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Thread: Hi, I'm new...

  1. #1
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    Hi, I'm new...

    I figured I would introduce myself on here since I have been lurking for a few weeks. I'm 31 and live in hot, sunny, FL. I have wanted to start biking for a couple of years, but my running was taking up a lot of my time. After an Ultra last July I tapered down to a more reasonable number of running miles and gained a few pounds from hitting the gym(and Wendy's). I still try to run about 25miles a week, but I thought I was going to die the first time I took out my bike for just 8 miles. I picked up a cheap heavy thing because I took a 75% pay cut, had a baby, and got a bill after being audited for 3 years at once by the IRS (oops).

    I have a friend who has been biking for a long time and does all those 100mile rides and knows what he's doing. He fitted me to the bike, so I think it's just that my legs are weak. I have been hitting the gym since I was 15 and used to compete in weight lifting, so I can't imagine that's the case, but my legs get tired SO FAST. I checked everything I can think of, but could I really be in good shape to run, but not in shape to do well on a bike yet?

  2. #2
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    I'm not an expert on running nor physiology, but yours isn't the first post by a runner offering the same. I suspect different muscle groups are employed/ developed when cycling versus running.

    Another common issue for noobs is spinning at too low cadence, or 'mashing'. Many are misled into believing this is a more efficient way of pedaling, but in reality a higher, lighter spin builds endurance. It take most riders some time, but initially shooting for the 85-90 range (varying with conditions) would be good.

    Lastly, nothing against your cyclist friend that fitted you to your bike, but in lieu of just building saddle time (and hopefully endurance), you may want to consider seeking out a knowledgeable fitter to get the most out of the bike you now have. For now, a standard fitting will do.

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    could I really be in good shape to run, but not in shape to do well on a bike yet
    Absolutely you could be. But the good news is that with your basic fitness from running you will likely adapt and improve quickly. Weightlifting recruits a lot of fast-twitch fibers for instantaneous strength. Running is somewhat similar, because of the impact loads. Spinning the bike cranks smoothly for long periods relies more on slow-twitch fibers. You'll adapt.

    PJ's advice about spinning is very well taken. You don't need to measure or count it precisely, but it would very likely help you to work on spinning faster. Just shift down so you're spinning a little faster than you're comfortable. After you've gotten smooth at that cadence, ramp it up a little more.

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    Thanks for the replies. My friend says I am struggling because my bike sucks, but hey, guess what... riding his $3800 bike was just as bad(worse because the fit was off). I really don't even know how to ride a bike and have been watching youtube to figure out how I am supposed to shift and all that. There are NO hills here where I live in FL, so I would think that I should be able to ride around pretty close to the highest gear... I will try to increase my cadence as recommended. Maybe that will help my turnover rate for running too. It has always been on the slower side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bio_research View Post
    Thanks for the replies. My friend says I am struggling because my bike sucks, but hey, guess what... riding his $3800 bike was just as bad(worse because the fit was off). I really don't even know how to ride a bike and have been watching youtube to figure out how I am supposed to shift and all that. There are NO hills here where I live in FL, so I would think that I should be able to ride around pretty close to the highest gear... I will try to increase my cadence as recommended. Maybe that will help my turnover rate for running too. It has always been on the slower side.
    Yeah, that's it right there. If you were leaving it in the highest gear, you were probably grinding a very slow cadence. Assuming a typical high gear (52x12) and assuming you were riding about16 mph (a good speed on flat ground for a strong beginner -- you may have been going slower) you would be turning less than 50 rpm. Your legs will tire quickly that way. You want to be somewhere up around 80 or 90, so shift a few gears and try spinning.

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    Inadvertant duplicate post

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    Not sure why, but running and riding are very different. I've meet a few 'runners' who are training for their first Tri, and they say the same thing that you're saying.

    The advice that you're getting ITT about spinning may be good for most people but it doesn't work for me. I'm much more comfortable in a higher gear and a lower RPM. Too low a gear 'feels wrong'; my knees feel like they're going to fly apart.

    Try not to push your speed too high at first. I think it's best to find your comfort zone and give your body time to adjust to biking. And don't under estimate the effect of head winds. Rolling into a 20 or 30 MPH wind will beat any one up badly.

    Lots of people believe that the traditional 53/39 road bike crank is fine for Pros but way over geared for the rest of us. Rolling on the big chain ring and the smallest cog (either a 11 or 12 tooth gear) isn't easy.

    Take a look at this on line calculator

    Do the math using a 53/39 chain ring and a nice wide range 11/28 cassette (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 28)

    Using the 53x11 cobo, you're at 28 MPH at 75 RPM.

    Take a look at the power output needed to ride at 28 MPH 525 Watts

    Play around a bit with that calculator, the results might suprise you. Wind resistance makes a huge difference.

    14 mph = 85 watts
    21 mph = 238 watts
    28 mph = 527 watts

    At high speeds position matters a lot. At 28 MPH you can drop almost 100 watts by riding in the drops or 200 watts by riding on Aerobars.

    There aren't many people who can sustain 300+ watts and feel comfy. 200-250 watts will probably take most people up to 80% of max heart rate.

    Riding in the drops at 20 MPH on a flat road with no wind is some thing that many people will never do.
    Last edited by slow.climber; 04-04-2012 at 11:33 AM.

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    I'm much more comfortable in a higher gear and a lower RPM. Too low a gear 'feels wrong'; my knees feel like they're going to fly apart.
    How much higher/lower? What's the cadence where you feel comfortable, and how fast do you have to be spinning to feel like you're coming apart?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    How much higher/lower? What's the cadence where you feel comfortable, and how fast do you have to be spinning to feel like you're coming apart?
    Depends on power out. For example, on a long climbs (>30 mins) putting out about 220 W, I ride 39x27 (or 39/28) at about 60 RPM. Higher RPM at that gearing isn't sustainable, knees start to ache. Higher RPM (70+) with lower gearing (using friends' bikes) feels like my knees want to come unglued.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slow.climber View Post
    Depends on power out. For example, on a long climbs (>30 mins) putting out about 220 W, I ride 39x27 (or 39/28) at about 60 RPM. Higher RPM at that gearing isn't sustainable, knees start to ache. Higher RPM (70+) with lower gearing (using friends' bikes) feels like my knees want to come unglued.
    Considering your 'test' wasn't on a bike fitted to you, the knee issues may be more a result of fit than cadence.

    Assuming your bike fit is good, if possible try that second test with your bike and at a higher cadence. If you're not accustomed to it, it won't feel natural, but you shouldn't experience knee problems. Quite the opposite, actually.

    Here's a post by davez26 that you might find interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by davez26 View Post
    Not today, but recent. The time spent in the winter 'Pain Cave' on my trainer paid off. Changed out the mount on my Cyclocomputer for one with cadence. Spent a lot of time working on spinning higher RPM's. Noticed at higher rpm, I may run less gear, but the distance covered is greater with less HR. - Nice.
    Back to Now - Hit a local favorite hill, noticed where I usually would have shifted up 'because I should, and all that spinning goes nowhere', I would have dropped rpm, so I kept the rpm up and got to the top with out blowing up with a new personal best.
    Cool.
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    So that's why. I was averaging around 16-18mph, but my legs were burning haha. I will try that tomorrow on my ride. It doesn't help that I am running then biking. I think my legs want to save some energy for the runs

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    The fits for my tests were close enough. My experience with fittings is that optimal, isn't. At least not for me.

    The first torn ligaments happened almost 40 years ago. Even then the bones were overgrowing. Arthritis plus joint instability means pain.

    My PCP is a clinical prof in sports medicine, orthopaedics, and 'is a former collegiate rower with an avid interest in team sports, and has served as team physician for UCLA football, women's crew, men's water polo, women's swimming and diving and women's golf. '

    Couldn't find an ex-Pro cyclist so she'll have to do

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    Quote Originally Posted by bio_research View Post
    My friend says I am struggling because my bike sucks,
    Did your friend start riding yesterday? That's kind of a strange thing to think for someone who knows something about riding. I mean geez, you figured it out pretty quick. Let me re-enforce your belief - no it isn't the bike, especially in FL where the roads are so flat.

    Nice thing is that your aerobic system should be well developed so you have a big jump there. And your body is likely very strong. I'll betcha that if you keep going, ramp up slowly, learn about how to ramp up, you'll be riding pretty strong in just a couple months. I'll say that after a month or less of acclimating, you'll see a sharp spike in your cycling strength.

    BTW, a biker is someone who rides a motorcycle, you are a cyclist

    Welcome.
    I ride mostly in the honorable pursuit of being kissed on both cheeks at the same time by one blond and one brunette. But not redheads, they scare me.

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    I'm in a similar position as you, bio. I'm mostly a runner but would like to get into cycling as well. Seeing as that you've run an ultra, you may know better than me, but there's a lot out there on cross-training and how it can improve your primary sport. I know quite a few runners that cycle a few times per week, albeit not a grueling pace, that have seen benefits. I know this is anecdotal evidence but you can check out Runner's World, or HalHigdon.com or other sites on cycling for runners.

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