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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 05-18-08, 05:21 PM   #1
la02
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24 hour bike ride

So today while me and my friend did the Tour de Cure the idea came up of biking for 24 hours straight. While we talked about this I actually thought about how feasible and what training this would consist of to accomplish. I decided by the end of the ride that I want to accomplish this feat and do it sometime around Septemberish. How does one train for this? I plan on riding on avg for 2 hours with 1/2 hour rest each two hours. I will be able to do on avg about 30 miles each two hours and hopefully get to 300 miles on this ride. My only concern is that I just started biking last summer and I really want to train for some crits (which will be my first crits ever) this July. Does anyone think that this will be a feasible thing for me to train for this summer. As for a training regime I was thinking about slowly building up my daily ride total and base build up to about 14-16 hour days before I actually go through with this. Ladies and gentleman give me your opinions.
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Old 05-18-08, 05:44 PM   #2
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You can do this as a part of an event. Check out the links to 24-hour events on my webpage here:
http://www.machka.net/links.htm

First, build up your mileage and do a century (100 miles). That's a milestone ride for most cyclists. See how you feel on that. Make note of things you would do differently for a more comfortable century. A few weeks later, ride another one and see how you feel on that. Then move up to a double century a few weeks or a month or so later. Your nutritional intake might change for that ride (you might need to eat more), and you might need lighting, so you can experiment with that.

While you are building up mileage on your training rides, do some rides at night to work with your lighting issues. Ride in all sorts of terrain, and in all sorts of weather conditions. Experiment with food. Experiment with your bicycle setup.

Incidentally, the ideal day to do a 24-hour ride would be about June 21st, but you might not be ready for that this year.

Here's my article with tips for riding a century:
http://www.machka.net/century.htm

And here's the UMCA website with tips on riding anything from a century on up:
http://www.ultracycling.com/
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Old 05-18-08, 05:51 PM   #3
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Not sure where you live, but myself and a group is doing the 24 hours of Booty (yes that's really the name). It is a low key, ride when you want to ride, camp when you want to camp, but it is on a 3 mile closed loop (no traffic) for all 24 hours. 100 laps might get a little boring though. But take a look.

www.24hoursofbooty.org
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Old 05-18-08, 05:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by la02 View Post
So today while me and my friend did the Tour de Cure the idea came up of biking for 24 hours straight. While we talked about this I actually thought about how feasible and what training this would consist of to accomplish. I decided by the end of the ride that I want to accomplish this feat and do it sometime around Septemberish. How does one train for this? I plan on riding on avg for 2 hours with 1/2 hour rest each two hours. I will be able to do on avg about 30 miles each two hours and hopefully get to 300 miles on this ride. My only concern is that I just started biking last summer and I really want to train for some crits (which will be my first crits ever) this July. Does anyone think that this will be a feasible thing for me to train for this summer. As for a training regime I was thinking about slowly building up my daily ride total and base build up to about 14-16 hour days before I actually go through with this. Ladies and gentleman give me your opinions.
I've never done it like you described, but just ridden continuously for 24 hours straight besides the quick pit stops for food and water.

The UMCA website(ultra marathon cycling association) has a lot of great, free info on training.

Anyways, the training is probably similar to 24 hour racing although you could probably skimp some and not have to deal with the high intensity or rigorous schedule since you are taking breaks and not competing.

An easy formula for getting truly prepared and not having to ride in misery for a portion of it is this: Estimate how many miles you want to ride over the 24 hour period. Find the day you want to do the actual 24 hour ride you describe and go backwards two weeks on the calendar. This day should be roughly 10% of the total distance you wish to accomplish. Then go back one week and knock another 10% off from the previous distance. do the same for one day every week until you are current. Note, these rides should be at a similar intensity as you plan on doing during the 24 hour ride.

As you'll see once you figure out your mileage, you have plenty of time to get ready for such a ride in September. If you check out my blog in the signature you can see my mileage plan for this spring and summer leading to July. I'm training for the UMCA 24 hour north american championship in July. The mileage plan is on the top left of the blog. My goal is 450 miles at the 24 hour race.

If you want to get faster try to integrate two days of higher intensity but much shorter riding during the week. Intervals, hill repeats, etc. Just make sure you have a day or two rest before and after the long weekly ride.

Remember, I'm giving advice from what I learned from racing and not just a goal of riding 24 hours with breaks.

Most important is the long, weekly ride. You definitely need the hours logged to find out what works as far as nutrition e.g. when and what to eat. Dial in your bike, make sure that saddle works for you. You shouldn't have to tolerate sit bone discomfort. Consider a professional bike fit.
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Old 05-18-08, 06:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by la02 View Post
So today while me and my friend did the Tour de Cure the idea came up of biking for 24 hours straight. While we talked about this I actually thought about how feasible and what training this would consist of to accomplish. I decided by the end of the ride that I want to accomplish this feat and do it sometime around Septemberish. How does one train for this? I plan on riding on avg for 2 hours with 1/2 hour rest each two hours. I will be able to do on avg about 30 miles each two hours and hopefully get to 300 miles on this ride.
just to be a pedant, saying that you plan on averaging 30 miles across 2 hours and resting for half an hour between each 30 mile segment means that you're covering 30 miles across 2.5 hours.
Based on that, you should expect to cover 288 miles in 24 hours, and not 300.

What's your average cruising speed? If you're assuming a 15 mph moving average for the course, but have an average cruising speed of 18, then you might want to be more conservative about your mileage goal. Assume that your average speed will fall off as you get more tired, and if you're cruising at 18 mph when you start fresh, you might be down to 13 or 14 after 12 hours on the road.

The big things to look at when training for distance riding over and above general fitness is bike fit, nutrition and night riding. Is your bike comfortable? What's the most amount of time that you've spent on the bike? Your body knows time, not distance. It doesn't care if you've pedaled 60 miles or 100 miles in the last six hours. How does it feel after six hours on the bike? What hurts after six hours? What should you or can you fix about how your bike is setup so that your body can take another six hours?

Riding crits and focusing on speed can help somewhat in being able to improve average speed and climbing over a long course, but that won't count for much in the sixth hour, when you're bonking and crashing from calorie deprivation because you haven't sorted out how to fuel yourself.

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Originally Posted by la02 View Post
My only concern is that I just started biking last summer and I really want to train for some crits (which will be my first crits ever) this July. Does anyone think that this will be a feasible thing for me to train for this summer. As for a training regime I was thinking about slowly building up my daily ride total and base build up to about 14-16 hour days before I actually go through with this.
You need to build up to being able to do a century. For training purposes, once you're past a century, the rest of it is just wearing out tires. Having the physical strength and conditioning to do long rides is pretty much proven once you can do 100 miles. You don't necessarily need to do a 14 or 16 hour day, unless you just want to. What would be more important is to do a 4 or 5 hour ride all at night, like start at 8pm and ride to midnight -- or better, start at midnight and ride to the sunrise.


some logistics questions that you may want to consider if you're planning on DIY'ing this trip instead of participating in an event...

Will you be doing a 30 mile loop and resting at the same place for half an hour or will you be doing a long out-and-back. If you're just looking to do the miles, then a loop that you ride 9 or 10 times throughout the day is easiest, but I'd find it mind-numbingly boring.

Will you be doing the ride supported, with a car following you or meeting you at your rest stops or will you be doing it unsupported? If unsupported, are you comfortable with doing basic roadside repairs (ie. fixing flats, tweaking derailleurs, etc.?) Do you want to budget in a time buffer for mechanical problems?

Will you be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at restaurants along the way or just buying sandwiches from convenience stores or relying on vehicle support to bring meals with you? If eating at restaurants, you might want to switch your rest stops so that you're resting for only 15 minutes, and then expect each of your meal stops to take 45 minutes or so. It's rare for me to have stopped, sat down, ordered, eaten, paid and remounted my bike in less than 30 minutes at a restaurant.

You are doing this with your friend, right? Long rides of this sort are always better when done with company.
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Old 05-19-08, 11:26 PM   #6
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start riding with your local randonneur group - build up from the 200k to the 600k - very fast riders can do 600k (with hills, mind you) in 24 hours, but i'm shooting for 30-36 hours on my upcoming 600k. we'll see.

btw riding in a closed loop sounds like more of a test of metal ability to withstand boredom than anything else! if i'm gonna be on a bike for that long, i'm gonna see some scenery god dammit! =]
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Old 05-19-08, 11:30 PM   #7
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I once drove from Santa Cruz, CA to Colorado Springs, CO in 23 hours and 47 minutes. That was rough. I don't know how one would stay awake while performing this feat. Are we saying that this ride will be 24 hours straight, with the exception of peeing and eating?
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Old 05-19-08, 11:43 PM   #8
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I once drove from Santa Cruz, CA to Colorado Springs, CO in 23 hours and 47 minutes. That was rough. I don't know how one would stay awake while performing this feat. Are we saying that this ride will be 24 hours straight, with the exception of peeing and eating?
Well, yes, of course. Most 24-hour events go straight through.

I've got nine 24-hour events listed (linked) on my website: http://www.machka.net/links.htm
Go look, and see what they are all about.

And here's the story of the 2006 UMCA 24-hour event Rowan and I participated in: http://www.machka.net/24hour/2006_UMCA24hour.htm


As for staying awake ... it's not hard to stay awake for 24 hours. It gets more difficult after that.
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Old 05-20-08, 05:56 AM   #9
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I once drove from Santa Cruz, CA to Colorado Springs, CO in 23 hours and 47 minutes. That was rough. I don't know how one would stay awake while performing this feat. Are we saying that this ride will be 24 hours straight, with the exception of peeing and eating?
It's a lot easier to stay awake on a bike for that long vs driving a car. Even 36 hours. You just have to pace yourself and know your limits so you don't over exert yourself.
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Old 05-20-08, 05:14 PM   #10
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It's a lot easier to stay awake on a bike for that long vs driving a car. Even 36 hours. You just have to pace yourself and know your limits so you don't over exert yourself.
Yes ... and eat regularly. That part is very important. Regular intake of food can ward off the hallucinations and nausea.

My first 600K brevet was 36 hours straight through with no sleep, but I didn't know the "eat regularly" part, and ended up feeling quite ill around dawn.
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Old 05-25-08, 02:46 AM   #11
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I once drove from Santa Cruz, CA to Colorado Springs, CO in 23 hours and 47 minutes. That was rough. I don't know how one would stay awake while performing this feat. Are we saying that this ride will be 24 hours straight, with the exception of peeing and eating?
i first read that as you RODE 1200 miles in a day, i was ready to bow down. Yeah i've done the Pasadena to Denver drive alot and without someone else in the car it is not an easy trip.
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Old 05-27-08, 09:51 PM   #12
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start riding with your local randonneur group - build up from the 200k to the 600k - very fast riders can do 600k (with hills, mind you) in 24 hours, but i'm shooting for 30-36 hours on my upcoming 600k. we'll see.

btw riding in a closed loop sounds like more of a test of metal ability to withstand boredom than anything else! if i'm gonna be on a bike for that long, i'm gonna see some scenery god dammit! =]
I stopped riding 600ks because I'd rather see where I am...

My most favorite ride is the 300k as it is something I can sustain day-after-day and still ride all during the daytime (dpeneding on season and latitude).

Machka... though I ride 400ks in 15 hours... I've never done a 600k in under 30 hours simply because.... Why ride in the dark? But then ya got ta be fast enough to say that so I understand for those who can't

I'm working on riding the eastern seaboard this fall (If I can get permission from the wife who wants me to do it with someone than ride alone). My plan is to start in Maine and go to Key West averaging around 150 miles a day.
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Old 05-28-08, 10:52 AM   #13
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I happen to love riding in the dark. In the middle of the night, there's less traffic, the wind usually dies down, and in summertime it's not as hot. Nighttime brevets are my favorite.
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Old 06-07-08, 04:57 PM   #14
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Will you be doing a 30 mile loop and resting at the same place for half an hour or will you be doing a long out-and-back. If you're just looking to do the miles, then a loop that you ride 9 or 10 times throughout the day is easiest, but I'd find it mind-numbingly boring.
An option in-between a long route and a repetitive loop is to design a series of shorter loops. I haven't done a 24 hour ride (yet), but for my first double century last year, I came up with 4 50 mile loops. Since I was unsupported, that gave me a central location to work from, but no boring repetition. I had all my food and drinks and backup bike/tools/clothes/etc. all in my car.

FWIW, I chose all roads within my home county and rode from the courthouse in the county seat. Each loop used roads from a different quadrant of the mostly square county footprint. It was tied to the fact that both the county and my hometown were celebrating their bicentennial last year.

This year I'm doing a 240 mile ride across Ohio supported by my wife, using RAIN (and Rainstorm) as a 'training' ride. I'm considering Nat. 24-Hour Challenge in MI for 2009 with a goal of 350 miles.
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Old 06-07-08, 06:22 PM   #15
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Riding for 24 hours is a cool idea. A good way to get a "taste" for it would be to try some long organized rides. Ask around about UMCA or RUSA rides.
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