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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 08-24-09, 10:10 AM   #1
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How do you know your ready for a 300K or longer event?

I finished a 200K yesterday. John "johnknappcc" and I finished in 8 hours with 7:15 hours of saddle time. We were strong at the end and maintained our pace during the last 20 miles.

However, the idea of a 300K or double Imperial Century seems beyond me.

How do you know you're ready for a 300K or longer event?

Michael
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Old 08-24-09, 11:48 AM   #2
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I finished a 200K yesterday. John Knapp "johnknappcc" and I finished in 8 hours with 7:15 hours of saddle time. We felt strong at the end and maintained our pace during the last 20 miles.

However, the idea of a 300K or double Imperial Century seems beyond me.

How do you know you're ready for a 300K or longer event?

Michael
Sounds like you are ready to me...

Go for it.
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Old 08-24-09, 12:17 PM   #3
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I was really concerned about this due to the fact that the first 100 miles are usually somewhat of a struggle for me. The only bright spot was that I seemed to recover at 100 miles. Turns out this was a pattern throughout my SR series, I would feel like crap from 40 miles to 90 miles, and then I'd feel pretty good the rest of the ride. Of course, everyone is different. But I do think that most people that can do a 200k can do a 300k without issue. I still feel pretty hammered after a 200k, it's strange.
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Old 08-24-09, 12:28 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are ready to me...

Go for it.
+1 My first double century started out as my first double metric (a solo ride). But I felt pretty good so I kept adding more miles on the way back home. I think I actually felt better at the end of that ride than I did at 200k
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Old 08-24-09, 12:35 PM   #5
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I was really concerned about this due to the fact that the first 100 miles are usually somewhat of a struggle for me. The only bright spot was that I seemed to recover at 100 miles. Turns out this was a pattern throughout my SR series, I would feel like crap from 40 miles to 90 miles, and then I'd feel pretty good the rest of the ride. Of course, everyone is different. But I do think that most people that can do a 200k can do a 300k without issue. I still feel pretty hammered after a 200k, it's strange.
Eat sooner.
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Old 08-24-09, 01:07 PM   #6
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Eat sooner.
One thing I've been learning is to consume food and fluids well and often. After some gastric problems during a 110 mile ride 6 weeks ago, I now drink plenty of sports drinks and healthy snack food during the ride.

I put three H2O bottles on the bike and keep a supply of dried fruit (I like to have dates) and Clif bars to suppliment what I gather from SAG stops or convenience stores.

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Old 08-24-09, 01:18 PM   #7
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I did my first double century in June. My previous longest ride before that was a 200K. I kept my pace very comfortable and didn't push it and I was fine. I found out that I did need to eat a lot more as the day got on, and I was kind of sick of pb&j and Clif bars at the end of the day and I had to force myself to eat.
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Old 08-24-09, 01:25 PM   #8
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One thing I've been learning is to consume food and fluids well and often. After some gastric problems during a 110 mile ride 6 weeks ago, I now drink plenty of sports drinks and healthy snack food during the ride.

I put three H2O bottles on the bike and keep a supply of dried fruit (I like to have dates) and Clif bars to suppliment what I gather from SAG stops or convenience stores.

Michael
Sounds like you're ready. But the only way you'll ever know is by trying. Part of what's fun about randonneuring is taking on new challenges and then (nearly always, so far, for me, knock on wood) succeeding at them. But during the week before big challenges, I'm often somewhat unnerved.

Keep in mind, there are no extra points for finishing before the time limit. Ride at a pace that you can sustain for the whole ride. That pace will probably be slower than you can sustain for a 200K. I can think of several examples of people who come from a more "racer" background who have tried to ride a 600 or 1200 at too high a pace, blew up, then DNF'd. If they'd have only ridden a little more slowly to start with, or even just sat around for several hours, resting, rehydrating, and re-fueling, then they'd have probably been ready to go at about the stage when I went riding by them :-)

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Old 08-24-09, 01:42 PM   #9
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Sounds like you're ready. But the only way you'll ever know is by trying.
Funny. This is exactly what my ride partner told me about a 600k while we were doing the 400k this weekend.
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Old 08-24-09, 02:01 PM   #10
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I did my first double century in June. My previous longest ride before that was a 200K. I kept my pace very comfortable and didn't push it and I was fine. I found out that I did need to eat a lot more as the day got on, and I was kind of sick of pb&j and Clif bars at the end of the day and I had to force myself to eat.
I ride frequently with a woman that is much faster that I am and likes to RAAM qualify solo every year.

I am always amazed at the plethora of food choices she has, and very rarely does it include bars or gels. Not wanting to hijack the thread, but...

Eating before you are hungry is important. If you would not have pb&j and bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner normally, what makes you think that you would want to do so on a ride? Small amounts, frequently, of just about anything that I feel like eating at the moment works for me.

If you keep yourself fueled, keep a steady pace, don't get too hot or too cold from weather conditions, get some sleep, and have a bike that fits you, you will have no problems finishing a 1200. Sounds easy doesn't it.
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Old 08-24-09, 03:53 PM   #11
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How do you know you're ready for a 300K or longer event?
After you've finished one. Seriously. I've never been sure that I was ready for a distance I hadn't ridden before. Confident, yes; apprehensive? well, yeah!

To echo what many others have said, you should be able to handle a 300k, no prob. For me, once I can handle 100 mi at a shot comfortably, I just need to make sure I keep eating and drinking, (and don't do anything stupid like trying to hang with the fast kids ) and I can handle just about any distance.

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Old 08-24-09, 08:35 PM   #12
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How do you know you're ready for a 300K or longer event?
When you finish a 200k and still feel good, maybe good enough that you ride home and don't hurt the next day. Or you do like I did - figured that since I do at least a century or 200k a month, a 300k or double can't be all that bad so just go do it.
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Old 08-24-09, 09:49 PM   #13
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Just because you can do a fast 200k doesn't mean that you will be successful on a longer brevet. I've seen some really fast riders who have not been able to do more than a 400k. Physically the vast majority of us can complete any brevet. Even a 1200k! I know a guy who finished Paris Brest Paris in 1999. In the year before the ride he only got on a bike to do the qualification series. Nothing else! Not only that he did it in tennis shoes.

The mental part of it is the hard part!!!!!! The vast majority of DNF's are mental. People just give up. Sure there are mechanical issues and the occasional injury but the vast majority are people just quitting. If your head is straight, you can do anything!
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Old 08-24-09, 10:46 PM   #14
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Eat sooner.
It's something like that, but I'm not eating the right things early on. And probably going too fast at the beginning.
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Old 08-25-09, 11:59 AM   #15
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What helped me through the 400k last weekend was not counting overall mileage done or miles left to go. I only looked at the mileage for the current stretch I was on.
"Oh, only 6.2 miles to the next turn."
"Just 32 miles to the control."
Even the last 14 miles of 250 don't seem bad when you look at the cue sheet and say "Only 3.7 miles to the next turn", even if 2 miles of it are climbing.
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Old 08-25-09, 01:33 PM   #16
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Eating before you are hungry is important. If you would not have pb&j and bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner normally, what makes you think that you would want to do so on a ride? Small amounts, frequently, of just about anything that I feel like eating at the moment works for me.
The pb&j is what was offered at the checkpoints. I brought other kinds of food with me, but it came down to the fact that I was just sick of having to eat so much during the day.
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Old 08-25-09, 01:39 PM   #17
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The pb&j is what was offered at the checkpoints. I brought other kinds of food with me, but it came down to the fact that I was just sick of having to eat so much during the day.
I feel the same way. I don't have much of a food appetite when I ride. But I also don't absorb fluids well on an empty stomach. So I keep eating and try to avoid weight loss on the days I ride long distances.

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Old 08-25-09, 01:51 PM   #18
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How do you know you're ready for a 300K or longer event?
The particulars of any successful long distance bicycle ride are more about a cyclist's goals and attitudes than any previous riding experience.

No doubt, every cyclist needs a "base" of endurance strength that comes from putting in miles and miles of riding - for several years or more. (or other aerobic exercise) But the real key to "going up the scale" to a new longer distance is in knowing yourself, not only your strengths, but more importantly your weaknesses.

When an experienced long distance cyclist considers an event or ride that is beyond his or her previous experience capacity they take special care to pay attention to the weakest links of their cycling abilities and habits.

Most often this means choosing a more conservative pace so as to keep a clear head and refuel with greater care during the earlier parts of a ride. Later, when tendons and muscles are nearing fatigue, more attention is focused to "stressed" areas that can become the painful bane of any long ride.

Lubricating body-areas that contact the saddle or pedals, and consciously stretching and loosening body parts like the neck, shoulders and arms is practiced more often. In other words, successful long distance riders simply pay more attention to good habits when riding longer distances that present stresses beyond previous experience.

{some of the previous stuff applies as well**

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Old 08-25-09, 02:17 PM   #19
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I'd ask myself three questions and go ahead if your are confident about the answers;

1) Will my bike allow me to finish in comfort, or is the bike too uncomfortable or in any way not ready for a long ride?

2) Do I have a solid base of fitness? The best base is riding about 80% of the event distance once a week for several weeks before the event. YMMV.

3) Do I have a good plan concerning hydration and nutrition? You should eat & drink enough every hour. You will need to know what easy-to-carry foods & drinks will keep you strong for the duration of the event. These supplies can be supplemented at SAG stations or convenience stores.

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Old 08-25-09, 09:41 PM   #20
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...
2) Do I have a solid base of fitness? The best base is riding about 80% of the event distance once a week for several weeks before the event. YMMV...
So, based on this you are going to go out and ride a 1000k each weekend for several weeks before a 1200k? Of course your not, are you? There is this myth out there that to do long distance events you have to ride a bazzillion miles. The quantity of miles you get in before an event isn't nearly as important as the quality of those miles! The vast majority of my training rides are between 35-40miles during the week and one longer 70-100 mile ride on the weekend. If you are riding longer than that you really aren't getting any benefit from it. There is such a thing as over doing it. The farther you go the slower you go and all you are doing is training your muscles to go slow.
One thing that is very true is that the better prepared (ie in shape) you are, the faster you will go and thus the more time you will have to rest and you will have a much more enjoyable time in the process. I'm not talking racing here, I'm talking going fast enough to sleep and enjoy the things that you want to enjoy along the way. Speed work is very important and very often neglected by many randoneurs who then complain about their lack of sleep and barely making the control times.
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Old 08-25-09, 10:02 PM   #21
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The pb&j is what was offered at the checkpoints. I brought other kinds of food with me, but it came down to the fact that I was just sick of having to eat so much during the day.
I was feeling that too. The lunch stop was, er, disappointing. I was drinking Perpetuem in one of my bottles, but now I think Heed is actually better. It's more refreshing and doesn't taste like yak when it gets warm. Helps getting some of your calories in liquid form. But then again, I could (do) eat pb&j's all the time, as long as it's quality.
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Old 08-25-09, 10:17 PM   #22
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I was feeling that too. The lunch stop was, er, disappointing. I was drinking Perpetuem in one of my bottles, but now I think Heed is actually better. It's more refreshing and doesn't taste like yak when it gets warm. Helps getting some of your calories in liquid form. But then again, I could (do) eat pb&j's all the time, as long as it's quality.
Heed and perpetuem are two completely different things. Perpetuem is food, Heed is a drink akin to gatorade (except better for you). If you try and do long rides on just Heed you are going to find yourself in trouble because it doesn't have the nutritional value that is required for long rides. I agree that Perpetuem tastes like "yak" when it's warm (actually all the time ). You might try Spiz or one of the other products designed to be used as a fuel.
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Old 08-26-09, 04:53 PM   #23
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The quantity of miles you get in before an event isn't nearly as important as the quality of those miles! The vast majority of my training rides are between 35-40miles during the week and one longer 70-100 mile ride on the weekend. If you are riding longer than that you really aren't getting any benefit from it. There is such a thing as over doing it. The farther you go the slower you go and all you are doing is training your muscles to go slow. . . . Speed work is very important and very often neglected by many randoneurs who then complain about their lack of sleep and barely making the control times.
Bingo. I've only got 5,400 miles so far this year, but I can regularly ride with guys who roll over 30 miles an hour (and contribute to the pacemaking), and I'm doing my second 1200K of the season in two weeks. You can do a whole lot with a few miles if you spend your time on the bike wisely.

As for the OP, I'll add my voice to the chorus singing the tune that you're probably fine on a 300K or a double-century. There really isn't much difference between 200K and 300K, all other things (weather; terrain) being equal. If you rode a smart 200K, it's not like you're going to go out and do something silly on the 300K. The 400K and 600K, though, are a different animal.
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Old 08-26-09, 07:54 PM   #24
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Heed and perpetuem are two completely different things. Perpetuem is food, Heed is a drink akin to gatorade (except better for you). If you try and do long rides on just Heed you are going to find yourself in trouble because it doesn't have the nutritional value that is required for long rides. I agree that Perpetuem tastes like "yak" when it's warm (actually all the time ). You might try Spiz or one of the other products designed to be used as a fuel.
I actually like the taste of Perpetuem. As long as it's cold/cool. But sometimes it gets boring. When I use Heed, I also eat regular food.
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Old 08-26-09, 08:18 PM   #25
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Yer funny, octopod. We're all pretty funny. For me, there's quite a difference between the 200 and 300, in that I can hammer the first half of a 200 and still finish fast but in pain, but the 300 I really have to sit and spin the first half at a reasonable pace. With that need already for the 300, the 400 doesn't seem much different, but the 600 is still intimidating. Continuous or sleep?

You can probably hammer a 300 - not that far, really. But not me.

I've always trained like you are saying. Not that much mileage, be efficient, be intense. I now have two friends who've done it the opposite way: massive mileage, up to 30,000 miles/yr. They both got really fast, right up there with the seriously talented LD people. Though I rather doubt I have the recovery ability to do that kind of mileage. Still, it does seem that if one can climb 1.5 million feet/year, one can climb a lot faster, for a lot longer. And Lance did ride 6 hours/day in December, or so I understand. I'm not compulsive enough to train like that, so I'll probably never know if it would make me faster.

Mileage is expensive, though. Lots of chains, cogs, chainrings, tires, rims, and most of all, food.
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