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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 06-15-17, 06:41 AM   #1
eithr
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Dipping My Toes in the Deep End

I'm considering an introductory ultra distance event -- The 200 mile RAAM Challenge in Ohio, this coming September. Looking for advice and encouragement!


I'm considering using the Very Well website's Double Century Training Schedule -- uses distance, not time. I've always used time to train versus distance, but since I'll be training in the same areas as the actual event, I thought this should be okay (the weather is only likely to improve as the temps cool into the fall).

My current fitness and background:
I completed TOSRV (2 days, 100 miles each day) back in May -- my third time participating in TOSRV, I've completed each attempt and improved time each attempt (11 hours moving time, this year -- roughly 5:30 each day). I'm currently averaging 150+ miles per week, according to my Strava with long rides between 40-70 miles. I had a nasty bonk last weekend 50 miles into a 60+ mile day -- my first 90 degree day of the season. In past seasons, I've trained with the Time Crunched Cyclist book. This year I skipped a structure routine and have just been riding and racking up miles, mostly on trail.

A few questions:
1. What issues might I run into if I adjust the training so that my long days fall on a Monday (to work around my real life)? I'm assuming/hoping I can just modify the last week/race week to maintain the endurance and rest concept. The event is on a Saturday.

2. I think I have less than the 16 weeks outlined in the training routine. I'm thinking with my current weekly mileage I can just start on week 2 or 3. What issues might I run into?

3. What gear is essential for a double century? I won't have a support car, so I'll need to carry all necessaries. For TOSRV, I pack light (but I can restock at the end of day one, which isn't an option for this RAAM event) -- arm/knee warmers, brevet vest, flat kit + pocket pump, food, ID/$$, hex keys, lights, water (my frame is small and only accommodates 1 bottle in-frame). I'm eyeballing one of those oversized saddle bags like the Timbuk2 Sonoma or Topeak Back Loader 6L.

4. Any reason I shouldn't attempt this? How scared should I be?
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Old 06-15-17, 11:24 AM   #2
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1. What issues might I run into if I adjust the training so that my long days fall on a Monday (to work around my real life)? I'm assuming/hoping I can just modify the last week/race week to maintain the endurance and rest concept. The event is on a Saturday.
Given your background, no real training is necessary. Just learn/practice how (and what) to eat while on the move.

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2. I think I have less than the 16 weeks outlined in the training routine. I'm thinking with my current weekly mileage I can just start on week 2 or 3. What issues might I run into?
See above.

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3. What gear is essential for a double century? I won't have a support car, so I'll need to carry all necessaries.
The usual stuff you used to carry, add what the rules require, nothing extra. It's a mere 200-miler with a boatload of resupply points, and 4 mandatory time controls @ convenience stores.

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4. Any reason I shouldn't attempt this? How scared should I be?
Scared of what? It's just a mere 200-miler with an early morning start for Xsake... And as flat as they come...
Unless you want to "win" the event. In that case, ask your training questions in the "Training and nutrition" sub-forum.
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Old 06-15-17, 11:37 AM   #3
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Scared of what? It's just a mere 200-miler with an early morning start for Xsake... And as flat as they come...
Unless you want to "win" the event. In that case, ask your training questions in the "Training and nutrition" sub-forum.
Ha! Thanks for the confidence.

This being my first attempt to do 200 miles in a single ride/day, I'm just looking to finish. Finishing in under 14 hours would be pretty rad too (including stops).

The "resupply stops" you mention -- did you read about official stops on the website or are you referencing stops at gas stations or grocery stores? I only saw mention of the 4 time control stops.
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Old 06-15-17, 11:51 AM   #4
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I've done a lot of 200-mile rides, but have never managed to hit a 100 miles in 5:30, either, and don't expect to anytime soon.
Anyway, the 200-miles is generally not a problem, just plugging along till you eventually get there.
Now, if you want to be fast/competitive/#1 etc., THAT's a problem.
Find you a 200-mile route with adequate stores along it, get you some good lights if you don't have them, go ride 200 miles a couple of times, don't worry about speed, get a friend or two along if possible. Stop and take pictures as you feel like it. This won't really prep your body for anything, but it'll set your mind at ease. Then you can start worrying about how to do it better or faster, instead of how or if you can even do it.
If you live anywhere close to one of the 12/24 hour lap races, go do the 12 hour as another option. At your speed, you'll be close to 200 miles if not there, just pace yourself and use it as a learning experience.
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Old 06-16-17, 11:25 AM   #5
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Unless you want to "win" the event. In that case, ask your training questions in the "Training and nutrition" sub-forum.
Eh, this does claim to be the ultracycling forum as well as the LD/rando forum -- training for winning an endurance event isn't quite the same as shorter distances. (I am *not* a racer, so I don't have tips, but I do think this question quite rightfully belongs in this forum.)
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Old 06-16-17, 12:27 PM   #6
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We all approach ultra distance events a little differently, so what works for one person might not work for you. That said, there are some proven elements of training that you should include: build base, then build speed, then put the two together.

Whether your train by miles or time shouldn't make too much difference. What will make a difference is training to simulate the stress of your event. Also use training to dial in your equipment, bike fit, clothing, nutrition, etc. My philosophy is typically to push the limits in training to find the weak points and potential failures before the actual event.

I've competed in a couple of double century events already this year, with a couple more to go. I used a 16 week plan to prepare for the first one, although I had a decent base over the winter. Given your current 150-mile weeks you're in a pretty good position to start.

I know there are many people who compete successfully with lower saddle time than I have. I just haven't figured out how to do that plus I like riding my bike, so 15+ hour weeks are ok for me. This is not a constant, however, and I definitely subscribe to a cyclical plan. Instead of the usual 4 week cycle (3 weeks building intensity with 1 week recovery), I prefer a 3 week cycle. I've found that a 4 week cycle can put too much stress on my body and a 3 week cycle with more recovery actually allows me to get faster/stronger. Something to at least consider.

I also find it very helpful to schedule back-to-back long days. My typical week includes a long, hard day followed by a long moderate day. The hard day may be a fast club ride, a 200k or 300k brevet or something similar with multiple red-line efforts and on-bike recovery. The following day typically is at tempo and does not include the red-line efforts. I also like a mid-week effort; this may be a 60 minute time trial, or two 30 minute efforts within a 2 hour ride. (Back when I was faster my coach would schedule up to six 20 minute max efforts at a time.) The key is to put yourself seriously into the red. Allow 2 or 3 days for recovery, then repeat.

When I'm training specifically for speed, my schedule looks more like this:

- Day 1: 2 x 20 minutes @ lactate threshold
- Day 2: Recovery
- Day 3: 15" on/15" off at maximum speed. Do 4 sets of 10.
- Day 4: Recovery
- Day 5: Medium length ride @ tempo
- Day 6: 6 x 2.5 kilometers at TT pace. Recovery interval @ 3 minutes. 2 sets.
- Day 7: Date night

I do not think I'm particularly talented on the bike, but I am very focused on doing the work. I'm a grimpeur not a rouleur, so I make a point of riding rolling hills in training (the old saying, "train your weaknesses and race your strengths").

A double century is never an ice cream ride, but riding to finish and riding for time are two different things. If you finish but still have some dissatisfaction then you probably have what Carrie Cheadle refers to as a "secret goal". Acknowledge your goals and train accordingly... and have fun!

Last edited by Flamme Rouge; 06-16-17 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 06-19-17, 01:50 PM   #7
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How true is this? I'm reading on several sites that your cumulative weekly mileage can be ridden in a single go up to 200-300 miles. As in, if I can regularly do 200 mile weeks, I should be able to do a single 200 mile ride. Anyone put this concept to the test?

According to the training schedule I picked up, it looks like I need to scale back my weekly mileage for a few weeks. That makes me nervous. Like this week, it's saying to do 20 miles midweek, 80 miles Saturday and 20 miles Sunday for 120 miles total. Should I worry about building up too much fatigue if I just plug along with my usual 30-40 mile days 3-4 days a week and add in this long day once a week? The schedule has the long days sea-sawing like: 50, 70, 50, 70, 80, 70, 80, 90, 90, 110, 150, 100, 80, 60, 200 (event day), rest.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:44 PM   #8
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How true is this? I'm reading on several sites that your cumulative weekly mileage can be ridden in a single go up to 200-300 miles. As in, if I can regularly do 200 mile weeks, I should be able to do a single 200 mile ride. Anyone put this concept to the test?
Absolutely. When not slacking I ride 25-35 miles on week days 40-60 miles 3 of 4 on Saturdays (165 - 235 miles in a typical week) and a longer ride 1 of 4 Saturdays. That worked fine for rides to 200 miles last year. When I was half as old, 100 miles was comfortable on 25 miles 4x a week + 30 commuting miles.

I think riding no farther than 150% of your longest recent ride is more about having less distance remaining when you discover a comfort issue. You don't want to find out your saddle height causes knee pain or shorts/saddle become uncomfortable 100 miles into a 200 mile out-and-back ride.

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According to the training schedule I picked up, it looks like I need to scale back my weekly mileage for a few weeks. That makes me nervous.
I never did that, although after six consecutive months with a monthly long rides of 100 miles twice, 200km twice, and 200 miles twice I had over-reaching symptoms. OTOH, that seems about as long as I can go with fewer miles but more intensity before I need a break.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:48 PM   #9
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3. What gear is essential for a double century? I won't have a support car, so I'll need to carry all necessaries. For TOSRV, I pack light (but I can restock at the end of day one, which isn't an option for this RAAM event) -- arm/knee warmers, brevet vest, flat kit + pocket pump, food, ID/$$, hex keys, lights, water (my frame is small and only accommodates 1 bottle in-frame). I'm eyeballing one of those oversized saddle bags like the Timbuk2 Sonoma or Topeak Back Loader 6L.
I bring more water. I like having two 25oz bottles I drain over 40-50 miles in temperate weather, plus a 1 liter Platypus in my Arkel Tailrider trunk bag for warm weather or missing a rest stop (on solo routes of your own choosing, you don't have to return to a missed control point).

Some people like saddle mounted bottle cages, and there are strap-on down tube bottle mounts.

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4. Any reason I shouldn't attempt this? How scared should I be?
Apart from the time commitment and more potential to need lights/warmer clothing for riding before and after sunset, after resolving my fit issues which didn't cause problems on shorter rides I didn't notice a difference increasing distance last year 60-70 miles, 100 miles, 200km, 200 miles.

If you're starting around or before sunrise, or don't plan on finishing a few hours before sunset (traffic, dashing through grocery stores to hit the restroom and refill water bottles, etc. all add up), you'll want adequate lights (front and rear), a reflective vest/harness, and reflective ankle bands.

I love my dynamo setup, although a $40 B&M Ixion IQ Premium + $22 shipping direct from Germany works great with 5 hours of battery life on high from AA batteries available at every 24 hour grocery store.

Some people like a helmet mounted headlamp for reading street signs, although mine gives me a sore neck after just a couple of hours so I don't wear it.

For unsupported rides, I really like my Garmin Edge 800. It pops up a map with a white arrow .1 miles before every turn even if ridewithgps didn't include a cue which makes it hard to go the wrong way even when the street signs are missing/obscured and multiple roads come together, zoomed in maps have street names, it includes custom cue sheet entries for things like food stops, and doesn't crash when longer rides are split into pieces and joined later.

I failed to find a different cycling computer with those features when I looked.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-19-17 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:56 PM   #10
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if you really want to do well, you probably would want to do some fairly long training rides just to get used to the distance. Maybe 200km at your race pace?
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Old 06-19-17, 03:30 PM   #11
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How true is this? I'm reading on several sites that your cumulative weekly mileage can be ridden in a single go up to 200-300 miles. As in, if I can regularly do 200 mile weeks, I should be able to do a single 200 mile ride. Anyone put this concept to the test?
I figure it's as much mental as anything else. I did my first 175-mile ride with only one century under my belt a month or two prior, and nowhere near 175 miles ridden in the previous week. But rules of thumb like yours help reassure the newer rider that they can do the big ride.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:31 PM   #12
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How true is this? I'm reading on several sites that your cumulative weekly mileage can be ridden in a single go up to 200-300 miles. As in, if I can regularly do 200 mile weeks, I should be able to do a single 200 mile ride. Anyone put this concept to the test?
Doesn't seem right to me. I rode a 400k on Saturday and don't ride anywhere close to 400k on a normal week, maybe half that. If you're already doing 5:30 centuries, you could ride 200 miles tomorrow and probably get close to 14 hours.
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