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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe this question should be in the beginner thread. If so, I apologize. Stop me and I will start it there.

I don't have a cadence reading on my computer. I probably wont for a bit. Regardless of the inexpensive options, I wont be getting one soon. I am married :)

I know these numbers are unimpressive, but not trying to. I am just trying to give some indication of my fitness etc. I am about a month+ back into road biking. I aim to do at least 5 days of riding with a minimum of 20 miles. My average average is 16.8. My route is in Indiana, so I don't think it can be described as hilly. There are really very few flat spots, though. The "climbs" (if that is what you would call them) are not long. It just seems you are always going up, or down. Like I said, few "flats".

Last week I road HARD (for me) 4 days in a row. I had a full weekend and did not get a ride in. I chose not to ride for a the first two days of the week, because I had a fit test at work. I was pretty sore from killing myself and did not want to be spent when I took the test. I said all of that to say, I rode last night. I only did 14.7, due to limited time. My average was 17.6, but I was smoked when I was done. I expected to feel pretty honed, since I had freakin' 5 days off. Mind you I worked out, but didn't ride. Plus my workouts were not killers either, saving for my fit test.

Okay, I am kinda rambling, but I have roughly three questions, I guess. Should I expect more after a month? Can I use my average speed to guage my progress? (I try to spin as much as possible, and throw in some intervals), and Should my minimum mileage be higher, or is it not worth even riding that day?..... okay maybe four questions. If I am riding less mileage, like 14 or 15, should I focus on hammering the whole trip to gain?

Probably questions you have all heard before. I tried to find answers, and I think I did on some other threads. The problem is, some of the abbreviations escape me. "FTP" this or "BMI" that (I do know that one :) ) At this stage I am still speaking minimal English. Sorry for the elementary focus. Thanks in advance too.
 

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You're doing about the same speeds I do (solo rides) after riding for two years. Having a cadence sensor is more distracting than anything else. I'd only recommend one if you plan on racing.
You'll hear average speeds a lot higher from many people for several reasons: they are racers, they are lying, they tell you their speeds on group rides vs. solo, etc...
I'd say you are doing great for about a month's worth of riding. Keep it up!
 

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The way you're describing your ride, you must be in the 80-100 rpm range, which is where you want to be. Also, I would say 16.8 is a respectable average. Well that's what I usually do...
 

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Cadence is not of huge importance. Remember to keep spinning, you will find the "zone" that you are comfortable in. Too fast and you bounce, too slow and you know it.

Average speed is a good indicator of improving fitness but don't pay attention to it on every ride. Speed is subjective as lots of factors (wind, hills, fatigue) will adversely effect it on any given day. Concentrate on form and work towards putting in more time/miles.

use your "weekly" average test on a "specific route" to measure improvents made over time. Don't be too critical of yourself. You will make great strides in due time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice/encouragement. I suppose joining the local group ride would help too. I am sure there are folks there that could give advice. My schedule does not always flow well, though.

I don't race, although, that is a tentative goal I have. Just for fun really. Slim possibility of doing a sprint tri. Probably a crit. So, if these are goals, is cadence more important? Since I don't have the cadence meter, my "short-term" goal has been to be able to consistently do min. 25 miles at an 18+mph avg. Is this goal worthy, unreasonable, or does it make sense? I have no scientific reason for making this a goal. Just something I pulled out from right above my saddle.

The biggest reason I started riding again, the last "road bike" I had was a Schwinn Prelude new in 1987, was to raise my fitness level. I really don't care about losing weight, so much, as burning fat. If I lose weight in the process, then that is a plus. I am 6-00, and weigh 230. I would be described as "corn fed". :D ...not fat (48 jacket, 36 or 38 pant waist). I do have a nice coating of fat that needs to go, though. My thirties are almost a memory, and I have to work a little harder to maintain. I do not enjoy running, but really enjoy biking. I wish I would have grabbed a bike up a long time ago. It is with a focus, though, that I ride.

I think I tend to overthink some of these things (my wife might debate that I ever THINK at all:mad2: ). I am open to any suggestions, but I guess I will just ride. Thanks again!
 

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Cadence, criteriums.

joker1656 said:
So, if these are goals, is cadence more important? Since I don't have the cadence meter, my "short-term" goal has been to be able to consistently do min. 25 miles at an 18+mph avg.
In short, no. While prescriptions such as "always ride within a xx cadence range" are easily given and easily understood, they are not realistic. For one, it takes years of adaptation and a high degree of fitness to turn high cadences (90+) for any length of time. The other problem is that high cadences work well at high power outputs, not so well at lower outputs. At this point, you may actually be better off with a lower cadence when competing against someone or against the clock.

As to criteriums: these races are tough on riders who can only ride "consistently." The nature of a "crit" is a constant barrage of accelerations and high-speed jams followed by relative calm. Mix it up in your training (jumps, jams, tempo riding, recovery segments, etc.) and you'll do better in these crits.

Last, a benchmark for "ready to start mass-start racing" used to be the ability to cover 20 miles of flat or gently rolling ground in about one hour by yourself. IMO, it's still a good mark to shoot for. Keep in mind that because of the draft, you'll be able to attain much higher speeds in a crit pack than you ever could by yourself. So don't let race top speeds or race average speeds scare you out of racing.
 

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For the most part, what wim said.

However, I found a cadence meter to be an asset to me. I was pretty much a grinder (around 60 RPM) for years, and it was taking its toll on my knees. When I got a computer with a cadence sensor, I made a concerted effort to up my cadence to around 90. Not a magic number, by any means, and my average cadence now (when I choose to look at it) varies with the terrain I cover, but it is higher now (around 80-100 RPM). I'm faster and my knee pain is pretty much gone, which I think can at least partially be attributed to me putting an emphasis on cadence. Every season I'll pay attention to it during the first few rides to get off to a good start and then periodically check to ensure I'm not slipping back into bad habits. I'll focus on getting that cadence up before I start focusing on getting the power to the pedals, usually because my aerobic fitness is in the dirt in the early season while my muscular fitness is pretty good. It's all too easy to fall back on your strengths and ignore your weaknesses.

What feels "right" may in fact be wrong. I also rode for a couple years on a marginally-fitted bike, which felt fine to me, but once my fitter made a few adjustments it was a night and day improvement in comfort and performance. Likewise, my grinding cadence didn't seem bad at the time, and I was convinced my knee pain was just me getting older.

Counting pedal revolutions and watching a clock is a cheap cadence meter- it's just revolutions per minute. Pick a random minute and start counting for a minute. That will give you an idea of where you're at without spending any money.

As for racing, you might try a time trial to see how you stack up against the other competition in the entry level classes. From there, I would look at more challenging group rides as a introduction to road races and mass-start hill climbs. Crits can be pretty sketchy (but a lot of fun), as the accelerations (and yo-yo effect on the group) can be intense and the crashes more numerous. It's the nature of the beast, I guess.
 

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I also started out mashing at low cadence for several months before I bought a computer with cadence. Changing my cadence was a very instant improvement. As cheap as they are, I don't see any reason not to have a cadence readout. Although I might also suggest something like Polar to monitor your heart rate if your goal is increasing your fitness and racing. If you get a trainer for the winter, you'll definitely need cadence to make sure you're not shifting to a higher gear, but dropping your cadence.

Average speed really doesn't say much. Wind can be a variable that significantly alters your average speed, which may not reflect on better or worse physical shape. Average speed is really only applicable in a time trial. As mentioned before, road races may be faster due to sitting in the draft, but it's the accelerations that git ya. Since you'll be starting in Cat 5, there will be a lot of attacks, some strategic, some not so much. Crits will basically be 30 minutes of riding at your limit.

Once you develop good cadence, it's second nature and you really don't get the luxury of looking at your speedometer too often during a race...unless you're off the back.
 

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joker1656 said:
Thanks for the advice/encouragement. I suppose joining the local group ride would help too. I am sure there are folks there that could give advice. My schedule does not always flow well, though.

I don't race, although, that is a tentative goal I have. Just for fun really. Slim possibility of doing a sprint tri. Probably a crit. So, if these are goals, is cadence more important? Since I don't have the cadence meter, my "short-term" goal has been to be able to consistently do min. 25 miles at an 18+mph avg. Is this goal worthy, unreasonable, or does it make sense? I have no scientific reason for making this a goal. Just something I pulled out from right above my saddle.

The biggest reason I started riding again, the last "road bike" I had was a Schwinn Prelude new in 1987, was to raise my fitness level. I really don't care about losing weight, so much, as burning fat. If I lose weight in the process, then that is a plus. I am 6-00, and weigh 230. I would be described as "corn fed". :D ...not fat (48 jacket, 36 or 38 pant waist). I do have a nice coating of fat that needs to go, though. My thirties are almost a memory, and I have to work a little harder to maintain. I do not enjoy running, but really enjoy biking. I wish I would have grabbed a bike up a long time ago. It is with a focus, though, that I ride.

I think I tend to overthink some of these things (my wife might debate that I ever THINK at all:mad2: ). I am open to any suggestions, but I guess I will just ride. Thanks again!

You're doing good for a person that has only been at it for about a month. As far as a way to really gauge your progress, don't worry about cadence, but try to find a bike computer that can read heart rate. Learning how to stay within your heart rate zones will make you a much more efficient rider.

Trying to maintain a solo avg speed of 18mph is a pretty good goal, but you should definitely try to think of a goal beyond that because you will reach 18mph fairly quickly.

Also you mentioned interest in doing a sprint tri or a crit in the future, I can highly recommend either option. If you want to give a crit a chance, there is likely a bunch of clubs around you that will do weekly/monthly crits just to get people out racing. Just remember that racing a crit is very very different from riding, I find them fun but they can be brutal if you are not used to the harsh accelerations.
 
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