Newbie needing advice

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by hansbrea, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. hansbrea

    hansbrea New Member

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    I just started riding again 2 weeks ago and am loving it. I wanted to be a racer when I was younger but didn't have the support or monetary funds at home to do it. Somehow I got the bug a couple of weeks ago and decided better late than never. If nothing else, at least I'll hopefully get skinny again. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif Fortunately I have a DH who is very supportive and told me to have at it.

    Right now I have a Gary Fisher Marlin bike my parents bought me for college. I can't afford a new bike although DH wouldn't be opposed to it later when I am ready for an upgrade and actually racing. What are some tips, ideas, techniques or any other things you think of that would be helpful in getting me started? Right now I am doing a "fun" event next week and am not sure what to do to get ready for it. The things I know I need to do are:

    A) take extra accessories off my bike I don't need - and hope someone has a bolt cutter to remove my old bike lock.

    B) Dad, who rides a lot and his sister is racing nationals this year, says my tires are on backwards and explained I will want to get a new tire that has a continuous thread instead of my "aggressive" mountain bike tire as he called it. Any ideas on tires? Honestly, I am looking at these from WalMart because that is my budget. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bell-Sports-26-Ultimate-Commuter-Comfort-Tire/15188841 Will they make a difference? Also, apparently a higher PSI helps you go faster from what I've read, is that correct? So, maybe new tubes, too?

    C) Figure out something about the seat as my biggest issue so far is getting sore and chaffing on rides. I looked at bike shorts and the women's were way too short for my taste. I'm a prude and would like them to close to the knees. Store selection here is very limited. Any ideas on where to find them? I'm going to have to save for that, too. I figure that can be my reward for losing some of this extra weight. I had no idea they were so expensive. What about a gel seat in the meantime? My seat really is as hard as a rock. Any other ideas?

    D) What is good to eat the night before our fun ride next Saturday? I was planning on oatmeal for breakfast about an hour beforehand. Also, drink lots of water the night before and a cup an hour before hand? Recommendations? What about a hydration backpack? Good to have or not. I tend to get really thirsty riding and thought this might save me stopping every two miles to get a drink.

    E) Do I need to take a day off from cycling the day before to be rested and recovered from my other daily rides?

    F) I'm fortunate in that the race area is right by my house where I normally ride anyway so I know where I am going. Do they normally have signs posted with directions?

    G) Also, ahem, my time is about 5:30/mile. I'm assuming that is really bad but since I just started two weeks ago at least it isn't more. I started at around 6:00/mile and had one ride where it was 5:00/mile. I could tell I was a lot slower yesterday and was back at the 5:30 but I have no idea what caused it. What do most people ride at? How creamed am I going to get? My goal is to just not come in last. The race is 15 miles. So far I have only done 10 and I was fine and dandy when I got home. My problem is I got in the evening when DH gets home and I don't have time before it's dark to go longer. Next week I am going to get up early and do some longer rides.

    H) I found a cycling club here and joined online. I haven't been able to make any of the group rides yet, though. I posted one also and no one showed up, probably because I said it was only a 10-mile ride at 7:00 a.m. Should I actually call and talk to someone in the club, too?

    What else? Thanks so much everyone for your help! I realize I am way out of shape and can't get in seriously financially right now but at least I'm not home sitting around anymore. We've all got to start somewhere.
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    A) Good idea. A lighter bike makes for less rolling resistance.

    B) Road tires should have little or no tread. They don't need the knobby tread that a off road tire needs. Little or no tread reduces rolling resistance which slightly helps you go faster. The pressure that you run in your tires is a function of the tire, not the tube. There will be a Maximum Inflation value embossed on the side wall of the tire. Inflate the tire up to this pressure for your race, but don't exceed the max pressure. For training, you might want to run the tire at a little less than max to prevent flats. The higher pressure tires give you a harder tire that deforms less when you sit on the bike, this reducing rolling resistance (there's that term again).

    C) Shorts can be expensive. Probably your best bet would be to get an inexpensive pair of Lycra cycling shorts and wear them as a pair of underwear under a pair of your normal shorts. Nashbar has a pair of shorts for about $15.00.http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_521173_-1_202311_10000_202358 Sure, they are ugly but who's gonna see them if they are your underwear? A gel seat might or might not work. Finding a good seat takes time and a little trial and error. Check with your bike shop and see if they have an exchange program for finding the right saddle for you.

    D) Eat a high carb meal the night prior to your ride. Spaghetti with meat sauce is my favorite. Plenty of carbs and also protein. You don't want to over do it with the pre-race hydrating. Just do what you normally do, then drink something about 15 minutes prior to the start. A hydration pack would be OK but you really should try to get water bottle cages and bottles. After your event, your body is going to want carbs and protein, so be prepared to eat shortly after the ride. The golden window of recovery is about 30 minutes after the ride has ended, and I have found that a roast beef sub sandwich is a good recovery food. A cheese burger will work too but it is not as healthy.

    E) There are several schools of thought on this. My personal opinion is that a short, low intensity spin will keep you loose and not impair your race day performance.

    F) It depends upon who is putting on the race. In most cases, the route is marked on the roadway so that you cannot miss it.

    G) 10 - 12 mph is about normal for some one who has only been riding for 2 weeks. Depending upon the level of the other competitors, you might get creamed badly. This is normal. Most new riders just use their first two or three seasons learning the ropes. If you are dedicated enough and put in the hours of good training, and get a racing bike, you will be able to finish respectably in the future. I'm not saying that you will win anything, just that you will finish respectably. There is a certain amount of natural ability that few of us possess and those are the guys who win everything. You may have that ability but the odds are against it. That is why most riders just race for the thrill and fun of it.

    H) I couldn't hurt to call the club. The most likely reason that no one showed up for your ride is that they don't know you. See if there is a no drop beginners ride that you can get into. After you have ridden with them, made friends, and become familiar to them, then you might be able to organize some rides.

    The only other thing is to make sure that you have a helmet. A lot of organized races will not let you compete without a helmet. Other than that, have fun and good luck. For future reference, there are a lot of training tips to be found in the Cycling Training section of the forum.
     
  3. RichM76

    RichM76 New Member

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