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Injured runner looking to ride.(9 posts)

Injured runner looking to ride.Beetle
Jul 18, 2001 1:39 PM
Due to a leg injury I recently purchased a road bike to cross train on. I have discovered that I really enjoy riding and have ridden with some cyclists from a local bike shop. Since I have been unable to race on foot for about a month I am thinking about racing my bike because I am going crazy not competing. I was wondering if there were any runners or ex-runners who have raced and what kind of success you have had. Although I consider myself to be in great shape(My running PRs range from a 4:40 mile to a 1:20 half marathon), I am afraid I will be embarassed on the bike. The longest I have ridden is 30 miles at about 19 miles an hour. I am just wondering if I should give it a shot or should I just stick to running. Thanks for any input you guys can offer.
This forum is LOUSY with injured former runners ...Humma Hah
Jul 18, 2001 2:31 PM
... you have come to the right place. I'd anticipate some training transition -- different leg muscles, bizarre strategies in some roadracing formats, safety issues due to speeds runners only dream of, but the lung situation is pretty much the same, and I suspect you'll be competitive with just a little remedial work.
re: Injured runner looking to ride.Goose
Jul 18, 2001 9:30 PM
I say give it a shot! If you enjoy it why not try? I am myself a runner who last year did 14.17 on 5000m track, but due to a foot problem I am switching over to biking. I am just like you, I must compete. The results are slowly coming, I won a local bike race about a month ago and the next race is coming up in about 10 days. I am taking this year just as practice year and next year I hope to be in such good shape that I can race with the good guys. You will find that it takes some time to become a biker. Your legs will cramp up right away in the beginning but after some time you will start to feel as fresh as you do when you are running.
Good Luck!
a little contrast/compareDuane Gran
Jul 19, 2001 5:31 AM
I also come from a running background, so I'll offer some perspective on how I see footraces differing from road racing. I'll do my best to suppress any bias, but honestly I'm much more fond of bike racing.

As others have said, the muscle groups are different. It can take about 3-5 years to really develop your cycling musculature to your peak. There are very subtle technique issues that take a long time to develop, and as a consequence guys who have ridden for 10 years but sat on their duff over the winter sometimes still can kick a newbies butt. There is a sort of "muscle memory" in cycling that takes more time to develop than in running, so be patient and don't get frustrated. The gains in cycling are slower than in running.

A popular phrase in running is to "run your own race" but you simply can't do that in cycling. The onus of strategy revolves around keeping out of the wind through drafting. If you get disconnected from the pack your race is shot. During extended climbs & such there are occassions for pacing yourself and disregarding the movements of others, but in general you cannot race as an introvert. This leads into all sorts of strategy issues where stronger riders are trying to punish weaker riders hanging onto the pack.

The tempo of a foot race is pretty consistent, but in a bike race it varies widely. There will be times where it lollygags along at 17mph and other times when it tear-asses at 30mph on the flats. This can change in a fraction of a minute, so your body has to adapt to fluctuations in intensity. Keep in mind that you can't fall off from the pack and expect to get back on because of wind resistance.

The team aspect of bike racing makes it really interesting. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but this topic alone could keep us busy for weeks. In a nutshell, there is really nothing another person can do for you in a foot race aside from moral support and encouragement. In a road race your team can provide encouragement (very important) as well as help you move up the pack and give you shelter from the wind. At a glance it doesn't look like a team sport, but it really is. I suggest you look for teams in your local area and join one.

Bike racing is like a chess match at 25mph. There is some strategy in a foot race, however it is much deeper in bike racing. I think the team aspect makes for more interesting options. Not only is the race physically challenging, it is mentally draining (in a good way). I've competed in many sports and nothing compares to the mental rush of road racing in my opinion.

Okay, so those are some of the differences. I hope it gives you food for thought. You have a good aerobic base, so you should be fine in that area. Bike racing can be a little frustrating, especially if you are in good shape, because those who win often do so through their wits and efficient technique. These take time, so if you don't do well in your first season don't hang up your hat just yet. If you thrive off of the competition, you will love road racing.
Thanks for the reply....Beetle
Jul 19, 2001 6:12 AM
it's interesting that you say the gains in cycling come slower than in running. I've been running "seriously" since '95 and am still improving every year. I doubt I will ever dedicate the time necessary to become a good cyclist since running is my main obsession, but I would like to do pretty well at it and I think the strength I will gain from cycling will not only help my running speed but will aid in preventing injuries. I should probably just compete in duathlons. I could make up for my inexperience on the bike with my running, but I don't think the bike segment of the duece would be the same as an all out bike race. Ahh....there's nothing like trading elbows on the track but I think riding wheel to wheel at 25 miles an hour in a pack could be equally as exciting. Assuming I could stay with the pack. Oh well, there is a race Saturday I may do. The category 5 event is only 10 miles. Hopefully I won't embarass myself.
Dude: We're ALL ex-runnersOld Guy
Jul 19, 2001 10:26 AM
Or I am, anyway. My guess is at least half the people who get into racing cycles came from running and probably had an injury force them there. Yep, I was a 4:40 miler in H.S too, and outran the ability of my knees to take the winter distance.

You'll gradually find yourself more and more attracted to competitive cycling. This 10 mile race you're doing is way too short. Without cycle-specific training, and being a fit runner, you'll do better in longer races. As you build muscle mass and improve your spin, you'll get better at shorter distances, sprinting, climbing, etc.

So get a nice bike now and hang up those punishing running shoes...
That's exactly.....Beetle
Jul 19, 2001 6:31 PM
what I was talking about today on my ride(I rode 52 miles at 20 miles an hour with 6 other cyclists; awesome ride). I mentioned that I was thinking about racing a 10 mile race and I thought it would be too short, being more of a sprint, which would favor the huge muscled riders. The guys I have been riding with seem to favor time trials. I guess they don't like to wreck. Isn't that part of the excitment? Anyways, I'll probably do it and get my ass kicked. As far as hanging up my running shoes......Never gonna happen. I'm starting back Sunday and I can't freakin' wait!!!!
Time trials are the most honest race ...Humma Hah
Jul 19, 2001 8:19 PM
... they cut out 97% of the strategy poop and just find out how fast you really are. Good place to start.
Time trials are the most honest race ...jschrotz
Jul 24, 2001 12:03 PM
I agree about TTs being the most honest race. They don't call it the race of truth for nothing. Being a former competitive runner, I found the TT easier than most riders that don't have a running background. The TT is pretty similar to a running race. Just find your appropriate red line for the distance and try to stay there as long as possible. That's over-simplifying it a bit, but you get the idea.