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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Truthfully, I am not a beginner. I have owned my measly Trek 1.1 since the summer of 2010, and I have put on a little over a thousand miles on it (rough estimate). Although, last summer I rode maybe 100 miles due to back injuries and resulting physical therapy. Just as I was getting back into the swing of things with mountain biking season, I took a nasty spill off a jump and ended up with a concussion.

So there's my predicament. In spite of everything, I haven't given up. I started road biking after my accident, and so far I've road about 200 miles in the past month. It's not great, but it's a start.

Here a few questions I have for this outstanding bicycling community.

1) They say the engine (me) is more important than the car (the bike). Should I worry more about getting myself back up to shape rather than making upgrades to my bike? (Note that I'm currently riding on a 2010 Trek 1.1, the only upgrade on it is Continental GP 4000S tires). Am I better off keeping this bike and making small changes to it, or just buying a whole new one?

2) How should I ride? I've read in different articles about using good planning with your weekly rides. Have a few weekday rides spaced out with time to recover, then have a long ride on the weekend, (usually Saturday or Sunday..?). I never understood the concept of when and how long to rest after a ride, etc.. I just go out with the local group whenever I get the chance to.

3) If the answer or suggestion to number 1 is get a new bike, which one? There are so many brands that sport the same components or very similar, and the one thing I know is my bike is heavy compared to the new ones. (Assume I have a budget of $1,500-$2,000).

4) Ever since the first summer I had my bike, I've always wanted to do the local Century ride. I've only participated in one real 'ride' which was a 32mile charity ride. Is there anything I should do differently with my current riding to prepare for this? (Approx. 4 months from now.)



Thank you for your time. I am really excited to get back into this amazing sport, but I just have so many questions and I want to get back into shape as soon as possible. (Obviously at a reasonable pace so I don't over-exert myself.)

-John
 

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wyrd bið ful ãræd
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I would say to keep this bike that you have. If it works why replace it.

Do interval training. There is a lot of material out there which will help.

Diet is very important too. This is the last major hurdle for me. :rolleyes: and to find the time to go out more often ... but that's me.
 

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There is only one thing you need to do: Ride More.

Thats it. Don't even think about upgrading until you know what you need. Throwing parts at a bike isn't going to make you ride it more, and if it does, the only speed you gain is from that time you spend in the saddle.

You'll be fine on the century, fitness-wise. I'm generalizing here, but 100 miles is not really that crazy if you live in a flat area and are moving at a comfortable pace. If the route has a lot of climbing, then I repeat: Ride More. Also consider packing a few powerbars and enough tools and supplies to fix 2 flats, just in case.

One other thing you may need to consider for the century (or any of your longer rides) is to make sure you are properly fitted to your bike. Since you have back issues, you want to make sure you're not stressing parts that need not be stressed. I'd spring $100 or whatever a professional bike fitting costs. Much cheaper and more useful than a new bike.

And don't over-think it.
You have a bike. You like to ride it. So just ride it, and enter as many events/races/rides you feel like. Don't focus on "winning" or any other performance metrics. Just ride.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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I'm with the others advising you to keep this bike. The only upgrades I'd suggest considering are the ones related to your enjoying your time on the bike (improving fit, if need be) and gearing (if it's now lacking). That's about it. Nothing else you do (including shedding some bike weight) is going to improve your performance like building base miles/ saddle time.

Keep a balance between exerting and recovering, both during the rides and day to day. Focus on developing good form (smoothing the pedal stroke/ developing/ maintaining a good cadence). I've found that consistency (over time) is the key to making improvements.

Re: the Century, if the longest ride you've done to date is 32 miles, I suggest ramping up your miles incrementally.. to maybe the 75 mile range. That'll prep you for the jump to 100, and in the process, tell you how your bodies coping with the added miles.
 

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Unless the fit is off there is nothing a new bike will do for you. Sounds like the bike a solid basic bike. You can always get fancier, but these bike will not ride themselves. You still need to turn the pedals over.

As for how to ride. You can develop a structured training plan or just ride when you have time. For my I ride 2 to 4 times during the week for 50 to 90 min. This not limited by endurance, but by time in the day so I ride these hard for the duration. Then one weekend day I will do a longer ride of 2 to 4 hrs depending on the time I have that day. I then take one weekend day off for the most part. This not so much a training plan, but a "ride when I have time" plan.
 

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I have an on-again, off-again relationship with structured training.

When I have some order and stability in my life, it's great. I end up riding my bike more. Since I enjoy riding my bike, that's a win.

When my life is in more of a constant-triage state, it's not so good. I feel down about missing planned rides, and it becomes another stressor; in those times, I'm happier just to sneak in rides when I get a chance.

Unless you have a goal involving competition, I don't think you need to do intervals. Take your turns at the front with your group and don't sweat it.

For the Century, there are a bunch of patterns you can use to build up to it. The simplest is just to increase your mileage by 10%/week until you hit 75 miles on your longest ride. You probably have more than enough time. A guideline that goes with this is that no one ride should be half of your mileage in a week. That, and a realistic look at your fixed commitments in a week, should be enough to build a schedule.

If you want to do some of your prep off-road, use time instead of miles. Then you have to guesstimate your Century time, but that's not so hard and doesn't need to be super-accurate. It's really just a guideline.
 

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When my life is in more of a constant-triage state, it's not so good. I feel down about missing planned rides, and it becomes another stressor; in those times, I'm happier just to sneak in rides when I get a chance.
This is exactly why I don't follow a training plan. No plan and no need to get upset if life comes up and I can't make ride that day. I do have some riding goals, but just try to focus my rides such that they help. End of last month I did 30 mile mtn bike race with 4000 feet of climbing. Since this was going to be one of my longest rides and most climbing I trained by doing rides from 3:30 to 4:00 with as much climbing as I could close to me. I did pretty well in that race given my goals my limited trainig plan worked well. The ride time was right at 3:42 min so within my prior efforts and while the climbing was more than normal I was able to cover it. I was totally wiped out when done, but it was a race afterall no need to leave anything on the table right? Even so it was a little stressful to get my long rides in to prep for this with family commitments and all. Still I will do only a few races a year so now I am back into the "ride when you can" mode and it is more relaxing.
 

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1. The engine is definitely more important. Shedding a few pounds or increasing your stamina will improve your speed/results far more than buying a new bike will. On the other hand, if you are now aware that road cycling is really what you want to do AND you have the means to purchase a new rocket, why not spring for it NOW? I bought an entry level Trek in 2003 and rode it for several months before I realized this was going to be a long-term thing. I then purchased a 2004 Trek 5900 SSL and haven't looked back. Only you know your interest in road biking and your financial situation.

2. Try to increase your mileage/time on bike by no more than 10% a week. Listen to your body. If you feel tired, take some time off. Remember that resting is part of training. Start off working on your endurance. Increase your interval training as you get closer to the time of an event.

3. Hard to answer this question. If your budget is $1500-2000 I would consider upgrading the wheels before purchasing another bike. The wheels will make the most difference for the bike. STILL, the engine is FAR more important.

4. Ride as much as you can. Realize that you can probably do the local century NOW. For example, my 16 yo son was able to finish a rigorous mountain century last year with virtually no training (maybe two 20 mile rides the month before). Sure, he finished in 9+ hours, but, he rode up the 20% grade and FINISHED. The point is that you can ride the century NOW and you'll learn a lot from doing so. Just keep riding and sign up for the century NOW.
 
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