Touring - Racing and touring bikes question
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05-17-08, 11:12 AM
I just received my touring bike, an 08 Jamis Aurora, and I know I need to put on a lot of miles before I begin the Transam in July. But I don't want to. The problem is, a month before that I bought a Specialized Tarmac Elite, and I'm having trouble putting it down. My question is, is it bad to switch between bikes when training, given the considerable differences in the geometry between the Aurora and the Tarmac? If I spend the next month and a half on the Tarmac and then jump on the Aurora for three months after only putting a few miles on it (100-200), am I going to wind up with back pain or other discomfort?
I have the same problem. It's just a drag to get on the slow steel thing when I can get on the fast carbon thing. I'm not particularly worried myself.
Riding is riding. Make sure both bikes fit, make sure you're comfortable on the Jamis when it's loaded, and ride whichever bike suits your fancy. Some mountain biking might sharpen up your balance and overall bike handling skills, too. If you're going cross country, you should have enough mechanical skills to adjust seat position, stem height, etc. as the tour progresses.
You could always do your grocery shopping, commuting, bad weather riding and dirt road riding on the Jamis, then switch to the Specialized for those fast workout rides.
05-17-08, 01:30 PM
I usually ride the bike I'm going to tour with. That way I'm used to the riding position and all the little nuances of the bike. Especially the saddle.
05-17-08, 02:59 PM
I've heard of lots of people who just went on their first (long) tour without any prior experience, and they adapted on the first few days on the road. I've taken several one-day tours, and learned that I wanted to change some things. Do as you like; it sounds like things'll work out.
05-17-08, 03:47 PM
I'd say put some miles on the tour bike prior.
One ailment that some riders get at the start of a tour are sore achilles. Usually having to do with position and getting used to the different load. Better to get some butt time on the tour bike.
Or think of it like swinging a lead bat in the on-deck circle: do a couple fast rides with the unloaded Jamis. Riding is riding. Speed is over-rated (well, it's easy for an old fart to talk like that!)
05-17-08, 04:05 PM
Three of us did the TransAmerica last year. Two of us had hardly ridden ANY bike much leading up to the tour. We all did fine. The one who started off the weakest was kicking our butts by about day 10.
On a ride that long just take it easy the first week or two. That is the smart thing to do whether you are in shape and acclimated to the bike or not.
That said, it is nice to ride the tour bike enough to have it somewhat dialed in and to be acclimated to the riding position. Even that isn't absolutely necessary though.
05-17-08, 04:07 PM
IMHO, training on any bike is fine, but do make sure you put enough miles on the Jamis before your journey to work out any quirks that might pop up.
05-17-08, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I'll stick with the Specialized for 2-3 days a week of hard riding, and use the Jamis for local riding and once a week cruising around unloaded/loaded riding.
05-18-08, 07:10 AM
My bikes are very different in their fit and the way they ride. I don't feel any problems changing from one to the other when I am just out training. I do recommend that you do some dedicated training with the new bike before you depart (more than 100-200 miles). I would load it up just the way you intend to configure it for the TransAm and train that way. I actually stuff my panniers with old clothes, books, etc. to get the wieght about right. This kind of training wiil matter to your experience. I ride with my touring configuration for at least two months before I depart on a long tour. Just my .02.
I use my touring, grocery getting, commuting, do most everything on my old mid-90's Specialized CrossRoads bike.
Then if I'm going to do a century or something like that I pull out my Raleigh road bike. It's so much lighter and faster I have no problem transitioning to it nor do I have any problems riding it. I still prefer my Specialized CrossRoads as my daily bike as I can load it down or hit a pothole without fear of damage, which the road bike could never survive.
05-18-08, 09:25 AM
If you ride the touring bike enough to get the fit and position dialed in, you'll be fine...though I suggest giving it a couple of milk runs loaded too.
05-18-08, 12:14 PM
I wouldn't worry too much. My training for tours often includes mountain bike rides. As long as you're riding it should pay off. If I was training on an unloaded bike (which is what I usually do) I would try to raise my mileage, and look for some hills. I think 30 miles on a fully loaded tourer is probably equivalent to 50 or 60 on an unloaded, lightweight bike. (I have no scientific basis for that opinion, by the way.) Maybe you should get on your touring bike for the last few weeks and carry some weight.
I may be not be the best person to comment, because I don't think I've ever been really "ready" for the start of a tour. I usually suffer for about three days before I get into the swing. For that reason I usually schedule short days for the first three, and often put a rest day after day two or three, so I can recuperate from the initial shock. It works for me. On the other hand, I've suffered much less when I at least tried to get in shape prior to a tour.
One time I wasn't able to train at all, and it was bad! I had had hernia surgery prior to leaving. By the time I was cleared by my doctor to start unrestricted riding again, there were only about 2 weeks before I was scheduled to leave, and I was still working (very little time to ride.) Then it took about a week for the person who was driving me to the starting point to get there, and a few days more of visiting relatives before I could actual pedal away. The first day of riding was 26 miles and it felt long! The second was 50 and I suffered. The third day was 80 miles and it was agony! I decided to only go about 10 miles the fourth day and then rest, but when I had gone the 10 miles I was feeling good so I kept going and rode about 45 that day. I nevered suffered unduly for the rest of 4 weeks of riding.
In contrast, the training program you describe sounds infinitely superior. I think you'll be ready. Just remember that you won't be used to it at first, so you might want to lower your expectations for the first 2 or 3 days.
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