Old 07-27-15, 08:00 PM
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I'm probably beating a dead horse a bit here , because a couple of other posters have mentioned it, but I don't think you can overemphasize the point of not comparing yourself to how others are doing. I think we all do it at times, and it will discourage the heck out of you. There will always be someone who is faster, a better climber, can ride farther, etc. Remember, as you get better there will be a lot of people who wish the could ride 25 miles, 50 miles,etc. like you do. Keep working hard (but smart) and you'll be amazed at what you're able to do over time.
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Old 07-27-15, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
Great advice. My goal is 200k. Montreal to Ottawa, when I'm ready .
Not "when you are ready". Set a goal date or else it will always be a "someday" type of thing.

If you are riding 30 miles in a single ride now, you could set a goal of riding the 200k say next July. Figure out how much time you have left to ride this season on the road, maybe into October? Plenty of time to work yourself up to a metric century.

Then figure out how you're going to keep in cycling shape over the winter, spin class or learn to love the trainer with some road riding when you can.

Then plan on getting on the road whenever you can when your cycling season starts, late March? Start over again at 40 miles and work your way up to 55 by the end of April, then 75 by the end of May, then 100 miles by the end of June.

Over the winter, figure out everything you need to about your proposed route. What roads to take, where you can stop for restrooms, water, food. What you need to carry. Test your equipment all spring.

Make a plan, know what you want and you will get there.
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Old 07-27-15, 08:31 PM
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Great advice. My goal is 200k. Montreal to Ottawa, when I'm ready
We all start from different fitness levels and some of us have more time to commit.

If you take 2 weeks off, it can take you 6 weeks to return to the same level of overall fitness. Be consistent and build slowly. Not knowing your background and a limited information about the type of riding that you have done over those 3 months; thus, we can only give general suggestions. To do a 200K ride, your currently weekly mileage needs to rise well beyond the current 75Km to perhaps 200Km per week but the most important ride is increasing the one long ride per week. You want to slowly build this long ride up as Macha indicated. You should not push hard on long rides. Your pace on long rides (currently your 50KM ride) should be moderate. Not slow but not fast.....in cycling Geekspeak....low Zone 2. You should be able to chat several sentences at a time. I would venture a guess that your anaerobic energy systems are getting plenty of workouts from the traffic lights.

I would not do more than one really hard Stava type ride per week initially but you do need one hard ride in addition to the long ride. Commuting should round it out for a while. You will get stronger. Just build slow and consistent.
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Old 07-27-15, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RR3
We all start from different fitness levels and some of us have more time to commit.

If you take 2 weeks off, it can take you 6 weeks to return to the same level of overall fitness. Be consistent and build slowly. Not knowing your background and a limited information about the type of riding that you have done over those 3 months; thus, we can only give general suggestions. To do a 200K ride, your currently weekly mileage needs to rise well beyond the current 75Km to perhaps 200Km per week but the most important ride is increasing the one long ride per week. You want to slowly build this long ride up as Macha indicated. You should not push hard on long rides. Your pace on long rides (currently your 50KM ride) should be moderate. Not slow but not fast.....in cycling Geekspeak....low Zone 2. You should be able to chat several sentences at a time. I would venture a guess that your anaerobic energy systems are getting plenty of workouts from the traffic lights.

I would not do more than one really hard Stava type ride per week initially but you do need one hard ride in addition to the long ride. Commuting should round it out for a while. You will get stronger. Just build slow and consistent.
On my commutes I will go hard when I get a series of green lights. It's short enough that I don't feel the need to pace myself too much. On my long rides I will go hard only during the second half for a few kms, then ride easy for a bit, and then do it again - cuz it's fun and I always seem to get a tailwind coming home! I average 19km/hr. Some weeks I will do both a long ride and a mountain ride. When I climb the mountain I go really slow, like really slow and then go nuts on the descent.
I just checked and I did 140k last week, and 65k the week before - because of the weather 2 long rides fell into the same week.
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Old 07-28-15, 08:22 AM
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Keep it up and you'll see improvements. A lot depends on your goals, whether you are trying to become a faster rider, more endurance riding, or simply stay fit. I have found that my biggest improvements in cycling have come from riding regularly and doing longer rides on weekends.

I have found that setting goals really helped me improve. I cycled a lot when I was younger, quit for a while and started back in my early 40s. My initial goal was simply to lose weight and become more fit. I really enjoyed cycling again and decided to start training for a week-long bike tour the following summer. For a while, I got caught up in the fast group ride scene and trying to continually improve my performance (eg, avg speeds). However, as I have gotten older, I could care less about going fast but I do track my mileage, time and pace.

My goals now are to maintain fitness (and weight) and keep myself in shape for bike touring. I love taking bike trips, and generally participate in several each year. To stay in shape, I commute to work most days and try to do at least one long ride every weekend. I get a lot of enjoyment out of bike commuting and a sense of purpose that I never got from recreational rides -- for environmental reasons as well as saving energy and driving expenses. Regular commuting and weekend rides keep me in great shape for bike touring, and I have no trouble riding week-long tours with no additional training. Some day I would like to ride my bike across the country.

I have also found that tracking all of my exercise (mileage, time, etc.) keeps me motivated. I set weekly and monthly mileage goals for myself, and often that motivates me to ride on days when I might otherwise slack off. Tracking your commuting can also be a motivator.
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Old 07-28-15, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
I don't feel tired after my commutes. They are easy. 20 min to work (5.2k) with about 50 stop lights, and 15 min home (4.8k). On my days off I started off with rides at about 10k and have increased to 50k. I pace myself so that I don't overdo it. My biggest worry is my blood sugar dropping, or bonking as they say, as I have blood sugar issues so I only go hard when I start getting closer to home ( I do bring carb snacks with me and eat after about an hour.) The rides that really tire me out are the ones up the mountain. They definitely require a nap after. I keep those ones short. At the end of my 50k I'm not suffering and I could push on energy wise, I just start getting achy everywhere which tells me it's time to wrap it up. Now I'm wondering how hard to push myself. I think I could push a little more.
Many commuters in your situation simply lengthen their commute route. I used to ride with a woman who commuted 50k round trip every day. She lost 50 lbs. in a year of doing that and got quite fast.

Don't worry about your blood sugar issues. I assume you mean hypoglycemia. It won't raise it's head on the bike, and riding will to a large extent make it go away in your civilian life too. Your riding metabolism is different from your off-bike metabolism. You can eat straight sugar on the bike and never crash as long as you keep it coming. You don't gain weight as long as you only eat about 1/2 your burn. The whole idea is to keep your blood sugar up on the bike. One way to do that, oddly enough, is to eat nothing on a ride of 2 hours or less. Your body is just a chemical factory. You can modify the factory's processes with your inputs. That's mostly what training does. So by eating nothing, you encourage fat burn, which can take the place of eaten food if you keep the effort down.

So if you want or need to eat, like on a long hard ride for instance, it's usually best to start eating a little at a time early in the ride and just keep up a steady intake for the duration of the ride. A variety of carb-high foods work: sports drinks, dried fruit, sports bars, gels, shot bloks, all sorts of stuff. The main thing is to eat only a little at a time and eat often. Eating to hunger usually works well.

I've never seen a rider bonk on a ride shorter than ~100K and one would have to be riding hard to bonk even at that distance. What you might get is a little spate of low blood sugar after you've burned off your initial blood sugar and your fat burn hasn't really started yet. Many people notice that after 45 minutes to an hour. If that happens to me, I just ride through it and feel fine in a few more minutes. If I don't, there's always food in my pocket or bottle.

Riding long distance is all about problem solving. That's really all there is to it other than some initial conditioning. It could be that your achy feeling is lack of calories or water. You might try eating and drinking more when that starts and see what happens.

If your goal is to ride a double metric, you need to ride that distance or more per week for several weeks prior. You'll also need to do a couple of long rides of over 100k to get the idea of eating and drinking on a schedule or at need and also to test your butt at longer distances. You'll want to stand more often, for instance. Or you may find some source of saddle discomfort that needs to go away. Riding a fast double metric is another animal that needs different training than simply going the distance.
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Old 07-28-15, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
On my commutes I will go hard when I get a series of green lights. It's short enough that I don't feel the need to pace myself too much. On my long rides I will go hard only during the second half for a few kms, then ride easy for a bit, and then do it again - cuz it's fun and I always seem to get a tailwind coming home!
You don't want to do that.

Not being pedantic about terms you have three systems:

1. aerobic which works indefinitely and runs off your nearly inexhaustible fat stores (9000Calories a kilogram where male athletes are about 6-13% fat and females 14-20%)

2. anaerobic where you have a limited amount of energy you can spend fast or slow which runs off carbohydrates where you have about 100 Calories in your blood, 400 in your liver, and 1600 spread across your muscles with no way to get it back into your blood so different muscles can use them.

3. neuro-muscular which runs out in tens of seconds.

When you "go hard" even briefly, your body starts to draw more from your anaerobic system and continues to do so after you back off so you don't train your aerobic fitness and are slower on long rides.

When you do that frequently you're too fatigued to "go hard" to stress your anaerobic system enough to force training adaptations which make you faster, increase endurance at high speeds, and shorten recovery time.

Lots of endurance athletes (cyclists, cross-country skiers, rowers, swimmers) use polarized training with 20% of sessions above their anaerobic threshold and the rest below their aerobic threshold avoiding the area between them which trains neither system.

Riding five days a week, one hard interval session is enough where the sweet spot is as hard as you can ride for 7-10 minutes.

You also want rest weeks, where one out of four is traditional. That allows adaptation to occur and prevents over-training which is relative - you can over-train on just an hour a day.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 07-28-15 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 07-28-15, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LoriRose
Now when I go browsing through these forums I start to feel a little inadequate. People post comments like 'did a short 25 mile (40km) ride today,' and I'm thinking that's not short!!!
Don't get suckered into comparing yourself to other's ideals. The person who wrote that might be 6' 5", 110 lbs and has 40 hours a week of free time. Measure your progress in terms of health and the amount of fun you have riding your bike. Three months is not a lot of time, keep at it and you'll see considerable gains for quite a while.
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Old 07-28-15, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt
You don't want to do that.

Not being pedantic about terms you have three systems:

1. aerobic which works indefinitely and runs off your nearly inexhaustible fat stores (9000Calories a kilogram where male athletes are about 6-13% fat and females 14-20%)

2. anaerobic where you have a limited amount of energy you can spend fast or slow which runs off carbohydrates where you have about 100 Calories in your blood, 400 in your liver, and 1600 spread across your muscles with no way to get it back into your blood so different muscles can use them.

3. neuro-muscular which runs out in tens of seconds.

When you "go hard" even briefly, your body starts to draw more from your anaerobic system and continues to do so after you back off so you don't train your aerobic fitness and are slower on long rides.

When you do that frequently you're too fatigued to "go hard" to stress your anaerobic system enough to force training adaptations which make you faster, increase endurance at high speeds, and shorten recovery time.

Lots of endurance athletes (cyclists, cross-country skiers, rowers, swimmers) use polarized training with 20% of sessions above their anaerobic threshold and the rest below their aerobic threshold avoiding the area between them which trains neither system.

Riding five days a week, one hard interval session is enough where the sweet spot is as hard as you can ride for 7-10 minutes.

You also want rest weeks, where one out of four is traditional. That allows adaptation to occur and prevents over-training which is relative - you can over-train on just an hour a day.
That was a lot to digest. I'm not sure I really follow. By what you're suggesting I shouldn't go fast during my rides too often? I should just mostly take it easy? That doesn't sound like much fun. Maybe I misunderstood.

"Riding five days a week, one hard interval session is enough where the sweet spot is as hard as you can ride for 7-10 minutes. "

one hard session per week? per ride? enough for what? I'm not following. Perhaps I should do some research into this. Thank you though for your advice! It's very much appreciated. I would really like to get a handle on this so I keep improving
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