24. Graduating to cycling +100km Sunday rides in a few months
Unlike other cardio vascular sports such as jogging, swimming and kayaking, which may require many years to advance from novice to a high level of competence and performance, cycling requires a materially shorter time to progress to riding +100km hilly rides with Muggaccinos.
Five factors enable most adults who are not obese to commence cycling Muggaccinos Sunday rides within a month of obtaining a bike, and finishing 100km+ rides within three or four Sunday outings:
(a) Low impact.
(b) Most adults have sufficient "base" fitness, leg strength and enthusiasm to progress - age is not a barrier.
(c) Collegiate environment with lots of enthusiastic fellow cyclists ("team players") urging new starters onto distances they previously had thought beyond them.
(d) Muggaccinos Sunday ride format enables new cyclists to participate early by riding shorter distances, say 50km to 70km, and building up to +100km rides.
(e) Low gearing reduces the effort to climb steep hills.
Re (a) above - Cycling is low impact
All seasoned cyclists can relate to trudging up a "killer climb" in their lowest rear cog which during the arduous ascent they thought that climb had exhausted them. Yet 20 mins or 2 hours later, they are slogging up another "killer climb". And this can continue all day or for several concurrent days.
The Tour de France goes for 20 ride days (only 2 rest days interspersed) averaging >200km a day and crosses the Alps and the Pyrenees at +40km p/h ave speed. Eddie Merckx "The Exterminator", Lance Armstrong, Bernard Hinault, each dominated the Tour de France winning 17 annual Tour de France events between them since WW2.
Yet the history of marathons such as the Olympic Marathon, London Marathon, Boston Marathon, Rotterdam Marathon etc highlight that the very best marathon runners (eg Haile Gebrselassie, Carlos Lopez, Alberto Salazar, Steve Jones) only had up to 3 world class marathons in them, whereupon they had "burnt-out" [ie, they could no longer run winning times averaging 3 min kilometres]. Running on hard surfaces takes its tole on the skeleton, rubber bands which hold those tent polls together and the shock absorbers (ie. intervertebral discs in the back and meniscus cartilage in the knees).
The Melbourne Cup has been won by horses from 3 to 8 years old over 145 years. There have been many great Melbourne Cup winners. Very few have won it twice, and none have won it 3 times. True a champion thoroughbred is handicapped by a weight penalty. However, the sheer enormity of winning a Melbourne Cup over 2 miles takes a lot out of most winners, whereupon many elite thoroughbreds cannot reproduce that performance again.
The fact that cycling is low impact has enabled the afore-mentioned champions (Merckx, Hinault and Armstrong) to dominate a truly gruelling sport for many, many years whereas the elite foot runners have not enjoyed that luxury.
The same low impact reason which has enabled bicycle champions to stand on the winners podium many times over many years, also enable enthusiastic "rookies" to inject more time and energy to fast-track muscle development and aerobic capacity, than most other cardiovascular sports, in particular jogging.
Re (b) above - Most adults have sufficient "base" fitness, and enthusiasm to progress, and others without "base" fitness are prepared to cross train - age is not a barrier
Sean aka Smurf is vision impaired (less than 1% sight) which understandably has materially limited Sean's capacity to participate in cardio vascular sports and develop normal muscle density. In May 2005 Sean e-mailed Phil aka Scribe asking if Phil would be Sean's pilot to steer a tandem, because cycling is unique enabling vision impaired to participate in a mainstream sport, as the vision impaired relies on another's eyes. Phil had never ridden a tandem. Sean had a 20 year old borrowed tandem in his garage. After two training sessions, three weeks after Sean had asked Phil for help, Peter aka Yamaha acted as Sean's pilot on the 93km Duffys Forest, West Head, Warriewood, Wakehurst ride. Within 8 months, Sean had ridden over a dozen +100km Sunday rides with Phil as his pilot, the longest being 126km. Because Sean's exercise regime up until cycling had understandably been restricted to walking with a cane, Sean needed to materially build-up his leg muscles and cardiovascular which he willingly did on a stationary bike. As well as on a few training rides with Phil. Where there is a will, there is often a way!!!
Age is not a barrier to performing extraordinary feats on a push bike. Ann aka ToothFairy has cycled with Muggs for 10 years. Ann is 60. Each April for the last 7 years, Ann has cycled the Engadine Rotary Club "Hornsby to Surfers Paradise" week long charity ride, together with approx 90 other endurance cyclists (majority over 50), averaging 145km a day with no rest days and a longest day of 160km.
Re (c) above - Collegiate environment with lots of enthusiastic fellow cyclists ("team players") urging new starters onto distances they previously had thought beyond them
Cycling with a group of like-minded adventurers has had an infectious impact on many new cyclists, whereupon most have been amazed at their rapid progression. Many have completed arduous endurance events within 12 months of taking up the sport such as the annual -
* 165km Fitz's Classic in Canberra NSW; and
* 200km Audax Alpine Classic in Bright Vic.
Tony aka LateStarter
is 69. Tony
didn't take-up cycling until he was 65. Within 12 months LateStarter had
completed a 200km
Audax Alpine Classic
in Bright Vic
which scales Falls Creek, Mt Buffalo and
both sides of Tawonga Gap. This pre-eminent 200km event contains 4 tough
These four marvellous climbs aggregate 3,700m of pedal pumping, quad draining, elevation.
Tony has completed a few 24 hour ultra-endurance rides in Victoria where in 26 hours he was on the bike for >18 hours. In Aug 2007 Tony headed off for Paris Brest Paris to cycle 1,200km in <90 hours.
Patently it takes a lot of stoic determination to complete such seemingly difficult endurance events within a short time of taking-up cycling. However, there has to be a reason that many people, who had led largely sedentary lifestyles, achieve on a bicycle so much so quickly. Entering an environment characterised by regular, rigorous, challenging, competitive exercise within a collegiate team environment comprising lots of positively minded individuals who walk the talk, is a primary catalyst.
Re (d) above - Muggaccinos Sunday ride format with regular 30 min Nosh Stops, enables new cyclists to participate by riding shorter distances, say 50km to 70km, and build-up to +100km rides
Social aspects of cycling explains 'inter alia' that Muggaccinos 30+ different Sunday rides include 2, 3 or occasionally 4 x 30 min Nosh Stops to bung on the Nose Bag, Suck some Drugs and Shoot the Breeze with other hill climbing aficionados. These regular 30 min breaks provide a chance for the heart rate to slip down. The associated chats with other positively-minded cyclists provide much of the impetus to be there in the first place, and to continue on.
The majority of Muggaccinos Sunday rides provide a Shorter and Longer Start Point. The Shorter Start Point enables a ride of between 55km and 70km which is scheduled to arrive at the 1st Nosh Stop contemporaneously with cyclists who start from the Longer Start Point. For example, 25% of Muggaccinos' rides head north where Mt. White is the 1st Nosh Stop. The Longer Start Point is Nth Turramurra involving a 47km 1st Leg to Mt White. The Shorter Start Point is Hornsby involving a 35km 1st Leg to Mt White. New cyclists often turn around at Mt. White after a 30 min re-fuel, together with other regulars who have a limited leave pass, with the other 50% cycling further North.
Many other Muggaccinos Sunday rides enable new cyclists to skip an out/back leg within the route or catch a train back to the Start Point after approx 65km. More information at Ride Start Locations.
Re (e) above - Low gearing reduces the effort to climb steep hills
Gearing to climb steep hills explains how you can get lower gearing cost-effectively if you need it. Because with low gears, you can climb a wall, and live to spruik about it. Or more importantly, climb another wall.
The above 5 reason can enable many adults to fast-track their improvement and continue cycling 100km day rides into their 70s. Harry aka KayakMan is 75 and recently completed the 200km Audax Alpine Classic in 11 hr : 5 min.