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Thread: Need Advice

  1. #1
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    Need Advice

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    Hi, I am in need of advice. I have hired a cycling coach, as I want to take a fully supported cycling tour next year where the mileage is approx. 60 miles per day for five days. I know I need to increase my mileage/time in the saddle, however, he is recommending that I think about purchasing a power meter. I'm not interested in racing but I do use a HR monitor--note I am not a spring chicken. I will admit that although my body LOOKS like a 65 year old woman, my mind is of that of a 30 year old (as far as what I think I am capable of on my bike--if this makes sense). I guess what I'm struggling with is, yes, I love competing (mostly with myself, i.e., always wanting to beat my PR in Strava or wanting to obtain a QOM in my age group), but I don't know if I truly "need" a power meter at my age. My mind keeps colliding with "thinking" 30 years old vs "being" 65. I have a lot of respect for those (in the blog) opinions, and geez, I really need it now. This is something that has been toying with my mind for several days now, and I need to quiet it down. Thanks for any help.

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  2. #2
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    No one "needs" a power meter. I've done a couple of comparable tours to what you are planning, and I am not sure anyone (except maybe pro racers) had even heard of power meters back then. Sure, I guess they can help you become a stronger rider, but if you just want to increase endurance to enjoy your tour, the best way is just to get out and ride! Gradually increase your mileage and add back-to-back days. You have to toughen up your saddle area as well as your quads and other cycling muscles (core, etc.) If the tour will be hilly, you need to do hill work. It's really quite simple and no special tools are required unless you enjoy such gadgets.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  3. #3
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    Personally, I agree with Emily. I have done 3 tours with Trek Travel (that's who you mentioned in another post), and even on the intermediate tours, there was a wide range of speed. You don't have to ride together as a group on a tour. You can ride alone, or with other like minded people. While you do need to be able to ride 60 miles a day for 5 days, I would consider the level of trip, and the expectations for this. I am not a data geek; I used a HR monitor when I first started riding and all I found out was my HR is always higher than expected. I do better using RPE. Your coach needs to understand you are a recreational rider, you are not competing. If he is good, he will make a plan for you, based on this and the type of tour you are taking.
    I am about to do a trip in northern Spain. I have barely trained or ridden the # of miles I usually have at this time of the year, for a couple of reasons. But, I know I can do it... I will suffer a bit, but it's a tour. I am there to see stuff. I've done enough of these trips to know that you miss a lot, if you only concentrate on the riding.
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  4. #4
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    A power meter isn't necessary. It does give you more data to use in setting goals in the training for your ride though….since you’ve gotten a coach is a training plan being worked out? The data from a power meter can show things (especially weaknesses) that can help in the zone training that builds strength/endurance. It may just be what the coach likes to have to work out a plan, which is what a good cycling coach would do. I'd talk about it with the coach.

    Sometimes a well thought out training plan can give more motivation and self-challenge (regardless of age) too but as Emily wrote you can also just do rides that mimic the type of riding on the tour. Your coach should be able to guide you into a type of work-rest ratio that just works for that too. Does the tour have elevation maps of each days ride you can get?....or even daily route maps that you can use mapmyride to get elevations.


    Hoping whatever kind of training you do leads to a great time on the tour!!!!!....which tour?
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 06-23-2017 at 09:12 AM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  5. #5
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    I've ridden many 100 milers and many over that distance in a day. Some back to back, others were "fun rides". And I've never owned a power meter or power tap yet I was on par with a male co-worker who was younger and used powertap for his training.

    If you want to absolutely hit your maximum performance, then it might be worth it. But personally, I would have to agree with Emily. Start riding a terrain (up and down the hills) that is similar to the tour ride. At our age, ahem I'm up there too..., rest day is extremely important! When young you could over do it and bounce back in a day or two but when we get older, we just don't bounce back so quick. o listen carefully to your body. There are days when you just don't want to ride. It's okay to break from a training schedule. Your body may be telling you that it needs a break.

    One thing people forget is your diet. Eat a really healthy balanced diet. I still don't drink typical carbonated drink e.g. CocaCola, instead drink OJ, fruit juice, lots of plain WATER. OKay so I'll admit I drink too much Chai Latte and home made ginger beer naturally carbonated with plain old sugar.

    suggest you look into some high end sport drink NO GATORADE and the like but a real sport drink or mix. Don't expect to lose weight though...

    Yesterday's menu:
    brekkie: miso soup with tofu and scallion; chai latte
    Lunch: vegetable stir fry; tea
    din din: braised burdock root with carrots with bit of meat (gobo kinpira). lots of water

    Drank lots of water and unsweetened tea.

  6. #6
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    Yes, nutrition is important and it took me years to figure certain aspects of that out. What I know is that when I am doing the kind of riding a tour requires, I am ravenous and, while I do eat healthily, I eat a lot more, and I am often adding in snacks and desserts. The only sports mix I use is Skratch, and Nuun tabs for days a little less intense. Food on rides is either a Lara Bar or real food. And Shot Blocks when I am about to lose it!
    I am 63 and I do need more rest days. I have to be careful about other sports and how they will affect my legs, if I have a lot of cycling coming up. I stretch twice a day and use the foam roller daily. And getting enough sleep, too. I always have problems the first few days of a tour, in that we get there ahead, I am eating and drinking like I am on vacation, then hard riding, often in hot weather, a bad combo for me. You would think I would have learned, but each one of those things by itself isn't a problem, and I do tend to have a low threshold for stomach distress, heat, and really intense endurance efforts, when combined. So, as we leave tonight for an 8 day tour in Spain, I am hoping I can control myself. It's not going to be hot, so that will make a difference.
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  7. #7
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    Thank you, everyone, I greatly appreciate everyone's advice. The coach I have, is wonderful--although, I do have to remind him that I am not one of his junior riders preparing for a race on occasion. He is having me build my fitness this month, and then come July, he will concentrate on creating a schedule that will work with my life and goals. After reading everyone's comments, I don't see the sense in purchasing a power meter. Although, I do understand what Rebecca wrote as far as weaknesses.

    @Crankin,it is Trek Travel that I will be going with, and I am looking forward to it. I plan on doing the New Mexico tour ((it's a beautiful state), and actually will be more focused on the riding (but will take a small chunk of time for sightseeing).

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  8. #8
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    Sightseeing is built into the trips. But, I am done just "trying to get done" with the miles every day on this tour. We have often skipped places to see along the way, because I get anxious about finishing. A lot of Trek Travel trips have cultural stuff after the riding is done for the day and I recommend doing it. And you can't ignore the food, it's always fabulous, along with the scenery.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAS View Post
    He is having me build my fitness this month, and then come July, he will concentrate on creating a schedule that will work with my life and goals.
    that sounds like a great way to go!!!!!!!.....especially with good positive communication both ways..
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  10. #10
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    Your tour sounds fabulous, CAS. New Mexico is one of my favorite states. It seems to be overlooked a lot, but the scenery is spectacular! The only places I've ever ridden there is on trails in Albuquerque (paved) and Santa Fe (unpaved, rode our mountain bikes), but I have wonderful memories. Hope you'll post more about your tour once you've done it!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  11. #11
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    Sorry I can't offer any help on the training accessory stuff - no experience at all - but will echo what others have said and say there's no substitute for hours of riding. 60 miles a day for 5 days is a lot of hours on the bike. Absolutely no reason people our age (I'm 67) can't do it, though. Go for it, girl.

    What I can say is that I would love to hear about your tour when you do it. These days, I'm pretty much a stay at home biker, riding the same roads and trails over and over. I very much enjoy reading about those of you that combine travel with biking and get to bike in all these wonderful places.

  12. #12
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    I must admit, I thought I would be considered "crazy" when I mentioned I was more interested in the riding than site seeing, but I will occasionally look at the surrounding areas. I'm really looking forward to the tour, as I have heard wonderful things about the Trek Tours. I rode with my neighbor yesterday on a very hilly route, it was probably one of the best (in terms of exhilarating) rides I've done in years. The biggest climb had a fast descent, and I will state, the first half scared the living heck out of me, but once I relaxed (I willed myself) I somewhat enjoyed it. The road was narrow with a lot of traffic.

    I really like the coach I'm using, we have good chemistry--which to me, is half the battle. Will keep you up to date (and I promise not to over do it) on my progress.

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  13. #13
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    A power-meter to train for a tour?

    Snort! I think your coach needs a single-speed Surly with no computer at all to realize it's possible to cycle well without gadgetry. (Like my Krampus!).
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

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  14. #14
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    Sounds like you've gotten good advice so far. I also think the power meter is not needed for this. I had a coach for a while and she was able to use information from my Garmin, including heart rate and cadence. However, to be honest, I didn't feel like I got much faster... but it was interesting trying the intervals.

    I have done one self-guided tour with rides of mostly 40 miles per day. Just doing a lot of regular rides at that length was good training. You might not be able to replicate 60 miles / day for multiple days but I'm sure that once you have some basic cycling fitness for 30 miles, you can up that to back to back rides on a weekend with at least one 60 mile and one 40- 50 mile ride if you can't do 60 miles for two days. That should give you some idea of how you'll feel after two days.

    The tour sounds great- where in New Mexico? How much climbing will be involved? 60 miles flat is really different that 60 miles with 5000-7000 feet of climbing.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
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