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Why am I soooo bad?

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Why am I soooo bad?

Old 07-08-20, 12:42 PM
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Old 07-08-20, 12:59 PM
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Having raised five kids, I feel your pain. One thing I will stress is efficiency in the use of time to make sure you can find time to exercise. It doesnít all have to be biking in order to improve your capacity.

As an example, I used to have to take one of our sons to competitive soccer practices and matches. I would always put in a 30-40 minute run during the game warmup while other parents were sitting in their portable chairs. During practices Iíd do a longer run. It all adds up.

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Old 07-08-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrecks24 View Post
Thanks Again guys...I guess its just a hard pill to swallow that me being a career Army Soldier getting beat down by college age girls...lol and they do beat me down. But I will keep my head in the game. I know I have improved since first starting so Iam sure it will get better.
Some college age girls beat all the men:
Beryl Burton, OBE (12 May 1937 Ė 5 May 1996) was an English racing cyclist who dominated womenís cycle racing in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles, and setting numerous national records. She set a women's record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the men's record for two years.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:41 PM
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Take a look at amateur racer Tyler Pearce's "Breath" video to get an idea how committed some amateur racers are to the sport.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:47 PM
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How many times a week could you set aside 90 minutes? That should give you a solid hour's ride, what with getting changed before and showering after. If your ONLY ride every week is the group ride, it's gonna be hard to improve. The others in the group ride might be putting in 3-5 rides a week.

The other thing is, maybe skip the group ride for a while, and ride more at your own pace. If you're getting dropped after hanging with the front of the ride for a while, it probably means that pace is what you can manage for 10 or so miles. Once you fall back once, you have to put in a lot more effort to catch up, and you get back to the group blown out and barely able to maintain their pace, meaning you're barely recovering, and then maybe you hit a short uphill that they power over and you fall off the back again and have to try and catch up again. Nothing like playing catch up to wear you out!

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Old 07-08-20, 03:50 PM
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It takes time in the saddle at speed to build that level of fitness. I don't have the time to get good enough to hang with certain groups.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:54 PM
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pay more attention to keep the pace. If you're squirling off & being dropped, your fitness can only do so much to recover the lost distance. Paying more attention will also help reduce causing an accident.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:49 PM
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Another option is a Class 3 ebike where you can dial up and down the assist as needed until you can hang with the group unassisted.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:57 PM
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3 months? Just keep riding.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:34 PM
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Sorry i don't mean to go on and on...

I had mentioned in my previous post here that I got smoked quite a bit last year in group rides. I started back riding after a 25 year break in the fall of 2018 but didn't ride at all during the winter 2018-2019. At that winter down time I committed myself to riding in a charity ride in the Summer of 2019, and riding with a local club that puts about 150 riders in this particular charity which is 65 miles.

I had lots to worry about, I had few training miles under my belt and I really didn't know anyone on my proposed team. So I decided to join the team for a few training rides. The first ride was April 2019 about 12 riders on a flat trail. No hills at all. Ten miles down, ten miles back, more than half of the riders were females. All of them finished so far ahead of me that they had enough time to put their bikes in their cars, get out of their clothes, chit-chat and leave for home. It took me at least 15 minutes more to do a simple 20 mile ride than the next slowest rider. I was in a word, humiliated.

I did a few more training rides, not many maybe 2 more with this group. My time on the road for the 65 mile charity ride was ok but to be honest I think there were a few that thought that I wouldn't even make it. I did make it but the whole thing really motivated me to get cracking and get training. The desire to do better on this one particular charity ride this year was the major reason why I worked my rear off last winter on my trainer.

The ride is cancelled this year due to virus but it's too late, I'm totally committed to getting better on the bike. I have had a number of training rides with my team this year, rides that are are a lot more difficult than the 20 mile straight run of last year and not to brag but I'm doing good. I went into last winter basically a beginner, popped out this spring a much different rider. I'm 62 by the way. If I were to do that 65 mile ride today I would expect to finish it in under 4 hours from starting gun to first beer and with no anticipated stops along the way.

I have a few rough edges that need to be smoothed out and there is plenty of room for improvement. But I'm satisfied that I have a good foundation to build upon. A good chunk of this sport even for recreational riders is the mental game. When you are falling back and don't have the experience or the chops it's it's hard to catch back up. There are things that crop up like numb hands and leg cramps and even getting a good fit of your bike or clothes that only time and experience will guide you through.

A few very good points have already been made, such as consider backing off some with the group rids for now and somehow make the time to train on your own. I think improvement is much easier when you are on the bike at the minimum 3 days a week, even more is better. You need to get your heart rate up and keep it up for an hour at least. You also need some kind of reward system, simple or complex to get you in the bike even when the last thing you want to do it ride a bike.

Again not to sound like a salesmen for Zwift but there are so many rewards and goals in there to achieve that even if only half-hearted you will find some way to keep working towards completing some kind of course goal or training goal even when no one but you is looking.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:36 PM
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Don't be a p*ssy!!!

Sorry-had to throw a little hard-ass army attitude in!
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Old 07-09-20, 10:11 AM
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Remember basic training when you'd drag in nearly dead at first? Later on you'd do the same routes with a lot of energy left over. Building stamina and speed on a bicycle is similar. Maybe some of those group members will help coach you. Be careful not to got too hard too long at first; s othat you don't burn out.

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Old 07-09-20, 03:20 PM
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Get a trainer. You aren't going to get fit in the free time you have while shuttling multiple kids without stealing time, and they're very time-efficient. You pretty much have to ride 4 days a week to start really getting adaption - ride an hour or two easy after they go to sleep or in the morning before breakfast 3-4 times a week and you'll find that group ride a lot easier after 3-4 weeks. And I mean easy - lose the army 'harder is better', you need time in the saddle that you can recover from in less than 24 hours.
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Old 07-09-20, 03:38 PM
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When you have kids and you are in your 40s you are spending lots of time being a parent and honestly eating a lot of crap they eat.

Fitness-wise that was a bad time for me. It happens. I dead lift well over 300lbs now and turn 700 watts pretty easily on a spin bike at 57. My waist is a 28 and I am 5 10. At 45 I couldnít run 2 or 3 miles, I never wore jeans and my waist was at least a 34.

As they get older you have more free time and you eat better and get in a fitness groove.

Diet at this point is critical.
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Old 07-09-20, 08:12 PM
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Here is a thought. If the family is going somewhere, race them there. I used to do that with my wife and kids. If we planned to head to the beach or some destination, I would calculate how much of a head start I needed and try to beat the family there. Even if it was 10-15 miles, it was all out. The only rule was that she couldn't drive faster than the speed limit or break the law to beat me; but everything was fair game for me. It was a lot of fun, and I got to put in some miles without missing a family activity.

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Old 07-09-20, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Here is a thought. If the family is going somewhere, race them there. I used to do that with my wife and kids. If we planned to head to the beach or some destination, I would calculate how much of a head start I needed and try to beat the family there. Even if it was 10-15 miles, it was all out. The only rule was that she couldn't drive faster than the speed limit or break the law to beat me; but everything was fair game for me. It was a lot of fun, and I got to put in some miles without missing a family activity.

This is actually a really great idea! Iím going to try to implement this to get in some more miles.
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Old 07-13-20, 11:38 AM
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buy and use an indoor trainer - ride whenever you have an hour and make it count - try to set a schedule for the same time at least 3 times a week (when you are not out on the bike) if you are only riding on the weekends then it will take a lot longer to get into bike shape - as alot of folks are saying - interval training will help you improve - hang in there - you will get better - NSDQ
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Old 07-13-20, 11:44 AM
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I used to have the opposite problem. I was always the "fatty" when I was younger. Not very overweight, just maybe 20-25 pounds, but not like all the other fit and thin women that were of my acquaintance. My advantage was that I cycled a lot ever since I was 16 tears old. They couldn't understand why they couldn't keep up with me (the fatty) on social rides. They even tried my bike to see if it made a difference. It didn't. I think you have lots of info from smart people, but I just had to say something from being on the other side.
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Old 07-13-20, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrecks24 View Post
So I started road biking about three months ago and I know that I suck, but I have been riding these local shop rides. I cannot keep up with the main group for the life of me, the ride is 25ish miles, mixture of "elite" type riders, women and older dudes. I even struggle to maintain speed with ALL of them. I am 43 and retired from the Army so its a little bit of ego. My bike is a Carbon bike with Ultegra gear set, so I know its me and not the bike. Now, I don't have the option of riding everyday to build up as I have a job and I also have two kids that are involved in sports and other activities that take up much of my free time. I just want to be able to hang with at least the majority of the riders. Any advice for a new guy?
It actually sounds like you are doing fine. Check your ego and just keep riding. Find a ride that is a little bit slower and you will feel better about yourself. Others have already said what needs to be said about training. If you only have time for one 25 mile group ride per week, your progress might be slower than you might like. You might do better just riding solo or with a slower group of riders, start your rides out a little slower, then ramp up the intensity over time.

Your situation reminds me of a guy I met a few years ago in my Tae Kwon Do classes. He was also ex military, and very frustrated he seemed to not be getting much better at it. The thing is, like you, he had work committments so he only had time to go to class one hour a week. But the thing is, if you only have time to do something one hour a week, it stands to reason you will find yourself getting your butt kicked, literally, by people who are putting more time in. And the guy eventually took time off because of an injury and never came back. Which is too bad because once a week was better than doing nothing.
And the same goes for you and your riding. If you can hang with people riding 18 mph for 10 miles, imagine what you can do pacing yourself at 15 mph?
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Old 07-13-20, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrecks24 View Post
Thanks guys. I do use Strava and I always try to beat my times. I live in East Tennessee so we have some hills for sure. At first I was OK with being the "slow guy" on rides, but now I am getting a little frustrated and trying to stay positive as I do enjoy riding. I have noticed that if I stay in the group it is easier to maintain, but its when you fall back and try to play catch up that is killing me. I usually ride with the front group for the first several miles at about 18-19 mph average, but once something gets me off track and I fall back, i'm screwed. I do realize that I just need more saddle time and I am trying. Thanks for the tips.
Best tip - don't try to ride with the front group. Ride with the back group if you need to. Find people who are your pace, and stick with them rather than faster guys.

if you are drafting in a group, you have at least a 20% advantage, so if you lose the pack there is no catching back up. Look for places where you have to put in the extra effort, and places where you can recover.

I think it is key to know your threshold heart rate, and realize that if you go above that - you can't stay there, and you will pay for it later. Later on your own, you can do intervals and work on time above your threshold and recovery. Nothing beats time on the bike and the fast ones are doing a lot of training between the weekly rides.

It depends on how serious you want to be, but a heart rate monitor is key for knowing what you are doing. If you are very serious (and or have too much money) a power meter is best.

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Old 07-13-20, 12:45 PM
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I'm pushing the big 7-0. and believe me, it takes time to get back in the saddle..and go with the flow. I took a almost 10 year hiatus, from any real biking...and that first summer back, boy did I pay for it...lol.....the best advice is ride as much as you can, drink fluids, and eat well...and ride, ride, and ride...In memphis, I ride with a bunch of guys and girls from VICTORY CYCLING...and we are doing the BIG DAM BRIDGE 100...in september. so again, ride and set some goals.

good luck
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Old 07-13-20, 12:51 PM
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Unstructured riding can be extraordinarily frustrating when you don't see results. You can push yourself hard, week after week, but don't seem to be getting better. Part of that is because you're starting out near your max, burning all your matches, then struggling to recover. No different than putting too much weight on a bar, struggling to push out max reps, but not being able to do more reps after a few weeks. Your muscles are certainly stronger, but your aerobic base hasn't improved. Intervals are too often interpreted as "go balls to the wall" for a minute, rest, then do it again. They're a lot more complex than that. Where you're trying to go says that you should be doing extended sessions at maybe 75-80% of your max, resting, repeating. A workout might go something like 4 sets of 5 minutes each with three minutes of recovery (the variations are endless!) - for three days a week, then increasing to 5 sets, and so on, in an every increasing progression of time and effort. Intersperse those with 10-20 minutes at 60% X 2 efforts. Sprinting at 95% for 45 seconds five times in a row for a few weeks will just enable you to keep up with the group for an extra five minutes. The amazing thing about measured, extended efforts is the payback vs. time. You can do training sessions that only last 45 minutes, but they're targeted efforts that are dramatically improving your aerobic base. The payoff is suddenly you can do a two hour ride with the fast group as long as you ride smart, conserve energy, and don't work when you don't have to. Think a powerful track sprinter - they can put out 800+ watts over a couple of laps, but could never survive in a 4000M pursuit where they'd need to average 350-400 watts over four minutes. Now apply that to your group ride. You start out, but after doing four or five minutes of high effort in your training sessions, you're accustomed to that initial burst, and can settle in to a solid pace - just don't play the hero trying to pull though and increase the pace, and suddenly you're an hour into the ride and you having not exceeded your limits. I saw where you mentioned being able to hang, but suddenly there's a 10 meter gap that you just can't close. That's from maxing out, desperately needing some recovery, slowing up and then being forced to sprint again just to catch a wheel. Two or three times in a row and you're toast. The other thing to keep in mind - if the group starts out from the parking lot at full speed, give yourself a few minutes to warm up. Some of those guys probably have years of conditioning - or rode to the ride start, so they're ready to rock. No one in their right mind starts a 10K run at a full sprint, so don't do it at a bike ride!
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Old 07-13-20, 01:21 PM
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What pace are we talking? Yes Eastern Tennessee can be flattish, hilly, or mountainous. But sometimes shop-organized rides can be real hammer-fests that are just beyond a newbie, regardless of how 'fit' they think they are. Maybe the solution is to find a less-elite group for a while. BTW, being beat by a girl isn't a point of shame. Hills are all about power-to-weight ratios and a fit woman is not an any sort of disadvantage there.
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Old 07-13-20, 01:25 PM
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Let's just set aside the question of whether it's smart to be doing group rides right now. OP mostly needs two things:

1) More saddle time. 3 months is barely starting out. At this point, I wouldn't recommend structured intervals or anything else. Just ride your bike.

2) An ego check. The age, gender, or any other characteristics of the riders who are dropping you matter not at all. The only thing that matters is that they are fitter and more experienced than you are. That's what you want to be: fitter and more experienced. So how do you get that? See 1) above.

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Old 07-13-20, 02:17 PM
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Just keep at it, fitness will come.
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