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When should I see improvement?

Old 08-21-08, 11:01 AM
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xnihilo
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When should I see improvement?

Hi all,
New into cycling. I'm trying to get my body acclimated to riding around the neighborhood but it's a challenge. I have a good road bike with a compact crank but still struggle. I do a daily loop of only 1.5 miles with a combo of hills and coasting. Even this short distance I can only do it once and the bike goes back into the garage. I am 44, 6'1", 195 lbs. Recent physical says I'm okay. I've been doing the same ride for a coupla weeks and have yet to see improvement in stamina. Am I being impatient? Am I doing something wrong? Should I sell the bike and stick with motorcycling?
Encouragements and criticisms welcome.
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Old 08-21-08, 11:18 AM
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Have you ever tried a longer distance?

Maybe find a flatter route until you get more accustomed to riding.
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Old 08-21-08, 11:18 AM
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My assumption is you haven't been doing other exercise programs before you started cycling. after a couple of weeks I would expect that you should have some improve getting done a little faster, maybe not breathing as hard. Try using lower gears (another guess) to see if you can pedal faster, but not as hard.

I would at because in a month you will be improved, but if you go back to M/C then you will never improve.
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Old 08-21-08, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
My assumption is you haven't been doing other exercise programs before you started cycling. after a couple of weeks I would expect that you should have some improve getting done a little faster, maybe not breathing as hard. Try using lower gears (another guess) to see if you can pedal faster, but not as hard.

I would at because in a month you will be improved, but if you go back to M/C then you will never improve.
Sad thing is that I'm in the lowest gear all the time. My neighborhood is nothing but hills. The road going up to my house is about a 20% grade! As suggested, I should take the bike to more neutral grounds so I can just ride the thing.
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Old 08-21-08, 12:51 PM
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With those kinds of hills, maybe you should swap out your compact for a triple?

Anyway, please stick with it. I suspect after you give it a bit more time, you will see yourself improving more quickly, the beginning is the hardest.

Some other ideas:
- get a cyclocomputer so you can see your average speed for your route and see if you are getting slightly better each week
- perhaps some cross-training would help...maybe take some breaks from the bike and on the off-days, do some jogging and/or brisk walking

Good luck!
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Old 08-21-08, 04:23 PM
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Some things that are missing from your post would be helpful to us. What is your average speed during your ride? Are you hammering the whole way or just cruising? Gear ratios would be nice to know too.

On the face of your post, I'd say that 2 weeks isn't much time to look for improvement. This is especially true given that your workout time is probably only 10 minutes. Plus the gains will be slow in coming and will be in very tiny increments that may or may not be noticeable on such a short ride.

I would suggest that you find a different, flatter route and ride slower for longer. This will allow you to build endurance without immediately tapping you out in the energy dept. In a month you'll start to see definite gains.
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Old 08-21-08, 06:10 PM
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You might look at things another way. There are people who would kill to have hills near them. Those hills will make you stronger each and every time you ride.

..... Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades.- Eddy Merckx ...
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Old 08-21-08, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by xnihilo View Post
Hi all,
New into cycling. I'm trying to get my body acclimated to riding around the neighborhood but it's a challenge. I have a good road bike with a compact crank but still struggle. I do a daily loop of only 1.5 miles with a combo of hills and coasting. Even this short distance I can only do it once and the bike goes back into the garage. I am 44, 6'1", 195 lbs. Recent physical says I'm okay. I've been doing the same ride for a coupla weeks and have yet to see improvement in stamina. Am I being impatient? Am I doing something wrong? Should I sell the bike and stick with motorcycling?
Encouragements and criticisms welcome.
Improving aerobic fitness is more about time spent than intensity. You generally need to be exercising 30 minutes or more to see a reasonable improvement, and you don't need to be killing yourself to do it.

My recommendation is either to take your bike someplace where you can ride for 30 minutes and not feel like you are going to die, or use a mix of walking and cycling. Pick a route to walk that is 30-45 minutes long, and make sure you can talk the whole time. Do that every day for 3-4 weeks, and you'll see an improvement. You can then start to add some cycling in, but you really need a route that's in the 30 minute range (ideally 45 minutes to an hour) to really get a benefit.
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Old 08-21-08, 10:02 PM
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Or try to just go a little further every week. You think you can only do that loop once. I'll bet you that you can do it once and keep going at least another 1/2 mile. Then pretty soon you're doing it twice. Then you're looking for bigger loops. Etc.

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Old 08-22-08, 08:13 AM
  #10  
xnihilo
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Thanks everyone.
I think the best bet from the suggestions here is to find level ground. I can barely get to 10 mph and sustain it for a short period of time before having to back off. Again, with the hills I'm either coasting, riding the brakes or huffing it in first gear trying to get up to the next plateau. A 30 minute ride on the flats would be a dream!
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Old 08-22-08, 09:04 AM
  #11  
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looks like Fairfield has flatter roads than Green Valley. That's where you might take a longer ride.
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Old 08-22-08, 06:34 PM
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You sound like me when I started riding four months ago. My progress has been slow, but I am now seeing some results. I was disappointed at first and thought about quiting. Two weeks is not enough, keep hard at it, and find some flat terrain as others have said and the results will come.

I'm 45 years old, 5'11" tall, 195 lbs. I have never exercised in my life. Terrain is fairly flat here. My first ride was five miles and this nearly killed me. I ride 4-6 days a week since I have started. I am currently up to 10-20 mile rides during the week nights with a 35 mile ride on Saturdays, I know this is not a lot of miles but for me it is huge. My weight is now around 178lbs and my waist is about two inches smaller, I also feel a lot better. I used to be dead tired by three in the afternoon, now I ride 10-20 miles most evenings after work and enjoy it. I also ride compact gearing, and it has been plenty of gear for my area.

Keep with it, and remember that it takes time to get in shape. It took me 45 years to get in bad shape, so I know that it will take time and determination to get in good or great shape.
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Old 08-26-08, 08:24 PM
  #13  
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1.5 miles ... that's it??? OK, I realize it's hilly where you are, but you won't improve if that's all you ever do.

Walk 1.5 miles. Cycle longer distances.

Tomorrow go do 3 miles ... do that for a few days, take a day or two off, then increase the distance to 4 miles. Etc. Etc. Surely you've got some flatish terrain somewhere around ... along a river, for example. Try riding longer distances on that.

When I started, I rode 2 miles and had to take a break after the first mile. The next day I went out and did the 2 miles without a break, and I kept gradually increasing the distance ... it was tough sometimes, but you won't improve if you keep doing the same thing all the time.
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Old 08-26-08, 10:09 PM
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You might want to pick up a topo map of your area or even Google Map it with the Terrain feature. If you're in the hills of Green Valley you probably need to head south or east to get into some flatter areas. Or drive over to the Napa Valley.

But if I recall those are valleys over there and some stretches that run between the hills are pretty flat and nice for riding if you're not into climbing.

Could you throw your bike on a car rack and drive from where you live to the nearest flat area and then work your way up to more climbing?
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Old 08-27-08, 07:46 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
1.5 miles ... that's it??? OK, I realize it's hilly where you are, but you won't improve if that's all you ever do.
Meh, I disagree, if it's still difficult he doesn't necessarily need to ramp it up yet. He should be measuring it by his own yardstick, not someone else's.

I do think that longer rides on flats would be better for starting out -- lower intensity for a longer period of time. Grinding up hills is like weight lifting for your legs, but isn't necessarily going to be a good overall workout. Spinning (i.e. pedalling constantly at low gear) on the flat is more aerobic. Personally, I find that hills are a pain and I don't want to do them, but spinning is addictive and I hardly notice that I'm working hard until I get home.
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Old 08-28-08, 01:45 PM
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I wouldn't worry about distance too much to start with. Try and get up to 30 minutes without having to push yourself too hard. See if you can find a flattish route to be able to do this. From then on you should find it a lot easier. You'll be surprised at how soon you'll look back at the 1.5 miles and smile. You might want to get a cycle computer that will allow you to see progress. It can log all that you have ridden + time/average speed for each ride.

I have been cycling on/off for 40 years. Not until recently did I do longer distances. I generally ride for fun/exercise. So my typical ride would be no more than 20 miles. However I have recently started to do longer rides - up to 40 miles. The 40 miles routes take me about 3 hours.
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Old 08-28-08, 02:03 PM
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Which Green valley are you at? I know there is one near Napa and one near Big Bear. If we knew we might be able to help you find some flat. I agree it takes 30 mins to an hour no matter what speed you ride to see improvement.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:02 PM
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pretty solid advice from all...focus more on duration(minimum 30 min. rides)...set goals! you'll notice improved fitness soon, keep at it I'll add that I use a cheap heart rate monitor (so handy for getting in a good training ride) & a cycle-computer w. cadence.This combination allows me to exercise smart & monitor fitness improvements .
Also , if youv'e never read any books on exercise physiology or training, then i'd recommend a trip to the library .Chris Carmicheal is good,cycling specific....or maybe Covert Bailey "Fit or Fat " a real fun read on general exercise and fitness. Rideroli
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Old 08-28-08, 10:41 PM
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I've been riding for 6 weeks and am going right over some hills that were kicking my butt the first week. Sone others not so much, but I'm improving almost everytime I ride. I quit riding everyday and now ride every other day, and I try to make it a 20 mile minimum. Rode 35 tonight.

Xnihilo - I say ride a little farther each time, even if it's a 5th of a mile. It will get easier and you will be real proud of yourself! You gotta stay motivated and have fun!
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Old 08-30-08, 09:22 PM
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See my post here

https://www.bikeforums.net/training-nutrition/460172-how-cycling-helping-me.html

It's related but saw your post after I posted my experience. Stay on the hills but consider a triple.
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Old 08-31-08, 02:05 AM
  #21  
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I started exactly where you are at. I suggest finding some flat areas and riding minimum one hour. Distance doesn't matter. As you get stronger you will go further in that hour. After a few weeks throw in some hills and increase the riding time. There is no magic to this - it will take time and progress is incremental. Just focus each ride, know your pace, and slowly bump up the intensity. Results will be measured in months.

Just my two cents.
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Old 09-01-08, 04:03 PM
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What worked for me when I was in your situation was that instead of riding everyday,I started riding 3 to 4 times a week BUT doing a much longer ride.That way I started to lose more fat and gain muscle,and I also started developing more resistance and was able to do even longer routes.

P.D:I did this because when I rode everyday(for about an hour or so),I got to a point where I stopped improving.
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Old 09-06-08, 10:26 PM
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You might look for short group rides as well, I know when i found people to ride with it helped me to push myself more than i would have just riding alone, good luck with your goals and stick with it
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Old 09-07-08, 06:27 AM
  #24  
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I'd give it 6 weeks before I expected improvements, given your age and heft. You also might want to add one day a week of hard ridng, one day that is perhaps shorter but faster with no coasting. Really tax yourself. Or one day of hills would suffice too. I've been doing that for a month now and have increased my average ride speed by about 1 mph!

Best wishes,
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Old 09-07-08, 08:51 AM
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I'd like to offer a suggestion.

I'm 50yrs old, 5'11, 212, and was in horrible condition. I started riding again about 2 months ago. At first, I couldn't do more than a mile. My legs would go rubbery, and I would simply run out of gas.

Then I bought a heart rate monitor.

I found myself able to ride much longer, if I kept my pulse rate at a lower aerobic level. As soon as my pulse inched towards my "fatigue zone", I slowed down. You'll soon realize your fatigue zone after a few rides.
Then, little by little, you'll find that your fatigue zone increases with time. Before you know it, you'll be hitting those hills with ease.

Oh, and BTW....I have the same choices:
Lately, I've been riding number 2, and feeling much better.

Choice #1:


Choice #2
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