Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Soquel, CA
    Posts
    193

    Not quite newbie, not quite club

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    Hi All.
    I am new to this forum. I started riding about 3 months ago (after not riding for 20 years) and took a beginners class with a bike club. It was really nice and supportive. Went from 8 mile rides to 25 mile rides in 8 weeks and felt pretty good about that. Traded my comfort hybrid Specialized Globe for a faster flat bar Specialized Vita Sport (so I could keep up).

    But now that the class is over and I attempt to do club rides, they are really too hard for me and I get dropped and end up riding by myself (unless a club member hangs back with me). Since they are going all over the place to places I am not familiar with, I really don't want to do those rides alone. There doesn't seem to be anything for cyclists after the beginners class is over.

    Part of the problem is the distance, but the biggest part is the hills. Where I live, it is all hills and some of them are pretty major. Once you get past riding around the 4 mile bike path and some parts of town, you have to climb. The club rides are generally about 40 miles, and they mention a place where you can turn around to cut out some distance. But although I can keep up where it is relatively flat, I get behind on the hills and never catch up.

    I went on a bike trail by Sacramento (that is flat) and was able to ride 38 miles, which shows just how hard the rides here are, as an 18.5 mile hill ride just knocked me out. So, what are others doing when they are past beginner level, but not quite up to club level?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Congrats on the progress you've already made! That's great!

    I kind of went through similar growing pains after I started riding but before I felt truly comfortable riding with a large group. Luckily, one of the bike shops directed me to a route that I felt safe doing on my own. It was mostly country rodes and was used pretty often by other cyclists. I must have done that ride at least 3 times a week for about 6 weeks. It gave me the confidence to finally do club rides. I'm lucky in that our local club's rides are marked so if you can't keep you, you at least won't get lost. Plus, they attract enough riders of all levels that it's really hard to get truly dropped.

    Are there any other riders from your class or other friends that you can do the club rides with? Surely someone in that group is in a similar boat. Do you get route maps for the club rides that you can follow in case you get dropped? You might ask around at your local bike shops to see if there are any other groups that informally meet to ride.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Congratulations--it sounds like your are a good rider already. While I am a huge fan of outdoor riding in all sorts of temps (but not rain), I found that taking a spinning class once a week really upped my fitness. In the winter, I take spin twice a week if I can manage it, in addition to outdoor rides.

    Just keep riding and you will get stronger. Some clubs have cue sheets for rides of varying lengths. You'll need a cue clip and a bike computer to follow the directions, but you won't get lost (at least not as lost as without a cue sheet).

    Have fun!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    I ride alone most of the time. The good things about that are, I can go as far as I want, when I want, at my pace. I also like the meditative focus of riding alone. It always puts me in a great mood.

    Finding a friend to ride with would be a great option, but you have to meet that person! I found my cycling buddy out on the road, riding the same routes I did. We kept seeing each other and waving, until we eventually met going in the same direction one day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    Right now it's a probably feels like a curse to you to live in a neighbourhood that has a number of hills.

    But see it as an opportunity to create your own routes to practice certain hills. And if you keep on cycling certain routes regularily, you will become stronger. Later, you will want some of those hills for fitness training. This will happen when cycling love consumes your being.

    Also check the City of Sacramento (if that's where you are) for any bike route maps since usually the routes are deliberately designed to steer one away from overly congested/dangerous routes.

    It would be nice to ride with someone occasionally who is a stronger rider. I returned to cycling after a 12 yr. hiatus. And 17 yrs. later I'm still at it.

    I ride with my partner at least 60% of the time, and other times usually alone if his schedule doesn't jive with mine. There were certain years when he lived a different city, I was riding solo daily for 2.5 yrs.

    So keep on riding as often as you can, make it part of your lifestyle..not just fitness, but for commuting/errands, etc. You WILL become stronger in body and in mind. Make cycling part of your body's DNA!
    Last edited by shootingstar; 05-27-2009 at 04:57 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Antonio Heights, CA (Upland)
    Posts
    1,068
    I talked my friend into getting a road bike and when she did, I remember feeling inadequate to ride with her, even though I had been riding longer. She had been running and was in good shape. We had another friend who rode, too. I had ridden with her a few times and could basically hang with her, yet often felt like I was holding her back at least a little. The same with the other friend.

    The three of us did what was supposed to be a 44 mile ride to the beach and back on the Santa Ana river trail. They took off at such a fast pace for me. I was able to keep up for about 17 miles or so, but eventually bonked and just could not keep up. I let them go ahead and I turned around to head back to the car. They rode to the beach, turned around came back, passed me and got to the car first. They were so excited about their time and I was miserable. Both physically and mentally.

    I made a point at that time to ride as often as I could by myself to get stronger. Luckily I knew some routes around here, since I had ridden a lot on tandem with dh. I didn't have any problem riding by myself and, in fact, preferred it, as I didn't have to feel like I was slowing anyone down. My friend would try to make cycling dates with me and I would usually avoid them. I also avoided club rides, which I had done a few times on the tandem.

    However, that "season" only lasted about 4 months or so. I ended up riding with those friends one day and found I was doing just fine with them, thank you. They always beat me up hills (still usually do) but would wait at the top. I was fine with them on the flats and downhill.

    At that time I started consistently riding with that friend that I talked into getting a bike. We ride at least twice during the week together and we usually do one of the club rides on the weekend together, sometimes more. We also do events together. My big goal is to stay with her on the hills. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. Her big goal is to stay with me on the descents, because I have become quite the downhill queen. We are getting faster and stronger together, which is great.

    As for the club, it was around the time that I felt strong enough to ride with my friend, that I started doing club rides. We have a great club that offers rides for various levels and have a "no rider left behind" policy. They stop at various points and regroup and/or someone will slow down and ride with a slower rider. You might ask your club if they offer any slower paced rides, or if they would consider offering them. A woman in our club, who had a hard time keeping up with even the slower rides, organized a women's ride every Sunday. She saw a need and filled it and it has been a great way for women to get involved.

    I have loved seeing myself improve. My friend and I did a longer club ride recently, where we were the only women. We were doing just fine, thank you, keeping up with the boys, who had started going a pretty fast pace at one point. The guys were impressed with us and had nice compliments, which made us feel good.

    My point being, you WILL improve with time and more riding. Best suggestion is to ride more by yourself, try to find a riding partner and see if you can help create change within your club ... not just for you, but for others like you that would like to ride with the club, but find it difficult.

    Lastly, the more you ride hills, the better you will get at them. I just rode a century with 8500 feet of climbing for the express purpose of MAKING myself get stronger at climbing! And I do see improvement in my climbing, or I wouldn't have been able to conquer such a feat.

    Okay, I'm done writing a book now!
    GO RIDE YOUR BIKE!!!

    2009 Cannondale Super Six High Modulus / SRAM Red / Selle San Marco Mantra

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Soquel, CA
    Posts
    193
    The club does give out cue sheets. My worry is that if I am really far out and have a problem, I will not have anyone around. I am riding with a person I met in the class, but she is slower and wants to go a shorter distance than I, so the rides don't push me to get better. Then, the club rides are a little out of my league at this point. I live in Santa Cruz, CA and all the country roads are in the mountains. (Did anyone watch AMGEN?) I know that I will have to keep riding until I can keep up. It is just a little frustrating to be in that middle place, even though I know that I have already gotten much better. I am so amazed that these club members (who are mostly older than I) are in such great shape that they can do all these really hard rides.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    162
    I cannot keep up with the fastest riders in our group when they are pushing it, but I can work hard and keep up with them on their recovery rides. You might check with some of them to see if you could join them for a slower pace on a different day.
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride"~John F. Kennedy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    371
    Quote Originally Posted by featuretile View Post
    I live in Santa Cruz, CA and all the country roads are in the mountains.
    I live in those mountains! If I want to ride further than a mile from my house, on safe routes, every direction involves 20% (up) grades - even to get to flat routes along the coast.

    Right now at the start of warm season I'm still a bit out of shape. I've been taking the bus to Santa Cruz and riding around randomly in the "flat". In years past, when I was sick of climbing mountains, I'd come into the city and do a coastal ride. I found that riding the coastal bike paths (and a few connecting roads) from Natural Bridges to Capitola and back was as much a workout as climbing the mountain to a viewpoint over Highway 17. I think that's because of all the start and stop, turning, and tourist dodging. (Note, this is on an old rigid frame MTB. You might find tourist dodging on a road bike to be frustrating!)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Soquel, CA
    Posts
    193
    Laura,
    Sounds like it might be fun to ride with you. How do we exchange contact info on this site? Today, a club member who stayed with me on my last attempted club ride, took me out on a ride. We went from Jade St. Park to Natural Bridges, up to UCSC, and back. It was 26 miles and I am pretty wiped out. That was an 'A' (easy) ride.... I have also been riding around Corralitos.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    371
    Quote Originally Posted by featuretile View Post
    Laura,
    Sounds like it might be fun to ride with you. How do we exchange contact info on this site?
    There appears to be a Private Message feature - I'll try sending you a message.

    Note though that I've always been a lone rider. I've been spoiled by having no set schedule, no set route, the option to cut short or extend a ride, the option to cancel when the weather isn't cooperative, and so on.

    Also, right now my bike's in a state of flux while I fix all the stuff that's worn out. My top gear currently is 32:15 (or 32:13 if I don't mind the bit of cross chaining).

    Quote Originally Posted by featuretile View Post
    We went from Jade St. Park to Natural Bridges
    Did you follow the coastal bike baths (for at least one direction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by featuretile View Post
    That was an 'A' (easy) ride....
    Is that your rating, or the riding club's rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by featuretile View Post
    I have also been riding around Corralitos.
    That's further south than I've ever ventured on a bike.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •