Is this charity ride doable by a fit-less newbie?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
cathnmike
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Is this charity ride doable by a fit-less newbie?

Postby cathnmike » 6 Jan 2009, 12:55pm

Hi there

My lovely 82-year old dad had a stroke last year :( and although it's been a very stressful time since for the whole family, I want to do something positive as a result. Added to that, I've been unwell myself and off work for quite a while and I want to do something positive about that, too.

I recently found what I think would be an amazing charity bike ride in aid of the Stroke Association. It takes place on June 21st and is 135 kilometres from Glastonbury Tor to Stonehenge.

Here's my problem. I used to be very fit and cycle everywhere (not competitively, only as a leisure thing), but I haven't done any cycling for about four years. I'm now 54 years old, overweight and very very unfit.

Is the time between now and June 21st enough to get me fit enough to ride this? I just don't know if I'm setting myself too high a target. I'd love to do it, but I don't want to take up a place and then fail.

If you think it is doable, does anyone have any ideas about how I can plan some kind of training (even the word frightens me!) so I have specific things to aim for? Are there any books which would be helpful, or any web pages?

I sound like a bit of a wimp - sorry! :roll: - but thanks in advance for any and all advice / help you might be able to offer.

And Happy New Year.

Cath.

2Tubs
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Re: Is this charity ride doable by a fit-less newbie?

Postby 2Tubs » 6 Jan 2009, 1:02pm

cathnmike wrote:Hi there

My lovely 82-year old dad had a stroke last year :( and although it's been a very stressful time since for the whole family, I want to do something positive as a result. Added to that, I've been unwell myself and off work for quite a while and I want to do something positive about that, too.

I recently found what I think would be an amazing charity bike ride in aid of the Stroke Association. It takes place on June 21st and is 135 kilometres from Glastonbury Tor to Stonehenge.

Here's my problem. I used to be very fit and cycle everywhere (not competitively, only as a leisure thing), but I haven't done any cycling for about four years. I'm now 54 years old, overweight and very very unfit.

Is the time between now and June 21st enough to get me fit enough to ride this? I just don't know if I'm setting myself too high a target. I'd love to do it, but I don't want to take up a place and then fail.

If you think it is doable, does anyone have any ideas about how I can plan some kind of training (even the word frightens me!) so I have specific things to aim for? Are there any books which would be helpful, or any web pages?

I sound like a bit of a wimp - sorry! :roll: - but thanks in advance for any and all advice / help you might be able to offer.

And Happy New Year.

Cath.


Hey Cath.

A few months back, a guy on here (Pizzzaman? I can't remember his name) decided to do a little cycle ride to help him get fit.

He started training and then cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats. Or the other way around (perhaps someone who remembers his name might find the old thread)

When he started this ride, he was 32 stone. He wasn't at the end, he was a good deal lighter (5 stone lighter if memory serves).

EDIT: Found him: Pizza_man's E2E

So yup, you have plenty of time to start training and get that ride done!

A more qualified person than me will advice about training, but my advice would be to just get out and ride. If you're able to cycle commute, all the better. That's building your exercise and cycle training all into your daily routine.

Good luck.

Gazza

P.S. See a doc before commencing training if you're worried.
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emergency_pants
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Postby emergency_pants » 6 Jan 2009, 2:09pm

6 months is plenty of time to prepare for 135km (84 miles), I think.

I used RealBuzz when I was training for a run. I looked them up and they have some information for cycle training too.

http://www.realbuzz.com/cycling-training/

There's not a whole lot. A quick google search came up with this:

http://www.ndcschallenges.org.uk/traini ... index.html

I think that if you commit to it, you will be able to do it. While you are umm-ing and aah-ing about it, you will have some doubts. However, once you are committed to it and get down and start training, you'll be surprised! Regular training will bring your general fitness levels up faster than you might think!

I think charity runs are amazing. you'll have a real sense of achievement and the events are a real buzz too.

I reckon that if you have the commitment to see it through wholeheartedly, go for it. You have enough time to prepare.

It might be worth joining a gym for 6 months too. They will give you a fitness assessment and will be able to advise you on how to start getting fitter in general. You'll be able to work on your general fitness while it's still so cold outside and when you start riding, it'll give you some more confidence. They'll also advise you on stretches and muscle workouts too.

You may only feel like you can handle 10 mins on a bike in one go but start gently. When I started running, I could only run for about 2minutes before I had to stop. So... I ran for 2mins, walked for 2mins...and so on. Gradually, I found I could do longer runs... 3 mins... 5 mins... 10 mins... I never thought I could do it but now I can run for an hour!

Hope that helps.
Last edited by emergency_pants on 6 Jan 2009, 2:23pm, edited 1 time in total.

mick skinner
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Postby mick skinner » 6 Jan 2009, 2:19pm

from my experience of touring accross the south of france in summer with very low fitness level; i think if you have a bike that's really comfortable for long distance, low enough gears, keep eating starchy carbs throughout the ride, keep well hydrated, take it nice and steady and plenty of breaks then you'll be ok....

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UrbanManc
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Postby UrbanManc » 6 Jan 2009, 3:42pm

You have a cycling background so it shouldn't take too long to get back into shape.

I would spend the next two months in the gym, it will keep you out of the cold and give you an all round fitness test, it will give you a good idea just how fit you really are.

Once those 2 months are over you will have a better idea if your ride is do-able.

Good luck.


(I've just noticed emergency_pants has said everything I just said :oops: )

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NUKe
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Postby NUKe » 6 Jan 2009, 3:49pm

Cath

If you try and do it with out any build up you'll suffer and could risk injuring yourself. If in doubt seek advice from your GP
As someone else pointed out 6 months is plenty of time to get ready. Only you can decide how much training you'll need. It doesn't have to be a hard slog. But start now and build-up. Get on the bike today not tomorrow as that always seems to change into the day of the ride. Make your first ride a short one see how fit you are. Aim for 5 miles tops build up from this slowly (unless you find you are fitter than you think) If you can build cycling into your daily life even better,shopping trips commuting, ride to the pub or to see freinds . Work out the number of weeks. you have to go. you'll need to ride about 50~ 75% a few weeks before the event. The technique is lots of short rides initially as the day approaches less short rides more long rides.

Things to concentrate on are using gears and keeping a high cadence helps for covering distance.
NUKe
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pete75
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Postby pete75 » 6 Jan 2009, 4:00pm

You might find this interesting. The guye describes how he did the end to end in 9 days including his fairly minimal training regime.
Like you he had cycled a lot in the past but was starting from scratch.

http://www.users.waitrose.com/~ianclare ... reaves.htm

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jan19
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Postby jan19 » 6 Jan 2009, 4:34pm

Hi Cath,

I think its a lovely idea and I'm sure you can do it!.

You might like to look at a post called "How to get fit on a bicycle" which is in the archive section of the forum. Its in the "non-technical - too good to lose section". It was posted by another lady who was struggling to get fit and there's lots of good advice there.

You could also post on here from time to time to update us on your progress - I'm sure you'll get lots of support and encouragement.

Jan

:D

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Postby eileithyia » 6 Jan 2009, 7:07pm

Cath in a word, YES. maybe wait until it warms up a little and the roads are not so icy, but just get out there and start a gradual build up of miles.
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baza_2008
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Postby baza_2008 » 6 Jan 2009, 7:10pm

hello Cath. lots of good advice on here. i was in your position about a year back. its very easy for avid cyclists to give advice, but on a freezing morning with little fitness on your own it can all look like a step too far. you would be amazed if you walk briskly 45mins every day [for a purpose] cycle bits and bobs in the week [for a purpose] but ensure that whetever, sunday you push yourself a bit. best with a friend or club. how well you will look and feel. come march-april you can post on here again. temp will be up and longer daylight hours. best of luck and enjoy youself.

Manx Cat
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Postby Manx Cat » 6 Jan 2009, 7:45pm

Hi Cath.
Welcome to the forum of course.


I am so sorry to hear of your dad's stroke, and can see why you have this inner need for this particular cycle ride. I know you can do this! It seems like an impossible mountain to climb right now, and 84 miles in a day is indeed a long way.

But, you have given your self plenty of time to train and get ready for this. I would get your entry in asap, that way you really know you are going there.

Dont do too much too soon, and as you are a tad overweight (as most of us are or were when we started cycling), and unfit, let your doc know of your plans and get a brief medical just to ensure you are fit to go. I shall add that cycling WILL reduce your BMI, and WILL reduce your BP if its a tad iffy anyway.

Start of slowly, but frequently, get out there in all weathers... I have found with the right clothing even cycling in the rain is great fun, there is always a hot bath at the end of a soaking .... remember its rain, not acid!

You will have such fun, this will be a real journey for you in so many ways. Cycling has been a sort of re-birth for me. I started cycling just over a year ago - BMI 32, size 20. Im now a size 16, BMI 28. Still along way to go, but Ive not dieted. Except to cut out cheese that is!

You will have so many gates of achievements to pass through and the feeling is like a real 'rush'. You will love it!

Also, I shall add, that when the BIG day arrives, you will not be doing this cycle ride alone. I have found that when doing big miles with others, you can easily double what you normally think is a long way. Wiht others the miles eat up much quicker and with great fun too.

Try to have a couple of shorter runs with others if you can, and you will see what I mean.

Keep writing on here too. I have found reading the exploits of others and all the achievements of the members on here very inspirational.

Good luck and let us know how you get on. :D


By the way, I get my cycle clothing from Corinne Dennis. (google her name), I know how hard it is to get comfy cycling clothing that fits when you are not a size 12.


Mary

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meic
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Postby meic » 6 Jan 2009, 8:09pm

You have 24 weeks to go!

If you set yourself a target of improving by just 6km per week you will get there. It doesnt matter if you fall back on one week and do extra another.
You could start with 6km this week or start from whatever mileage is comfortable and aim to increase by 6km each week.

It would be much better if you have time for doing lots of other miles to support your weekly large ride. I would also be confident that you would manage on the day if you met your target in a load of smaller rides over each weeks period.

You are riding on the longest day which means you do not have to worry about speed unless the ride has added conditions.
Yma o Hyd

emergency_pants
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Postby emergency_pants » 6 Jan 2009, 9:21pm

Mary made the best points of all... that when the day comes, you won't be alone and you'll be able to go faster and further than you might on your own. Also, you'll be doing it for you dad and so it means so much more.

When I did my charity run last spring, I beat my personal best time by a very clear margin. I put it down to all the people around me, the adrenalin, the excitement and the atmosphere. It's amazing how that happens.

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Postby vernon » 6 Jan 2009, 10:03pm

Five or six years ago I was suffering from a post viral ailment that was doing its best to mimic ME and heart failure. I had difficulty walking back from the post office at the end of our street without having a couple of rests to get my breath back. I bought a bike and started to cycle a few miles daily and within a month I was doing ten mile loops. At the end of three months I was up to doing twenty mile loops and by the end of five months I'd done a coast to coast cycle tour with a fully loaded bike doing the ride as an unsupported camper. I weighed 24-25 stones at the time.

I'm several stones lighter though nowhere near a respectable BMI and regularly ride 100km audaxes.

I think that you'll cope. I can not recommend a training regime other than get the miles in within your comfort zone.

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MikewsMITH2
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Postby MikewsMITH2 » 6 Jan 2009, 10:32pm

Cath, I was in the same situation. I motivated myself by buying myself a (nearly) new bike and did 10 mile rides once or twice a week for a few months. Then I did a 50K audax which I found easy and booked up for a 100K at the end of the season.

About a month before the ride, my wife decided to join me on the ride. She hadn't cycled for years and we had to get her fit in a few weeks. We went out for 2 or 3 10milers a week then did a couple of 20 mile rides. Her problem was her backside, because she hadn't cycled for ages. We both completed the ride with no problems. We raised more than £700 for the BHF.

Oh! by the way I forgot to mention, I had a heart attack a few years ago!

I wouldn't bother with the gym, its a waste of money and their bikes are nothing like a real bike. If you want to train indoors get a turbo trainer, or better still invest in some merino wool thermals and go out and ride your bike. Get a decent lightweight road bike - a cheap mountain bike will make it twice as hard!

Go on you won't regret it!