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That unholy feeling...

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That unholy feeling...

Old 10-28-09, 11:29 AM
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Bacana
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That unholy feeling...

So I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the first hour or so of riding. Here's what happens--I start out with a big hill. I'm not warmed up, but I've got a long 5% to 25% grade to climb in the first ten minutes. That usually gets my heart rate up to about 150 or so. Thing is, the 150 during the first 30 minutes is... unholy. I'm not sure how else to describe it. I just don't want to do it. I hate it.

In the second hour (on those days that I ride for more than an hour), the 150 is easy. Well, relatively easy. In fact, 160 is not that bad at all, assuming of course I'm rested, fed, etc.

But what's the best way to deal with the warm-up? I've been experimenting with just spinning through it. I've noticed that once I get my heart rate up to a decent number (150 or so), it's easy to maintain it. For example, one technique I've used is to exert myself till I hit about 160, and then settle in at about 150. After that, 150 seems okay. But mashing along at 140 to 150 is just drudgery.

Any other thoughts on getting through the warm up? Is this normal? Oh, I don't have a power meter, nor do I really want to get one. I get OCD enough as it is with the heart-rate monitor...
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Old 10-28-09, 02:08 PM
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Can you start your ride in a different direction?

I live on the side of a mountain. I can either go up or down. Up it's a mile climb averaging 12%. I am ok with riding up it with no warmup but I prefer to go relatively easy. Low gearing helps, as does being able to be relaxed while standing on a climb.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:33 PM
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Yeah, I can go the long way around, and sometimes I do, but the thing is, I want to make it through that pain. I want to see what will happen if I continue to face it--will it subside with time? Will I learn to ignore it? Will I damage my body somehow?

I guess I'm just wondering what the cause is and whether it's good to just brave the storm, so to speak.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:53 PM
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Yeah, I can go the long way around, and sometimes I do, but the thing is, I want to make it through that pain. I want to see what will happen if I continue to face it--will it subside with time? Will I learn to ignore it? Will I damage my body somehow?

I guess I'm just wondering what the cause is and whether it's good to just brave the storm, so to speak.
it's a tough one. i'd say if you're having doubts, change something.

i've got a muscle imbalance due to improper training and haven't been able to cycle for a month. the advantage is now i know how to train properly, but time off the bike is hard.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:46 PM
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Man, that sucks. Sorry to hear that.

You know that time on the bike can become a kind of meditative experience; I like to use the time to myself to reflect on things, at times even using the time as a chance to engage in not just some physical exercise, but some mental exercise as well. I may not understand myself very clearly, but it seems that that 'unholy' feeling to which I refer is at least partly mental. There's something quite terrifying about it, as if I were aroused from sleep suddenly and forced to sprint at full speed. It just doesn't feel right.

It's not a horrible physical pain that I fear will break something or tear something. Or at least I hope.

I suppose I should experiment with the feeling a bit. Perhaps try spinning through it to see what happens.
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Old 10-29-09, 10:00 AM
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it can be meditative yeah. that's one of the reasons i like to bike on my own.

i'm gonna start spinning too. less pressure on the legs and a better workout for the respiratory system.
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Old 10-29-09, 10:38 AM
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change things up...the long route one day, the shorter route another, something else all together on another, nothing at all on another.
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Old 10-29-09, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacana View Post
Yeah, I can go the long way around, and sometimes I do, but the thing is, I want to make it through that pain. I want to see what will happen if I continue to face it--will it subside with time? Will I learn to ignore it? Will I damage my body somehow?
You could injure a muscle or ligament by riding too hard without a warmup. But with cycling, unlike running, it's less likely. And you'll usually get plenty of warning before it happens. Mostly the problem with not getting a good warmup is that you can't go as hard. Everything hurts too much so there are a lot of signals telling your brain to back off.

If you like to see what happens when you push yourself, you should try racing. Very few people can push themselves as hard solo as they can in a race.
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Old 10-29-09, 02:30 PM
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Some good thoughts. Yeah, you're probably right. Makes sense.

The way it is now, I feel warmed up when I get to the top of the hill. After that, I get the endorphin rush, and everything else is relatively easy.
Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
If you like to see what happens when you push yourself, you should try racing. Very few people can push themselves as hard solo as they can in a race.
Haha, that's so true. I mean, I haven't raced, but when somebody's on my tail, I definitely push a lot harder than I normally would. I was riding a hill a few weeks ago (from Sausalito to the Golden Gate Bridge, if anybody knows), and a guy passed me. I tried to keep up and pushed waaaay harder than I would have otherwise. That was fun.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:27 PM
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Working really hard right when you start isn't a good idea - your muscles aren't warmed up and your body isn't ready.

Try to ride slower. You might look at different gearing, as well.
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Old 11-01-09, 03:11 PM
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What's going on is that your HR goes up partly because hard effort releases hormones that make the heart beat faster. That's why high HR gets easier after a while. There's a route we often do that's just like what you describe. I just don't push it. I gear down and spin and keep my HR under some number where I'm relatively comfortable. If you do that, you'll be much more comfortable, faster, and have more endurance later. You say "mashing along" which says to me that if you slow down a bit, your cadence drops below comfortable. So get a bigger cassette.

I know exactly what you are saying about getting stimulated. I've often attacked my buds late in a ride when I'm feeling crappy and just can't go any more and then had a great final third. But I think attacking yourself early in the ride will tire you more than is good.

Just expanding on what Eric said.
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Old 11-01-09, 05:02 PM
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Some riders are lucky when they get out of the garage and the road is flat for the next 3 to 5 miles. Some aren't and maybe you might like to start elsewhere. That might mean you gotta use the car and get to a point that the start is not as strenuous.
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Old 11-15-09, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for all the input. I've been experimenting with different techniques. It seems like no matter what I do, I'm not really physically ready to push all that hard for the first twenty minutes or so. After about twenty minutes, it's comparatively easy to sustain a high (for me) level of energy/output.

The ride I do most is my commute; the way there starts with the big hill. The rest is pretty easy. That means the way back is the reverse, although the grade of the hill going back is much lower (but over a longer distance). I find in the mornings, when I need to climb that hill in the first ten minutes, I sort of dread it. In the evenings, when the hill is near the end, I almost look forward to it. I feel about the same afterwards, though.
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Old 11-22-09, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacana View Post
So I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the first hour or so of riding. Here's what happens--I start out with a big hill. I'm not warmed up, but I've got a long 5% to 25% grade to climb in the first ten minutes. That usually gets my heart rate up to about 150 or so. Thing is, the 150 during the first 30 minutes is... unholy. I'm not sure how else to describe it. I just don't want to do it. I hate it.

In the second hour (on those days that I ride for more than an hour), the 150 is easy. Well, relatively easy. In fact, 160 is not that bad at all, assuming of course I'm rested, fed, etc.

But what's the best way to deal with the warm-up? I've been experimenting with just spinning through it. I've noticed that once I get my heart rate up to a decent number (150 or so), it's easy to maintain it. For example, one technique I've used is to exert myself till I hit about 160, and then settle in at about 150. After that, 150 seems okay. But mashing along at 140 to 150 is just drudgery.

Any other thoughts on getting through the warm up? Is this normal? Oh, I don't have a power meter, nor do I really want to get one. I get OCD enough as it is with the heart-rate monitor...
You are making some correct and smart observations... in the first 20- 30 minutes, you are feeling a bit stressed, but after riding for about an hour, you've got an easier time of it.

That's about how exercise goes, which is why warm ups are so important.

Consider this- people are not aware of this, but we are always producing lactic acid, even at rest. This lactic acid is what's necessary to build up to sustain us through the longer rides. At the beginning of a ride, or run, or whatever, if you're going full out, your body is being forced to use energy systems that don't have enough energy for the amount of exercise you're doing. The lack of lactate and the limitation of ATP-CP will prevent you from lasting very long if you're starting too fast too soon. It takes time for the body to build enough lactic acid, and more time to go through the ATP-CP cycle to regenerate.

Lactate acts as a buffer to neutralize the accumulation of ions that accumulate from high intensity exercise. These ions are produced from the pyruvate (which results from the splitting of glucose) and the splitting of ATP (which is necessary to split to produce the energy needed for the exercise you're doing!). If you start exercising at a vigorous rate before you have enough lactate to buffer the ions, you're going to have some serious pain, man. From the sounds of it, your body isn't producing enough lactate until you hit the second hour. Once you've build up enough lactate to buffer, or neutralize the excess ion accumulation from the high intensity exercise, then you'll find yourself a lot more comfortable when you're working at a higher heart rates.

The solution is to spend more time in your warm up. If you live in the hills and you can't avoid them when you're starting out, get a trainer. Since once you get out, you'll be hitting hills and your energy demands will increase, you might want to spend up to thirty minutes before your ride in warm up mode. Spend the first five minutes in an easy spin, then spend the subsequent twenty five minutes increasing the intensity gradually. Within 15 minutes, you should be working towards a pretty good clip, or rather, closer to feeling like you're out of breath and breathing pretty fast. This intensity is like a "lactate threshold" simulated intensity, which you should be able to maintain until you hit the thirty minute mark. THEN start your ride and see how you feel. I think this will help you start stronger and last longer over the long run.

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