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Thread: The Middle

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    The Middle

    I've been having trouble in 'the middle' of my last few centuries. Nutrition has been off. Hydration too. Mentally I sort of zone out.

    I've been feeling strong through mile 50... then until about mile 75 or so I'm in some sort of no-mans mental zone. Yesterday I felt better as soon as I turned North and faced the dreaded headwind full on ... and even though I was crawling home - I felt mentally and physically better. Odd. Maybe the adrenaline of fighting mother nature?

    Anyone else have this happen on long rides? I noticed it on last seasons brevets that I would suffer around the middle to 4/5ths and then would recover a bit.

    Any thoughts about overcoming it?
    I've tired the bit about snacking - but it hasn't seemed to help - only upset my stomach.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    That's normal.

    There are two things I discovered that help:

    1) Eat more, start nibbling food right at the beginning of the ride and don't stop for more than about 15 minutes. If you can, have a meal at the 50 mile point just before you start feeling bad.

    2) Do longer rides. Once you've done a few 125 mile, 150 mile, 200 mile rides ... that bad spot moves forward until it is out of the century range all together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I've been having trouble in 'the middle' of my last few centuries. Nutrition has been off. Hydration too. Mentally I sort of zone out.
    Maybe it's a lack of external input or emotional investment? I find that the "halfway hump" comes up for me on training rides when I'm riding alone, and I'm always tempted to just head home early and think that getting in 80 is 'just as good' as getting in 100.

    It doesn't kick on brevets or organized rides though. Maybe because those count for something and I have to focus on finishing. Or maybe there are enough people to ride with that I get distracted from my fatigue.

    That might not be all that helpful for your case, mike, since you're discussing physical symptoms (digestion, conditioning) and my issues are mostly psychological. Perhaps set specific goals for yourself besides completing the rides; or find someone else in your area to ride with?

    I did have digestion issues on the last 300, but that was an issue from the start (experimented with using chamomile tea so I could sleep at 7pm for a 4am start, and the tea just made feel gassy) but I remember how it all caught up with me on the last quarter of the ride, I struggled on the last 25 miles. However, I'm pretty sure that I could attribute all of that just to improper eating. I felt much better on a training century on the next weekend with a settled stomach.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    That's normal.

    There are two things I discovered that help:

    1) Eat more, start nibbling food right at the beginning of the ride and don't stop for more than about 15 minutes. If you can, have a meal at the 50 mile point just before you start feeling bad.
    I eat every 30 mins or so while moving on the bike - energy gel or some sort of easy to eat snack out of my jersey pocket. I drink every 10 mins or so. Usually just water - but on longer rides (and hotter) HEED. I've been experimenting but am close to 200-250 calories per hour, with a little more taken on when I stop (I'm doing the YR with the UMCA, so I need to save receipts - I usually use a gas station convenience store)

    The last 2 centuries I've limited my stops to no more than 5-8 minutes. Last year brevet control stops tended to average 10 mins. as I would usually chat with folks while restocking and card verifying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    2) Do longer rides. Once you've done a few 125 mile, 150 mile, 200 mile rides ... that bad spot moves forward until it is out of the century range all together.
    On longer rides the no mans land feeling does move out - its usually the 3/5 to 4/5 area where this happens. Doesn't seem to matter what the distance (up to 600k) - its usually at the same point.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword
    Maybe it's a lack of external input or emotional investment? I find that the "halfway hump" comes up for me on training rides when I'm riding alone, and I'm always tempted to just head home early and think that getting in 80 is 'just as good' as getting in 100.

    It doesn't kick on brevets or organized rides though. Maybe because those count for something and I have to focus on finishing. Or maybe there are enough people to ride with that I get distracted from my fatigue.

    That might not be all that helpful for your case, mike, since you're discussing physical symptoms (digestion, conditioning) and my issues are mostly psychological. Perhaps set specific goals for yourself besides completing the rides; or find someone else in your area to ride with?

    I did have digestion issues on the last 300, but that was an issue from the start (experimented with using chamomile tea so I could sleep at 7pm for a 4am start, and the tea just made feel gassy) but I remember how it all caught up with me on the last quarter of the ride, I struggled on the last 25 miles. However, I'm pretty sure that I could attribute all of that just to improper eating. I felt much better on a training century on the next weekend with a settled stomach.
    I think I can overcome the physical issues... certainly there are times when I feel zapped - poor conditioning for sure - but the odd thing is that I seem to get my legs and lungs back as I get a little further along. (maybe knowing I'm heading home...?)

    I think the mental components are huge. I ride alone... and in many cases ride on lonely roads. Previous to this last century I've finished each one well after dark - which I feel is good training for dealing with riding through the night on brevets...

    If I were to wager a guess I'd say I'm dealing with 40% physical issues and 60% mental.
    But, its all related - so

    I do feel more motivated when I have a goal - hence the century a month and the UMCA Year Rounder...

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I eat every 30 mins or so while moving on the bike - energy gel or some sort of easy to eat snack out of my jersey pocket. I drink every 10 mins or so. Usually just water - but on longer rides (and hotter) HEED. I've been experimenting but am close to 200-250 calories per hour, with a little more taken on when I stop (I'm doing the YR with the UMCA, so I need to save receipts - I usually use a gas station convenience store)


    On longer rides the no mans land feeling does move out - its usually the 3/5 to 4/5 area where this happens. Doesn't seem to matter what the distance (up to 600k) - its usually at the same point.
    Maybe try getting away from the energy gels and into something more substantial. Do you have a Bento bag? If not, I highly recommend getting one. Then put a couple granola bars (there are some new ones on the market with whole almonds and fruit bits in them that are excellent), a baggie of salted almonds, a bit of beef jerky, a couple cookies, or other things along those lines in the bento bag. That way you can easily eat as you go, without feeling commited to eating a whole energy bar or something.

    That used to be my problem, every hour on the hour I'd dig out my 250 calorie energy bar and eat the whole thing in one go. And I'd feel sick. Now that I have the Bento bag, I've got anywhere from about 200-500 calories sitting in it, and I eat a little bite, then put the granola bar or whatever back into the Bento bag. 10 minutes later I'd eat another little bite ... etc. I'm getting at least 250 calories per hour, if not more, and I don't feel sick doing it.

    (I had a 450 calorie bag of corn chips in my Bento Bag on my 200K on Saturday ... that kept me going for a while!)

    As for the no man's land feeling ... now that I've done many rides that are longer than centuries, and many, many centuries, I rarely get that feeling on a century or a 200K. I still get it on the longer rides, but no man's land has moved right out of my 125 mile and shorter rides. (Except maybe on the odd occasion when I'm doing a century in the depths of winter)

    I know where you're coming from about riding alone though ... almost all my rides are solo. Sometimes that can be a good thing ... sometimes it is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I've been having trouble in 'the middle' of my last few centuries. Nutrition has been off. Hydration too. Mentally I sort of zone out.

    I've been feeling strong through mile 50... then until about mile 75 or so I'm in some sort of no-mans mental zone. Yesterday I felt better as soon as I turned North and faced the dreaded headwind full on ... and even though I was crawling home - I felt mentally and physically better. Odd. Maybe the adrenaline of fighting mother nature?

    Anyone else have this happen on long rides? I noticed it on last seasons brevets that I would suffer around the middle to 4/5ths and then would recover a bit.

    Any thoughts about overcoming it?
    I've tired the bit about snacking - but it hasn't seemed to help - only upset my stomach.
    It's pretty common to get the "I don't want to do this any more" feeling partway through a long ride. I generally get it at about 75 in a century, and while it's not that bad, the feeling I got when I did a double last year was pretty bad.

    I agree with Machka that you should consider other food. It's really easy to get too much sugar, get sick of it, stop eating, and then have it go downhill from there. Yesterday I did a nice 65 miler, where I went through 3 bottles of accelerade, a whole-wheat bagel, and a few newtons. The bagel (or crackers, or something like that) are solid food and not sweet, and work really well for me. They're also low in fat, which is something I don't want at all when I'm riding.

    Hope that helps.
    Eric

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    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
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    Here's what I do when this happens. I speed up and ride like h3ll... I don't sprint, but I go 2-3 miles faster than I have been going. This gets me to the magic X mile mark where I know I can make it no matter the case. My long rides tend to be 70 - 100 miles. So my magic mark is usually 25 miles from the end. I don't think this is a good idea if your magic mark leaves you with 50+ miles to go though.
    just being

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu
    It's pretty common to get the "I don't want to do this any more" feeling partway through a long ride. I generally get it at about 75 in a century, and while it's not that bad, the feeling I got when I did a double last year was pretty bad.

    I agree with Machka that you should consider other food. It's really easy to get too much sugar, get sick of it, stop eating, and then have it go downhill from there. Yesterday I did a nice 65 miler, where I went through 3 bottles of accelerade, a whole-wheat bagel, and a few newtons. The bagel (or crackers, or something like that) are solid food and not sweet, and work really well for me. They're also low in fat, which is something I don't want at all when I'm riding.

    Hope that helps.
    I experience the same thing, though the point at which it occurs seems to vary. The main thing is to recognize it and know that the feeling will pass. Getting some food and drink at the next control usually helps. I find that coca-cola works wonders for me. Sugar and caffeine are the ultracyclist's friends! Nonetheless, the funk does pass.

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