Is it possible to "be good" at cycling even if you were previously unathletic?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by caligrits, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. caligrits

    caligrits New Member

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    I asked this question in Yahoo Answers, but didn't get much feedback. So here I go....

    I was the classic non-athlete growing up. Made fun of for not being able to play basketball. Didn't make the tennis team. Dabbled with track but finished last every race. Dabbed in martial arts but I got sick of it.

    Therefore I am currently picking up cycling as a quarterlife crisis thing, but it's a slow process.

    Sometimes I wonder if I just don't mentally and physically have what it takes to grind and practice, and I wonder if my brain and body are capable of learning motor skills, and handling the work of training.

    The funny thing is, I'm not bad in academics. I have a professional degree but not practicing the field, and I can handle academic pressure like Shaquille O'Neal handles basketball pressure; that is, I don't feel it.

    But put me under athletic pressure and I wilt.

    I'm human too; shouldn't I be able to pick up a sport? It seems like everyone in America has sports talent (or the ability to learn motor skills quite easily). I don't just want to participate; I want to have enough skill to feel competent, or be able to be a contributing member to the team, etc.

    But is athleticism just not possible to learn later in life if you haven't already as a kid? It's tough when your parents never really encouraged you in that direction because they predicted that it wasn't your "natural talent." Even my mom tells me not to go too hard for fear of me getting hurt.

    Do I just not have it in me? Was it never meant to be? Or is there hope?
     
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  2. vio765

    vio765 New Member

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    to the best of my knowledge and personal experience, the body is very capable of adapting. you are no exception. i say go out and at least explore things. just think about where you could be with many years of training and cycling. suppose you are 30. by 35 it is possible you could be very strong. or you look back at what could have been. i knew this and decided that i didnt want to be 40 and realize how much stronger i could have been. go for it....
     
  3. konaman132

    konaman132 New Member

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    I like riding with the small group that I normally ride with. We continue to push each other and with in the past couple of years we all have advanced incredibly. See if there are some friends that you can ride with. Plus the fun that you have with your friends is great. Then maybe you can start cycling different places to keep it interesting.

    My son and I rode today in 18 degree weather just because we needed to get out and ride. It was only a 4 mile ride, but was it awesome.

    I think that it is in you, you just might have to find they way that you like to do it. Plus consider that there are a lot of different types of cycling.

    Good luck and please keep us posted on how you are making out.
     
  4. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    The only person you need to compete with is yourself winning against someone else is a motivator but in the end meaningless if you are not improving month to month year to year so focus on that always. There are really only two choices move towards better health or worse health once you realize there is no inbetween you will make the right choice....striveth for the mastery...
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Cycling doesn't require any coorination (hand-eye, or otherwise), so your previous inability to play basketball and tennis doesn't count against you here.

    There are lots of different levels to cycling, from recreational activity to workout to competition. It's quite possible to be considered 'good' at cycling by most people without even reaching the competitive level. It does take many hours of riding, and you'll probably get better and better each year, but I'd say it's quite possible to become a good cyclist over time without being particularly athletic.

    Check into the club rides in your town and give one a shot. When you see the 50- and 60-somethings leaving you in their wake, you'll realize that it doesn't take a huge amount of athletic prowess if you have years of training under your belt instead. Good luck.
     
  6. caligrits

    caligrits New Member

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    I have done group rides. I am a student and am part of the school's cycling club. That's why I'm posting, because I am not improving as fast as other 1st year riders, it seems.

    The only reason I can think of is because they have a more extensive athletic background than me, which allows them to take the pain of training and going hard.

    And that's why I'm worried, because maybe my body doesn't respond very well to this training thing. Also, I'm no longer in the 18-21 range (I'm in my mid-20s), so doesn't the body slow down?
     
  7. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    Well if you're already cycling then it's time for sweet spot training if you can't measure power on your indoor trainer Rapdadyo has a speed based method for trainers with a predictable power/speed curve. Do a twenty minute TT then make 92% of that speed your target speed for 3x20 intervals. This should increase your FTP (hour power) faster than any other method I've tried. Oh to be in my mid twenties again.:)

    Right now I do 3x20 at 91% FTP Sat, Mon and Wed it is low L4 and was the suggested intensity given to Tyson at the begining of the megathread "It's killing me but......" I have since learned from Dr Coggan that the "sweet spot" could go down to low L3(76%) at a longer duration of course all the way up to 100% FTP at a shorter duration depending on the person.

    L2 Endurance all day pace where your breathing just begins to pick up but you could continue for 5 or more hours at that pace. L3 Tempo seems to be limited to around 3 hours. L4 is Threshold at high L4 105% FTP Time trail pace its painful and you're toast within an hour, at 100% painful but a little more sustainable. L5 VO2 Max 5 minutes and you need recovery in L1 Active Recovery or L2 Endurance for about the same amount of time depending on how high into L5 you were. L6 Anerobic Capacity about one minute. L7 Nuero Muscular Power about a 15 second sprint. There are combinations of these zones also ie if you stay between High L3 and low L4 (Sweet Spot Training or SST) you can go more than an hour and get the benefits of L4 most importantly raising FTP (Functional Threshold Power or hour power)

    To raise FTP as you train ask yourself am I going to fast to take a swig from my water bottle right now? If the answer is yes back off a little. Then ask am I going so slow that I could take a swig without having to take three quick breaths before it? If the answer is yes pick up the pace a little. Once you find this semi comfortable hurt zone after about 20 minutes of this check your HRM that is probably your sweet spot (low L4 91% FTP) plus or minus 5 bpm. Do 3x20s every other day at this pace. L2 endurance is a waste of time try to stay high L3 Tempo (always pushing takes a little concentration to maintain it and prevent slipping back to L2) or above whenever possible. Just get in that zone and check your cadence, gear combo and then HRM. Use cadence and gear combo for the first 15 minutes then in the last 5 minutes HRM should be on target. Right now 52/21 at 94 rpm is SST for me on the KK. Or even better If you are not ready to spend big on a power meter just get the Kurt Kinetic Road machine with the speed to power computer it is only $324. http://www.1upusa.com/kurtkinetictrainer.htm it is worth it and a great motivator. Andy's book is a good idea. http://www.amazon.com/Training-Raci...ie=UTF8&s=books



     
  8. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    In terms of athletic potential, we are all dealt a different hand of cards. We can't choose our parents/DNA. Just focus on your own improvement through persistence and smart training and you will get better. There are riders that none of us will ever beat and some get quicker faster than we do. Working with a cycling coach, maybe at club level would really help.

    I'm working with a young woman ~23/24 y.o. at the moment who just started riding a few months ago. I now have her on the track and winning races. Everyone is different.

    Just make sure you are enjoying it, keep riding and the improvement will follow.
     
  9. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Read up on a guy named Nutti who rode for Phonak for a time. No athletic ability initially.
    So the answer is yes,if you are highly focused and can push through the pain.
     
  10. AndROOb

    AndROOb New Member

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    On a psychological level, try applying your approach to academic situations, to cycle training. It has already been mentioned, that you should look at your own improvement and the time it takes you to improve, rather than to look at the contrast between you and someone else.
    I found that participating in time trials was a good way od testing my own improvement, and even if you dont do this within an organised situation, find a route that you can use to log your times in completing the route.
    Cycling is about endurance; physically and mentally.
     
  11. konaman132

    konaman132 New Member

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    You have not even gotten to your prime yet. Your just getting started. I started doing x/c riding and extreme downhill at the age of 36 and now I am 41 and still doing it.

    So I do not think age is to big a factor.
     
  12. tdl123321

    tdl123321 New Member

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    "Good at cycling" Well, its all relative. Most of the riders on this forum wouldn't be considered good when mixed in with the pros. So, don't worry about being good, instead just focus on what you can do now and work towards improving on that. I think it is very important to pick a "race" or local ride to strive for as a goal. It may be a 50, 60, or 100 mile ride, just pick one and start training. The other important thing to remember is cycling strenght doesn't happen overnight. Realize your training and improvements come slowly. The important thing is consistent training and working towards the goal. Keep us informed of your progress.

    One more thing, don't be discourage if you see some one twice your age blowing by you on the road. It happens to me all the time:eek: . Those guys have a lot of time in the saddle. Instead of getting discouraged just think, If I keep training I'll be in that kind of shape when I am xx years old.
     
  13. Fastguppy

    Fastguppy New Member

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    People don't care if you are bad or if you are good. The point is to get healthy and have a good time. If you don't want to do one of thoese things then don't bike race.
     
  14. Alpenrose

    Alpenrose New Member

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    Short answer: Yes.

    Cycling doesn't much coordination or skill, assuming you can actually balance a 2-wheeler, and kids 4 years old learn to do that. I don't even think it really employs much "fast twitch" muscle ability and hand-eye coordination, the way that hitting a fastball does.

    Can you be great? There may be factors beyond your control, such as age and genes, so maybe not. But good, yes. What it takes is what we used to call "guts." [Now called cardio-respiratory capacity, psychological strength, the will to win, blah blah blah.]
    If you want it, you can have it. How good do you want to be?

     
  15. CannonChick

    CannonChick New Member

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  16. Fastguppy

    Fastguppy New Member

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  17. dannydigital

    dannydigital New Member

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  18. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Speak for yourself! I am good at several other things.
     
  19. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    LOL! Including, apparently, analytical thinking.... :D
     
  20. rayhuang

    rayhuang New Member

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    Its possible to be a natural cyclist without ever having done any serious athletics. Remember that some bodies are quick responders and some are slow responders. Also there are many different types of cycling (Track, endurance, crits, climbing, TT,mountain biking, freeride, downhill, cross country) and maybe you just havent found your nitch in all of that.

    It could be one of a hundred things holding you back, but thats what training is for. Experiment and find what works for you.


    But I would totally disagreee that not excelling at ball sports has anything to do with a lack of ability to ride a bike.
     
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