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Cadence, inclines and gearing

Ok so i'm very new to this and went out for my first outing on my new road bike yesterday.

I did 17 miles but it took something around 1 hour 15 (left my computer at home, doh).

Up a sharp but short incline towards the end of my ride it felt rather like my legs gave out and I had to stop for a bit, that surprised me.

Throughout the ride the speed of my pedalling was going up and down as i went round the roads near me in East Hampshire, over what's probably best described as undulating, (there's little amounting to a real hill but it's rarely perfectly flat). I could feel my breathing and heart responding accordingly.

Firstly does that kind of time sound about right for a beginner of moderate fitness at 27 years old?

Secondly should I be aiming to keep my cadence the same throughout the ride and just change the gearing all the time or is it better to grind up the hills with my legs going a a slower speed?
The bike's fine, it's the engine that needs an upgrade.


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