What is a long ride vs. a short ride?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by turk6681, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. turk6681

    turk6681 New Member

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    I am trying to put some perspective on what most people consider a long ride and a short ride.

    What do most riders consider a “long ride” and a “short ride”?
    What do most riders consider a “fast pace” and a “slow pace”?

    I consider a 20 mile ride a short ride and I consider any ride over 40 miles a long ride. I also think anything over 20mph is a fast pace. Is my thinking correct?

    I usually ride between 30 and 40 miles and average 17-18mph. I ride alone and my rides usually last no more than 2.5 hours.

    I am curious about my distance and speed relative to other riders in this forum. I really enjoy cycling but the main reason I ride is to stay in shape. I am not trying to compete in a race or do a century or anything crazy like that. I cycle for the exercise and sunshine. I ride twice a week and run 6 miles twice a week. I really enjoy cycling because I can ride for 2+ hours. I could never run for 2+ hours; my flat feet would never let that happen.

    I am relatively new to cycling and would like to have some perspective.

    Thanks!
    :cool:
     
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  2. Catabolic_Jones

    Catabolic_Jones New Member

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    Well 'long' and 'short' could be either time or distance; I'd also add in intensity, as that is a factor. Workload, or just 'load', is a better descriptor for training -- volume + intensity.

    Load just goes up the fitter you get. If you're just into it recreationally, for the fitness, and the experience of the bike, and the outdoors, then I think you're doing really well, both in terms of distance and time, as well as intensity (as much as that can be determined from your average speed, which doesn't take into account things like terrain, wind, road quality, etc.).

    A lot of the guys here, perhaps most, are competitive cyclists, and so are less interested in the average time or distance of their training, than in varying the intensity of their training in what is called a 'periodised' scheme. Some days are long and easy, some short and hard, some are just easy (recovery). The whole plan modulates the variables (load) to bring you to a peak of fitness at the time of your most important events. This is opposed to the recreational cyclist, who wants to basically hold and maintain a decent level of fitness.

    That said, i would have to say that a 'good' workout for me, a really hard workout, would probably be in the neighbourhood of 4 to 5 hours, and 100 to 120 km, with lots of hills, and lots of time at lactic acid threshold, and above. I'd have to follow up such an effort with recovery -- either off the bike, or a light spin, followed by stretching and massage.
     
  3. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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    IT'S defiantly relevant to terrain and intensity, on the day weather and your personal well-being can really make a short ride a long ride.

    As a cross country mountain biker our short ride is about 25 k's/16 miles, but bearing in mind we climb 600 m/6500feet to the top its quite a workout, speed to is relevant going up we average 14kmph/5mphand coming down we do

    65 kmph/25mph.

    Our long rides are measured more in time and any ride over about 2 hours we will consider a stretch in the saddle. We usually try to put in a weakly 3-hour ride.
     
  4. peterlip

    peterlip New Member

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    Not that I want to be picky, but I think you may need to check your maths. 600m is around 1968 ft. 14 km/h is 8.7 mph. And 65 km/h is 40 mph.
     
  5. turk6681

    turk6681 New Member

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    I know terrain and intensity play a big part in any ride and that is hard to judge from average time and distance.

    I guess the real reason I ask is because at some point I would like to partake in some groups rides with one of the local bike shops. I don’t want to get out there and have to fall out of the ride because they are too fast or because I don’t have the legs. :(
     
  6. Postie

    Postie New Member

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    The best thing to do to investigate this is talk to some of the organizers of the group rides. They'll tell you what expected on a ride and you'll get a better idea of how intense or leisurely the group is.

    Definitions of long vs short will vary greatly from one person to another.
     
  7. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    Check with the group. They usually have rides of different distances and paces. Some rides are pretty intense, but most clubs have at least one informal ride per week where they split up into several groups so that everyone can go at a comfortable pace without getting dropped.
     
  8. DCWD

    DCWD New Member

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    Most clubs have a profile of the kind of rides they want. Some clubs sponsor more than one group. But to help you see the variety of what you could find, I'm including a link to one of our local groups that caters to all classes of riders. http://www.bikepptc.org/classification.html ...so, you'll definately want to check with the group you want to ride with. For all you know, they'll be going too slow!
     
  9. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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    OOPS!!!!!:D I used a conversion program and obviouslly,did not read the istructions.
    i'd better get a simpler conversion program.
    Thanx
     
  10. MY02_STi

    MY02_STi New Member

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    Short ride - anything up to 3 hours, Long ride - anything over 3 hours

    Fast pace - any ride where the average speed is over 32 kph (20 mph) but must be a ride of more than 2 hours, Slow pace - any ride where the average speed is under 28 kph (17.5 mph) for a ride of up to 2 hours
     
  11. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    As others have said, you really won't know until you check out the club rides available in your area. If you can contact the ride leader in advance for info about the pace, hills, rider experience, that will help. There's no shame in not being able to stay with the pace either; if it's too high for you in the first 10 minutes, just tell someone you're dropping off, turn around and head back to the start or ride on your own.

    Our club has a variety of rides, from "easy rides" of 20-30 miles at 12-14 mph, moderate of 40-60 at 14-16 mph, and up to the 60-70 miles at "17-19 avg". The pace for the last category is really a joke, as they often turn into road races at 22-25 mph on the flats and lots of jamming on the hills to see who gets dropped.

    Just remember you don't have to kill yourself chasing the pack....unless you want to. It's perfectly fine to go out and enjoy a 50 mile ride at a mostly-aerobic, social pace. Did a great club ride yesterday at that pace, by letting the fast guys go at the front. In 3:45 minutes, was only over my LT HR for maybe 10-15 minutes, only on climbs. It was a pretty day, good friends and scenery, and I didn't feel like racing.
     
  12. topcat

    topcat New Member

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    I agree? ;) :rolleyes:
     
  13. kakman

    kakman New Member

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    The problem with the question is the definition of 'most riders':)

    It always makes me laugh when I see people saying anything under 3 or 4 hours on a bike is 'short' but if you asked them to drive 3 or 4 hours they'd think it was a long drive.

    I'm a bit like youself - up to an hour is short, 1 to 2 hours medium and over 2 hours is long. Speedwise, my computer average is about 26-27 kph which translates to average road speeds of about 30-32 kph.

    FWIW, I'm in my late forties and only started riding in December so I might not be appropriate to compare against. Maybe 3 or 4 hours is short and I'm just old and have an overly sensitive butt.

    // kak
     
  14. Al R 1955

    Al R 1955 New Member

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    I kind of know what you are getting at, I think? or is it selective speedo reading
     
  15. kakman

    kakman New Member

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    It's just taking into account things like slowing or stopping for traffic lights, slowing for dogs and pedestrians, walking across bad terrain etc - things where the computer keeps running but at walking pace.

    //k
     
  16. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    It's all relevant to your goals and fitness.

    For me less than one hour is a commute. Over an hour is a ride and 120k+ is a long ride.

    If you had asked me this question 5 years ago the answer would of been very different
     
  17. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Around here, the vertical gain is also important, not just miles. Next Saturday's 62 mile ride in the NC mountains gains a total of 9000 ft in elevation. On the last few hills, it always feels like a long ride....to my legs anyway.

    As others have said, it's all relative. The randoneur types here consider the first 100 miles just a warmup for a 200, 300, 400 or 600 km training ride. 1200 km is their idea of the "long ride".
     
  18. Postie

    Postie New Member

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    I also know a marathon cyclist that calls his long ride 1200km. He leaves on Friday and arrives back home some time on Sunday. Rides straight through with no sleep.
     
  19. turk6681

    turk6681 New Member

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    I was just curious about the average recreational cyclist opinion (guys like me). I guess I should have asked what "YOU" consider a long or shor ride. The wording "most" riders was too broad for this forum.

    I honestly didn't expect there to be so many competive cyclist on this forum. It's good to know that there are cyclist on this forum with various lever of cycling experience. VERY COOL!:D

    I knew some people would answer in miles, some people would answer in time, and some people would post a lot of info but not answer the question. ;)

    Thanks for your posts.

    Ride safely!
     
  20. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    for me, a long ride is any hard ride over about 80km, and an easy ride is a 'spin' day under 40km. A "day off" is any easy ride under 30km :)
     
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