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My first half-century!(15 posts)

My first half-century!vindicator
Nov 24, 2002 5:18 PM
I know this is small potatoes for most of the vets around here, but it sure as heck felt like an accomplishment to me, so I'm gonna crow anyway.

I've been riding since late July, have dropped 25 pounds in the process, and I did my first 50-miler this morning, solo. Goal was three hours, and I passed the 50 mile mark at 3:00:30. Close enough.

Strangely, I have mixed feelings about the ride. On the one hand, it was windier than normal (and always a headwind, regardless of direction!) and I just felt like I didn't "have it" today, especially uphill, and my average speed is the lowest I've registered yet on one of my long rides. The "competitive me" would be happier if I'd felt stronger, climbed better, and kept my average speed up above 17.5 if not 18.

On the other hand, I sort of feel even better about having finished given the wind and the off day. I was mighty tempted to take the turn near the end that would have made it a 44 miler or so, but really tried to push the "refuse to lose" attitude and go the distance.

I'll be taking this week and next weekend off from riding, so hopefully the time off and maybe even catching up on my sleep will freshen my legs for my next long one in two weeks.

Sorry for the self-indulgent post, but hey if I can't post this kind of stuff here, where can I?

That is actually fairly fast for a first 1/2 century.MB1
Nov 24, 2002 5:56 PM
It took me 50 years for my first half century and it only took you 3 hours!!!

All kidding aside, well done.
re: half centurybsdc
Nov 24, 2002 6:04 PM
I'm most impressed that you've stuck with it since July and lost 25 pounds. I'm sure you've noticed all kinds of benefits to your general health. It is easy to turn around early on those off day. Congradulations on sticking with it!
You done goodKerry
Nov 24, 2002 6:15 PM
Unless you have extensive endurance sport experience that you are bringing to cycling, 3 hours for 50 and only riding since July is pretty good. Also, the wind really has an impact. A little rest, more riding, and you'll be amazed how fast you improve over next season. Also, for a ride of this distance, it would be easy to dehydrate or under-eat, so you might double check to be sure you kept your tank topped up. Did you do it non-stop, or take a break in the middle?
No breaksvindicator
Nov 24, 2002 6:43 PM
My "top up" routine so far on my 40-mile plus rides (all three of them!) has been a serving of Cytomax "Pre-Formance" 30-60 minutes before the start and then drinking Cytomax throughout the ride. I don't think that was my problem today, as I didn't really feel like I "ran out of gas" near the end. I did probably start a bit fast, but between the 30-minute mark and the 3 hour mark, I basically felt the same - just a bit off, not lousy but not the "I can ride forever" feeling I've had before either. I assume I would have felt better longer and then worse and worse over time had I actually been running out of fuel.

And I have always been an endurance athlete when I've been athletic. I wouldn't say my experience is "extensive," but I ran track and cross country in high school and after that, when I exercised, running was always it. With age (I'm 36 now) and weight gain, running became what I did between injuries. By July, I hadn't run in a couple of years and was heavier than I'd ever been. A buddy at work dropped a bunch of pounds cycling this years, so I rode with him on my old hybrid one morning in July (and didn't come close to keeping up, except that he'd double back, wait at lights or the tops of hills and just take it easy from time to time). I haven't looked back since!

And thanks to you and all for the encouraging replies!

How many miles since you started in July?n.m.koala
Nov 24, 2002 7:55 PM
Don't know for surevindicator
Nov 25, 2002 7:11 AM
I didn't start tracking mileage until the first part of this month. I've got about 250 from Nov. 7-date. Before that, it's been gradual.

I took a week and a half off in August for a family vacation. Other than that, it was 12 mile rides 3-5 days a week, gradually increasing my weekend rides to 15, 18, 20, 25, etc. Cold weather and late sunrises later cut my weekday rides down to 2 a week from three, but I've pretty much ridden every Saturday and Sunday since, with a couple of exceptions.

Most recently, it's been 2 12 mile weekday rides per week, plus one long one per week (working my way from 30 up to 50 5-10 miles at a time) and a mid-range ride the other weekend day.

It's fun!
Congrats! (nm)jtferraro
Nov 25, 2002 5:21 AM
re: My first half-century!aliensporebomb
Nov 25, 2002 8:04 AM
Dave - color me impressed!

I finally got a decent road bike in July and have been
slowly ramping up the miles and speed. I'm at about 752
miles right now on that bike and about 1120 miles for the
season thus far.

And after 39 years I finally went clipless late in the
season and it made a big difference. I was surprised
at the increase in performance. In fact, my fastest
times/speeds this season were all done clipless.

I found that my own rides I was slowly ramping up - I
had done a century about eight years ago where I was
woefully unprepared.

I did a 35.1 mile ride this season and a 40.6 miler,
in 2:48 and 3:11 respectively (not clipless rides

I took those slower than I could have since I was probably paranoid about bonking (which I did on the aforementioned century ride).

I was hoping for a metric century this season but time
and the season sort of ran out. I was hoping for more
temperate days but I just don't have enough winter
riding gear. I'll have to change that.

My best times this season that I can see were 25.3 miles
in 1:50, 27.2 miles in 1:58. Ironically, this was after
going clipless. Psychological advantage? Maybe not. I
would like to go for a much longer ride next time out and
see what I can do.

I think I can do better next season - I'm going to be
using a trainer this winter as well as a treadmill and
hope to drop some weight and be lighter for next season.

Also, I've been doing a lot of rides with the wife and
less experienced friends trying to get them hooked so this
season my speeds weren't quite what they were as compared
with last year..

Glad to hear your results were so good. Keep us posted!
Equipment Upgradesvindicator
Nov 25, 2002 8:52 AM
I got my real road bike in September. My old bike is a Bianchi hybrid, at at the low end of their line. Claw pedals without even straps (and wearing sneakers), very high straight bars (actually they even sweep up slightly) and "grip shift" twist shifters. Before getting my new bike, I'd not ridden drop bars in 20 years, and had never ridden clipless or used STI shifters. So my first ride was quite an adventure trying to adjust to the lighter frame, bigger chainrings, twitchier handling, skinny tires, and drop bars, plus learn clipless and STI all in one shot. But I survived and now the new bike is as comfortable as a pair of well worn Levis.

Certainly I'd have a hard time breaking 3 hours for 50 on my old bike!

Sounds like you're in for a great season next year! Read up on ride day nutrition and hydration (here and elsewhere) and you should be able to alleviate your fear of bonking and settle into "the zone" for some nice long ones.

Thanks for the message!

Where are you doing your riding? (nm)Uprwstsdr
Nov 25, 2002 9:25 AM
St. Louis, MOvindicator
Nov 25, 2002 11:13 AM
About time to shut down/move indoors for the winter!
re: My first half-century!lrs1957
Nov 25, 2002 8:22 PM
Since you live in st louis area have you tried the bicycle fun club? Its a group that bikes primarily in rural il and some biking in mo too, they usually have different mileage , short , middle and long routes, and is really an enjoyable group to be with, I started biking with this group last year fairly regular basis, and lost about 40 lbs of wt, the routes are well marked, have sag wagon provided, I just wish they would have a century ride this coming year,,the rides usually start in April and end in Oct,
Contact info?vindicator
Nov 26, 2002 7:45 AM
No, I've neither tried nor heard of the group. Do you have any contact info, etc.? Do they have a page on STL biking or elsewhere?

Group rides are tough for me because I pretty much have to go when my schedule permits (4 young kids and a wife, so lots of soccer or softball games, wife likes to hit craft shows, etc.).

But I'd like to try some organized group rides and maybe even a Cat 5 race or two in '03.

Thanks for the info,

Contact info?lrs1957
Nov 26, 2002 2:43 PM
usually info can be found on the calendar on for the upcoming BFC rides, but if you go to you can find some info, alot of the bike shops will have the calendar of rides in early spring. The guy that organized these rides worked previously at touring cyclist for about 18 years then left and went to trailnet and has these bike rides usually on sunday mornings throughout early spring(i believe april) thru sept or nov,, the longest ride i did was the route 66 ride festival and went 67 miles , it started in Edwardsville, Il,, there is various levels of diffiuculty as listed , and you see kids on the easy route to senior citizens and hard core bikers too, it seems like there is approx. 2 -3 rides a month, and usually start anywhere from 0800-1000 in the mornings,,free tickets are available too at sponsoring bike shops, the rides seem to be mainly in IL like in Edwardsville, Hamel, St Jacob, Waterloo, Columbia, so some of the st louis folk complain about driving a distance to the start site but if you pick up a free ticket then that can help some too,, but these rides have become very popular , esp the strawberry festival in st jacob, many people attended that ride, im hoping they will add a century ride in the coming year,, hope this info helps,, lrs