New 49yr old with basic questions

Forums Mountain Bike Forum New 49yr old with basic questions

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    • #506341

      Hello, everyone!
      I have an 80’s bmx and 90’s moto cross background, that being said I’m no stranger to Ramps, dirt etc. but…….fast forward to today I’m overweight and out of shape. After much research I just ordered a trek rosco 8. The bike will be here this spring. Now the last few days I’ve been trying to ride a diamond back sporting goods store mtb bike on city asphalt bike paths. After a few 5mile rides my butt hurts so bad, my legs ache constantly, I’m not giving up.
      Question 1: should I get in better shape before hitting real trails? The skill doesn’t bother me as much as my body.  Or is it physically too demanding at this point? I’m not to far away from griffin park in Indiana

      question 2: Since I’m going from couch to bike after 20 plus yrs, should I continue my 5miles day and ride through the pain?  I can’t emphasize enough how much it hurts to sit on the bike lol

      please add to anything I might need to know on my new lifestyle change! Thanks!

    • #506505

      Hey Mtbjennings,

      I’m starting out as a somewhat overweight 61 yo. Just got my first real TREK (Marlin 7-2021) and started commuting as a way to work out. I’ve done ‘some’ minor trails but barely beginner stuff. The one key to comfort is all the contact points as one being our seats or saddles. I can’t tell you which is best for you and that may change as you get more fit. My stock saddle is fine for now as I’ve done only a few 5+ milers with breaks (my youngest son takes a lot of breaks while riding.) along the way.

      From all that I’ve read and YouTubed, getting the right saddle for you is key to comfort. Also getting ‘sized’ for one’s bike is important. The wrong geometry and you will always be miserable no matter how good your physical status. Your local Trek shop should be able to help and there are loads of YT vids to watch along this line. Good luck to both of us in our getting healthy and MTB adventures. I’m jealous of your Roscoe already but I’m loving my M7.

    • #506513

      I will preface by saying that you should know the difference between pain and soreness. Soreness is good – you are working your muscles. Pain is bad – can lead to real injury.

      So I am heavy but have been riding for 4 years pretty consistently. I have lost no weight but have been in good shape at times. I had been riding to work last year. 50-100 times 13 mile round trip. Now I didn’t lose weight because I was so hungry that I would eat a meal at 3am just to be able to get back to sleep. But I was in good shape.

      Regardless of how much skill you have being in shape makes riding more fun. When you get to the top of the hill and feel good, the ride down is the pay off. If you feel bad, the ride down is just survival.

      Not in great shape now due to some injuries and no reason to ride to work. On a recent ride I was looking forward to a series of seven tabletop jumps to work on. They were on the last trail of the day. I cramped immediately before them. Had I been in shape, I would have done them twice. They were the pay off for a 15 mile ride.

    • #506578

      I would start with walking/hiking during the cool time of the day. Can you walk for one hour five times per week? In the beginning, you don’t need to walk fast or far and just go along at an easy pace. If an hour is too long do less but do your best to get out five times per week. Do that for a few weeks and then increase your pace and walk faster. When you get to where you can walk fast for a whole hour and you are getting out 5 days a week, then you are ready to start cycling. If you can’t walk fast for an hour and do it frequently without feeling overly sore or tired, you are not ready for cycling.

      Once you start cycling, start slow and go easy for short amounts of time. It’s better to go out more often on shorter, easier, rides than to do occasional, long, hard, fast rides. Build up your strength and endurance slowly to avoid injury. Try to ride for a minimum of one hour every other day-three times per week. Once you get to where you can do that without being overly sore or tired, then you are ready to ride farther, harder, longer, or more often.

      Also, see your doctor to make sure you don’t have any health issue that would keep you from vigorous activity. Also, make sure your bike fits right. Listen to your body. If your heart is beating very hard, or you’re out of breath, or your sweating heavily, or something really hurts, it’s time to slow down or stop. Exercise should leave with a kind of soreness that actually feels good like you’re feeding your muscles. It shouldn’t require ice packs and pain meds.

    • #506593

      It’s never too late – i.e. you’re never too old or out of shape – to ride!  I’ve come across guys who are in their 70’s riding very demanding trails.  You just need to give your body a chance to adapt.

      When you say “I can’t emphasize how much it hurts to sit on the bike” it makes me think one of two things: either you have saddle sores and/or your glutes are very sore.  The former is a tissue issue and is best addressed by wearing a chamois under your shorts (or at least an anti-chafing cream).  The latter is a muscle issue which will improve over time but in the short term I’d suggest taking a couple of Advil.  It’s important to address this issue as riding comfort is critical.  It’s one thing to feel discomfort on a big climb or riding a tech section – that’s expected – but it’s entirely something else to have discomfort just getting on the bike!

      Riding is great but it’s most enjoyable as part of a (generally) healthy lifestyle.  As @bikenerd stated start slow (think easier effort and shorter distances) and work you way to slightly harder/longer rides as you become more comfortable.  I’d higher recommend tracking your rides with your phone as it will be gratifying to look back and actually see the progress you’re making.

      I am also a big proponent of cross-training.  It doesn’t having to be complicated but going for walks/hikes – especially in hilly areas – will help build your fitness.  And I think everyone should do strength training at least twice a week.  Doing 3-4 sets of squats (using just your bodyweight) and deadlifts (with light dumbbells) will work wonders within a month.

      Let us know how it goes.

    • #506643

      Maybe go over to a bike shop and have them fit you for a saddle. Yeah, start off slow, maybe do some hiking on other days.

    • #506657

      Thanks every One for the pointers and encouragement, my butt is felling better (muscle related) and My legs are on again off again as to feeling good lol  I’m so looking forward to riding trails and doing drops! Ohhh yeah, my wife, that’s never rode a bike (to say) just purchased a trek marlin!!  Thanks again for the tips, keep em coming!

    • #506756

      First, get a pair of padded riding shorts, they will help. Second everyone’s sit bones are different, generally a more expensive seat will be better (provide the extra expense isn’t just about being light weight) but not if it just doesn’t fit. Here is a link to top rated seats.–best-mountain-bike-saddles-reviewed-and-rated.html

      I like WTB saddles and here is the link to their fitting system.

      As far as your legs, make sure your seat is the right height, to low puts extra strain on knees and legs. Also best to find what is your comfort pedal rate, if your legs are getting tired but you are not out of breath, go down a gear and peddle faster, if you are out of breath before you legs get tired, try a higher gear. If they both  give out about the same time, you are probably doing it right, and you just have work up slowly to longer distances. I’m 63 and have been back riding mountain bikes for 5 years, the prior twenty years all my two wheeled adventures included an engine. When if first started back, I have worked up to 10 to 15 miles three or four times a week, with an occasional 20+ mile day, but if I take off more than a couple weeks, I’m back to anything over 4 miles makes me sore. It is just a matter of finding your pace, and doing as much as is fun, the rest will come.

    • #507475

      Check your bike fit, listen to your body, don’t ignore pain, which is different from sore muscles. Take your time building up to longer rides, more frequent shorter rides may be better than longer rides that require a longer recovery period. Riding a bike should be fun.

    • #507842

      Hey mtbjennings. I’m chiming in here late but just want to join in on the encouragement. Good for you for getting on the bike. Should you stop? In general? Hell no!  But maybe you should take a day or two off in between rides to let your body recover. You need more recovery time than 20 somethings. I too started riding when I was 49 or 50 years old. It was certainly tough in the beginning, but eight years later I’m still riding with a passion.  Even though it hurt at first, I loved it. So I knew it was the right thing for me. I came from a running background, so I wasn’t in bad shape in generally, but I quickly learned that I was not in biking shape, or maybe better stated, mountain biking shape. Mountain biking is rigorous. My weak spot was my hips. They would just burn in their weakness during difficult parts of rides and towards the end of rides in fatigue. I think all the running I had done had thinned down and weakened my core. The first two years, every time I advanced my distance on rides, I would feel the burning in my hips.  BUT I stuck with it and finally got past it.  Today, I still do not feel like I’m a strong rider, but I love to ride.  I love the exercise, the downhill thrill, the technical challenges, seeing the beauty of nature, the adventure, exploration in the backcountry, the solitude, riding with friends, riding alone, … I could go on. If you love it, don’t give up.  Instead, pace yourself on distance and also giving your body recovery days.  In time you’ll get to where you want to be … well, at least close probably. =)  Ride on!

    • #508096

      Hey OP and Hi everyone, was just browsing and your post inspired me to join !

      Also 49, also from 80’s BMX (DP Firebird) and also anticipating a sore posterior from the saddle on the GT mtb I just ordered which is set to arrive sometime later this century.

      Looking forward to hearing any more tales of yours and everyone else’s 2 wheel exploits.

      Good luck especially with the fitness improvements….. I am in exactly the same boat.

      Hi again from Newquay Cornwall to everyone……

    • #508420

      These riders know their stuff! Have to agree about good and bad days. Under use of the saddle and over use of the saddle are same end result which is discomfort. I ride year round and never miss at least one ride a week however lack of saddle time brings on soreness all over so just expect until you find a groove and pace of fitness that works. Biggest part is to keep riding consistently if you can.

    • #508688

      Totally agree Killer Climb staying on the bike weekly year around is critical.  I had a streak of 20 months in a row of at least two rides a week going until this past month.  My rear shock has finally given up the ghost and had to replace it.  I couldn’t get a new shock for forever it seemed.  So I’ve been off the bike for five weeks now.  I know it’s going to hurt getting started again.

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