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-   -   Feeling my age (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1178218)

jskita 07-13-19 04:37 PM

Feeling my age
 
I am currently 52 and ride less than 10 miles per day when I ride as a commuter and stay with 20 miles for recreational rides. I have never had any issues at all. Over the July 4th holiday I did 40 miles and I felt it.

My palms numbed and my butt was sore. I even cramped up during some minor uphills on my return ride. All this was about the 35 mile mark. I did take a nice rest in the middle.

I consider myself to be in good health, but I don't stretch or do any preparation prior to a ride. I didn't think 40 miles should have been a big deal and required anything special.

I set my bike up for an upright position. This particular bike is what I ride on weekends and is my grocery-getter. The bikes I ride on the weekday differ but the rides are too short to matter.

This bike has a B72 saddle that is wider for an upright position and I use a Soma Sparrow townie type bar on it.

I'm 5'7", 137 lbs
I averaged about 11mph
I don't wear padded shorts
The weather was almost perfect.

Is my set up wrong? Do I need to hydrate more? Do I need to work out or something?

I would think I should be able to go twice that distance with no problem, so what do you think?

TIA,https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...21ef68e37a.jpg

BigAura 07-13-19 04:44 PM

Do longer rides more often. You'll get stronger and your body will adjust.

DrIsotope 07-13-19 04:45 PM

In my experience, longer distances come through conditioning. You ride longer, spending more hours in the saddle, until your body gradually acclimates to it. I still start to get some discomfort in the saddle out past the 4 hour mark now and again-- but at the same time, anything short of 2 hours on the bike barely feels like riding at all. Unless the saddle is giving you actual pain, it likely just needs a little tweak in the fit. A little discomfort from a ride double your typical length is to be expected.

jskita 07-13-19 04:49 PM

Thank you for your input. So you all think that even the palm numbness will eventually go away with conditioning?

DrIsotope 07-13-19 04:51 PM

That's part of conditioning and fit. As your bum starts to get sore, you unconsciously put more weight on your hands, so then those go numb.

I'm a dropbar guy, but in my flatbar days I couldn't go more than about 25 miles before my hands and wrists were complaining. Everybody's different.

jskita 07-13-19 04:57 PM

Ok, I'll keep it up then!

bikemig 07-13-19 04:59 PM

The bars may be the problem. Those types of bars are great for short rides and commutes but not so great on longer rides. Drop bars give you more positions for your hands.

jskita 07-13-19 05:15 PM

I been thinking of some form of dropbar but will my seat still work for that bike or does that seat only work for short rides then? Even on the Sparrows my hands are all over the place on them so I can appreciate having more hand positions. My sense is that the seat might still work because it's not really wide and when I do sit forward when I my hands are forward of the brake levers, in the curve, the seat still feels good.

big john 07-13-19 05:30 PM

Make sure you aren't locking your elbows, your hands should be able to relax with a light touch on the bars while you are cruising.

I noticed you have your bars above the height of the saddle. If you have to have that position you could set up drop bars so the top of the bar is in the same position and you would gain hand positions as mentioned.

Most of us who ride longer rides have spent time trying different saddles and shorts to find what works for us. Also as others have said you just might need more saddle time to adapt to longer rides.

FrenchFit 07-13-19 05:38 PM

Your bike is not set up for distance rides. Of course you can used to it, but there are good reasons why upright bikes are essentially sightseeing, short commute and grocery getters. I have done metric and imperial centuries on a set up like that, but it is a bad idea to tease that distance. You may end up needing some PT.

jlaw 07-13-19 05:44 PM


Originally Posted by jskita (Post 21025320)

I would think I should be able to go twice that distance with no problem, so what do you think?

TIA,https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...21ef68e37a.jpg

Cool bike. But you are definitely committed to an upright position - especially noticeable when riding 40 miles I would think. I prefer drop bars set-up with lots of hand positions to help limit numbness and balance my weight on all the touch points. Even so I still get some numbness - but it is manageable.

Re: fatigue - how many miles have you ridden this year? I feel way better after the first 400 - 500 miles. The hills early in the season can be a grind. Weight-lifting mixed with riding might help.

bargeon 07-13-19 06:26 PM

Take any breaks during your ride? A quick rest, drink and stretch helps your staying power. Anything over 30 miles or two hours and I take a good 15 to 20 minutes.

350htrr 07-13-19 07:41 PM


Originally Posted by jskita (Post 21025320)
I am currently 52 and ride less than 10 miles per day when I ride as a commuter and stay with 20 miles for recreational rides. I have never had any issues at all. Over the July 4th holiday I did 40 miles and I felt it.

My palms numbed and my butt was sore. I even cramped up during some minor uphills on my return ride. All this was about the 35 mile mark. I did take a nice rest in the middle.

I consider myself to be in good health, but I don't stretch or do any preparation prior to a ride. I didn't think 40 miles should have been a big deal and required anything special.

I set my bike up for an upright position. This particular bike is what I ride on weekends and is my grocery-getter. The bikes I ride on the weekday differ but the rides are too short to matter.

This bike has a B72 saddle that is wider for an upright position and I use a Soma Sparrow townie type bar on it.

I'm 5'7", 137 lbs
I averaged about 11mph
I don't wear padded shorts
The weather was almost perfect.

Is my set up wrong? Do I need to hydrate more? Do I need to work out or something?

I would think I should be able to go twice that distance with no problem, so what do you think?

TIA,https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...21ef68e37a.jpg

You NEEDS to just get out there and ride more... and eventually you will go farther, and faster, feeling less beat up...

Mountain Mitch 07-13-19 07:53 PM

Numb hands are merely one of the delights of the aging (rider) process. My significant other and I have tried all the adjustments and tricks with no significant success. It is really a shoulder girdle (ie neck and upper back) problem. I think it’s called degeneration...or ‘arthritis’ in polite circles. I find I enjoy riding enough to tough it out with occasional breaks to get the feeling back.

downtube42 07-13-19 09:17 PM

52 is nothing. Ignore it, and definitely do not allow it to be an excuse. Moving on from there...

Gradually increasing ride distance does two things. First and most discussed it increases your fitness. Second, it gives you the opportunity to learn about issues that arise with longer distance. If you don't resolve the issues at one distance, they will magnify with longer distance and you'll hit your limit. OTOH, if you get good at resolving issues with distance, you'll find your actual limits are ridiculously far out there. In fact distance isn't a limit, only time and eventually the need to sleep.

People ride hundreds of miles in a day. Ordinary people with normal natural athletic ability. And they are not suffering horribly. I'm not suggesting you're destined to be a ultracyclist or randonneur, I'm just saying these issues can be resolved.

As suggested, conventional wisdom is that on longer rides it's better to have multiple hand positions. Although I believe that's true, I have done hundred mile days on flat-bar bikes, with little issues. All the points of contact between human and bike are key.

I suggest going back to 20-25 mile rides and work on getting very comfortable. First make sure your seat height is right; incorrect seat height can screw up everything. Saddle fore/aft, angle, and handlebar reach need to be right; if you're constantly slipping forward and pushing yourself back on the saddle, that will cause both butt and hand pain. Your wrist angle could be a problem with those bars; IMO you want to have a position with wrists fairly neutral. As for saddle, is it broken in? Is it the right width?

Keep at it.

jskita 07-13-19 09:44 PM

@jlaw I am probably under 300 miles this year still. @bargeon that is right around the time I start to feel it! @downtube42 I rode so little on that seat but a few months back I waxed it and started riding longer and it's finally breaking in.

In general, it's good to hear that taking breaks is Ok and everyone feels pains here and there is encouraging. I just got the sense that everyone was riding hundreds of miles and I wasn't able to for some reason. I will definitely keep working up towards more distance.

Thank you everyone for sharing your experience.

OldTryGuy 07-14-19 06:55 AM


Originally Posted by FrenchFit (Post 21025418)
Your bike is not set up for distance rides. Of course you can used to it, but there are good reasons why upright bikes are essentially sightseeing, short commute and grocery getters. I have done metric and imperial centuries on a set up like that, but it is a bad idea to tease that distance. You may end up needing some PT.

I enjoy long rides on my "grocery grabber." My 141 miles last Wednesday for my 69th birthday included 95 miles riding my grocery grabber with front basket on with many of them in the rain. By scrolling down in the following link you will see my friend Freddie's bike.

https://miles4melanoma.com/freddiehoffman/

Digger Goreman 07-14-19 07:38 AM


Originally Posted by bikemig (Post 21025353)
The bars may be the problem. Those types of bars are great for short rides and commutes but not so great on longer rides. Drop bars give you more positions for your hands.

I think a way to help achieve this on your setup is through Ergon grips. I have them on an Mtb and it's made a world of difference. Admittedly I just commute....

BobbyG 07-14-19 07:51 AM

I have had hand issues since my early 40s. Things are much better snce I bought two drop-bar bikes, and make a conscious effort to change hand positions.

On my older straight-ish bar mluntain bike I added "inboardd" bar-ends and an "aero bar" with elbow rests that can also be used as hand holds. It looks a little ungainly but works well.

Your bike looks so nice, it'd be a shame to gunk it up. However, you could add a couple of small bar-end grips to the ends of the end of the bars which would give you a new hand position and more upright posture if you oriented them inward. Also, some thin foam padding on the foreward-most portion of your bars (towards the middle) would give you another hand position and posture, or two. Perhaps you could rest your arms on the hand grips and hold the forward portion of the bar. Don't be affraid to re-settle your butt for the different positions.

One thing I find myself doing on all my bikes on longer rides is making a loose fist and reating the side of my hand (below the pinkie) on the bars (at least for a while).

HEre is a link to my bars:
https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...follow-up.html

jlaw 07-15-19 06:52 PM


Originally Posted by jskita (Post 21025718)

In general, it's good to hear that taking breaks is Ok and everyone feels pains here and there is encouraging. I just got the sense that everyone was riding hundreds of miles and I wasn't able to for some reason.

You're 50+ - you've earned a break!

Typically on group rides we'll re-group/short break every 5 - 10 miles or so - or at the top of significant climbs - as long as we're not too stretched out. I try to pick group rides where I'll be in the middle of the pack - or I'll offer to lead a slower group if the ride is full of riders stronger than me.

On solo rides I'll try to find a nice coffee stop at about the 20 mile point - my reward. 30 to 35 mile rides are about right for me in terms of time and effort required.

Pick an achievable/enjoyable goal and hit it.

55murray 07-16-19 07:22 AM


Originally Posted by jskita (Post 21025320)
I am currently 52 and ride less than 10 miles per day when I ride as a commuter and stay with 20 miles for recreational rides. I have never had any issues at all. Over the July 4th holiday I did 40 miles and I felt it.

So you doubled your max distance on a bike not set up for long distance use. You would have felt that at any age.

Retro Grouch 07-16-19 11:05 AM

You said "perfect weather" on a July 4 ride. what does that mean?

I'm 76 now. I used to be a prolific sweater but now I hardly perspire at all. Hot weather utterly wipes me out. An easy 40 mile ride for me in temperatures above 80 degrees would require an REM dream cycle 2 hour nap afterward. That's how I know I've gotten old.

davester 07-16-19 01:15 PM

I disagree with the folks who say that hand numbness is part of the aging process or will go away with conditioning. This is a classic example of using a bar with insufficient hand positions possibly in combination with the having too much weight on your hands. Such numbness can lead to nerve damage over long periods, though it doesn't sound like you do these kinds of rides that often. Long distance riding really requires either drop bars or trekking bars to allow hand position variation. Since 40 miles is sort of on the cusp of being a long distance ride, perhaps you can play with your bike fit to take weight off your hands if you don't want to change bars. Sliding the saddle backwards will place you further behind the pedals which should reduce the weight on your hands and stress on your back and shoulders.

Regarding shorts, I'd recommend that you use bike shorts with at least a thin chamois-type pad for longer rides if you want to reduce chafing. Regular shorts with seams are going to be extremely uncomfortable on long rides. There's a reason that they make bike shorts the way they do, and it's not fashion. There can however be too much padding. Personally I hate the thickly padded shorts many of the vendors are selling these days. I think they are a response to the uncomfortable crummy foam-covered plastic saddles that come on most road bikes these days. You probably don't need much padding since you are using a Brooks leather saddle which is going to be more comfortable in general than most of the "road" saddles out there. Also note that mountain bike shorts look more like standard shorts so are more palatable to folks who don't want that Tour de France racer look.

Cramps often occur because you didn't drink enough, or because you only drank water without electrolytes. It's hard to say whether you drank enough, not knowing the weather, but it seldom hurts and usually helps to chug a bunch of gatorade or similar during a ride.

SpinClassSara 07-16-19 01:46 PM

Ah, welcome to the youth of old age. Everything you love is trying to kill you.

big john 07-16-19 08:02 PM


Originally Posted by Retro Grouch (Post 21029892)
You said "perfect weather" on a July 4 ride. what does that mean?

I'm 76 now. I used to be a prolific sweater but now I hardly perspire at all. Hot weather utterly wipes me out. An easy 40 mile ride for me in temperatures above 80 degrees would require an REM dream cycle 2 hour nap afterward. That's how I know I've gotten old.

I went up to Mount Baldy Village on the 4th and the weather was perfect. Some cloud cover in the early part of the climb, then patchy clouds, full sun, then the descent was no higher than 80, IIRC. All rides should be so nice.

At 65 I seem to sweat at least as much as when I was younger. A friend once said they had to mop the street after I rode by so the other cyclists didn't slip in it.


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