Tag Archives: cycling/spinning

Cycling – Building Up My Stamina Gradually

Cycling with Carole and Strava – Building Stamina

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“Next time? Longer ride.”  That was my goal after the 13 mile China Camp loop with Marin Cyclists on May 10th (see post below). On that ride I met a new cyclist friend and we’ve done two rides together. 14 miles. 20 miles yesterday.

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Loving the Strava app. It divides your ride into segments giving your personal best segments for the ride. It ranks you with other riders who’ve done the same segment, even narrowing it down by sex and age. It was motivating while I was riding, aiming to best myself.



China Camp Loop Ride with Marin Cyclists Club

So I overcame my fear of cycling by doing it again. After my nervous ride a week ago, it was either abandon the sport or go for it. Today I met up with a group of riders from the Marin Cyclist Club. Beginning at the park-and-ride, the leader took off. I hopped on my bike and followed. I knew if I didn’t hug keep up I would be doomed by fear and discouragement if I started to fall behind. First thing, we hit that steep downhill I WALKED down with my bike last week. No time for fear. I just held on and went for it. Then she turned onto a narrowish road with plenty of traffic and parked cars. I just stuck behind her fender and didn’t look anywhere else. The first big hill was a heavy breather filling me with doubt whether I’d make the whole ride, especially with the faster pace. But I got my stride. I conquered the uphills easily and felt the thrill of the downhill with a pace facer than my comfort zone. I did it! I succeeded in getting over my fear of riding in traffic and picking up speed downhill. It was a friendly ride, met some nice riders and felt exuberant when we finished.

Lesson: If something’s hard or scary for me, I might be able to overcome it with more practice/effort. Also, I learned strength training pays off…that’s what powered me up those hills.

Next challenge: Ok, you say. It was only an “A” ride (easiest, shortest, slowest for the Club). Next time? Longer ride.

Why does anyone care?: Aging is pretty scary so I find it a daily challenge to either give in to limitations or challenge them. I want to share my experiences and encourage others to challenge themselves.

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Here’s the ride on Strava. After a stop, I forgot to turn it back on when we finished the 13 mile loop.

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Skipped the Spin Class and Rode Outside

The doctor (and physical therapist) showed me of X-rays of my arthritic knees. They admonished me to stop the jumping rope, box jumps, and sprints I’ve been doing in exercise classes. Also, forget about my recently renewed interest in running. Waaaaaaa. I LOVE all these things. I’ve loved progressing in my running with dreams of running longer distances. The news really bummed me out.

Now I’m dabbling in lower impact cardio…back to spin class, some swimming, the rowing machine. I’m not falling in love, but I’m trying.


Today was fun (sort of). I planned to drop my car off for a service after spin class. Then I thought… I could bring my bike and ride the 11+ miles home instead. I was apprehensive. I haven’t done this type ride, in  high traffic areas, in a long time. My nervousness surprised me. I scouted out where the bike trail began. During the ride I went slow. I walked my bike across quite a few intersections. I worried about falling and sustaining a debilitating injury. The heat bugged me. My hands were numb and my feet hurt. What a baby, I thought. I also thought the only way to like it more and feel less nervousness (and pain) is to do it more.

On the bright side, I also loved the adventure, being out and about. The hills and straight-aways were easy because of my recent cardio and strength workouts. I loved the fresh air, the scenery, and interacting with people along the way.

Here’s something else I loved…using the app Strava. Isn’t this cool? It maps the ride, gives elevations, total minutes, minutes per mile, and more. Here’s my ride.

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Next to it is my old school tracking of the same ride…65 minutes on April 20, 2008. 17 minutes faster. I wasn’t much of a cyclist then, either, so it’s clear age and fear is slowing me down.

So now I’m at a crossroads. Step it up? Ride more to regain my confidence on the road? Ride again and beat that slow minutes-per-mile time? There’s always that beginners ride with the Marin Cyclists Club NEXT Saturday. (http://www.marincyclists.com/event-1925570?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=5/1/2015)

Or should this little ole lady stick to safer adventures? TBD. 







Spinning, cycling is great for the knees! How’s your pedal technique?



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As we age, spinning/cycling at the gym or outside is a great way to get that aerobic high we used to get from running when we no longer want to pound those joints. Another good reason to get on the bike is to help alleviate knee pain. Bad knees need strong glutes, quads, hamstrings,  and calves to minimize strain on them. Seeing the extent of arthritis in my knee during arthroscopic surgery, the doctor suggested that, as I go forward (into old age), I just limit activities. At the advice of another doctor, I lost weight and started cycling. I attended spin classes in the gym and bought a bike. I added lots of squats, lunges, and other leg work. Now, ten years later my knee pain is not only gone, I’m jump roping and doing all sorts of crazy things.

If you’re spinning in a class or riding on your own, good form is not only important for efficiency but for getting the strength you want in your legs. In the video link below, Dave Scott, Ironman World Champ, describes  how proper pedal technique makes all the difference.








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