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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Minimizing dead legs after lunch stop on long ride

    I need some tips on minimizing the dreaded "dead legs" on the second half of a 50+ mile ride with a lunch stop midway.

    We've been doing non-stop rides on weekends to develop more endurance. Our next group ride is a beach ride, 50+ miles, with a stop for brunch/lunch at a favorite restaurant. Bi-passing the restaurant or walking around while everyone else eats are not desirable options. :-)

    I plan to consume regular snacks on the bike before lunch so when we arrive I won't order and eat too much food. That way, I can eat light so my stomach won't be full when we set off for home. This may be difficult because this place has good tasty food.

    Is there anything I can do to keep my legs as fresh as possible for the ride back? Foods to eat or avoid, how much to eat (or not), etc?
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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Drink a canned Coke or Pepsi. You will feel the energy boost.
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  3. #3
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    Get your group to start off after lunch very slow and easy - a couple minutes at 10 mph@ 70 rpm, then a couple minutes @ 80 rpm, and finally a little faster @ 60 up to 70 rpms. You should be able to get back to your planned pace after that with good feeling legs.
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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Start slowly after a long break. It takes a few miles to get the blood moving again. Personally I hate to stop for very long on rides. If I ate lunch I'd want to take a nap.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    A light lunch, high carbs, low fat, easy to digest foods. I made the mistake last year of eating a nice Alfredo Pasta dish at the fifty mile mark and felt like a sled for the next 50.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  6. #6
    Yen
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    Thanks for the tips. This group doesn't like slow starts so maybe I'll attempt a serpentine pattern in front of the group to slow them down. This group likes to take off fast to get home sooner.... AGH! And if I don't start with them, I'll be struggling at the back - AGAIN.

    A pancake with syrup, OJ, and coffee sounds perfect (I don't drink soda anymore... too sweet for me now).
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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Lactic acid starts building as soon as you stop. The longer the stop...............................................
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  8. #8
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I agree with several others that the key is to ease into the ride after an extended stop. If the others can't be convinced to follow this good advice, you might try starting ahead of them so you can be warmed up by the time they catch you. Or you could just let them go and ride your own pace.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  9. #9
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    It is the re-start at a slower pace that works for me. After our stop on the seafront-about 20 to 30 minutes- I always start at a slower pace along by the beach for a few miles gradually increasing cadence and speed and funnily enough the rest of the group do the same. The odd person that does shoot off the front is caught by the team when we are up to speed as they start to feel the effects of a fast restart.
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    If I'm riding 100 miles I stop as few times and as short as possible. Any long stops and it takes too long to get back into the swing of riding. If I must stop I'll drop the pace a little until my system gets moving again.

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    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Drink a canned Coke or Pepsi. You will feel the energy boost.
    I do that with a beef jerky

    If it's mealtime.....I eat a meal, though not heavy.
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    Honeyed rice cakes. Munch on those as you ride along and you have lots of energy.

  13. #13
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    If I'm riding 100 miles I stop as few times and as short as possible. Any long stops and it takes too long to get back into the swing of riding. If I must stop I'll drop the pace a little until my system gets moving again.
    +1

    I'll stop every 35 miles for water and a bathroom break. Otherwise, I'll stay on the bike. It's easy enough to carry food and eat on the go. Having a typical American meal in the middle of a long ride is counterproductive.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    Lactic acid starts building as soon as you stop. The longer the stop...............................................
    This is my experience, that a rest any longer than 5 minutes requires a slow restart. But if I do the slow restart, I'm back at pace within about 5 minutes. If I don't, I have a self-created mini-bonk, and it takes longer to get going smoothly again.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I like stops that have a supermarket. In the produce and fruit section, they usually have a cold section where they sell cut fruit in a container. Besides being mouth watering tasty, it has the natural ingredients that make it a standard at most organized centuries. If you convince another rider, you can get a bigger bowl and share. After that, I usually feel full and maybe take one bar or the fig newtons. I still like the GU too.

  16. #16
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Yen, if I understand your situation, you'll be riding with a group that wants to stop for lunch at a restaurant, which will likely not be an especially short stop. Your own experience is that these stops result in the experience of "dead legs" for you. You know that if you keep moving you'll either reduce or eliminate this; yet, you don't feel comfortable doing this. You also know that group will shoot off with little regard to your need to warm-up or ease back into it. So, I have to ask, why are you riding with this group? This is not a challenge; rather, more curious than anything else.

    I know if this were me, I'd stay away from the pancakes and syrup. This would be much too heavy and sweet for me. Given there would be fuel ingested along the way, I'd probably stick to fruit or something else that was very easy to digest. Then I'd be tempted to get to the bikes even a few minutes before others so I could briefly stretch and then spin around the parking lot a few times before taking off. Finally, I'd be especially sure to spin at a slightly higher cadence than normal for the first few minutes.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    In addition to the slow start maybe you could eat a very small portion of one of those great tasting meals so you enjoy the stop.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  18. #18
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    What the others have already said.

    I read somewhere that if you stop for more than 20 minutes, your muscles cool down and you'll have to do a warm-up routine at start-up, just like you *should* have done at the beginning of the ride. Obviously, everyone is different and that time frame will vary. Unfortunately for you, at the 50-mile mark your muscles are obviously going to be 'less fresh' than they were at the start and will probably take longer to get going again. To that end, having some fast-acting carbs at the stop will help by putting the sugar into your blood more quickly than eating complex carbs, fat, protein, etc. Yeah, your favorite brand of cola will work pretty well.

    In a real pinch, one of those energy drinks can help, with the proviso that they take a few minutes to kick in and they're only good for about 25-30 miles. You do NOT want to be still on the road when it runs out! It's a Bad Idea(tm) to rely on them, though; they have some strong stimulants in them and can mess with your blood pressure.

  19. #19
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Stops like that suck. For many groups, the riding after the stop is an easy cruise back to the start, with the stop pretty close to that. But if you are going to need to put out a harder effort after the stop, I'd try ramping it up briefly as you are leaving, by going off the front, to wake up your legs. Smoothly accelerate away for a minute, then ease back off.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  20. #20
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    is . Unfortunately for you, at the 50-mile mark your muscles are obviously going to be 'less fresh' than they were at the start and will probably take longer to get going again.
    It's a 50 mile ride, she's stopping at the 25 mile mark.

    For me, after some years of riding I don't mind a long stop at all and I can eat what I want as long as I don't overdo it. When we are riding in the mountains and stop for lunch I like to split a sandwich and fries with somebody.
    There is an organized ride (Cool Breeze Century) and I ate 8 times the last time I rode it, including a huge lunch.
    Like others have said, a little warm up before a hard effort will help.
    Last edited by big john; 07-26-12 at 07:24 AM.

  21. #21
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    I have the same problem -- it's really hard to start again after lunch. I find that lunch has to be scary light -- a half sandwich (pbj works well), or a power bar. If it's a restaurant stop, try something like ice cream (kiddie portion). Pancakes and syrup would work for me before a ride, but not for lunchtime.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    perhaps consider skipping the lunch break ... for me I like things such as granola bars and "MuscleMilk". If I must stop and eat then I will stay away from large portions of protein. It's really best to eat along the way, taking a rest stop is OK, especially like on centuries, right?, but I tend to stay away from having a "meal". The exception would be if I bike 24 miles to a beach and will stay there for several hours before biking home, then I can do whatever I want including drink a little alcohol and nap. :-) I wish I had a riding partner cuz those rides were awesome! the spouse could never handle that kind of mileage
    Last edited by rumrunn6; 07-26-12 at 10:36 AM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Truth is, if you are riding beyond your training experiences and conditioning; if you are beyond what your legs are used to putting out and still have a good deal of riding ahead of you......pace yourself, go slower than you really want to. It's going to hurt a little bit
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  24. #24
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    You might find a dynamic warm-up routine that works for you, do it before mounting your bike..every time. I know this works for me, but I am a lazy bum and fail to do this routinely.

  25. #25
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    You might find a dynamic warm-up routine that works for you, do it before mounting your bike..every time. I know this works for me, but I am a lazy bum and fail to do this routinely.
    Can and would you share an example of what you do?
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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