Sunday, August 27, 2017

Get Fit!

Are you still riding?  Are you fit?  Are you getting fit?  For me, I just got back into riding in late June.  In 2 mos. time, I went from struggling to average 10 mph (for 2 hrs.) on my Mountain Bike (on the flats) to averaging close to 15 mph (for 2 hrs.)  So, I'd say I'm getting fitter.  Am I as fit as I used to be, a few years ago?  Hell no, but that's ok.  I'm seeing good progress right now and that's all I can ask for.

If you're not fit and want to get fit, the first step (if you haven't already done so) is to lose weight.  Trust me when I say this.  It's MUCH easier to get back into shape when you're not overweight.  In fact, getting back into shape when you're overweight is a recipe for disaster.  It could even lead to a heart attack if you're older and really out of shape.  The 2nd step is just ride.  Ride until you get tired.  I highly recommend wearing a heart rate monitor and let that be your guide.  In the first couple of months I'd keep your heart rate (HR) in the Tempo or L3 Zone only.  Tempo zone is normally an easy to moderate zone where you can hold a conversation when you ride.  If you don't have a HR monitor (buy one) it's about a 3 on a scale from 1-10 in rate of perceived exertion.  If you do have a HR monitor (good for you) it's normally 70% of your HRmax (maximum Heart Rate).  So, if you're HRmax=190 bpm you want to keep your rides in the 140-150 bpm more.  After a couple months you want to move into the Threshold or L4 Zone.  When you ride in the Threshold Zone you should only be able to get out 3-4 words at a time in conversation.  Threshold Zone is normally 80% of your HRmax. You don't want to stay in the L4 Zone for more than 10-15 minutes for at least a couple weeks.  Theoretically, you should be able to ride in your Threshold Zone for about 1 hr. before bonking (giving up).   You want to mix up L3 with L4- where you're riding primarily in the L3 Zone.  At the end of 3 months, you can ride for 1 hr. at L4 or instead, do 2-3 intervals of 20 minutes at L4 pace with 5 minutes rest in-between intervals.

Trust me when I say this, it's no fun getting back into shape after a long layoff of not riding.  It sucks. You're going to feel like crap and it's very demoralizing.  You're going to have little old ladies pass you on the bike while you're riding 10 mph.  Get used to it.  Hey, it happened to me.  But, it won't last for long.  Just tonight, on my ride, I had some younger guy try to hold my wheel on the flat canal path near my home.  I was riding my Mountain bike and I was averaging 15 mph.  When the younger guy jumped on my rear wheel I cranked it up to 17-18 mph.  My Heart Rate shot up to the L4 range.  I knew I could last about 20 minutes at this pace.  The guy stayed on my wheel for 10 minutes.  After that, I looked back and he was gone.  I like to think I dropped his ass.  He probably turned to go home.  ha.  Regardless, it was fun being able to crank it up and not have anyone pass you.

So, Get Fit and Stay Fit.  Power ON!  Coach Rob

Sunday, August 20, 2017

End of Summer nears..but don't put that bike away!

For me, the Fall is my 2nd favorite time of year..Spring is my favorite.  But, just like the Spring, Fall is just too short.  What is there not to like about the end of Summer:
1. Heat and Humidity are gone and great cycling weather.
2. Grass goes from brown to green.  Everything gets green again like the Spring.  Golf courses look good..and play well.
3. No more air conditioning and you can actually sleep with your windows open at night and get some fresh air.
4.  The days are crisp and clear (mostly).
5.  Football starts! Yeah!
6.  Kids are back in school! Yeah!
7.  Fishing gets better.  Yeah!
8.  Leaves start changing to beautiful colors.
9.  New programs/series on TV.
10.  blah..blah..blah

The only negative about the end of Summer is that the days are shorter and there is less light after work to ride your bike.  But, don't let that stop can ride at night.  You don't have to ride on the road at night you can ride on a bike trail or on a path like I do.  I ride my Mountain Bike on the canal path adjacent to the Delaware River.  I put a miners light on my bike helmet and another one on my bike handlebars and I light up the night.  Both lights are high lumen output and last 4 hrs. on 2 lithium batteries- even in the coldest temperatures.  I'll do a blog in the next month or so re: my setup.  I'll tell you which lights I recommend and why.

So, instead of thinking your mid-week riding days are numbered start looking into group rides at night.  I think I'm going to lead a group ride at night along the Delaware canal from Pt. Pleasant, PA to Reigelsville, PA and back.  I believe the total miles will be close to 30 miles and the average speed will start at 13-14 mph and probably increase to 15-16 mph in the Winter- depending on conditions.  I don't like to ride too much faster than that because if you make a wrong move, or turn, touch a wheel in front of you, slip on snow/ice/mud/gravel/etc., you got the Delaware River canal on the left and the Delaware River on the right.  And, some of the canal embankments to the river are it's a long fall into stones/trees/etc.- and eventually the river- in the dark.  Not good!  There are also low bridges that you have to go under where you MUST duck/lower your head or it will knock you clear off your bike and earn you a ride in an ambulance.  That's if the ambulance can get to you.  Some of the canal path trail is not easily accessible to a road.   Maybe on some safe flat stretches we'll be able to do some intervals where we crank up the speed to say 16-18 mph.  BTW, those speeds are pretty good on stone/mud/gravel (which is what the canal path from Pt. Pleasant, PA to Reigelsville, PA is) with Mt. Bike tires like I have.  I would think the equivalent speed on a road bike on flat asphalt would be 20-22 mph.  I'd say NO road bikes on the ride.  The tires are just too narrow for the stone/gravel.  Only Mountain Bikes and Cross/Hybrid Bikes with wider knobby tires on the ride.  The other nice thing about the ride is that it's an out and back.  That means if you get dropped (can't keep up) or have a mechanical, the group will be coming back the same route to make sure you get back safely to your car at the start.

This ride will most likely be with the Central Bucks Bike Club (CBBC).  I know there is a CBBC night ride from Washington's Crossing, PA to Lambertville, NJ and back, but I don't want to travel down to Washington's Crossing nor do I think the people that live North of me near Lake's just too far to drive to get there.  That's almost a 30 minute drive (with traffic) in my car to get there from Doylestown..  Pt. Pleasant, PA (on the Delaware River) is only a 10-15 minute drive from my house and no traffic getting there.  I also think I'll start the ride at 7pm so it gives people that have a long commute from work to grab something to eat and to get there in time.  7pm-9pm seems like a good time...2 hr. workout.  Get home after the ride, shower and in bed.

I'll keep you posted on this blog.  Until then, Power ON!  Coach Rob