Intro, first 20 mile, a few qs



Aug 6, 2016
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Hello all. I've lurked this forum for a while and should have joined sooner.

My story; when I was younger I was always in great shape. I played every sport I could, ran cross country, and cycled to commute in college. After about 10 years in the oilfields I found myself in a nice "no manual labor" job, and considerably overweight. Starting a couple years ago I decided to make some lifestyle changes. I am eating a balanced diet, with a slight calorie deficit,with lots of fruit and veggies. I wanted to run again, because that's what I love. My knee hurt quite often and I decided to use cycling to cross train. No one told me this cycling was so addictive! I've lost 50 lbs, I'm 6ft and 210. I jog several times a week and lift weights.

About a year and a half ago I bought a used Orbea MX20 for 500 bucks, with some accessories too. I generally love this bike, but the frame is a 23 inch, and I've had to replace the factory seat post with one that is not offset, and slam the seat all the way forward to be even remotely comfortable. I've put a lot of miles on this bike, around 750. My butt still hurts a lot! I rode regularly until about 6 months ago, I kind of got frustrated, and my knee wasn't really hurting so I focused on running. I've been riding the past month and my fitness level seems really good compared to when I started. Today I rode 22.25 miles and I could have gone further but my butt was just so sore. At first on this bike my sit bones weren't even really contacting the seat and I was getting terrible groin pain but after I figured out to move my seat forward that went away. I'm not sure how long it takes to build up a tolerance to riding longer distances. My knee has started to hurt slightly again since I started cycling too. I can take some ibuprofen for it, it's pretty minor, but I don't want it to get worse and prevent me from exercising.

I think I would like to get a new bike, something lighter, but that can still handle some trails and gravel roads that I frequent. I do mostly ride on the road though. Maybe a hybrid? My local bike shop sells Specialized so that is what I will most likely get, if I don't tap the used market.

On my ride today I had so much fun, my previous longest ride was about 14 miles. I noticed being quite hungry, and when I stopped to rest I was even a little shaky feeling. I ate about 650 calories from breakfast that morning before the ride, and until my last rest stop, so I think I ate plenty. After all I am trying to LOOSE weight. I hear a lot of guys drinking Gatorade but I really prefer water, does it help much? I live in rural Arkansas and it was really hot and humid today, I drank 4 bottles of water along my ride.

I seem to stop an awful lot, I actually plan rest points in my rides. I stop every 5-7 miles for 2-5 mins. I've been trying to plan longer rest points in the middle, like going into a thrift store along the way or visiting a friend. How long should I be able to ride at one go without stopping if I'm wanting to go on some group rides?

There is a 50 mile round trip ride that I want to make very badly, it's sort of my motivation at this time.

Thanks in advance.
 

cyclintom

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
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20 miles you will find is close to the ideal distance for the majority of people. It is long enough to completely exhaust you if you push hard but not so long as to leave you with severe dehydration or carbohydrate deficit.

I set up my off-rad bike with really low gears but was unable to use my bottom two because it would lift the front wheel and the bike would rotate the front wheel down hill which of course would crash me. Talking to my local shop mechanic he said that those gears were not for climbing but for going slowly between hard climbs to rest. I tried that and although I was going what felt like more slowly I beat my previous record on a 20 mile hard route by 20 minutes.

If you intend to do a 50, make sure that you carry plenty of water and be sure and actually drink it since it doesn't take a whole lot of dehydration to destroy your drive. Also be sure and stop every so often to eat something. Most people eat these energy bars but I've found that Payday Bars work just as well for a whole lot less money. Unless you have a peanut allergy. And remember that you should stop to eat before you get tired because it takes about 20-30 minutes for the food to get into your system.
 
Apr 26, 2016
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Easy does it. You need to increase your distance, gradually. Don't try to make big jumps. When you can go 20 without a rest, time to go to 30 and so on and, yes, many of us can go 50 and even more without a rest. I rarely eat when I ride, even on all day rides, but I am religious about staying hydrated. Much more important, especially when riding in the sun and heat.
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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The general rule is to eat before you\re hungry and drink before you're thirsty. 50 miles without a stop should never be a "normal ride" but either a training ride leading up to a century or the century itself. Doing this it's very easy to lose 5 or more lbs in dehydration.

This can leave you feeling sore and weak for days or even weeks.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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If you're that dedicated you should be looking for a bike that's a better fit. Sounds like yours is way too big for you.
Saddles shouldn't be slammed. Even with a traditional frame geometry, there should be like 3-4" or so of seat post showing. And pushing the saddle way forward and a zero offset post is a somewhat unusual setup, and probably contributing to your butt pain.
The farther ahead - more right above the bottom bracket - the saddle sits, the harder it becomes to use the pedal pressure to carry some of your weight.
(Its more commonly associated with hand/arm/shoulder issues though)
A more conventional way to make a too big frame kinda-sorta fit is to use a really short stem, and leave the saddle fore/aft alignment in a more normal position.
If a new bike isn't an option, consider that.
Also, not all saddles fit all butts.
There is often some Trial & Error.
Good shops will have a loan-to-buy program which allows you to test ride several models before buying.
Good shops will also measure your sit bone spacing to but you in the right ballpark before even trying a saddle out.
Don't worry about bike weight.
True, light bikes are often more fun to ride, more responsive.
But in terms of overall travelling efficiency you need to look at the weight of bike+rider. In that perspective, a pound or two isn't particularly important for most kinds of riding.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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5-7 miles between stops, that's about every 20 minutes?
That's FREQUENT. Either you're less fit than your post otherwise suggests, or you're doing something wrong.
Why do you stop?
Out of breath? Discomfort? Thirsty?

My MTB group rides might stop that often. To discuss navigation, allow someone to catch up etc. But that's accidental. Road rides, I'd expect 2-3 times at least between stops. Not counting intersections or other traffic stops.

And let's talk fuel.
Your muscles need fuel. But not any fuel. Muscles only run on glucose(sp?). Your body can get that from basically two sources:
Nutrients from food already broken up into glucose and stored in blood and internal organs
Body tissue - fat - broken up into glucose and supplied to your muscles

Out of these two, accessing the stored glucose is a faster and easier process.

Rule-of-thumb says that you run out of easy access fuel after about 45 minutes. Depending on when/what you ate latest, how hard you work out etc etc.
If you're already on a calorie deficient diet, you probably run
out faster.
And then your metabolism has to switch to converting fat to glucose. Something we're not equally good at.
If you ride harder - use glucose faster - than your body can make it available, then you will feel fatigued.
This is why walking is often hailed as the best weight loss exercise. The drain matches the production. "Everybody" can do it.

So to ride well you'll either have to eat while riding. Give your body a steady supply of easy fuel to process.
Or ride at a lower intensity, to match the capacity of your inner process.

I don't like Gatorade etc for general use. If that's your main drink, you can rot your teeth in short order. And it gives a nasty spike to your energy level. I prefer stuff that's a little slower. Bananas, bread, bars of different kinds.
For longer "important" rides, I keep a bottle of Gatorade or similar available. It's like my emergency rations, brought out when really needed.
 
Aug 6, 2016
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm not really looking to ride 50 miles without stopping, I just want to be able to ride 10-15 I guess. The 50 mile ride I want to do, the half point I can rest for 4-6 hours at my cousin's house.

I stop frequently because my butt hurts. After riding those 22 miles, I felt fine physically other than my butt. I felt like I could have kept riding a lot longer as far as my fitness level goes. I don't feel out of breath when I ride, unless I'm going up steep hills.

I think I need to face the fact that my bike is way too big for me and do something about it. I have the seat all the way forward, but it isn't all the way down. I did trim the seat post a little when I got it, maybe an inch. There's still not much seat post sticking out of the frame though. I can try to lower my seat, and scooting it back some but as I've rode like that before I can imagine that it's going to make things worse. When I had the saddle farther back, my arms would hurt and get numb, and I had groin pain like crazy. I thought about the stem already,but it looks like it couldn't really be any shorter than what it is? There's not really a gap between the handlebars and where it connects to the fork. Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly? I said it was a 23 inch frame, but I think it's actually marked "XL", I will check when I get home from work. I've tried a couple different saddles, I guess I could always try another, but if the frame really is too big I'd rather just sell it, and buy another bike. I'm sure I could get enough to buy a used road or hybrid that actually fits me. I was hoping to maybe hold out until the end of the year, and buy a new bike with a bonus I usually get from work, I have a baby on the way so spending money is a little tighter at the moment.

Thanks for the advice on the nutrition too. I like the idea of eating a Pay Day actually. When I ran cross country and track,I was pretty anal about what I ate on race days, or really any day I guess. I ate granola bars and some beef jerky on my last ride because that's what I had laying around the house.

I plan to ride about 26 miles this weekend, 1.5 miles of it will be a very steep grade, up a mountain. An 800 ft elevation change so I'm anxious about that. I may have to stop and rest before I make it to the top, we'll see!
 

cyclintom

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
1,277
194
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm not really looking to ride 50 miles without stopping, I just want to be able to ride 10-15 I guess. The 50 mile ride I want to do, the half point I can rest for 4-6 hours at my cousin's house.

I stop frequently because my butt hurts. After riding those 22 miles, I felt fine physically other than my butt. I felt like I could have kept riding a lot longer as far as my fitness level goes. I don't feel out of breath when I ride, unless I'm going up steep hills.

I think I need to face the fact that my bike is way too big for me and do something about it. I have the seat all the way forward, but it isn't all the way down. I did trim the seat post a little when I got it, maybe an inch. There's still not much seat post sticking out of the frame though. I can try to lower my seat, and scooting it back some but as I've rode like that before I can imagine that it's going to make things worse. When I had the saddle farther back, my arms would hurt and get numb, and I had groin pain like crazy. I thought about the stem already,but it looks like it couldn't really be any shorter than what it is? There's not really a gap between the handlebars and where it connects to the fork. Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly? I said it was a 23 inch frame, but I think it's actually marked "XL", I will check when I get home from work. I've tried a couple different saddles, I guess I could always try another, but if the frame really is too big I'd rather just sell it, and buy another bike. I'm sure I could get enough to buy a used road or hybrid that actually fits me. I was hoping to maybe hold out until the end of the year, and buy a new bike with a bonus I usually get from work, I have a baby on the way so spending money is a little tighter at the moment.

Thanks for the advice on the nutrition too. I like the idea of eating a Pay Day actually. When I ran cross country and track,I was pretty anal about what I ate on race days, or really any day I guess. I ate granola bars and some beef jerky on my last ride because that's what I had laying around the house.

I plan to ride about 26 miles this weekend, 1.5 miles of it will be a very steep grade, up a mountain. An 800 ft elevation change so I'm anxious about that. I may have to stop and rest before I make it to the top, we'll see!

A fast way to test bike fit: stand over the top tube (on a traditional bike with a top tube parallel to the ground.) You should have between 1 and 2 inches between the top tube and your crouch with your feet flat on the ground.

The newer slanted top tube bikes are a more difficult fit but sitting on the saddle with it in the middle of it's run you should be able to have your hands on the tops of the bars and your back at approximately 45 degrees of angle to the ground. If you are close you should usually correct the reach with a new stem.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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Is this your bike:https://www.orbea.com/us-en/bicycles/mx-20 ?
Stock stem looks to be 70 mm. You can get them in 40.
You've gone about fitting the bike pretty much backwards.
First you set the saddle up/down. Then fore/aft. Then you bring the bars into reach. Change stems, amount of sweep etc. If that isn't enough the bike is definitely too big for you.
Which it shouldn't be if you're 6' something.
 

Jim Houston

New Member
Jun 18, 2016
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm not really looking to ride 50 miles without stopping, I just want to be able to ride 10-15 I guess. The 50 mile ride I want to do, the half point I can rest for 4-6 hours at my cousin's house.

I stop frequently because my butt hurts. After riding those 22 miles, I felt fine physically other than my butt. I felt like I could have kept riding a lot longer as far as my fitness level goes. I don't feel out of breath when I ride, unless I'm going up steep hills.

I think I need to face the fact that my bike is way too big for me and do something about it. I have the seat all the way forward, but it isn't all the way down. I did trim the seat post a little when I got it, maybe an inch. There's still not much seat post sticking out of the frame though. I can try to lower my seat, and scooting it back some but as I've rode like that before I can imagine that it's going to make things worse. When I had the saddle farther back, my arms would hurt and get numb, and I had groin pain like crazy. I thought about the stem already,but it looks like it couldn't really be any shorter than what it is? There's not really a gap between the handlebars and where it connects to the fork. Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly? I said it was a 23 inch frame, but I think it's actually marked "XL", I will check when I get home from work. I've tried a couple different saddles, I guess I could always try another, but if the frame really is too big I'd rather just sell it, and buy another bike. I'm sure I could get enough to buy a used road or hybrid that actually fits me. I was hoping to maybe hold out until the end of the year, and buy a new bike with a bonus I usually get from work, I have a baby on the way so spending money is a little tighter at the moment.

Thanks for the advice on the nutrition too. I like the idea of eating a Pay Day actually. When I ran cross country and track,I was pretty anal about what I ate on race days, or really any day I guess. I ate granola bars and some beef jerky on my last ride because that's what I had laying around the house.

I plan to ride about 26 miles this weekend, 1.5 miles of it will be a very steep grade, up a mountain. An 800 ft elevation change so I'm anxious about that. I may have to stop and rest before I make it to the top, we'll see!
I know most hard core riders will scof at my reply. But, I had the sore Butt problem as well. Mine was generated by my weight. I'm a little over 6'1" tall. When my weight is over 210 I use the spongy wonder seat, I've found my efficiency/avg speed is reduced by 1-1.5 mph, but no butt pain. The seat was a little pricy for a temporary solution, at around $135. I really prefer not to use it due to reduced mph. You may find one cheaper on eBay or Amazon. Good luck. And I find my stops are related to heat, avg speed and how many hills I have to climb. One route I take has no real climbs and I can do 25 miles. Another had a lot of climbs, I may stop every 8-10 miles. I love biking and I've found most of biking is like life, it's all based on idividual needs and preferences.
 
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cyclintom

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
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I just thought I should make a few comments about sore butt. A LOT of that is probably because of your extended posture, So the first thing on you list should be a bike that fits,. Since you are not climbing I would suggest you stay completely away from carbon fiber bikes. They are too expensive and you gain nothing on them anywhere but on a climb. Steel is real and real cheap. Name brand. Tomasso, Pinarello, DeRosa - Even Schwinn Paramount for a couple of years was built by the same people that built Masi's in America. With the same equipment on these you get a bike 2 to 3 lbs heavier and that is nothing on flat ground.

As for saddles: you need a saddle that will fit your own sit bones. And it has to be narrow enough in the front that it doesn't rub on the inside of your thighs. There are quite a few good saddles on the market but you will generally have to experiment. I would suggest you start with a Prologo (try and buy). Two things to keep in mind - every saddle is a little different. You may get a saddle you love and buy what is supposed to be an exactly copy and it's TERRIBLE. So hang in there.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Prologo-Scr...923293?hash=item1a19053c9d:g:EKEAAOSwhMFXk~fP
 
Aug 6, 2016
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Just wanted to give an update. I checked my frame size and it is marked "L 175-185". Not sure why I thought it was too big before, I feel like an idiot! I think one reason I had to trim the seat post was the bolts for my water bottle bracket may have been hitting it. I adjusted my saddle back to a more normal position and felt a lot more comfortable in relation to the pedals. I did raise the handle bars slightly by adding one tiny spacer, (there were already a couple spacers there) but this didn't seem to make much difference. I also noticed the stem sort of has 2 directions, and I flipped it so that it was pointing a little more upward.

I rode 29 miles yesterday, and part of it was as I mentioned, up a mountain. The 1.5 mile 11% climb was BRUTAL! I had to stop and rest a few times but I made it. The mountain that I rode up also had lots of rollers on the top. I would say 75% of that ride was rolling terrain. My butt did not start to bother me too bad until about 20 miles or so. The last 3-4 miles was terrible, a light headwind and I was physically exhausted on top of the butt pain.

My problem may not be totally solved but my knee didn't hurt!! I felt like I had more power from the saddle position, and I made a couple small height adjustments during my ride. I'm glad I was wrong about my bike being too big, because I really like this bike, although I still want a road or hybrid one day. I keep thinking well what if it HAD been too big? Now I know how important it is to select the right size bike, and I've learned a little about doing some basic adjustments.

I am going to buy a new saddle, also hoping to loose another 10 lbs by Christmas. I will check out the links everyone posted, thanks again.

Oh and, going down that mountain, was a HUGE rush!!!!
 
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kennyM

Member
Oct 4, 2010
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Sounds like the bike fit adjustments are working and you're making progress on your personal fitness. You might want to try out a good quality road bike sometime just to see if the weight factor appeals to you. I had been riding my Trek Fuel EX 5 full-suspension MTB for a few years when in 2014 I switched to primarily riding a Felt Z5 road bike. On the carbon fiber Z5 I feel every crack, pebble, bump etc on the road and riding gravel sucks but the weight difference is worth it....I knew this after I climbed the first hill.

One caveat: No matter what bike, your butt will still hurt after 25 miles or so until it gets broken-in or whatever butts get far enough into the season that the saddle pain disappears.
 
Aug 6, 2016
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Thanks again everyone, just wanted to give another update.

I worked my way up to 50 miles pretty easily, and my longest ride so far has been about 60. I lost another 10 lbs, and haven't had any "butt pain" to speak of in a while.

I ended up buying a Specialized Diverge after riding a Trek Hybrid for about 500 miles. I'm looking forward to doing my first overnighter in the early spring with it.
 

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