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Partial dichotomy
posted
I bike for fitness and try to get a ride in 4-5 days a week. I also do a couple of whole body resistance workouts each week.

Using my Garmin heart monitor watch, the bike computer and my Under Armour app on my phone, I get a good idea of distance, time, average speed, heart rate and calories burned.

That's all great, but I don't know what I'm doing. What about cadence? Should I do one or two days a week at lower cadence and stress my quads? Should I mix up my rides by distance and time? I don't plan to ever race, but I want to remain fit well into "old age", but want to exercise right with pushing as much as I should, but not too much.

Some details about me. I'll be 64 next month. I weigh 195-200 depending on the day, but I'd like to drop to 190. I'm 5' 11" (used to be 6') Razz . My rides are typically a little over an hour and my average speed is usually in the high 13's or low 14's MPH. On my rides, my heart rate is typically low 140's average.

Speaking of cadence, my computer doesn't measure cadence, but I'd be willing to upgrade if it's that important.

Any thoughts/advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.




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Posts: 36727 | Location: NW Indiana | Registered: November 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
This Space for Rent
Picture of ugeesta
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I'm learning the same thing as I picked up a new bike this month.

To my understanding (I only know enough to be dangerous), the cadence is basically your pedal RPMs which does not equate to energy.

My bike came with a power meter built into the crank and it is supposed to convey the amount of Watts burned during a ride to a receiver like a Garmin bike GPS. The amount of Watts you burn are measured to track the intensity of the ride and is a better gauge on how intense your workout is.

Here are a couple links to help inform you as well.



https://stagescycling.com/en_us/product/power-meters

https://www.wahoofitness.com/d...ters/gps-elemnt-roam




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Posts: 5473 | Location: Colorado | Registered: April 20, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
come and take it
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In a similar boat, 55, 6', 192#. I typically drop 8# over the summer riding 4x week for general fitness, not for racing. In general though I want to improve my fitness and be able to ride longer and faster.

I keep it pretty simple as I am not out to race, but have read up on what elite athletes do. If you do the same workout 4x a week your body will get used to it, and while you can keep the fitness you won't be improving much.

I would suggest two things, 1 longer ride per week, if you normally ride 30 minutes double it, or an hour double it once a week (add 10% time per week to build up to it till you get there). This is a slower paced endurance ride. Once the sugar is burned up after an hour you start burning fat. The 2nd thing is once a week do some intervals at higher than your normal pace. If you can average 13mph ride 15mph for 4 minutes, pedal easy for 2 minutes. Do maybe 4 sets at 15mph. Pedal easy for 10 minutes and do 4 more sets at 15mph. Basically 1 day to increase speed and 1 day dedicated to increasing endurance.

With a few weeks of intervals I notice a few things. Where I might ride 135 heart rate at 13mph, a month later I ride 125 heart rate at 13mph. Also I have bumped my average speed 1mph. I have been riding consistently for several months and am going increase to 2 interval sessions a week and see if I can get another 1mph average speed bump.

I get a little more technical than that and do use a power meter and a Garmin 530 on my handlebars, but that's the basics. You can make a lot of gains with an endurance ride and mixing in some intervals.




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Posts: 1701 | Location: Texan north of the Red River | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Longtime cyclist here, was a runner and gym guy in my early 20's. On the trails I used to run on I saw bikers, thought it looked like fun, bought my first mountain bike and never ran again. That was back in the spring of 1994. By that fall I was racing. A few years later I was road riding to train for mountain bike racing. I gave up racing after a few years but have ridden road and MTB ever since.

For cadence, the answer is, it kind of depends. Some people turn a lower cadence, around 80 rpm. Some people a higher cadence, around 100 rpm. There is a sweet spot, depending on your body, where you are performing optimally at the speed you are maintaining.

Let's say I am holding 20mph with a cadence on 92 rpm. I can shift into a harder gear, drop my cadence to 85 rpm and maintain 20 mph. But that might waste some of my energy which is then not converted to forward momentum. Or let's say I am maintaining 20 mph, I shift into an easier gear and my cadence goes up to 99 rpm. Again, I might waste some of my energy. The goal is to select a cadence that allows you to travel a given speed with the lowest wattage / power output.

Also, a person's cadence can vary based on their speed and power output. When I roll out of my house, and I am crusing to the ride start at 16-18mph, which is an easy speed for me, my cadence might be in the high 80's. As the ride starts and we are cruising at 20 mph, my cadence might be 90 rpm. As the ride really gets going and maybe I am up front pulling at 25 mph, my cadence is probably right at 100 rpm. For me, as my power output increases, my cadence increases, topping out usually in the low 100 range, maybe 105 rpm.

As for training, I always ask myself, "Is the structured training plan worth it?" What I mean by that is, do you ride specifically for training, for pleasure, or some combination of both? For nearly all of us, we fall somewhere in the middle. We do this because we enjoy it and we enjoy the physical and mental benefits it provides for us. And most of us cannot go so far into the structure that we remove the joy of the exercise.

Back when I was racing MTB's, as I moved up in class, I had to structure my training. On x day I had to ride 30 miles at a certain tempo. On x day I had to do 10 1 minute all out intervals with a 3 minute rest between each one. On x day I had to ride 30 miles at a different tempo than previously. And so on. For me, cycling then became a part time job rather than something I did for fun and I quit racing.

Now, while I ride the exact same days (Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun) every week, each ride varies. Tues and Thurs and group rides of about 25 miles, rolling around 21 mph. Sat is the longer and faster ride, 40-65 miles, rolling above 23-24 mph, computer average over 20 mph. Sunday is 30-40 miles, sometimes it is quicker, near 20 mph average, sometimes is an 18 mph average, just depends who shows up and how everyone is feeling. All of them are group rides, which keeps any boredom at bay. I no longer follow a specific training plan as far as making sure I am in a certain zone or tempo for a certain period of time.
 
Posts: 1988 | Location: Orlando | Registered: April 22, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
Picture of ArtieS
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I found cadence to be the most important read-out from a biking computer, and wouldn't own one that didn't deliver cadence.

You will find the most efficient pace for you. For me, it was 93-95 rpm. Slower than that, stressed quads and sore knees, faster than that, and I felt slightly out of control and started to get winded easily.

Holdem's discussion is excellent, and I won't reiterate all of that, but I agree.

I primarily did cadence and interval work, as I was riding for fitness, not to race. One long ride on the weekends, typically 25-30 miles, and a 10 mile loop most weeknights. My goal for the 10 mile loop was 30 minutes. I never made it, I got 30:19 once, but never a flat 30.



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Posts: 12005 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of P250UA5
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When I was road riding a lot in my mid-20s, 100rpm was my sweet spot.

Haven't had a cadence counter on my current road bike, but on the peloton, I've found more enjoyment at lower cadence & higher resistance. I get into the high 90s-low 100s & I burn out a lot quicker.

I have noticed that my average speed on the Peloton is in the high teens to low 20s, I know this wouldn't likely translate into real road riding. I'm guessing my road average would be 16-18mph.

I need to get back into riding outdoors again, tougher with 3 kids 11 & under, school, and work. I used to ride with a race team after work, but that was in the days when I only had 1 kid & my wife wasn't working.
Need to find a good loop from our new house where I"m not likely to get run over by the higher traffic around here.




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Posts: 11647 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Partial dichotomy
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Great info guys! Thank you. Sounds like I ought to get a cadence computer and maybe a power meter.

I knew I should shake up my routine, but didn't know how, so explaining how I should do this is very helpful.

Thanks again!




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Posts: 36727 | Location: NW Indiana | Registered: November 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 6guns:
Great info guys! Thank you. Sounds like I ought to get a cadence computer and maybe a power meter.



A cadence computer can be had cheaply, less than $100, or a Garmin with cadence mount is $250 and up.

However, power meters are different. My Garmin power pedals were $1,200 retail (I work in the business so I paid much less than that). That gives the power output independent for each side.

Do I use my power meter the way it was designed? Not even close. It is designed so that you can hold specific power numbers for a specific amount of time while training. Usually those plans are formulated by a coach and then after the ride the numbers are downloaded to be analyzed by a coach.

There are only two reasons I pay attention to that number when we are riding. First, in a pack and maybe I feel like attacking. "Hmmm, I feel pretty good, where is my power currently?" If my power is only at 200 watts, I have plenty in reserve and I know I can accelerate from 23-24 mph up to 30 mph. But if I look down and I am already at 350 watts, I know I am already near my limit, and while I could attack, it would be much more short lived. Basically I use it as all my other 40-50 year old friends use it, to decide when we can get the better of each other.

The other is on a climb. For example, last year I did Assault on the Carolinas. There is a climb that is about 6 miles long and averages a 6% grade. I know that I can hold 200 watts for an hour. So on that climb I paced myself and held just above or just below 200 watts for the entire climb. When the climb leveled out, 200 watts means I was going 8-9 mph. When it was steeper I was going 4-5 mph. But my power output remained nearly constant for the whole ride. That kept me from going into the red and blowing up.

If you are cycling alone and do not plan to compete, while a power meter is nice, it is a very large expense for very little return. A computer with speed, cadence and heart rate will most likely give you all the info you need / want.

And then take that extra money and spend it on nicer wheels, or a nicer saddle, or nicer riding shorts, etc. Those things will make a bigger difference in your enjoyment of your cycling.
 
Posts: 1988 | Location: Orlando | Registered: April 22, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In my opinion, leg strength is better done in the gym. Squats, hack squats, leg press, leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises and a good scissor machine.

I ride a MTB regularly. I push then I back off, kind of go back and forth depending on breath/cardiovascular strength. I don’t use computers or “apps” for anything. I see people at the gym fiddle fucking with that stuff more than lifting and exercising.

A simple heart rate monitor would work best. Target BPM you want to achieve to stay in the fat burning zone. But I don’t even do that. I have a smart watch and it’ll bitch wanting me to “log” my workout and I don’t do it. I just go by how I feel. Winded, exhausted, slow down, feel good, crank it up. I just clock like 1 hour rides and 30-40 minutes on the stationary I have at the house.

If you want to stay fit into old age, food is 80% of it, not workouts. 80% food, 20% training.



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Posts: 11616 | Location: Down South | Registered: January 16, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Partial dichotomy
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holdem, thanks for the input. For my purposes I'm sure I don't need to know my power and have the expense of one.

Prefontaine, I know what you mean about feeling how you're working out, but I also want some confirmation and a schedule to measure improvement.
Good point about food. My diet is okay, but could use improvement for sure.




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Posts: 36727 | Location: NW Indiana | Registered: November 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
quarter MOA visionary
Picture of smschulz
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quote:
Originally posted by Prefontaine:

If you want to stay fit into old age, food is 80% of it, not workouts. 80% food, 20% training.


^^^ I agree.

Additionally, strength training should supersede aerobic training.
 
Posts: 20760 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: June 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Still finding my way
Picture of Ryanp225
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When I ride I use a mileage tracker app. I go by minutes per mile as my main measure of work and progress.
 
Posts: 10008 | Registered: January 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Partial dichotomy
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quote:
A simple heart rate monitor would work best. Target BPM you want to achieve to stay in the fat burning zone.


I do use a heart rate monitor and wonder about the fat burning zone....less BPM than a more aerobic workout. I don't understand that. I always tend to push myself and have a hard time holding back.




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Posts: 36727 | Location: NW Indiana | Registered: November 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Partial dichotomy
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Today's ride:

I made it longer and made an effort to keep my heart rate down. Average HR ended up at 137. Biked 21.8 miles in 1H 38M for an ave speed of 13.

Somehow I managed to push the buttons on my Garmin HR monitor to have it notify me when my heart rate was too high. That helped keep me in check.




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Posts: 36727 | Location: NW Indiana | Registered: November 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
and this little pig said:
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quote:
monitor to have it notify me when my heart rate was too high

This is important!
I've had heart issues recently and it's very important to understand heart rate! When I was cycling, I tried to keep my heart rate in the max region. Nothing wrong with that! Genetics decided to make me slow down due to heart surgery. When going to "cardio-rehab", I was called out for exceeding their "BPM" standards. When they checked with my cardiologist, he said to let me go to what I was comfortable with.

"No pain, no gain" is real. Go as hard as you can for as long as you can. Your goal is to lose weight, so eat well, and burn more calories than you take in!
 
Posts: 3240 | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was a pretty serious rider up until about three years ago when my front tire blew out while cornering. Those that say to work on strength aren't kidding. If I had been working on my core and back at all I wouldn't have gotten hurt so bad. I love to ride, but lifting has become my priority. If you ride you will eventually go down, just be ready.
 
Posts: 107 | Location: Oro Valley, Arizona | Registered: January 19, 2022Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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