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Targets for beginner

kleinstrokerkleinstroker Posts: 2,133
edited August 2012 in Road beginners
Hi all

just wondering what targets you set yourselves if any, and what would be good things to aim for? I've just about done a whole month of more serious cycling and have done a few 30 milers, a 40 and a hard (for me) 65 miler. I can average about 17mph for the 30's but that dropped to about 14mph for the 65. I am totally rubbish on any incline and suffer on long drags uphill using the smallest ratio I have on my bike, which is currently 39/27.

I really want to get better to become fitter and faster and not always be the last one up the hills. So what's my best approach? Is there even a best approach? What should I aim for by the end of the year would you say?

cheers

edit: just checked cyclemeter and i think those averages are too high, more like just under 16 for the 30's and 13mph for longer rides.

Posts

  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    Not to fall off, not to have an accident, enjoy every mile, pedal hard.
  • kleinstrokerkleinstroker Posts: 2,133
    I'm sure that's good advice and I know my question is a bit pointless, but I want to have something to aim for that seems out of reach to me now. To be honest doing 50 miles at 15mph seems out of reach for now, especially if there are any hills, so maybe that is what I should go for and not expect to be able to do too much.
  • majormantramajormantra Posts: 2,094
    Join a club. Go with their slow ride. If you can keep up, go with the next fastest group the next week. If you can't keep up, hang on as long as possible each week until you get faster. You should see rapid improvement and you'll acquire group riding skills.

    If you want motivation for solo rides, get a Garmin and register on Strava. That said, don't obsess about average speed - it's a lousy measure of strength or ability unless you're riding indoors on a track and controlling for the endless variables.

    Have fun.
  • Just keep riding & pumping those man-pistons! :wink:

    I've only been at it 3.5 months & I've just turned 40. I'm riding a mountain bike with semi-slick road tyres, seat up, bars down etc. This morning I did a 34 miler at average 16.1 with a head wind for the first 16 miles too. I tend to do 2 mid-week rides between 17 & 25 miles then a longer one at the weekend.

    I tend not to over-analyse things too much, just ride as efficiently as possible & focus.
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,510
    Make a target of the things you find tough. If you find hills a challenge why not ride them and compare times and try to conquer them in a target time. Same with long drags, measure out a sprint point and try get a PB. And instead of trying to do a distance according to an av speed why not try and do a set distance irrespective of time or speed.

    The days before strava and recording challenges with others I used to set myself a challenge to do a 30 mile loop in under 2 hours, and if I could push my speed up to over 30mph on the flat I'd allow myself to knock a minute off (like a time bonus in the TdF), over 25 I'd knock 2 mins off - it was a silly game but it worked for me. make it fun, enjoy it.
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    Don't worry about averages.

    Empty yourself up a hill, or along a straight, then recover, then do it again.

    The averages will then look after themselves. Make it fun, go as fast as you can, crawl home. Repeat.

    Paul
  • "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • rogerthecatrogerthecat Posts: 669
    Time spent in the saddle will eventually pay off, it's not just riding a bike; which is a phrase that grips me, get out as much as possible, rest at least two days a week, eat well, try and ride with someone who is stronger that you, join a club (as mentioned), average speed is relative to where you live, the weather and how you are feeling so do not get hung up on that, vary your rides, some short sharp blasts, say 20 miles as fast as you can, some long slower rides keeping an eye on your heart rate, interval training, and finally hill reps. Which regards to distance and long rides, remember to hydrate and take on energy, figs rolls, bananas, malt loaf, look to do a sportive at some point, listen to your body, don't expect too much too soon, when you plateau don't get despondent.

    First thing though is too have a measured route note the weather conditions, and ride to your max note how long it takes you, then in six months do it again.

    If you have a good climb near you say 1 mile long at about 8 % do the same.

    I had a long stretch of road nice and flat'ish and about 2 miles long, I got some spray paint and marked 500m intervals and would sprint 500m steady pedal 500m. ( to start with the sprints got slower and slower ).

    RTC out
  • BillyMansellBillyMansell Posts: 817
    When I'm wanting to build capacity and strength from scratch the first thing I do is just get used to building the miles and allowing time for recovery, just getting out on the bike when I can but with some distance targets across the year and not putting too much emphasis on speed as that will come later. I combine this with occasional 10 mile TTs to learn the discipline of sustained large efforts, setting an initial target of beating 30 mins and working and learning to increase capacity.

    As for your suggestion of being rubbish on long inclines, you're not rubbish but may need to learn to understand the psychological as well as physical demands of riding. You 've recognised inclines as a weakness so now you need to address it by changing your approach to them. You say you ride them in the lowest gear but are you in this approaching the incline or only after pushing gears at a good cadence from the start? If the former then you need to practice the latter as people can be psyched out by the mere thought of an uphill so they need to practice to overcome what can be as much a psychological barrier is it is a physical one.
  • kleinstrokerkleinstroker Posts: 2,133
    Great stuff! All very encouraging I like it. I will definitely take a lot of what you all have said on board and not get hung up on average speed for starters. Thanks for the training guide Charlie, would love to be able to follow that, and I will give it a good go.
    As for joining a club I have thought about that too, but I tend to work weekends so not available for a lot of club activities, although I've seen some South London ones near myself do have some midweek rides so will try and find out more.
    Definitely sounds like I need a new iPhone or Garmin to help keep track of any progress though, as my iphone 3G sucks on Strava etc.

    cheers :D
  • I've also been struggling with having a target and am also a beginner so this advice has been really helpful.I guess with me I have to just get some miles under my belt.My plan is to spend the summer hols getting a good level of base fitness up on the bike doing a mixture of hills,flat,long,steady distance and then when my boys go back to school I can set myself some targets.Sorry to hijack the thread,it's nice to know that other people have the same issues!!
  • kleinstrokerkleinstroker Posts: 2,133
    The more people chime in the better mum!! Nice to know it's something a few people would like to know about.
  • jonnymonkjonnymonk Posts: 3
    I'm not personally too fussed about hitting the miles or hills as yet, getting down the road without nearly killing myself with clipless pedals is my first achievement!
  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 2,058
    What do you want to achieve?

    If it's to go faster, then interval sessions will help. If it's to climb better, then hilly rides where you attack the hills will help. If it's to ride further, then just gradually up your mileage.

    Just going for lots of rides at your early stage will help all of these to some degree, but to know what you need to focus on you need to tell us what you'd most like to get out of your cycling.
  • Manc33Manc33 Posts: 2,157
    just wondering what targets you set yourselves if any, and what would be good things to aim for?

    I don't have targets because I don't know what I am capable of, or how fast I will get fitter.
    I've just about done a whole month of more serious cycling and have done a few 30 milers, a 40 and a hard (for me) 65 miler. I can average about 17mph for the 30's but that dropped to about 14mph for the 65. I am totally rubbish on any incline and suffer on long drags uphill using the smallest ratio I have on my bike, which is currently 39/27.

    You're fitter than I am then. I got a road bike with a 30F/25R and tried to get up the short side of Snake Pass - not a chance. My cadence went down to about 20RPM... thats when I just turned back and came home.

    You are averaging more on your 65 mile ride there than I currently can on any length ride over 5 or 10 miles.
    I really want to get better to become fitter and faster and not always be the last one up the hills. So what's my best approach? Is there even a best approach? What should I aim for by the end of the year would you say?

    People on here told me to avoid Snake Pass and just ride on the flat for 3 months, then try to tackle the Snake again. NO WAY JOSE! I refuse to buy a new road bike and not see views like that, its the whole point! So I swapped the 12-25T that was on it, with my MTB cassette thats 11-32T plus the long cage rear mech (that is superior to the road mech anyway). This made my lowest gear go from 1.2 to 0.93 and it has meant I can get up long hills at like 4MPH without hitting the wall.

    With the 30F/25R I hit the wall on Snake Pass not even 200M into it. God only knows how unfit I was 2 years ago before I got a bike, 1700+ miles ago.

    It seems you only have 2 choices...

    1. Ride on flatter roads for 3 months and then again tackle the ride you wanted to do in the first place.
    2. Set it up with touring bike gearing or just slap a MTB cassette on with long cage rear mech.

    The 2nd way you can tackle the rides straight away and you still have all the same gears you had before, just without the close ratio (which I can't justify when it means sacrificing low gearing, but I can see how a road racer can justify it, close ratio is bliss!).

    IMO its a cheap-ish way to do it. You can get a decent cassette, chain and rear mech all for about £50. Or just swap it off your MTB if you plan to go 100% road like I have. Still I have the short cage rear mech and road cassette I can put on the MTB and get a better gear range. So I have ended up with a better gear range on both bikes from doing this - the road bike has all the high gears it did have but also now has way lower gears too. The MTB always had way too low gearing and will now have a lowest of 22F/25R which is about the same as the lowest on the road bike, around 0.95 turns of the wheel. Its the kind of setup they have when carrying full touring equipment but they obviously have the legs to do that.
  • Manc33 wrote:
    just wondering what targets you set yourselves if any, and what would be good things to aim for?

    I don't have targets because I don't know what I am capable of, or how fast I will get fitter.
    I've just about done a whole month of more serious cycling and have done a few 30 milers, a 40 and a hard (for me) 65 miler. I can average about 17mph for the 30's but that dropped to about 14mph for the 65. I am totally rubbish on any incline and suffer on long drags uphill using the smallest ratio I have on my bike, which is currently 39/27.

    You're fitter than I am then. I got a road bike with a 30F/25R and tried to get up the short side of Snake Pass - not a chance. My cadence went down to about 20RPM... thats when I just turned back and came home.

    You are averaging more on your 65 mile ride there than I currently can on any length ride over 5 or 10 miles.
    I really want to get better to become fitter and faster and not always be the last one up the hills. So what's my best approach? Is there even a best approach? What should I aim for by the end of the year would you say?

    People on here told me to avoid Snake Pass and just ride on the flat for 3 months, then try to tackle the Snake again. NO WAY JOSE! I refuse to buy a new road bike and not see views like that, its the whole point! So I swapped the 12-25T that was on it, with my MTB cassette thats 11-32T plus the long cage rear mech (that is superior to the road mech anyway). This made my lowest gear go from 1.2 to 0.93 and it has meant I can get up long hills at like 4MPH without hitting the wall.

    With the 30F/25R I hit the wall on Snake Pass not even 200M into it. God only knows how unfit I was 2 years ago before I got a bike, 1700+ miles ago.

    It seems you only have 2 choices...

    1. Ride on flatter roads for 3 months and then again tackle the ride you wanted to do in the first place.
    2. Set it up with touring bike gearing or just slap a MTB cassette on with long cage rear mech.

    The 2nd way you can tackle the rides straight away and you still have all the same gears you had before, just without the close ratio (which I can't justify when it means sacrificing low gearing, but I can see how a road racer can justify it, close ratio is bliss!).

    IMO its a cheap-ish way to do it. You can get a decent cassette, chain and rear mech all for about £50. Or just swap it off your MTB if you plan to go 100% road like I have. Still I have the short cage rear mech and road cassette I can put on the MTB and get a better gear range. So I have ended up with a better gear range on both bikes from doing this - the road bike has all the high gears it did have but also now has way lower gears too. The MTB always had way too low gearing and will now have a lowest of 22F/25R which is about the same as the lowest on the road bike, around 0.95 turns of the wheel. Its the kind of setup they have when carrying full touring equipment but they obviously have the legs to do that.


    Good for you, well done. Just goes to show- there are no rules! :wink:
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • dodgerdogdodgerdog Posts: 292
    Sounds like hill repeats would do you benefit. PIck a hill relatively close to you and do several repeats of it. Ensure it is far ennough away though to ensure that you are well warmed up. Done on a regular basis it will help your climbing up those confounded hills which should help you overall ride time as well as ensuring that you get stronger overall.

    Otherwise intervals and use some regular segments of road to gove yourself max out sprints.
    Allez Triple (hairy with mudguards) - FCN 4
    Ribble Gran Fondo
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    After my bike, my garmin is my best friend. I do one measured time TT per wek, lots of time on the bike building endurance, sportives every month to keep me motivated, hill reps if you need them, strava segments to practice and improve against
  • kleinstrokerkleinstroker Posts: 2,133
    What do I want to achieve?
    Well I would love to regain the fitness level I had 20 years ago when I could do 60 miles in a day off road and still feel OK the next day.
    I want to be able to keep up with and beat a certain friend who is a runner, it annoys me that he can always beat me on his Trek 7.4 no matter where we go.
    I want to ride the London-Paris next year and be able to mix it up with the majority, not always hang off the back with the stragglers.

    I think they sound like good goals for me to aim for, and achieving them would make me happy.

    When people talk about hills, what exactly do you mean by "hill"? I live in SW London, Box Hill is 20 miles away seems a long way to go to find a hill. I get what you're saying though, i never used to be afraid of hills when I was an MTB rider. I suppose there are more rolling hills around Epsom way and I do ride a loop around there occasionally.

    GPS based training does seem to very a very popular way of doing things, what with Strava segments etc to compare yourself against and keep track of progress, so will need to upgrade my iphone soon methinks!

    cheers
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    SMART training then. Specific, measurable ... And I can't remember the other three. Look them up. Your specific goal is London Paris next year. Enter it so you have no excuse not to do it. Build a programme to get you from here to there. Set up stepping stones along the way. Long rides and sportives. All your other goals are peripheral to that and will happen as a result of your specific goal.

    Obviously, endurance over three days will be needed, and I would assume not too hilly so training would be geared accordingly. Time in the saddle, performance while tired, nutrition and hydration. Would quite like to do London Paris myself next year. .....
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Achievable relevant and time bound are the other three x
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