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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    What is the standard for stops during long rides?

    I see people on the forum talking about doing long rides, for example going 100 miles on a ride. Does that mean that the rider is pedaling non stop for 100 miles straight? Or are there breaks involved during the ride? If so, how frequent are the breaks and how long in duration? Do you stop on the side of the road and stand over your frame for a minute or so or do you get off and spend five minutes on a bench?

    I'm planning on attempting my first 40 mile ride in the morning and trying to get a good idea of what stops should be involved, if any.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    it depends on the group
    but there would be very few groups
    who ride 100 miles with no breaks

    how and where you stop
    depends on where you are riding
    if there is a bench
    sit on the bench
    otherwise
    stretch and take a drink and a bite
    and keep going

    if you are riding alone
    as i often do
    stop whenever the hell you feel like it
    the only things that limits the number of breaks i take
    are mosqitoes and black flies

  3. #3
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    Last autumn, I rode 40 miles on the Allegheny River Trail. I stopped briefly here and there to take photos, admire the scenery and observe the wildlife and take a swig of water. Stopped a little longer to talk to some locals. Stopped and ate lunch overlooking Indian God Rock. So, yeah, stop whenever and wherever you want - enjoy the ride!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Ok, I wasn't sure if you stop for over X minutes that nullifies the long ride or splits it into two shorter rides

  5. #5
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    Ok, I wasn't sure if you stop for over X minutes that nullifies the long ride or splits it into two shorter rides
    No such thing as a nullification. But, if you stop for an hour, have a big sit down lunch, I think you find you feel like total crap when you get back on the bike. That's a reason to limit the stops to 10-15 minutes or less, keep those muscles loose and keep moving. My solo centuries always seem to involve a lunch & coffee in the turn-around town, and I regret that decision for the first hour back on the bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member awfulwaffle's Avatar
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    Like others have said, I think it depends on quite a few factors, to which I'd like to add environmental conditions. When a few friends and I biked from Milwaukee to Madison last summer (~95 miles according to my cyclocomputer), we took 4 planned 15 minute breaks, another impromptu break when one of my friends went down on the gravel, a 1 hour lunch break. There was a real nasty headwind/crosswind when we were in the flatlands which really wore us down even though we were taking turns leading, and it was also pushing 100 degrees. On the way back, we only took 2 15 minute breaks and a ~40 minute lunch, because it was much cooler and the wind wasn't nearly as bad.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Agree with what others have said. Take breaks as you need them. I rode 60 miles last weekend and took 3 breaks total; two short bathroom/water breaks of about 5 or 10 minutes, and one longer 40 minute break for lunch. The week before, I did a 50 mile ride with just two breaks, one of which was a lunch break. Agree with the sentiment not to take too long of a lunch break or to eat too heavy a meal. I did this on the ride two weeks ago and felt it for at least a half hour after eating, though after that I got a big burst of energy the last 10 miles of the ride. As to whether to stop for a minute or two over your bike, I prefer to just sit up and pedal slower while taking a drink from my water bottle than to actually stop, but that is me.

  8. #8
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Classically, during a Century, the sag stops are every 20 miles or so... a stop should consist of pulling in (setting your bike down), grabbing some food (pretzels, orange slice, 1/4 banana etc) and then pulling out (unless you need to use the restroom). Half way is a lunch stop where you can spend 20 minutes or so... some people like to spend alot of time at all sags some people (like me) as little as possible.

    On a 50 mile or less ride, I have no formal stops. Some stops come normally - such as traffic lights etc. or just a nice place to pull off and take in some fuel (Shok Bloc, pretzels, nuts etc) or shoot a picture. I know quite a few people who really won't stop at all.

    But I have learned to take a stop when it's needed. It doesn't have ot be at any set point. If the ride is easy and flat I'll just keep pedaling. If I am mountain biking and have been grinding up a long hill and my legs and butt are burning, I may just stop quickly for a posture break. That means like you said, just pulling over and standing over the saddle, I seldom if ever, put the bike down and park myself although if the scenary is nice, I might.

    Everyone has their own schedule, wants and needs. What I do may not work for you... just go out and ride and see how it goes. About long breaks... on my first century pulled into lunch and the spread was awesome. Home bakes goodies, all sorts of sandwich fixings, fresh strawberries and cookies and it was all "free". I think I spent an hour at lunch gorging myself. Oh good gosh what was I thinking? That first hour after lunch was brutal. I've learned, ever though a lunch is provided to eat sparingly. I now make a sandwich, eat half and nibble on the rest as needed. I really try to limit the amount I take in at any one stop.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 08-09-13 at 10:31 AM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    When I ride unsupported imperial centuries, I plan the ride to stop every 25 miles. The first stop is about five minutes and designed to stretch out a little bit and eat something. At the half-way turn-around point, I'll goof off for about 15-20 minutes and eat something more substantial. Maybe chat with someone, take a picture, etc. At the 75 mile marker, I'll usually eat something small and purchase something cold to drink then and also re-fill my water bottles.

    For metric centuries, I'll plan to stop every 20 miles to eat or drink something. Those stops will be pretty short, on the order of five minutes. The last one might be ten minutes. For rides less than 40 miles, I don't stop, (except for traffic control situations - lights/stop signs).

    You have to discover what works best for you. Everybody is different. We're not racing, so take as much time and as many breaks as you want. Unless you are in some serious training, cycling should be fun.
    Deut 6:5

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    For this ride I'm going to be on a looped trail that's about 9 miles around. I was planning on doing 4-5 loops depending on what my body says. Thanks for all of the info.

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    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    For this ride I'm going to be on a looped trail that's about 9 miles around. I was planning on doing 4-5 loops depending on what my body says. Thanks for all of the info.
    Exactly! Listen to your body. You'll know when to take a break. Please let us know how it goes.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
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  12. #12
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    I try and stop every 10-15 miles and eat a little someing(I go about 10mph). I try to keep my stops under 5 min, their wise you can get lactic acid build up. I also try to keep moving around while off the bike.

    i should mention I ride alone 99% of the time.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    I was planning on eating before the 40 mile ride and only drinking water during. Then eating after.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMAMRA View Post
    I try and stop every 10-15 miles and eat a little someing(I go about 10mph). I try to keep my stops under 5 min, their wise you can get lactic acid build up. I also try to keep moving around while off the bike.

    i should mention I ride alone 99% of the time.
    This is basically what I have learned to do regardless the length of the ride. Ride for 10 miles or an hour, which ever comes first. Stop on bike. Rest butt, eat something, drink lots of water and if its hot take a Salt Stick. Less than 5 minutes. Access the sun screen situation and apply if needed.

  15. #15
    Senior Member slowride454's Avatar
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    I generally only ride organized centuries. I usually skip the first stop because I am not hungry and don't need to refill bottles yet. By the second stop I am ready, which is somewhere around the 30-50 mile mark. I'll take 10 or 15 minutes to stretch, eat, refill bottles and use the restroom. During the second half I make sure to stretch and eat at every rest stop. This is due to additional fatigue and temperatures. When you leave in the morning it is cool and brisk, by the afternoon it can get pretty warm. Most of the time I take around 7 to 8 hours to do an organized century. I also talk too much and shoot the breeze a bit at rest stops, so your results may vary.

    My buddies who are serious will do whole races without stopping. I will NEVER pee down my leg to stay with the peloton.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    I was planning on eating before the 40 mile ride and only drinking water during. Then eating after.
    Depending on how hard you ride that may not be a good idea. You need calories and possibly electrolytes on the ride.
    Myself, for an easy ride I can go through 200 calories/hr. Hard rides I'll never keep up with the calorie expenditure.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    It's going to be slow for me tomorrow. 13-14 MPH I'm guessing. I do 15-20 miles a day with no stops, water or food during. I've done 30 miles in the past with no food during, but I did stop and drink water. For this one, I've got a 70oz Camelbak and two full water bottles, but no food. I don't know exactly when/what mileage I need to add food into the ride.
    Last edited by Jarrett2; 08-09-13 at 01:44 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowride454 View Post
    I will NEVER pee down my leg to stay with the peloton.
    Ugh... ...I didn't know that was thing. Note to self: avoid pelotons.

    I stop every 2 hours (about 40-60 kilometers) depending on the length of the ride. If it's hot out I can't get much further than that with out needing to refill water bottles anyway, and sun screen needs to be reapplied at that frequency.

    A stop doesn't nullify a ride length. As others have commented, the longer the stop, the more you regret it once you're riding again.
    Last edited by cvskates; 08-09-13 at 01:44 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
    I've got a 70ml Camelbak
    worlds tiniest camelback
    70ml is just over 2 oz

  20. #20
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    lol, who needs all that water?

    It's this one:
    http://shop.camelbak.com/classic/d/1043_c_112_cl_375
    70 oz / 2 L

  21. #21
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    all depends on the type of ride I'm doing... I've only ever done one metric century (100km) and that was an organized fund raiser event... we stopped at every SAG stop (15-20 miles) but didn't stop for more then 15 min...

    on 20 mile or less rides it depends on where I'm riding... if I'm out just to ride hard I won't stop except at lights... but sometimes its more of a leisurely stroll just to explore around where I live... so I'll stop when I see a park, or snap a pic...

    in short it is YOUR ride... ride it the way you want... but try not to stop for to long or your legs feel like lead when you get back on the bike.
    mtbr clyd moderator

  22. #22
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Also keep in mind your route, if you live in a populated area with lots of crosswalks and stop signs that adds into "breaks". The MUP I like to use has some major crossings that you can get stuck at for a couple of minutes, those are when I stretch and such. On a longer ride I will stop every 20 or so for a few minutes.

    Also never shrug off the idea of getting off the bike and walking a distance. I do that when my rides are 80 miles + and I am solo. Allowed for blood to flow back into the sensitive areas as well as stretch out, grab a bite, and you're still moving. I personally dislike long breaks at designated stops when on an organized ride, but I also try to push myself whenever I am out.

    But like everyone else has pointed out, listen to your body.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  23. #23
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    I'm 60, and a diabetic, so a metric is about my limit for finishing a ride without a pee break. I did a full century in May with one pee break. It wasn't hot, and two water bottles got me through. On my last one, last Sunday, I had to make two stops for more water. I had two packs of gels with me, so I didn't need to refuel on carbs.

    Stop when you have to, but limit it to a stretch, answering nature's call, and replenishing food/fluids.

  24. #24
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
    it depends on the group
    but there would be very few groups
    who ride 100 miles with no breaks

    how and where you stop
    depends on where you are riding
    if there is a bench
    sit on the bench
    otherwise
    stretch and take a drink and a bite
    and keep going

    if you are riding alone
    as i often do
    stop whenever the hell you feel like it
    the only things that limits the number of breaks i take
    are mosqitoes and black flies
    Do you write under the name of archy?
    Public accountability: my Beeminder weight loss graph.

  25. #25
    Senior Member lsberrios1's Avatar
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    I am planning to do a solo Metric this sunday. I am afraid there wont be any grocery stores or gas stations on it so I dont know how I'll do to refill my water bottles. Anybody got a recommendation? The metric is the one in Cartersville Ga BBC in case anybody knows about stops... Ive only ridden the 32 miler which didnt require me to fill up on anything.
    Cat 6 going on PRO....

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