New to cycling 2nd time around

kerensa2781
kerensa2781 Posts: 5
edited April 2008 in Road beginners
Well as the subject heading says, i have just got back into cycling after a break of 20 years and boy dont i know it. Guess i am having a problem with older age and my legs wont take me as far as i would like them to go, did initially this summer want to do a ride of over a 100 miles in a day for the firs time in my life, but after a few months of gentle riding realise this is just going to be a pipe dream despite my never say die attitude. Around about november i tried to ride from where i live in Swindon to Henley on Thames a distace of around 53 miles, however about 3 miles outside of Wallingford and at about 45 miles i all but collapsed, i felt incredibly weak and my legs just wouldnt go round anymore, it was totally my own fault as i left early with no breakfast and had no drink of any kind on me so i got what i deserved. I have obviously changed my food and drink intakes on cycle rides but still cant manage to get up to 50 miles on a ride what i am finding at the moment is i go from hero to zero in a matter of a couple of miles, one second i can feel fine then the next there just aint nothing left in the tank, so basically i would like any imformation as regards to diet and nutrition and ideally how often i should stop to take on fluids and food just would like to regain a bit more of my fitness that i had in bygone years. I am currently looking at riding from Swindon to Bournemouth in the next few weeks and although this is about 70 miles and 20 miles farther than i have ever gone i do intend to stop in Salisbury for a decent lunch before taking on the last 25 miles of the journey. Will finish by saying a bit more about myself i am 42 overweight at 13st but that has come down by a stonne from when i started cycling again i dont care less about average cycling speeds as getting to where i am going is by far more important than only doing half the distace quickly, my bike is just as old as me (Apollo Guru) and just as knackered but wouldnt swap it for anything.

Comments

  • I'm a bit older than you but, all the same, I think I would be quite pleased at my age if I could routine cycle 45 miles (or whatever it was) in one go, without food or rest. So I don't think you ought to be too harsh on yourself.

    In my experience (of my much younger days), if you go from being reasonably brisk to a quivering jelly in a matter of minutes, you're likely to be experiencing the notorious `glycogen wall'. Generally the human body can store about 2000 Calories' worth of glycogen. So if you cycle with an energy expenditure of, say, 600 Cals/hour, you'll get about three hours of smooth running, and that's _if_ you've eaten and drunk properly beforehand. If you haven't, you'll not even get that much.

    The physiological basis for the `wall' is disputed, as is whether you can improve it by training. But who cares? If you you're not racing, and don't plan to, why do you need to be able to cycle so far without cake stops?
  • one of the problems i have is i only normally stop when i feel as if i cant go on any longer at which point i will shovel down a cocktail of sports drinks and chocolate just to get a quick fix which is about all that is, thats ok if i am cycling locally around swindon and just need enough energy to get home but on longer journeys feel something a bith more substantial is needed cycled from Swindon to Amesbury last week which is about 36 miles and still felt fantastic at the end but at the same time was under no illusion that i could of felt somewhat different after a couple of more miles, getting more used to pacing myself than i used to but its food and drink intakes on longer trips i am having trouble with
  • Bronzie
    Bronzie Posts: 4,927
    There's no reason why you can't build up to a Century ride later this year, provided you build to it gradually (increase your weekly mileage and/or time on the bike by no more than 10% a week) and you must eat and drink regularly during the ride.

    If you struggle with the mental aspects of riding solo (many do), try finding others to ride with (club, CTT groups or other local riders).

    Have a look in the Training section as there are plenty of threads on what/when to eat already, but I'd suggest:
    - pasta / rice the night before
    - museli or porridge in the morning
    - eat carbs (whatever works for you be it malt loaf, bananas, cereal bars) and drink water regularly through the ride - little and often is the way to do it (ie small sips from a bottle on your bike every few mins instead of stopping to drink a pint of water once an hour)
  • cheers for your comments Bronzie, i guess i do struggle mentally on a ride mind you it can become a bit soul destroying when it feels like you have been riding for miles but in actual fact you havent gone very far at all. would never consider riding with a club as most of you people on here are probably in the super league of cyclist and class riding 50 miles as just warming up where as im in the poundstrechers o a p sunday team but if i could get points for determination than i would be right up there with the best of you. Have currently been riding for about 7 months this time round but am finding it hard to add on the miles, still if i can manage Bournemouth will see that as a result in itself.
  • You do need to eat properly before a long period of exercise, but that won't stop you needing to eat _during_ the exercise if it's more than a couple of hours.

    Unless it results in a substantial weight loss, I don't think there is any kind of training that will bring about much improvement in how efficiently you metabolise glycogen, and certainly not in the amount of glycogen your body can store. I appreciate, of course, that this is uncertain and that some people do have different views.

    So cycling until you literally can't turn the pedals before you stop for food is not going to work, and it isn't going to improve your cycling performance, either in the short or long term, because you're trying to train for something which is (in my view) physiologically impossible.

    Personally, I do better actually stopping every couple of hours for a planned food-and-drink stop, than eating and drinking on my bike. I won't be racing again in this life (in fact, I last raced nearly 20 years ago) so I can think of no good reason to eat and cycle at the same time.

    In any event regular, measured energy intake surely has to be better than cycling 'till you drop and then stuffing down a Mars Bar :)
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    one of the problems i have is i only normally stop when i feel as if i cant go on any longer at which point i will shovel down a cocktail of sports drinks and chocolate just to get a quick fix which is about all that is, thats ok if i am cycling locally around swindon and just need enough energy to get home but on longer journeys feel something a bith more substantial is needed cycled from Swindon to Amesbury last week which is about 36 miles and still felt fantastic at the end but at the same time was under no illusion that i could of felt somewhat different after a couple of more miles, getting more used to pacing myself than i used to but its food and drink intakes on longer trips i am having trouble with

    Damn, that is a hell of a long sentence. 142 words. Damn.
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Same as you, a 25 year gap between cycling careers and even more overweight(13st4lbs) and a bit older(45). Had similar problems over distance and endurance but I have started to turn the corner. Once I had started following a training program and learned to drink and eat whilst riding my ability and confidence has grown. I too hope to do a century this year and as Bronzie says I can see no reason why not( hope to do my first metric century this week)
    Hang in there and most importantly enjoy riding :)
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    Is your Apollo Guru bike the same as this one?

    There's no reason why you can't cycle a century on a bike like that, but it will be much, much harder than on a proper road bike. The suspension on these sorts of bikes is really just for show, but it will soak up a lot of energy as it bounces up and down... Also the bike is probably very heavy and will put you in a very inefficient position for cycling any distance. It might be an emotional wrench, but if you are putting in all that effort you really deserve a proper road bike! Even a cheap one or an old second hand road bike will give you a lot, lot more for your effort. But if you are sticking with the Guru just remember that you are better than you think you are! :wink:
  • neeb yeah thats the one, brought it off ebay too best 43 quid i have ever spent, take your point about it being a bit bouncy but has a really low gear on it which is ideal for an old fart like me determined to stick with it for now anyway.