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  1. #1
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Prepping for my 200 mile 2 day ride through eastern PA

    On June 25th and 26th I am riding from Central PA to the Philly area. A total distance of about 200 miles. 120 miles on day 1 and 80 miles on day 2. (I may have a SAG wagon which will definitely help). My route will take me through the anthracite coal region of PA. A friend of mine called my trip 'Anthracycling'. The coal region has several mountains. Anyway, the first 80 miles are what we call rollers with no significant mountain climb. However, mile 80 through 95 there is about 3000' of climbing(up one mountain down and then down into a coal mining town then back up another slighlty higher mountain). Then rollers for another 10 miles then some more climbing. (I know you Clydes in the west are probably laughing at the little hill climbs). A couple of weeks ago I did 60 miles on a rail trail with some fellow forum Clydes and I felt like I could ride further at the end. The first 45 miles were relatively flat on a rail trail. The last 15 were rollers with a few small hill climbs thrown in. My question is: Which will drain your energy quicker? A flat ride where you are continuosly pedaling to keep going or a longer hillier ride where you get to rest sometimes on the descents and other areas of the ride? My training so far has been a weekly mountain climb(18 miles which I try to get done in 60 minutes) with 1300' of climbing and longer flatter rides on the weekends with some climbing thrown in. I am thinking I should have enough energy (granted that I hydrate and eat properly) at mile 80 to make these climbs. Just looking for some input/tips from anyone who has been through a long mountainous ride.

    If any PA folks want to join me along the way here is the map:
    Anthracycling

    The last 20 miles or so will be on the Perkiomen and Skippack Trails which are not on the map yet.
    Last edited by BigUgly; 04-14-10 at 09:15 AM.

  2. #2
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    ...My question is: Which will drain your energy quicker? A flat ride where you are continuosly pedaling to keep going or a longer hillier ride where you get to rest sometimes on the descents and other areas of the ride?
    For me there is no question: I "burn out" much more quickly on the rolling hills. Last year I did back to back centuries (MS City to Shore and Seagull) on flat ground without any problems, but I had a much harder time completing Quad County metric and the Livestrong Philly in the hills of Montgomery County, PA. I never seemed to recover as much energy on the descents as I used climbing.

    Since moving, I've also discovered that there is big difference between a constant long climb and a series of rollers...the rollers take much more out of me.

    YMMV
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  3. #3
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    The route profile suggests that the more difficult part is between mile 70 and 80 (three summits), then a net elevatiuon loss until around mile 95 and then a climb to near mile 100. It's the closely spaced, back to back to back sort of climbing that wears on me since the downhills never seem to last long enough. Then again, one of the more taxing rides I lead every year is 69 miles of flat to every so slightly undulating in places in Cumberland County, NJ. It's taxing for the reason you note; it's constant pedalling.

    From the profile, it doesn['t appear that you have anything over 5%. And most of the hill sections average 3% or less. That should take less of a toll on your legs. If I were doing this ride, I would try to conserve a little between miles 40 and 70 (the 40-50 elevation loss looks like fun) and between 80 and 95.

    Good riding. It looks like an adventure. But one word of caution. Be careful on 147 through Nothumberland. I drove through there a few years ago on the way to a backpacking trip. Crazy traffic, including a lot of trucks, at the intersection of 147 and U.S. 11 and through Northumberland itsels.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Hills are more draining.

    I'll see you, God and my knees willing, on the Perkiomen Trail!

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    3000' in a single climb is nothing to sneeze at.
    The average 300k course with my randonneuring club has ~9000' of climbing on it. Some have as much as 12,000' and climb some long steady mountain grades like you describe. 20 miles or more of constant climbing. Others are just steep and ugly (10 - 12% grade for 3 miles) at some horrible point in a ride... Like 180km into a 400km course.

    There's only one way to handle them, IMO. Grit your teeth, gear down, and deal with them.
    Since I started riding long distances with the Seattle Randos, I've learned that if you're clothed properly, hydrated and well fed you can ride through danged near anything. A hill, no matter how big or small, is simply another opportunity to challenge yourself. Since you're riding with a SAG, and there's no time limits (with the exception of how much time you feel like riding each day), you're not obligated to attack these hills. Back off to a comfortable pace and take a break if you need to. Stop by the roadside and have a 5 minute stretching/snack session under a shade tree. In randonneuring, it's not uncommon to see riders on 400km+ rides just stopping along the roadside for a 10 minute ditch nap. I'm not saying to do that, but definitely take a sit down in the grass for a bit if you think you need one.
    The objective on a long ride (for me, at least) is to a) finish the distance in the allotted time, and b) have fun with it. Sometimes, having fun with it means doing those things which other "serious" riders might frown upon: Stop to take pictures of interesting signs, buildings, etc. Take a *gasp* unscheduled break and enjoy a snack while looking out over some nice scenery. Go jump in a lake, (literally! Watched a guy do this to cool off on a hot day. He said 'hold on a minute', then just took off his shoes and dove on in!) Whatever you need to do to keep your spirits and energy up for the next section of the ride.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  6. #6
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    Sent you a PM.

    Be sure to take a photo of the Miner statue in front of the Turkey Hill Mini-mart at 209/901 intersection (At the bottom of the looong straight downhill out of Llewellyn / West West Terrace.)
    Additionally, I hope you get the chance to pay homage to “America’s Oldest Brewery” in Pottsville – The Yuengling Brewery is a few blocks up Mahantongo Street off Centre street (901) in down town Pottsville.

    Looking forward to the trip report. Enjoy!!
    You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. - Robin Williams

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  7. #7
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    Sorry --Double Post
    You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. - Robin Williams

    Never be frightenend to walk out of step with others because you will walk on ground no one else touches

    Remember, hard work pays off later but procastination pays off now!

    My Rides: '06 Giant OCR Limited & '95 GT OUTPOST

  8. #8
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoste View Post
    For me there is no question: I "burn out" much more quickly on the rolling hills. Last year I did back to back centuries (MS City to Shore and Seagull) on flat ground without any problems, but I had a much harder time completing Quad County metric and the Livestrong Philly in the hills of Montgomery County, PA. I never seemed to recover as much energy on the descents as I used climbing.

    Since moving, I've also discovered that there is big difference between a constant long climb and a series of rollers...the rollers take much more out of me.

    YMMV
    I have been wanting to do the Quad County Metric but just can't seem to fit it into my schedule(it's 3 hours away from me and I have 3 kids that are involved in spring sports). I grew up in those sections of Montgomery County, PA where the Livestrong ride goes through and I know what you mean. I did the Univest Cyclosportif(60K) last fall and my legs were fried at the end from the hills but I had a lot of fun with it because I treated it like a race because we were being timed. The best part was I passed a bunch of skinny guys the last mile to the finish line.

  9. #9
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Good riding. It looks like an adventure. But one word of caution. Be careful on 147 through Nothumberland. I drove through there a few years ago on the way to a backpacking trip. Crazy traffic, including a lot of trucks, at the intersection of 147 and U.S. 11 and through Northumberland itsels.
    I drove the route through Northumberland last week and noticed the crazy traffic at that intersection. I think I should be able to divert into the town streets and probably bypass that intersection.

  10. #10
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Hills are more draining.

    I'll see you, God and my knees willing, on the Perkiomen Trail!
    I hope everything works out with your knee. I know injuries can be frustrating so don't let it get you down. Just keep plugging away at rehab or what ever else the docs tell you do and before you know it you will be back on the bike riding centuries again. I hope to see you on the Perky Trail!

  11. #11
    I Ride, Therefore I Am BigUgly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    3000' in a single climb is nothing to sneeze at.

    In randonneuring, it's not uncommon to see riders on 400km+ rides just stopping along the roadside for a 10 minute ditch nap. .
    I think I may have mislead you. My map is telling me it is a total of 3000' of climbing on day one. There are several large climbs day one. I don't mind climbing and kind of use it to determine where my fitness level is but after 70 miles on my legs it seems a bit daunting. I may just take a 'ditch nap' 5 miles or so before the climb, however I may not wake up for a few hours

  12. #12
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
    I think I may have mislead you. My map is telling me it is a total of 3000' of climbing on day one. There are several large climbs day one. I don't mind climbing and kind of use it to determine where my fitness level is but after 70 miles on my legs it seems a bit daunting. I may just take a 'ditch nap' 5 miles or so before the climb, however I may not wake up for a few hours
    My method is to break the ride down into little segments and don't pay attention to how far you've gone, or have left overall. Just concentrate on your current segment.
    Do they have a cue sheet with the turns and mileages listed on it? That's how I do it, and I reset my computer at every turn. Maybe the next segment is only 0.3mi before the next turn... Maybe it's a long highway stretch of 18 miles. Either way; I treat each one as an individual segment.
    Next bit is a 10% grade for 1.5 miles? Doesn't matter that we already did 35 miles. Or that there's another 30 left after the hill.
    Live in the now.
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