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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 08-20-07, 08:00 AM   #1
LoRoK
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Unexpected/unplanned long rides

Hey folks, just poppin' in from the ss/fixed forums to ask a quickie. There is a path from my house that's approx 35 miles. I love to ride it. Lately, I've been thinking that I would like to double it up and do 70 miles some morning. Do I need to plan out when I do this? Do I need to pack a bag full of all kinds of stuff to eat, or will I be ok with just my usual water? I know that having food, planning ahead and whatnot will make it easier, but I'm less worried about ease than I am potential harm. Can I get away with a 70 mile ride without preperation? What about 105 miles, if I decided that 70 didn't fill the bill? This will be done on a fixed gear, if that is going to make any difference.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:20 AM   #2
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70 miles is a long distance ride?

I'd slowly bump it up, e.g. do 45 one weekend, 55 the next, 65-70 after that. If you can do 70, you are generally fit enough to do 100.

I'd also recommend you hunt down a book called Long Distance Cycling iirc. Lots of handy tips for doing longer rides and how to properly build up to a Century so that you won't get injured, bonk etc.

Fixed gear won't matter if it's a flat route. However, even if riding fixed you ought to aim for a high cadence so that you don't injure your knees.
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Old 08-20-07, 12:56 PM   #3
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You'd be wise to eat during such a ride.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:20 PM   #4
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I do that all the time - it's called "getting lost."

Personally, I'll bonk at about mile 50, so I apply alternate schemas of "find place to resupply" and "talk about route." Some would imply that I'm asking for directions, but I beg to differ!
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Old 08-20-07, 07:09 PM   #5
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I don't think you'll hurt yourself by doing a 70 mile ride when only used to 35 mile rides.

I don't think the last hour or so will be a whole lot of fun, though. Might be wise to go a little slower than usual for the first half.

People do 70 mile rides on nothing but water. I wouldn't, as I'd be miserable. If nothing else, I'd load up the jersey pockets with Powerbars or similar and gnaw on one every hour or so.

105 miles is a longish ride for most folks. 105 miles on the FG is a long ride for almost everyone. I'd do 70 first and see how it feels.

Have fun!
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Old 08-20-07, 08:17 PM   #6
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If you don't want to carry food, eat a bunch before the ride, take bite snacks with you and eat them around the halfway mark. If you bonk, you'll learn from it (I sure did).

I like a soft pretzel and pop tarts before a long ride and cow tails or snickers during the ride.

Most important though- water, water, water!
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Old 08-20-07, 10:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoRoK View Post
Hey folks, just poppin' in from the ss/fixed forums to ask a quickie. There is a path from my house that's approx 35 miles. I love to ride it. Lately, I've been thinking that I would like to double it up and do 70 miles some morning. Do I need to plan out when I do this? Do I need to pack a bag full of all kinds of stuff to eat, or will I be ok with just my usual water? I know that having food, planning ahead and whatnot will make it easier, but I'm less worried about ease than I am potential harm. Can I get away with a 70 mile ride without preperation? What about 105 miles, if I decided that 70 didn't fill the bill? This will be done on a fixed gear, if that is going to make any difference.
You need food on that sort of ride, but not a ton. Something around 250-300 calories/hour as a maximum.

If you try to ride 70 miles without food, you will very likely bonk. It's not fun.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:15 PM   #8
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if the path is from your house, ride it and pick up what you need on the way back through.
water, a bit of food. maybe something for electrolyte replacement.

lots of this is dependent on you and your body.
70 miles... and you've been doing 35? you should be able to do this. go for 105 and report back here. its in 35 mile sections, so if you feel like crap after 70, stop. if not, keep going. my trouble with loops (i've tried to do the multiple 55 mile loop thing for 160 mile rides) is that after a century i want to eat and relax... then i don't get on the bike again. i need a long loop or a long out and back to get long rides in.

as to gearing - i wouldn't change anything that you are used to. ride the gear you always ride for the terrain you are riding.
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Old 08-20-07, 11:45 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I will pick up some powerbars just to keep in my camelback (I can't afford a jersey yet, so they won't be in there). Also, I've noticed the word bonk in several posts in this forum, as I have lurked about for a couple weeks as the thought of longer rides gets more appealing. I get the basic gist of the term, but would someone care to explain the finer points of bonking?
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Old 08-21-07, 12:17 AM   #10
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This is a 35-mile loop from your home and back, yes? So halfway through your 70-mile ride, when you may very well feel snacky, it should be very convenient to stop back home to refresh yourself. As you observe, you can repeat the loop for 105 miles if you are feeling up for it. Just make sure the cupboard is well stocked before you set out.

This sounds like a very good way to explore longer distances. I found that once I began riding 20 or 30 miles, longer distances came surprisingly easily. I knew I could ride 20 miles, so 40 miles was just 20 more. And then another 20, and another... just as long as there are places to stop for the essential chocolate milk and snacks, one can keep this up until somehow 100 miles or more shows up on the bike computer.

Good luck!
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Old 08-21-07, 05:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by LoRoK View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will pick up some powerbars just to keep in my camelback (I can't afford a jersey yet, so they won't be in there). Also, I've noticed the word bonk in several posts in this forum, as I have lurked about for a couple weeks as the thought of longer rides gets more appealing. I get the basic gist of the term, but would someone care to explain the finer points of bonking?
Here is the "official" definition:

"The bonk (fatigue resulting from muscle glycogen depletion) usually develops 1 to 2 hours into a ride. It is a particular problem if "on the bike" glucose supplements are not used to extend internal muscle glycogen stores."

Basically it is when your body runs out of fuel. The fatigue can be very severe and debilitating. Eating before and during your ride will help you avoid this.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by LoRoK View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will pick up some powerbars just to keep in my camelback (I can't afford a jersey yet, so they won't be in there). Also, I've noticed the word bonk in several posts in this forum, as I have lurked about for a couple weeks as the thought of longer rides gets more appealing. I get the basic gist of the term, but would someone care to explain the finer points of bonking?
Your preparation sounds fine. As Mike45 mentions, bonking is when your body runs out of fuel.

Bonking can happen to anyone, including strong and experienced riders. When it happens, typically you feel great -- you're strong and fast, but then it hits you like a wall. You'll experience incredible weakness, your head will be in a fog, and it is miserable to continue even on a relatively easy route. Bonking is not painful and has nothing to do with how your legs feel. If you haven't experienced it before, imagine being sick, but having no aches, pains, nausea or fever. Your body and mind just don't work properly.

You will know if you bonk. It can be avoided quite easily simply by staying fed and hydrated properly. Jumping from 35 to 70 miles will probably be no problem for you. If you feel up for it, go for 105, but take your time, and be sure to eat and drink.
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Old 08-21-07, 11:08 AM   #13
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Bonking (or coming close) is one of the best ways to increase endurance. Many runners find that by not gelling on long training runs (>15 miles) the body becomes better at burning fat for a longer period for energy. They then use gels on raceday or when the come close to bonking but still have mileage left to complete.
Bonking is when you become glycogen depleted and have to slow down (noticibly) to a pace at which your body can still provide energy.
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