Advice on Improving my Cycling

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Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby auswi2 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:36 am

Hello,

I have been cycling for the last 12 months or so and I do a group social ride on Sat Mornings approx 35km where part of the ride is Gowen Road in Brisbane South. My Average speed is about 27kph as I get dropped on the hills. When i 1st started doing the ride I was only avg 23kph so I have improved on the flats and the hills.

I also do another Social ride on Sunday leaving from Cleveland to Carbrook and back to cleveland via the 6 sisters. The distance is about 50kms and my average is about 27-28kph. I do these rides most weekend and use my recumbant bike during the week when i have time.

I find as soon as I get to any hills I get dropped off the back as i cant keep the pace up. I have started to do more recombant bike training as I don't have time to ride my road bike during the week.
My question is will Hill repeats like Edens landing hill help.

I am not a weight weenie as i weigh 105kg

Any suggestions to help with my hill climbing and being able to ride a 28kph for longer peroids appriciated

Thanks
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by BNA » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:47 am

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby foo on patrol » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:47 am

And the reason for not using the road bike through the week is????????????

You can't do proper road training on the recumbent bike! :wink:

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby auswi2 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:47 am

When I get home I have other sporting commitments during the week after work so can only fit road bike cycling on the weekends as refuse to ride late at night due to safety reasons

Thanks

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby Angus » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:14 pm

I am also a big bast##d, so feel your pain as far as hills go. When I first got back into riding about 14 months ago, I was about 112 kgs. I'm now about 92 and aiming for high 80's. I live at Manly, and know the areas you ride to well.
To answer your question, the best way to be better on hills is to a) ride them more and b) lose weight. Like anything, the more you do something the better you'll get, and losing weight just comes down to physics. Every kilo counts when you are climbing, simple as that.
From what I've read in your post, you are doing two rides a week of about 85km total, plus some other activities during the week. Without knowing what the other activities are, I suspect you need to find a way to fit in a couple of extra rides during the week, get your average weekly kms up to around 130-150 kms. For me, what worked was regular rides with a local group that were early in the morning (530 start) so that it didnt impact on other parts of life. Making that commitment Tuesday/Thursday/Sat for me enabled the bulk of that weight loss, and once that regular pattern is established it just becomes part of your normal life. This may or may not work for you, but the key thing is to find a time that does suit you, and then just make it a regular part of your life.
I don't want to come off as some sort of smart-arse, but honestly you've just got to make it happen.

Big blokes can still go up hills by the way! I've just come back a few weeks ago from riding the Alpine climbs around Bright, Victoria.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby auswi2 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:12 pm

Hi Angus,

You are correct.

I also do martial arts 4 nights a week so it is difficult to fit extra cycling due to shift work. I will have to make time for a few extra Ks per week. Where that is not piossible working on the recumbant bike during the evenings must help in some was as it is still cycling

Thanks

Auswi2
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby macca33 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:43 pm

To improve, you need to ride more and ride harder - get the heart rate up by doing structured HIIT training. Racing (and riding with groups that are stronger/faster than you) helps to improve you very quickly.

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby GAV!N » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:52 pm

Lose weight. At 105kg you're always going to struggle on a bike, especially up hills. You're probably lugging an average of 25kg more up the hill than the rest of the group.
It sounds like your martial arts schedule is probably taking a toll on your cycling. Ever heard of the 2.5 rule? Most people have time in their lives for 2.5 things. Most are taken up by 1 - work, 2 - family, which leaves 0.5 for something else (i.e. cycling). Your 0.5 is probably taken up by Martial arts, leaving not much to improve your cycling...
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby auswi2 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:05 am

Hi Gavin,

Thanks for your reply. My extra weight does not help getting up hills but larger cyclists do get up hills much quicker then I do and I agree weight does play a part and I am working on that side of things. As I won't be stopping Martial Arts or cycling I decided to get up an hour and a bit earlier this morning and done a 30km ride mainly working on a cadence over 95. I can do approx. 3 of these rides in the morning each week so an extra 90km's per week should help my endurance and hills over time.

Besides working on my cadence on these morning rides should I be working on being quicker each day or just work on a good cadence.

Thanks

Auswi2
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby Chookman » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:29 am

Forget structure - just ride as much as you can. If you feel good, go a bit harder. If you want to be in the sport longer term, don't rush things. Do what you can and be consistent. Set small goals to keep yourself motivated eg. lose 5kg by xxxx; ride 30km in under 60 mins etc etc. Consider getting an indoor trainer so you can train at night or when it's raining.

As for riding hills better: simple really - increase power, lose weight. Both will happen over time! Good Luck!
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby auswi2 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:42 am

Thanks Chookman,

Great advise, The last thing i want to do is push push and push but in the end forget why I started cycling because i enjoy riding at a pace I am comefortable riding at

Thanks

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby foo on patrol » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:05 am

You only need to do a few sets of harder effort say three times a week, to make a difference over time. :wink:

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby Angus » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:44 am

Great that you are able to fit in a few extra early morning rides, just be careful about increases in kms too quickly, step it up gradually over time. 10% a week is often used, you could do a bit more if you are not going hard. I'd actually just spend a few months gradually increasing your kms and for weight loss you are better keeping it at an easy pace (Zone 2 if you have a HRM). Do that for a while to let your body adapt to the increased riding, and perhaps start doing some climbs at the end of Summer when it is cooler.
You need to let your body adapt to changes in activity, just listen to it and you'll know when you can do a bit more or need to ease off.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby mick243 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:36 am

auswi2 wrote: The last thing i want to do is push push and push but in the end forget why I started cycling because i enjoy riding at a pace I am comefortable riding at



Mate, the more you ride "at a pace you are comfortable riding at" the more you will notice two things

1. You can ride farther and farther as time goes on

And

2. Your average speed will increase.


So simple answer is ride at every opportunity.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby Xplora » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:05 pm

Two things for instant improvement.

1. Ride to martial arts. Doesn't matter how close or far it is. If you have 10kms to get there and are rushed for time, maybe you can only ride once or twice. If you have time, an extra 10-15 minutes on the bike at a number of good cadences (mix it up) will improve your martial arts and riding as you are increasing your training stress and adaptions a lot.

2. Get over riding at night. I have commuted in the dark quite a lot, i find it less scary than riding outside peakhour. People see Good lights easier than you think. Spend some cash on good lights, you need them for winter anyway. Really strong lights at the rear solve many confidence issues. If you can't ride in the dark doing shift work, for any reason, you need to understand that you can't improve very much. There is no magic bullet. We can recommend a program, but that program requires time in the saddle, and not just a recumbent bike.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby g-boaf » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:19 pm

While I wasn't as heavy as you when I started, I wasn't fast. Still not racer material.

But as I clocked 320km this week in just 4 days I noticed something dramatic. My average heart-rate on some local segments I ride on a lot was barely more than 140-145bpm at average speeds of 33/34km/h. To do that a year back, the heart rate would have been 175bpm.

That's got to be the extra kilometres kicking in.

I'd say you just need to ride a lot more.

As you ride more the fitness will come and the weight will decrease too. Keep the cadence above 95.

If you are on Strava and ride through some fun longer segments that are flat and open (eg 3km or so), try and time-trial them. Ride the segment as fast as you dare. Get the heart-rate going high. Do enough of those and you'll get more speed soon enough.

Do what Xplora above did - lots of riding at high intensity. Look where it got him - he is proof that it works.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby clackers » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:46 am

auswi2 wrote:When I get home I have other sporting commitments during the week after work so can only fit road bike cycling on the weekends as refuse to ride late at night due to safety reasons


Difficult. Others have achieved base fitness and can go without much training, Auswi2, but you haven't.

Google 'Interval training' for a strategy that applies to the time poor.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby Xplora » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:05 pm

Just something to consider as well is that if you could sneak in "some" short rides, like commuting to martial arts, a few biiiig rides could help build that base, if that is going to fit in with what you are comfortable doing right now. Spent a lot of time playing in semirural traffic today and I can understand why you aren't ready for nights if you haven't done much because it kinda sucked having that many semis on my handlebars. :shock: two or three centuries over 8 weeks will nearly ruin you but goes a long way to getting the base so you can do the short rides hard to get the speed gains you want.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby auswi2 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:53 am

Hi all thanks for your comments. I was able to to ride 150kms last week from Monday to Sunday and when I done my normal sat group ride I was able to hang on to the group a little longer.

I started this week with a 31km ride this morning and will doing another 60km - 70km by friday and then do my usual 90k's over Saturday and Sunday so my goal this week is to ride180km Min

Early days so far but i have seen some encouraging signs.

I understand some weeks when I start really early for work I may have do do some riding in the mid afternoon but will cross that bridge when I get to it

Thanks

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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby trailgumby » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:18 pm

Xplora wrote:Two things for instant improvement.

1. Ride to martial arts. Doesn't matter how close or far it is. If you have 10kms to get there and are rushed for time, maybe you can only ride once or twice. If you have time, an extra 10-15 minutes on the bike at a number of good cadences (mix it up) will improve your martial arts and riding as you are increasing your training stress and adaptions a lot.

2. Get over riding at night. I have commuted in the dark quite a lot, i find it less scary than riding outside peakhour. People see Good lights easier than you think. Spend some cash on good lights, you need them for winter anyway. Really strong lights at the rear solve many confidence issues. If you can't ride in the dark doing shift work, for any reason, you need to understand that you can't improve very much. There is no magic bullet. We can recommend a program, but that program requires time in the saddle, and not just a recumbent bike.

+1 re: riding at night. With bright lights you get more respect from drivers than during the day.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby iaintas » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:19 am

Shift work is great for cycling! I commute on early shifts (45km), when I'm working late I'm up early at 0530 to get in a longer 60-70km ride. I use my commute for some HIT. Then longer rides on my days off. If I have the daughter all day (wife works nights) I bust out the wind trainer. And just got a child seat to take the toddler for rides along east link bike path.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby Lurkin » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:05 pm

I was in a similar situation- no time to cycle further but wanting to go faster.

It's also worth thinking about what your weight is made of - fat or muscle? muscle will contribute to going faster, fat will not.

You may consider exercises to build muscle, I've been doing a bit of weights/squats etc after getting home. I think its financially and time cheap.

I also really push when commuting - despite other commuters being unaware - there's a race on every day!! whilst the recumbent may not use the same muscles/ be the same as riding your road bike, its still a great opportunity to burn calories.

I have gone from piddling along at 25 - 27 kms per hour to now having an average of 30 - 35kms per hour.

the extra effort is what makes the difference.

also consider a different route which includes more hills.
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby CXCommuter » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:50 am

+3 for riding at night- I find it cooler, less traffic and generally less windy, traffic lights are better and everyone you meet is in a better mood because they aren't doing the commuter rat run.

Have some reflective clothes good front and rear lights and a plan and get over the fear of nights- I love later winter commutes home in the dark particularly
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby cp123 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:07 am

Auswi - I've had to commute at nights for approximately 30 years in a couple of cities. You get used to it and seriously it is no more safe or less safe than in the daylight.

Even my old mum (bless her heart) says 'ooooh there are too many drunks out' and I always reply with naaaah - they're all at home in bed. From my experience there is less traffic on the road after 10 pm. I have super good lights (a superflash on my rear stay, a dinotte on the seat tube and both a red and blue flashing jobbie on my backpack and a little red one on my lid - okay - perhaps its overkill but its also cheap insurance). On the front I had cygolite dual cross pros and ayups on my lid. most of my clothes are black but use reflective ankle bands in the dark as well. Some of my commute home is well lit main roads while other parts of it are shared recreational paths with no ambient light whatsoever. and they're the ones where you have ninjas walking their black dogs off the leads.

Get the lights - i'm now likely to invest in a xeccon sogn light. I have had one serious incident in that time from 3 bogans (repeated elsewhere here that I won't go into) and i'm a chick! :lol: err - maybe an old hen...!
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Re: Advice on Improving my Cycling

Postby KGB » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:57 am

Riding at night also feels really fast!
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