Working toward 50K ride.

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Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:18 pm

So I guess I am essentially a complete novice, though I was a keen bicycle rider as a kid... you know, weekends on the bike, a paper run with all the papers in the handlebar basket. So compared to many of the current generation of kids, I must have been quite fit. Later in my 20s, I had a nice road bike for a while but always something I just did on my own. Anyhow, last year, I decided I would like to get into a fitness routine and the only form of exercise that appealed to me was cycling... so I bought a bike. Two bikes actually, a GT Zaskar for riding around with my wife and I had a few dollars spare and thought if I was going to buy a road bike it may as well be half decent, so I purchased a BMC RM01 at a runout price.
So here I am. I have a nice bike which is far more capable than what I require or deserve to ride and no clue as to the best method to work my way into riding. I live at Park beach in Tassie and have plenty of options for riding routes so last July, when I started out, I opted on doing short sprints as hard as I could as a way of building up. Essentially the course was 12Ks and I did that 18 times over a number of weeks and steadily improved my time to just under 23 minutes. Unfortunately, I had a major interruption come my way which completely railroaded my riding plan... temporarily. Having got past this speed bump I found it hard to get going again as I was in the last stage of a uni degree which I completed last month. So back to the start. Except my 12K course has a nasty little hill and I did not feel up to the challenge so I have selected a different route as a means of "getting back on the bike". Even shorter, 8 Ks and I did that today in 16:45. So my strategy is to do these short blasts where I go as hard as I can in order to build a level of fitness where I can then arrive at a starting point. Ultimately I would like to join in a ride here in Tassie that covers about 50Ks and then proceed to the next phase.
I realise that my method is most likely unorthodox and that is due to my lack of knowledge. I like it because it is a bit of a challenge. Essentially, when I leave my door my goal is to get back with a better set of numbers each time I go out. I also realise that the distance I am riding would barely represent a warm up to most of you here... for me though, when I get back to the start, I am hammered... mind you, I go as hard as I can.
And for the record, I am male, 55, 73 kg, 5'8". Here is the Strava entry from my ride today http://app.strava.com/activities/67679075 . So the purpose of this post is to seek advice on the best way to proceed in order to join a group riding 50Ks. At the moment I would be left behind... at the coffee shop :wink:
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by BNA » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:46 pm

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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby RonK » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:46 pm

Cycling is an endurance sport. Hammering yourself for a short distance is the wrong way to get started. You should set out at an easy pace and gradually increase the distance over successive weeks. 15, 20, 30, 40, 50km - something like that, or perhaps by time - 30, 60, 90 minutes, then look at picking up the speed.

By the time you reach 50km or 2 hour rides you'll be much fitter than you are now anyway, and your speed will have increased naturally. The challenge initially will be go further, longer, not faster. You'll still have the chance to better your numbers, if that is what motivates you...

Then you can maybe start thinking about joining the Richmond Bakery Wednesday Ride.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:52 pm

yea thanks Ron. That is exactly the ride I would like to join. So the distances you suggest, what sort of times would you suggest... cadence ?
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:58 pm

"further, longer, not faster"..... hmmm, never looked at it like that. I am compulsively competitive. I will adopt the method you have suggested and see how I go with that.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:03 pm

RonK wrote:Cycling is an endurance sport. Hammering yourself for a short distance is the wrong way to get started. You should set out at an easy pace and gradually increase the distance over successive weeks. 15, 20, 30, 40, 50km - something like that, or perhaps by time - 30, 60, 90 minutes, then look at picking up the speed.

By the time you reach 50km or 2 hour rides you'll be much fitter than you are now anyway, and your speed will have increased naturally. The challenge initially will be go further, longer, not faster. You'll still have the chance to better your numbers, if that is what motivates you...

Then you can maybe start thinking about joining the Richmond Bakery Wednesday Ride.

Based on my experience, that's good advice if you want to complete longer distances quite slowly. The only way I improved my time on longer rides was short distance interval training. Those shorter rides at a faster speed are really important training.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:12 pm

So are you saying that there is value in my current method as a supplement to the rides suggested by Ron ?
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:22 pm

Paul B wrote:So are you saying that there is value in my current method as a supplement to the rides suggested by Ron ?

Yes. I have done the traditional training model for 200km rides. Over a number of years I had zero improvment in my ride times. If I had to do my training over again I would not train the same way. I would mix it up with short fast rides, interval training and also some longer rides. I found that I could not learn to ride faster without riding fast but I could learn to ride longer by riding shorter, faster rides.

EDIT: my only other suggestion is to build up from 8km to a bit longer. Maybe go 12km then 15km. I think that anyone who can ride 15km fairly quickly should be able to complete 50km at a slower pace.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby lobstermash » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:24 pm

By riding hard you'll build up your muscles. By riding long you'll build up your aerobic fitness. I'd suggest doing both is good for you to build up to your goals IMO.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby RonK » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:28 pm

Paul B wrote:yea thanks Ron. That is exactly the ride I would like to join. So the distances you suggest, what sort of times would you suggest... cadence ?

Speed depends on your fitness, but you would want to ride at a pace that gets you breathing but not breathless.
Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
Also, don't wait too long to make contact with the Richmond bunch. There is no better way to improve than by riding in the bunch. Yes, you will get dropped at first but that happened to most of us at some time.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:35 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
Paul B wrote: my only other suggestion is to build up from 8km to a bit longer. Maybe go 12km then 15km. I think that anyone who can ride 15km fairly quickly should be able to complete 50km at a slower pace.


Yes I think you have summed at what I was aiming at. I figured I would do these short distances at my best pace in order to establish a base to then move to longer distances at a reduced effort. Might give the current ride another couple of weeks and do as you say.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:36 pm

RonK wrote:
Paul B wrote:yea thanks Ron. That is exactly the ride I would like to join. So the distances you suggest, what sort of times would you suggest... cadence ?

Speed depends on your fitness, but you would want to ride at a pace that gets you breathing but not breathless.
Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
Also, don't wait too long to make contact with the Richmond bunch. There is no better way to improve than by riding in the bunch. Yes, you will get dropped at first but that happened to most of us at some time.

The only time I would want to be breathless is in interval training which has hard intervals followed by recovery intervals. Other than that, I agree with RonK. I also endorse the group riding approach. The fastest way to get faster is to ride with people who are faster than you.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:39 pm

RonK wrote:
Paul B wrote:Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
.
I am currently at 90 rpm at 28Kph avg, but as I said the distance is very short. I am definitely going to increase the distance incrementally and see if I can maintain a decent rate.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby RonK » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:41 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
RonK wrote:
Paul B wrote:yea thanks Ron. That is exactly the ride I would like to join. So the distances you suggest, what sort of times would you suggest... cadence ?

Speed depends on your fitness, but you would want to ride at a pace that gets you breathing but not breathless.
Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
Also, don't wait too long to make contact with the Richmond bunch. There is no better way to improve than by riding in the bunch. Yes, you will get dropped at first but that happened to most of us at some time.

The only time I would want to be breathless is in interval training which has hard intervals followed by recovery intervals. Other than that, I agree with RonK. I also endorse the group riding approach. The fastest way to get faster is to ride with people who are faster than you.

Not breathless - isn't that what I said?
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby dalai47 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:46 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:
Paul B wrote:So are you saying that there is value in my current method as a supplement to the rides suggested by Ron ?

Yes. I have done the traditional training model for 200km rides. Over a number of years I had zero improvment in my ride times. If I had to do my training over again I would not train the same way. I would mix it up with short fast rides, interval training and also some longer rides. I found that I could not learn to ride faster without riding fast but I could learn to ride longer by riding shorter, faster rides.

EDIT: my only other suggestion is to build up from 8km to a bit longer. Maybe go 12km then 15km. I think that anyone who can ride 15km fairly quickly should be able to complete 50km at a slower pace.


Which implies you had a very solid base and had plateaued.

Suggesting intervals for someone with next to no base is a recipe for bad techiques and possibly injury... Early on is about learning positive movement engrams using good technique. Going out and smashing yourself early on usually means your muscle memory is remembering most likely bad technique whilst out on the rivet. And the longer you do this, the longer it will take later to make the correct technique the dominant engrams...

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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:05 pm

RonK wrote:
casual_cyclist wrote:
RonK wrote:Speed depends on your fitness, but you would want to ride at a pace that gets you breathing but not breathless.
Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
Also, don't wait too long to make contact with the Richmond bunch. There is no better way to improve than by riding in the bunch. Yes, you will get dropped at first but that happened to most of us at some time.

The only time I would want to be breathless is in interval training which has hard intervals followed by recovery intervals. Other than that, I agree with RonK. I also endorse the group riding approach. The fastest way to get faster is to ride with people who are faster than you.

Not breathless - isn't that what I said?

Yes. I wasn't disagreeing with you except in the context of interval training.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby RonK » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:34 pm

Paul B wrote:
RonK wrote:
Paul B wrote:Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
.
I am currently at 90 rpm at 28Kph avg, but as I said the distance is very short. I am definitely going to increase the distance incrementally and see if I can maintain a decent rate.

You are on the right track, they are good numbers to work with. Build up your distance and you could be ready to join the bunch in about 6 to 8 weeks.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:37 pm

Cadence - aim for an average cadence of 90rpm, another number you'll probably have to work up to.
.[/quote][/quote]I am currently at 90 rpm at 28Kph avg, but as I said the distance is very short. I am definitely going to increase the distance incrementally and see if I can maintain a decent rate.[/quote]
You are on the right track, they are good numbers to work with. Build up your distance and you could be ready to join the bunch in about 6 to 8 weeks.[/quote]

Thanks for that confirmation. I am going to try and mix it up and am grateful for the advice which has been offered.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:52 pm

dalai47 wrote:
casual_cyclist wrote:
Paul B wrote:So are you saying that there is value in my current method as a supplement to the rides suggested by Ron ?

Yes. I have done the traditional training model for 200km rides. Over a number of years I had zero improvment in my ride times. If I had to do my training over again I would not train the same way. I would mix it up with short fast rides, interval training and also some longer rides. I found that I could not learn to ride faster without riding fast but I could learn to ride longer by riding shorter, faster rides.

EDIT: my only other suggestion is to build up from 8km to a bit longer. Maybe go 12km then 15km. I think that anyone who can ride 15km fairly quickly should be able to complete 50km at a slower pace.


Which implies you had a very solid base and had plateaued.

Suggesting intervals for someone with next to no base is a recipe for bad techiques and possibly injury... Early on is about learning positive movement engrams using good technique. Going out and smashing yourself early on usually means your muscle memory is remembering most likely bad technique whilst out on the rivet. And the longer you do this, the longer it will take later to make the correct technique the dominant engrams...

To build a solid house, you need solid foundations!

Not really. Coming off a base of zero exercise, I did my first 100km ride after 4 weeks of cycling, my first 200km ride after 14 weeks of cycling and my first 300km after 18 weeks of cycling. Not recommended. I ended up doing a bunch of 100km and 200km rides over the next couple of years but at the time I had too pull out I was still doing sub-20km/h 200km rides. I timed out on my last couple, with an elapsed time limit of 15km/h, that is pretty poor. So, I wouldn't recommend just doing long slow rides as training.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby RonK » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:10 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:Coming off a base of zero exercise, I did my first 100km ride after 4 weeks of cycling, my first 200km ride after 14 weeks of cycling and my first 300km after 18 weeks.

That is as extreme as doing all short intervals.Hardly surprising that you could barely manage jogging pace.

It's certainly not at all what I suggested either.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby macca33 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:29 pm

I think the key is to mix it up a bit - do some short, sharp, hard interval sessions, to improve your anaerobic capacity as well as some longer, steady rides to build aerobic fitness.

There are PLENTY of websites with training information to get you started.

IMO - your short course, even after you'd whittled it down to what you thought was your best time, wasn't really going to be the best method of improving your aerobic / anaerobic capacity, to the extent where you could comfortably roll with bunches.

Good luck with it - use commonsense and some structure and you will improve beyond what you believe you can.

Lastly, hills are also very good for building cycling capacity - don't be afraid of them.

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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Philipthelam » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:00 pm

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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Pedaling » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:24 pm

Hi Paul,
I must agree with the advice the guys have given you so far.
The type of training that has worked for me is aerobic training.
70% of my cycling is spent with my heart rate below 140bpm. If you don't have a heart rate monitor, train so you would be able to converse with somebody with relative ease.
The other 30% of my training is interval training, hills or sprints.
This has certainly helped with my endurance, although I am always learning.
Hope this helps,
Cheers,

Darrin.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby nickobec » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:04 pm

When I decided I wanted to ride to work 45km each way.

I started riding my mountain bike 30 minutes in the morning, 2 to 3 times week, nothing too difficult, attack a short climb or two, lots of skill work, jumping logs, dropping off rocks etc.

Once a week, started cycling distance on my road bike, first 20km, then 25km, then 30km, then 50 km, next week should of be 70km instead did the full trip + got lost for my first metric century. Then went home to bed to sleep.

Most training guides say increase max time/distance by max 10% each time, if you are reasonable fit and only doing once per week like I did 20%.

I would wait until you got the required distance/time done, before starting work on your speed.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:38 pm

just had a look at a couple of Strava entries of the Richmond bakery rides...... can't see myself tackling elevations like that for a long time. Might need a year or two of riding before I front up for that gig.
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Re: Working toward 50K ride.

Postby Paul B » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:39 pm

Philipthelam wrote:http://www.cycling-inform.com/general-training-tips/71-cycling-base-training-tips-how-to-reach-your-full-capability-as-a-cyclist

Great... thanks.
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