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. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Nice thing about cycling is that you can compare with others or just ride to enjoy the scenary. While most other sports, there's always an element of direct competition.

    So it's a case of continuing to enjoy the scenary and early morning fresh air until the day you beat the guy next to you to the finish. :D
     


  2. J-V

    J-V New Member

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    Interesting question. Having once taught people to fly helicopters, I can assure you that if 90% of the population are essentially capable of that, you are certainly capable of advancing within the realms of cycling. Any sort of endurance sport is more a mind game (within yourself) than anything. It's you against you, and if you're not used to the mental dedication it takes to get better/faster/stronger, it can be difficult.

    Obviously you can stay upright on a two-wheeler, so you are apparently most at issue with your progress compared to the others in your cycling club. Like anything, it takes time, more for some people at the beginning, though those same people currently 'ahead of you' may be struggling once you 'find your legs' and and start making larger strides than you are now experiencing. If it's cycling that you want to apply yourself to, stick with it, and embrace the mind games you'll have to play with yourself in order to push yourself farther, faster, and longer. Don't worry about the others riding next to you, play the game against yourself, and realize that not every attempt ends in victory. That's part of the road.

    Good luck.

    -J\V
     
  3. vadiver

    vadiver New Member

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    Here is my claravoyant answer to your question without knowing you at all. I am gleening this from personal athletic experience and your brief write up.

    The short aswer to your question is yes. There is not that much athletic ability needed to be a good/great cyclist.

    In every sport that I have ever competed in, whether little leauge, Jr High, HS, or college, the mental aspect is so much more important than physical ability. I have competed in individual sports and team sports and it is the same in each. Unless you want something more than the next person, you will seldom get it.

    Again, I do not know you from Adam, but it appears to me that you get to a point and you do not want to push past that point, because it is hard. But after you push past that point, everything is so much easier until you hit the next threshold.

    You say you do well accademicly so I will provide a personal example to explain. I could generally score between 88 and 92 in every class, (english/spelling was a definite exception) without really trying. If I put a lot of effort into classes I would generally get one B the rest As. After several symesters of this I thought why am I knocking myself out. I took the easy way out and generally finished around 3.75 out of 4.0 scale. Then my senior year in college a friend showed me a different way to study. As soon as I applied that, everything was easier. I apply the same techniques today and they work.

    To sum this up,

    concentrate on the mental aspect of cycling, improving, and sticking with it and less on your physical limitations. You are already concentrating on your physical limitations too much.
     
  4. tomdavis80

    tomdavis80 New Member

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    I'm going to go against the grain and disagree with some people here. I understand that some people have genetic potential but I'm also firmly of the belief that what a person does in their teens has an effect on their topend potential in sports, cycling to be specific. The reason why I think that is because I've noticed that people who were very active in sports in junior high and high school frequently tend to be much better cyclists overall because when a person is a teen, their body is going through supercompensation every time that it's put through hard workouts. A regular adult's body doesn't have as much hormones and such coursing through him/her as a teen's. So yeah, I think there IS some correlation between the activity (not necessarily limited to running, football, basketball, or one specific sport) a teen puts into their body versus an adult. An adult may have had a very sedentary childhood and their body may not improve as much or as rapidly as an adult who was extremely active in their teens.

    Here's an example. Which person would you put your money on in cycling? A guy who did nothing but play video games
     
  5. PartisanRanger

    PartisanRanger New Member

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    I'm not sure if there's any real link between teenage activeness and future athletic ability, except to say that those who have been active throughout life don't have to get back into shape. I've even heard that pushing the body hard during a person's formative years can stunt growth and limit future ability.
     
  6. Gregers

    Gregers New Member

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    In general, you might be right. Sadly, I have been the exact opposite. I was always super active in my earlier years and a good all-rounder at sports, both aerobic and anaerobically based. I achieved a fair level of success in individual sports , won general fitness competitions and really knew how to prepare and push myself. After an enforced lay off I took up cycling in my 30's and loved it. There's just one problem. I am utterly, utterly and embarrassingly useless. Sure, I am better than most casual riders, but pretty hopeless compared to nearly all serious cyclists. Despite lots of specific training programmes I only ever make marginal improvements from poor base levels and seem to be permanently locked at the same mediocre level. Even a winter of ferocious SST training (my last hope!) has changed nothing. I hate it and it's bitterly frustrating but I now have to accept that it's just the way I am.
     
  7. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Some years ago I went to a cycling expo and heard a guy speaking. His name is Doctor Matt Brick(he's a medical doctor). At that stage he was world duathlon champion. He won that title more than once. He said that when he was younger he was overweight, unathletic and badly co ordinated. He focused solely on academic acheivement - hence becoming a doctor. In his 20s he realised he needed some fitness and took up cycling and running. Putting his scientific mind to the task helped him to realise how he could get faster - he persevered and won many titles. Now in his late 40s he still competes and does very well:) .

    Put your smarts into cycling and work out how you, for your ability, can do well. I'm not particularly good - but I know my strenghts and work to enhance them:)
     
  8. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    What about the legions of former high school athletes who now are middle-aged, fat, sedentary and lazy? Will it be easier to make them a cyclist?
    The body adapts to stresses at any age, but if you remove those stresses, it loses the adaptation. If the heart is enlarged from training, it will shrink after a time when you stop. There is no such thing as a permanent adaptation. If you are physiologically gifted to begin with, then you will retain that advantage, but that is not an adaptation.
     
  9. K50

    K50 New Member

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    This is a great question. You and I are somewhat the opposite. Sometimes I feel cursed. I can handle athletic pressure like almost nothing and fight through the pain, but when it comes to academic pressure, I struggle quite a bit and instead of digging harder when it gets really tough, I start to falter. If there's hope for me, there's definitely hope for you.

    It's never too late to learn until you decide that you have given up before you have really given something a chance. It's all about a persistant attitude and believing. Cycling is a great sport to get into. You don't need to be able to throw or hit a ball really far, all you need to do is pedal until you feel like you can't go anymore. The lack of encouragement from your parents never helps, but you're a grown man now, so forget about all the crap that you used to believe before. A fear of getting hurt is not a good thing and can really hinder your self confidence, even later in life as you may have seen. I can also relate, but moreso in an academic sense. I was told I was 'too smart' to study mechanics, and that I should become an engineer. And so, 4 years later, I'm considering going back for another 4 years to study heavy duty mechanics because that's what I enjoy. With an engineering background, I can go much higher. I believe that if you're good enough at something, the money will come later.

    Anyhow, my best advice would be for you to get a 'coach' or a mentor, someone who already does cycling that you could hang out with. You need the positive reinforcement and kick in the pants to keep going. The biggest thing is believing. Do it for the fun of it, make challenges for yourself all the time and keep setting goals. See how far you can ride next sunday, see how fast you can go today without getting afraid, learn to do a bunny hop next week. You get the idea...

    I hope this helps, and starting here is a great place.
     
  10. K50

    K50 New Member

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  11. Imanewbie

    Imanewbie New Member

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    I've recently started cycling again (last christmas) last time i cycled was 1981 and now after 8 years of a very sedentary lifestyle i was hugely unfitt and embarrasingly overweight. Over the last few months i have gone from doing 10klm a day and feeling really pleased with that effort to doing a 50klm morning ride at an average speed of 28kph. I have lost 29kg's so far and have another 27kg's to go till ideal weight so im still on the porky side, and the weight losss isnt as dramatic but my fitness is improving every week and the signs of developing a healthier cardio vascular are hard to miss.

    I was lucky enough that a guy at the lbs talked to me about cadence in cycling. This has been the key to my fitness and performance improvement over the last few months. A lot of cyclists know about the benefits of cadence allready but its surprising just how many cyclists i see everyday who dont have a clue!

    Cycling for cadence is the most important technique a rider can develop, it takes a while to build ones natural cadence and mine slowly progressed from the low 70's through the 80's and now my average over the 50k ride is usually 90-94 topping out at approx 120 when i accelerate. Cadence gives me my performance, because my power to weight ratio is still poor and mashing higher gears just leaves me weak and drains my energy levels.

    Here is a usefull link for the begginner riders amoungst us
    Cadence
     
  12. K50

    K50 New Member

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    Nice work man, that was a great post. Congratulations on the great success, and again for stressing the importance of cadence. I always like to hear from guys like you. There's so many people out there that let things slide and become very obese, and it seems that all they want to do is blame everyone else for it, and say that it's impossible to lose weight and get in shape.
     
  13. Pendejo

    Pendejo Member

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    Just as there are multiple types of intelligence (mathematical, musical, artistic, etc.) there are multiple types of athletic talents. Some are more suited for certain sports than others, or for specific positions in team sports.
     
  14. Imanewbie

    Imanewbie New Member

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    The best part about cycling is that its mostly fun and can be enjoyed at all levels from casual rider to group rides, right upto racing events.

    I am getting to the stage now where im looking forward to doing some structured events, joining a club and getting a racing licence. At 46 im a bit old for a tilt at the tour de france but thats no worries. The local club has class races down to E grade masters where i will start and where that will take me is upto how much time and effort i want to put into it and how badly i get addicted:rolleyes: . But im getting a bit ahead of myself , i still have about 15kg's to loose before i start that sort of thing!
     
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