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  1. #1
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    Tips for my first long ride?

    I'm back to cycling after a month off from a rib and leg injury. I'm pushing about 7 miles a morning now and tossing a mile-2 of walking/jogging slowly into it. Once school starts back up and the kids are gone I'm shooting for 30 on bike and 5 on foot.

    My first event is 100 miles and I'm scared to be honest. It's 160 miles from home, I'll be driving then camping the night before. But for the 100 miles, what do I need to prepare for? I've got 2 months until it's time, so time to condition a bit more.

    I'm currently doing morning stretches but no other working out. I do have a ymca pass, and our ymca is one of the better ones.

    So what should I focus on? My heart rate is great, my lungs feel great, legs are getting stronger fast. I need a checklist though. I don't want to get there and get 40-50 miles in and have to be taxi'd back, lol. Help me out!

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    there are many threads on this subject in the archives. It's not an easy question to answer, and something I probably wouldn't do myself. The good news is that you generally can take it slow and finish a century without too much training. That happens all the time.

    If you want to finish the century in good form, your efforts on the bike are far more important than anything you can do off the bike.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifjeepmadeabike View Post
    I'm back to cycling after a month off from a rib and leg injury. I'm pushing about 7 miles a morning now and tossing a mile-2 of walking/jogging slowly into it. Once school starts back up and the kids are gone I'm shooting for 30 on bike and 5 on foot.

    My first event is 100 miles and I'm scared to be honest. It's 160 miles from home, I'll be driving then camping the night before. But for the 100 miles, what do I need to prepare for? I've got 2 months until it's time, so time to condition a bit more.

    I'm currently doing morning stretches but no other working out. I do have a ymca pass, and our ymca is one of the better ones.

    So what should I focus on? My heart rate is great, my lungs feel great, legs are getting stronger fast. I need a checklist though. I don't want to get there and get 40-50 miles in and have to be taxi'd back, lol. Help me out!
    Good luck! I wish you well. I just finished my first Century this week. Looking back, I can say that for me, seat time cannot be underestimated. Conditioning is only part of the equation. Longer rides tax your body in more ways than one and the only way to get used to the discomfort that long rides can cause is to do them. Take it easy at the beginning so you have something in the tank to make the last 20-30 miles. Make sure you stay properly hydrated and eat energy supplying foods along the way to keep your energy levels on an even keel. These are important things to consider, too. The best advice I can give you, though, is to ride, ride and ride to get ready for the Century. If you do the 30 mile ride you mention, you will know where you stand with regards to being ready for a Century or not and you will probably begin to understand the importance of time in the saddle. Personally speaking, I would not tackle a Century ride unless I had some serious distance rides behind me. I'm not saying that this is what you should do. You may be a natural and it may come easy to you. As for me, I had to work at it a while by going on longer and longer rides, but I did find that the longer I rode the more comfortable I got on the longer rides. Now, I don't think my next Century will be that hard since I have one under my belt and know what to expect.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    One of biggest issues with attempting "really hard" rides is keeping your doubts from causing you to forget good practices and instead making rookie mistakes.

    Among these rookie mistakes are:

    trying to start or ride too fast
    trying to keep up or slow down and ride with others riding other speeds
    forgetting basics - like sunscreen, eating and drinking early - using cream on on butt or feet

    No one starts out riding like an expert - you just have to learn. Pace yourself and have good time.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  5. #5
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    Ride your bike, ride your bike, ride your bike. Nothing better to learn about riding longer distances. You won't learn that in a gym.
    VeloWeb | VeloWebLog

    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind." ~William Saroyan

  6. #6
    Senior Member IchbinJay's Avatar
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    Pacing is definitely important during any race/ride.

    Recently, a lot of research points towards intensity as the best method for building cardio. Doing more intense sprints mixed with mellow spins would be good. For me, running and jogging are awesome ways to cross train. Also, work your core. Many cyclists will buy a 3,000 dollar carbon bike when what they should be doing is working their core muscles. Abs and pecs help keep your bike steady in a long climb. They also keep your spine in place when pushing out of the saddle. Lots to take in, but hopefully this was helpful.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifjeepmadeabike View Post
    I'm back to cycling after a month off from a rib and leg injury. I'm pushing about 7 miles a morning now and tossing a mile-2 of walking/jogging slowly into it. Once school starts back up and the kids are gone I'm shooting for 30 on bike and 5 on foot.

    My first event is 100 miles and I'm scared to be honest. It's 160 miles from home, I'll be driving then camping the night before. But for the 100 miles, what do I need to prepare for? I've got 2 months until it's time, so time to condition a bit more.

    I'm currently doing morning stretches but no other working out. I do have a ymca pass, and our ymca is one of the better ones.

    So what should I focus on? My heart rate is great, my lungs feel great, legs are getting stronger fast. I need a checklist though. I don't want to get there and get 40-50 miles in and have to be taxi'd back, lol. Help me out!
    Start doing some long slow rides on the weekend right now so you can get a handle on what you can do with your present level of fitness. I would do a 30 miler this weekend and shoot for a 40 miler the next. Then add 5 miles each weekend. You can do shorter more intense workouts during the week which will require less time. Generally, you need to be able to do at least a 75-80 miles ride without too much trouble before you try a 100 mile ride.

  8. #8
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ifjeepmadeabike View Post
    ...
    So what should I focus on? ...
    Having fun.

  9. #9
    Senior Member McCallum's Avatar
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    The thing I remember from my first long ride 82 with a century option (I did the option) is ride long distance; I wish we, my wife and I had gotten in a few rides of 50 to 60 miles before trying the 80-100 miles. We had a bad ride one day and had to back off training due to dehydration on the bad ride and NEVER got in another ride over 35 miles. So, my advise is RIDE as much as you can as far as you can as much as you can.

  10. #10
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    It's all been said, but
    (1) per the great Eddy Merckx: "ride lots"
    (2) but don't over train, cut back when you're pooped; especially just before the event
    (3) eat & hydrate well on the ride (my rule of thumb is if I think about food, eat something)
    (4) ride YOUR pace, not others
    (5) you'll know you're ready when you can do half the distance over similar terrain two days in a row and feel fine on the third
    (6) you WILL hit a wall somewhere around 75-85 miles, keep going as you'll feel better in a bit. The height / solidity of the wall will depend on the amount of training you've been able to do ...

  11. #11
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billDennen View Post
    ...
    (6) you WILL hit a wall somewhere around 75-85 miles, ...
    The posts / advice that ABSOLUTELY ASSURE people that they WILL HIT A WALL would be funny if they weren't so ... something.

    There is no need to hit a wall if you pace properly and eat and drink properly. (The only exception being that if you are sick or are coming down sick.)

  12. #12
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    1) Ride your own pace.

    2) Eat and drink well before you feel like giving up. Unless you have a medical, feelings of "I can't do this" and other emotions of despair are usually signs of bonking. Try eating or drinking if you feel this way and see if the feeling goes away.

    3) Keep your stops infrequent and for short durations. If you stop for 20 minutes or more, you will never make that time back up on the road.

    4) Make sure you are comfortable on your bike (ergo, bike fit).

    5) On hills, make sure you have a coping strategy. I usually focus on a breathing pattern to grind out the long hilly portions.
    __________________________________________
    "You spend the whole time afraid you're weak, but clawing every second knowing that if you can just shut your mind off and turn the pedals 1 more time you're going to be 1 pedal turn closer." -- Psimet

  13. #13
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    A lot of people don't eat enough during a century. You are going to be out there for 7-8 hours. You probably wouldn't go that long without eating on a normal day, you can't expect to do it if you are riding the bike too. Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty.
    Don't linger too long at the rest stops. Not only does it add to your overall time, but it takes longer to get back into a rhythm when you get back on the bike. If you stop for ten minutes and there are six rest stops, that's an extra hour. But, it is better to stop for a few minutes more often, than to go to the point of exhaustion and have to stop for a longer time.
    Make sure your bike is adjusted to fit properly. Any aches that are a minor annoyance on a 20 mile ride, could bring you to a stop on a century.
    You need to be able to ride at least half the distance with no problems. That will get you to the lunch stop, then it's like you have a fresh start.
    It's a long ride, so don't try to go out too fast in the first 20 miles. Ride at a pace that you can carry on a conversation. If you are talking to a fellow rider, it passes the time and it keeps you from going too fast.
    Don't forget to have fun. It is supposed to be an accomplishment, not a forced march.

    Edit: Two water bottles is a good idea. One sports drink, one water. The water is handy for washing your hands after a repair or washing a wound after a mishap.
    Last edited by Pompiere; 09-13-11 at 06:18 AM.

  14. #14
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Here are my tips on doing group supported rides. Many of them are repeats of what other people have said:

    • Enjoy yourself.
      Seriously. That's why you're there. You've already paid your registration fee; you've already collected any donations you needed to for the charity. By the time of the ride, you could turn around, go home, and nobody would mind. You've spent time and money to get there, so have fun with the day! Keep that as your focus; when you're not having fun on these rides, you're doing something wrong.
    • Ride and chat with other cyclists.
      You may not have any friends on the ride with you, but that doesn't mean you can't chat somebody up on the ride. Maybe you see the same person at 3 different stops, or you find yourself riding with one or two others on a lonely stretch of road. You might not need to share your life story, but you can talk about something you do have in common - that last hill, or the threatening rain, or how good those cookies were at the first stop.
    • Ride your ride.
      Ride whatever pace feels comfortable to you. If you're riding with a group of other cyclists, and you start to drop off the back.... just drop off the back. Don't waste energy trying to catch them, just so you can end up riding faster than you're comfortable riding to keep up with them.
      If you feel the need to chase them down, just repeat the 'ride my ride' mantra to yourself a few times. Your goals are not their goals. Your ride experience is not the same as theirs. Just ride your ride.
    • Eat (you need to).
      You'll be on your bike most of the day, burning at least twice as many calories as you'd spend otherwise. You need to replenish some of those, or you're going to run out of energy 2-3 hours into the event.
      Plan on ~300ish calories an hour. You'll burn more than that, but that amount should mostly keep you going.
    • Drink (you need to).
      Hydration is a concern. In normal temperatures, figure ~24oz of liquid per hour on the bike. Make sure you're replacing electrolytes. Some of the better options here are the provided sports drinks in one bottle and pure water in your 2nd one. You can figure in the Gatorade calories into your hourly caloric intake.
    • Stop at most of the rest stops, if only to top off your bottles and thank the volunteers.
      Empty bottles are bad. And those volunteers need appreciation, too. Besides, many rest stops have homemade cookies, and this is a good time to eat a couple of them guilt-free.
    • Worry less about your speed than you do about how much time you spend 'in the pits'.
      Rest stops are great, but you can burn a lot of time at them if you're not careful.
      Get off the bike, grab your bottles, and fill 'em up. Grab some on-the-bike snacks to tide you over for the next 2 hours, eat a snack, and get back on the road.
    • Rest (if you need to).
      If you find yourself: lightheaded, dizzy, weak, weaving, or otherwise in a state of distress, stop, get some food, liquid, and electrolytes, and wait for them to kick in and you feel better.
      Making short pits doesn't do you any good if you're bonking or dehydrated.



    I'm not a fast rider, but I'm quick at rest stops. Most supported rides, the same 'fast' riders pass me four or five times on the road, simply because they spend more time at each rest stop than I do. I end up finishing about the same time they do because if there's one stop I skip, it's the last one.
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