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  1. #1
    Desert Rat
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    Riding/Training on multiple bike

    I need some advice on the effects of switching bikes during training or just riding.

    I call it training although it's really just riding with a goal. I am trying to prepare for riding a century as soon as possible. I'm not sure if I will be able to do it until it cools off here a little. I had hoped to get it in before we got into the 100f+ degree weather but it came early this year. I guess that gives me more time to get ready for the Tour De Palm Springs. I'm not even sure exactly when it is yet.

    Enough rambling already, letís get to the questions.

    The questions: If I want to do a century whether it's solo or organized, should I keep to the bike I plan on riding the century on?
    Should I concentrate most of my time on the planned bike?
    Does it matter at all which bike I'm riding?
    What, if any effects, negative or positive can I expect?
    For those of you who have done centuries, how do you carry enough water? That seems to be a problem for me already and I have only went 35 miles max so far.
    Is this a totally newbie question or what?

    I have never had more than one bike before now, so it's never been an issue. I just ride the bike I have all the time. I now have an MTB and a road bike. The road bike would be the most likely choice for this particular adventure.

    I have never had more than one bike before now, so it's never been an issue. I just ride the bike I have all the time. I now have a mtb and a road bike. The road bike would be the most likely choice for this particular adventure. My intention is to give myself a the best chance of success. I WILL do a century!

    Your words of wit and wisdom are appreciated, as usual.
    Have I mentioned that I love riding my bikes?
    GT Timberline (1989), Home build (2012), Giant OCR3 (2007)

    Jack aka:makeitso

  2. #2
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Excellent questions really. Here's my thoughts:

    As long as the route you have planned is not too "hilly", the biggest issue you're probably going to face over the time it takes you to complete 100 miles is mostly related comfort. This is assuming you have the proper nutrition, fluids, etc. Where you're really going to start getting more uncomfortable is 65 miles and up-with the discomfort increasing up to 90+ miles.

    For that reason, I'd consider doing as many miles-especially longer rides, on the road bike. You've probably read a lot about fit but the longer rides is where you'll really appreciate a good fitting bike. Doing the longer rides on the road bike will help you to find out if you have any significant discomfort issues like improper saddle position, knee pain, arm/shoulder pain, etc. It will also help you and your body get even more acclimated to riding that bike.

    You're going to be "uncomfortable" from just sitting in the saddle and pedaling for so long. The good news is that somehow your body figures out to adjust and after doing a few centuries it just doesn't seem to be as uncomfortable-assuming the bike is fit for you okay.

    As far as fluids go, plan your route where you have stores or spots where you can get water/fluids at regular intervals. I can easily go 75 miles with 2 large water bottles (in cages on the bike) and one small one (stashed in my jersey pocket) but I probably drink 1/2 as much as other folks. Even at that I'm forced to find a store somewhere along the way. I've even been known to stop at churches and used an outside water faucet when I planned poorly......

    The general rule is to eat before you are hungry and to drink before you are thirsty. Once you get behind in either while riding it's a lot harder to get caught back up.

  3. #3
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Good advice above. I totally agree about the comfort comments. Get your road bike set up comfortably for long rides by trying it. Something that is comfortable on a 35 mile ride may be a problem on a long ride.

    Try and get in a couple of 65 mile rides or longer. If you have enough time try to increase your weekly total by about 10% at a time. If you don't have enough time to do that increase it just as much as you need to, it's more comfortable and you won't get burned out. You can probably double your normal mileage and make it, but it will not be as comfortable or as enjoyable if you increase gradually.

    If you have time, and are close enough, ride the exact route of the century before the organized ride. It's not necessary but it's really nice. Train on it if you can. You will learn the problem areas, where the stores are and other things. It also will give you a lot of confidence about the 100 mile ride if you know the ride. If you have already done the worst hill on the ride successfully, it's not a big deal when you get to it, for example.

    Find any post by the forum member Machka, go to the links at the bottom to her post about long distance rides and century training. Also search the forums for things like "training for a century ride" etc.

    Google the same things you searched the forums for.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Great advice on the two posts above. I'll add two quick thoughts. First, I've found almost no problem getting water on any rides that are in somewhat populated areas. For some reason, people seem quite willing to fill a water bottle when I've asked... from a farmer giving me some much needed water on a 100 degree+ day out of his garden hose to a woman who offered a bottle of Evian. I've gotten quite good at asking. Second, I'd only ride a second bike during training if I was struggling with boredom. I've found that switching bikes for just one or two rides shakes things up enought to ward off any boredom.
    Last edited by NOS88; 06-05-06 at 08:52 AM.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  5. #5
    jcm
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    Before I my first century, I rode all three of my bikes (listed below) quite alot. Still do. Every ride is a training ride no matter what you're pedaling. When I actually did the first one, I really didn't know I had ridden over 100 miles. It was actually 109. I simply decided to bike, instead of drive, to a scheduled club ride and back. The total trip just happend to be a century+. Coincidence. It was on my citified mtb with platform pedals.

    The next week-end I did it again. Only this time I was aware of the distance, and it did me in. Go figure.

    Bottom Line #1: Ride alot, drink alot, eat alot.
    Bottom Line #2: It doesn't matter what bike you train on because you will ultimately choose the lighter one. My next three centuries were on a Trek 520 which is about 5lbs lighter than the 830. Seemed noticeably easier.

    Ditto all above for water. Find some of it along the way. I carry three 20oz bottles with me. You should plan on drinking at least a gallon. I drink more.

  6. #6
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    the only thing that matters is a huge layer of lanolin goop on the
    chamois of your shorts. a lot if it. then your butt can handle 200 miles.

  7. #7
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitso
    I have never had more than one bike before now, so it's never been an issue. I just ride the bike I have all the time. I now have an MTB and a road bike. The road bike would be the most likely choice for this particular adventure.
    Road bike, road bike, road bike. I acquired a MTB recently for the C&O canal trip - and it's great there. I also commute 12 miles paved trail and road to work. The MTB is miserable compared to the road bike for on road travel.

  8. #8
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitso
    I need some advice on the effects of switching bikes during training or just riding.

    I call it training although it's really just riding with a goal. I am trying to prepare for riding a century as soon as possible. I'm not sure if I will be able to do it until it cools off here a little. I had hoped to get it in before we got into the 100f+ degree weather but it came early this year...

    The questions: If I want to do a century whether it's solo or organized, should I keep to the bike I plan on riding the century on?
    Should I concentrate most of my time on the planned bike?
    Does it matter at all which bike I'm riding?
    What, if any effects, negative or positive can I expect?
    For those of you who have done centuries, how do you carry enough water? That seems to be a problem for me already and I have only went 35 miles max so far.
    Is this a totally newbie question or what?

    Your words of wit and wisdom are appreciated, as usual.
    Lotta Great info on handling longer distances here, so I won't rehash most. But it might be good to cover a few from a slightly different angle.
    Multiple bikes - Th only time I've ever found riding/switching between different machines to be a problem is when one has me clearly 'positioned' different than what I'm adapted to - a lot of issues there to cover. Like others have stated a road bike on roads will certainly make covering distances easier.

    I like to think of covering long rides in terms of 'time' rather than distance - as long as we're within a comfort level that is optimum (less than the stress of real racing). At that point covering 80 miles in 5.5 to 6 hours is about the same as doing 100 in that time. A 10 hour saddle time to cover any distance is gonna be a tough day regardless.
    So I recommend also working on riding speed as an important facet of 'painless' distance riding. Getting your comfort level up to higher speeds, say 16-18 mph avg for 70+ mile rides will be a big step to making a 100+ day be fun for most of it. That may seem high, but really not in a riding group environment. Being able to ride a higher avg opens up a larger # of options in any long ride experience.

    Riding with others... Play well with others and the distances will be covered easier. The Zen of your ride may be best if you're riding alone; but riding with a smallish 'group' is always easier. I believe that is one big reason 'centuries' are popular. I'd recommend doing a lot of 'training' in group rides to break into the longer distances. I personally prefer small groups of 3 to 6 of 'like-minded' riders to balance the ride experience and the desire to cover the time/distance optimally. Add in an efficient loosely connected 'pacing' ability in the group and the ride moves up to another higher/better level.

    Seems rides up to about 50 miles are all pretty much the same for me. I make sure the bike is 'solid', get water bottles filled and carry some small snack. The I start drinking often and early and eat only if I'm feeling it early in the ride.
    70 miles - I plan to munch something easy to digest at about 30-35.
    Over 70 I start being concerned about electrolyte levels. We all perspire, and water can be replaced, but replacing electrolytes can be the differences between ending the ride comfortably 'tired', rather than some form of clinical exhaustion.
    I find most of the electrolyte drinks (gatorade) 'disturb' my digestion, so I rely a lot on bananas as ride food, along with a good non-greasy gorp, other fruits at a stop also work. small hits of the electrolyte drinks along the way interspersed with water are also workable.

    Riding interior CA is a beast of a different order, high heat and 'terrain' make planing and an early start important issues. I also consider clothing a big deal. 1st - shorts with lots of padding - stay away from them. The padding is bogus and actually is counterproductive. After a couple of hours they start feeling like you're sitting on a wet, bunched roll of paper towels - and in the middle of the ride you'll want to tear them off - but generally no such option is workable, unless it "World Naked Ride Day"
    Bottoms with a thin chamois are best... They do what they're sposed to without adding problems of their own.
    Jersey/top - good coverage and sun protection, shed perspiration well, lighter colors to reflect rather than absorb. I luv seeing the girls all decked out in their TRI tops and other skimpy stuff - but in a 'sensible'/function vein for long rides, its not the best idea.
    V-important - really good socks and I also like a newish set of comfort insoles in my boots. Your feet are about as important as anything.
    Good (not expensive...) eyewear - all the time. Bugs/Road Grit have been known to end many a day or just make the day a miserable one. I just got a great pair of Multi-lens glasses from Nashbar for $25 - my 'best buy' since getting a new 05 Bell Ukon from them for $16
    'Position' and 'Posture' will be a HUGE part of any long rides and long term (years) of fun cycling. Do all you can to get the best 'position', including the recommendations of those who really know (whether paid for or otherwise) and then apply with a discerning eye and mind.
    Posture - do all you can to to discover the best elements here. Small books (AND LENGTHY THREADS) could be written on this subject.

  9. #9
    Desert Rat
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    Thank you all for the advise. I guess I will be doing most of the longer distances on the road bike, since that's the one I'll be on for the long one. I did get a book to use as a guide, seems to have pretty good advise in it. The name of the book is "The Complete Book Of Long Distance Cycling" by Edmund R. Burke and Ed Pavelka.

    I will be in the market to get an HRM next.

    Anyway did I mention that I love riding my bike(s)? Just in case I didn't, I love riding my bike(s).
    Have I mentioned that I love riding my bikes?
    GT Timberline (1989), Home build (2012), Giant OCR3 (2007)

    Jack aka:makeitso

  10. #10
    sch
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    Road bikes have more position options for the rider: on the brifters, on the flat part of the bars or on the drops. ATB bikes have only one position. An ATB bike will typically weigh 4-8# more than a road bike, this makes a big difference over a century, especially on the hills. Knobbies, heaven forbid, are very uncomfortable on the road and drop your speed by 5-15mph, it is really hard to get knobbies over 30mph on downhills and on the flats you will have big trouble getting above 12-15mph where road bikes easily cruise at 16-24mph. Slicks will allow you to keep up better on the flats but the bike weight will still drag you back on the hills. I was out in Palm Springs last summer in June, and the wind, temps and humidity were impressive for an easterner. No shade as well on the roads unless you go up into the mountains to the south, but climbing 5-8k feet is a whole nother problem.
    Steve

  11. #11
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Makeitso - my wife and I rode the Tour De Palm Springs last February (good excuse to escape the New England weather). It is well supported (SAG stops every 20 miles or so) and well attended (several thousand riders). On the whole, it was quite flat. A fun ride.

    Since it sounds like you live in the area, I would just ride parts of it if you can, then you will know exactly what to expect. The beginning and ending parts are "urban", and the middle 60-some odd miles are "in the desert" but there seemed to be stores and gas stations along the way.

    There was one 5 mile section of really crummy pavement that was rather painful after having ridden 50+ miles. I agree with others that sitting on the saddle that long and eating/drinking adequately will be more of a challenge than riding itself. I did see a large number of flats (I didn't have any), but I would suggest be comfortable with changing the tube. Weather in Feb was more like 55 to start and 85 midday. If you search on the Road Biking forum, there are a few large threads.

  12. #12
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I would say to spend as much time as possible on the bike you plan to ride, but don't obsess about it. Spend time getting into the best shape possible, however you can do that. In other words, ride the crap out of both bikes!

    I haven't rode a century yet... However, I completed an almost-metric on Saturday (61.57 miles)... Perhaps a little background on my riding so far this year will give you encouragement.

    I don't like riding in less than ideal weather (spoiled) and before the metric I had ridden on my bike a total of four (4) times this year. My last ride on the road before that was in late October.

    Since January 1, I have about 1,000 miles, mostly on a recumbent exercycle. My bike riding has consisted of a 6.5 mile ride on the road, a 14 mile ride on the levee (very flat), a 47 mile ride on a gravel rail trail (flat), and the 2.5 miles to the bike shop to get it tuned up last week.

    For the 47 mile ride (2 weeks ago), my upper body was screaming!!! Based on that I raised the bars, added bar ends, and thanks to my LBS mechanic's advice, I leveled my seat (I thought it was level ) and tweaked the angle of my handlebars a little bit.

    Completing the 61.57 miles on Saturday was a piece of cake, and I completed it in about an hour less than I expected. My upper body is a bit fatigued, and some mild saddle related soreness, but other than that, I am doing great!

    I completed the route averaging 12.1 versus the 11.1 that I did 20 months ago on my first metric century (68 miles) when I spent a lot more time on the bike and minimal time on an exercycle... I also weighed a little less then.

    When I ride 100 miles in the LIVESTRONG challenge in September, I expect to be on my touring bike instead of my comfort bike. All the riding I do between now and then will help me to be prepared, but especially the time on the bike I will ride in the event.

    I would have been best prepared if I spent more time on the bike I rode, but conditioning carries across to whatever bike the engine is asked to propel!

    As far as water, if you do an organized ride, the water will be available at every rest stop... If on your own, make opportunities to refill (stores and parks or other public water fountains should be scattered along your intended route)
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    We just completed a tour with 25 days of 100 to 150 miles/day.
    Here is what we learned the hard way:
    1) Use the lightest bike you can comfortably ride. (I use a heavier Hybrid for training)
    2) Know how to fix a flat efficiently in any kind of weather. Make sure your pump actually can do 120 PSI.
    3) Have the right gears for the hills to climb. Right is if you can maintain a cadence of 80 or so.
    4) I need at least 3 liter of water plus 3 liter of Gatorade or equivalent.
    5) Bonking is no fun. You must eat a lot to avoid bonking. A century at 17 MPH average may need 4000 calories. My secret solution was trail mix.
    6) I suggest you train hard with at least 50 miles a number of times.
    7) For me, proper clothing was very important. Too hot is no good and of course freezing is no fun either. I actually loose it if I overheat.
    8) Pace yourselves, a classic error is to use all your energy in the first few hours and struggle the rest of the day
    9) Find partners to do a pace line and be careful not to have an accident. It requires concentration ALL THE TIME.

    Have Fun.

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