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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-10-08, 10:50 AM   #1
kyhokie
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My first "big" ride - May 27 - tips

Title says it...I have my first big ride on the 27th of this month.

I am riding the Virginia Creeper Trail with a few friends. I know it is not a "tough" trail (at least I am told it is not).

This will be my first ride over 20 miles on my mountain bike. I am very excited and not too worried about being able to make it - but on the same token, I am a little worried.

What should I bring? Anything I wouldn't normally take on a 20-30 mile road ride? I usually only take water. On mountain trips I may take a snack bar or something.

I am in pretty good shape - and 6' 250#.

Any tips would be wonderful.

Thanks!
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Old 05-10-08, 02:57 PM   #2
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Snack, hydrate, and carry tubes AND a patch kit and a pump or more than one CO2 cartridge.......

Other than that, have a ball!
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Old 05-10-08, 03:01 PM   #3
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Make sure you have enough liquid in your body before you start and keep sipping as you ride. Take a few snacks (I use Cliff Bars) and enough water. Have fun and then write up a report so the rest of us can be jealous.
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Old 05-10-08, 05:59 PM   #4
Mazama
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Water and a cell phone.
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Old 05-10-08, 09:12 PM   #5
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I would take a bit of food, just in case. If this is your first longer ride, now's not the time to experiment, it's the time to figure out what your body needs. If it needs food, and you don't have it, you're in trouble. So take it, just in case.

My general rule of thumb: any ride longer than 2 hours (note, I didn't say anything about miles) I take food. I eat about 3-400 calories worth every hour after those first two. 'Course, this is just me, and your mileage may vary.

As far as water, again, it depends on how long you're gone. Hopefully, there's a store someplace where you can re-fill if needed. I go through one, 24oz bottle per hour, more if hot and/or humid.
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Old 05-10-08, 09:13 PM   #6
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^^ +1 on cell phone.

And a flat-changing kit, at least. This should be a permanent attachment to your bike, somewhere (mine's under my saddle).
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Old 05-11-08, 01:56 AM   #7
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Old 05-11-08, 07:14 AM   #8
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+1 on the food/snacks for rides longer than about 2 hours.
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Old 05-11-08, 07:33 AM   #9
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If you can swing it and don't already have them, put slicks on your mtb. Tools have been suggested, but your kit should include a small spoke wrench. Learn how to use it and always carry it in your saddle bag. I've been carrying one for over 20 years. I've needed it twice, including just last week. If I were going on your ride, I would take two 24-oz bottles of fluids. Put water in one and an electrolyte beverage in the other. I'm older, heavier, and live in hotter environs, so you may not need it, but better safe than sorry.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:39 AM   #10
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I had a great time on the Creeper Trail a few years ago. It's a packed gravel path, with a few sections that have looser gravel or ruts. Slicks would work, but knobbies would be better in general, especially on the downhill.

There's food in Damascus, and water at WhiteTop. Expect "No Service" on the cell most of the way. Bring two water bottles and food. You'll need it.

Are you riding from Damascus to WhiteTop? It's all uphill to the turnaround, 17 miles. Since it's a railroad grade, there's no steep sections, but the last few miles' grade will give you a workout. Then it's all downhill on the way back! (You will need to pedal part of the way down.) The path follows a wooded mountain stream, and crosses at least a dozen bridges. It's a scenery overload, with white water, forests, rhododendrons, and mountain and valley views. Don't rush the climb; stop and see the sights on the way. You'll be cruising on the downhill and probably won't stop.

There's a few shuttle services that take riders to the top and they ride down on one speed bikes. I got a few comments "you are riding UP there?"

Maybe you'll see the 60+ year old guy that rides the round trip from Abingdon, 70 miles. He was out there multiple times a week.

I did the full Abingdon to WhiteTop 70 mile round trip once. It was a pretty hard ride for me. The gravel surface takes some extra effort. A really great ride, though.

Edit -- The Damascus to WhiteTop climb is 1600 feet in 17 miles, 1.7% grade. It probably hits 3% or more near the top. It's a good workout.

We'll expect the ride report when you get back!

Last edited by rm -rf; 05-12-08 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 05-11-08, 09:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
Snack, hydrate, and carry tubes AND a patch kit and a pump or more than one CO2 cartridge.......
+1, to which I'll add: Know how to change a tire.
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Old 05-12-08, 10:34 PM   #12
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Most of the things that have been mentioned I currently carry - the exception being food. I currently do bring a small toolkit, pump, and tube on all my rides.

I will bring more water and add some snacks to this ride -- and a camera for the return report!
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