Increase Distance - 100Km Goal - Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by vvanherk, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. vvanherk

    vvanherk New Member

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    Hello All.

    I'll provide a little background info so you know where I'm coming from.

    I'm 5'8", 165lbs, 45 years old male. I'm in half decent shape, maybe 10 - 15lbs could be lost, and I work out at the gym with weights on a regular basis.

    I enjoy cycling, and did quite a bit when I was 25 and younger. No competition, just pleasure, and also the fact I had no car so I had to cycle to college for 3 years :)

    About 12 years ago, I decided to get back into riding. So, I bought a nice bike, and started going for some rides. Life of course got busy, and I really did not get out to much. The bike was collecting some dust....

    However, over the last couple of years, I have made more of an attempt, and this year has been pretty good (for me anyway). Keep in mind, I'm just an amateur, and really just doing this for the pure enjoyment of cycling.

    A few years ago, a 20Km - 30Km ride was pretty much all I was interested in. Last year was better, and at the end of the year I could do 40Km in under 2 hours. I live in Ontario Canada, so the outdoor riding season is not 12 months long :)

    This year I bought a Cyclemeter app for my iPhone to track things, and have been going out maybe twice per week. I went for some 40Km rides, then did a few 50Km rides, then did some 60Km rides, and a couple of rides ago broke the 70K mark.

    At the beginning of the year, I as averaging maybe 22Km/h, and now I am able to average maybe 24Km/h while also increasing the distance, so that has been pretty cool. I might have to stop for 5 minutes for a stretch and bio break, but that is typically it.

    I would like to be able to go for 100Km with minimal to no stop time, and getting my average speed up to 25Km/h. I'm pretty close, and feel it is attainable, but I could use some input for helping me get the rest of the way.

    The main bottle neck seems to be body discomfort, as opposed to stamina. When I'm on the last 10K of the ride, I still feel like there is room left in the lungs and the legs, but every thing else seems to be be coming apart. My wrists and arms are sore, my back and neck muscles feel cramped up, my butt is feeling the pain, and even my big toe will hurtin. Now, bear in mind, this probably has something do do with our roads out here not being the smoothest on the planet. The winters kick the crap out of them, so there is lot of bumps and cracks and what not. My body has to brace for all these bumps and what not, so that is not helping matters. I do try to find the smooth roads, but sometimes I have no choice.

    My equipment is pretty decent, and I think is fitted OK. I have a Trek 5500 with Dura Ace components, wear Sidi shoes, and a new set of Sugoi bib shorts. I took my bike in a few years ago to the local shop, and they adjusted the positions a bit, so as far as I know it should be setup OK.

    So, any advice on how to toughen up so that the rest of my body can keep up with my legs and lungs, as well as increasing my overall stamina? Any riding techniques or training tips, or whatever....?

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    Vic
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I'd strongly recommend a good bike fitting, not the sales folks at your local shop but find a shop that does professional fittings in addition to selling bikes or find a dedicated bike fitter. It'll cost you some money and will take an hour or two but it's well worth the investment especially for someone who's rides are currently limited by discomfort as opposed to aerobic fitness or endurance.

    In terms of training, consistency is really the starting point that everything else builds upon so if you want to comfortably ride longer distances or want to ride faster then you should get on your bike for at least a short ride on a regular basis. Three evenly spread days per week is probably the minimum for someone that hopes to improve their ride times or distances. Four days per week is better so you're training on more days per week than you're resting and most serious amateurs see really big improvements if they can work up to five days per week. Some of these days can be as short as twenty minutes or half an hour of easy spinning, some could be an hour or so of riding at a quicker pace that gets you breathing deeply and steadily and requires some focus and some could be longer rides at an enjoyable touring pace perhaps on weekends when most folks can carve out more time.

    The main point though is to ride frequently and mix up the rides to fit your schedule and not to beat your body up too badly on each and every ride yet challenge it from time to time with more intensity or more distance or both. Do that with a well fitted bike and the muscle soreness issues should resolve themselves as your body gets accustomed to the stresses of riding and your speeds and comfortable cruising distances should increase over time.

    Your limited outdoor riding season isn't too unusual for someone living in Northern areas, but if you want to go quicker or longer from year to year then consider some indoor riding either on an indoor trainer using your own bike or on an indoor bike at your local gym this coming winter. Indoor riding isn't nearly as fun as an actual bike that goes somewhere but a few short and focused indoor sessions each week throughout the colder months can do wonders for your outdoor fitness and conditioning come spring. If you belong to a gym then just make a point to do some gym bike cardio a few days per week for half an hour to an hour per session and make them worthwhile by riding at a high enough bike setting to work up a good sweat and to get yourself breathing deeply and steadily. Don't just spin the pedals easily while reading magazines or chatting about sports as many folks in the gym seem to do if you actually want to improve your fitness with indoor training. That's a lot like doing bench presses with a pair of two pound hand weights, it might take you through the motions but isn't likely to produce much in the way of training adaptations and improved fitness.

    But bottom line focusing on this season, get a good bike fit from a professional fitter to resolve any big position issues and then ride on a regular basis with varied rides and your fitness will improve.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  3. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    25km/hr is about 15.5mph. That is a reasonable goal for 100K.

    Your bicycle seems to be able to get you there that fast. Make sure your tires have enough air pressure. Make sure the wheels spin easily and nothing is rubbing.

    I think most of the aches you have are caused by not moving around on the bike enough. Change your hand position from time to time. I mostly ride with my hands on the brake hoods, but I find myself sitting up with my hands on the top of the handle bars on a regular basis.

    As for doing 100km. Map out a nice ride. Someplace where traffic is tolerable. Scenery is pleasant. A place with convenience stores maybe 25 or 33km apart - either 3 or 2 stops for water and a break. You might find a club ride posted on the internet - might even find people to ride with this way. One day you will wake up and think you are ready to try the ride. Take the ride easy.
     
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    If your big toe hurts then it sounds like you have the wrong shoes for you. It goes against initial thoughts but having your bars a little lower than you have it now will likely help reduce the amount of weight your wrists have to support. This will probably also help your neck too. You can try out this theory by either riding in the drops or by riding with your elbows bent more while riding with your hands on the brake lever hoods... If the roads are pretty bad, run 95 to 100psi max in your tires. If you have 19mm rims then I wouldn't go much lower.
     
  5. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I was reading Sheldon Brown's comments on bike fitting.

    I guess casual riders want a bicycle that fits when they are seated. Bike fitters can do that. But I must have 4-5" of difference between having my hands on the hoods or on the tops. Aside from setting seat height there is so much variation in where my hands can be placed that any bike with the right seat height is comfortable while sitting.

    On the other hand many riders spend their important time in sprinting out of the saddle or climbing in or out of the saddle. Bike fitters have much more difficulty making a bike fit these people.
     
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