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  1. #1
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    Race Across the West - Training advice

    Hey everybody,

    I didn't know if this should go here or the T&N section of the forum, but I thought this might actually be the better spot.

    I rode mountain bikes for a season in Montana before moving back to the Midwest. Since coming back, I've been riding road regularly and have done 3-4 centuries this year. My longest ride was ~120 miles, it wasn't comfortable (ran out of water/food) but I finished. I've been interested in doing longer rides and developing a focused training plan to enter and complete (while pushing myself) things like RAW.

    I've been trying to log as many miles as I can and have been looking closely at bike fit and how I feel during/post rides. I've gotten a good idea as to how my body reacts to foods/drinks over some of the longer rides too. Reading some posts here at BF, I get the impression that the newer riders should just try to log miles; so I've been trying to ride as much as I can. However, there isn't any structure to what I do (ride during the week, listen to my body, then try something longer on the weekends) and I feel I can make a lot of progress with a plan.

    There are books out there for general cycling training, but are there any for longer events like brevets/RAW? Should I look at a coach to guide training for these types of events? Is it worth looking at a coach for where I am as a cyclist?

    Any input is appreciated. Thanks.

    P

  2. #2
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Also, don't underestimate the importance of "general cycling training". Folks doing things like RAW are generally very capable racers who'd ride circles around you or me even in the middle of an 800 mile long ride. (Brevets are a somewhat different story though.)

  4. #4
    ... part of the machine. the engine's Avatar
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    I can give you a hint as to what to expect in the RAW ... I was a crew member for a rider doing the RAAM this past year. The first 1000 miles of RAAM is the same coarse as the RAW.

    The first 100 miles has about 6000' of climbing, then a nice long ride through the desert at over 100 degrees, then more long climbs in the heat heading up to Durango. Train accordingly.

    You should be capable of doing more than a double century, over 3-4 consecutive days, with thousands of feet of climbing, in desert heat ... then you are ready for RAW.
    http://www.tek-kneescycling.com
    RUSA #8931 - UMCA #8552

  5. #5
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Really can't answer your question, but can make some suggestions:
    -Look up the UMCA site, check the events listed there. Some of them, like the Texas Time Trials, have 6 hour or 12 hour versions that you don't have to be Superman to compete in. At a lot of these events, there is a wide spectrum of talent, and you'll have some of the best riders in the world and then a lot of regular-joes. You can be a fairly ordinary rider and fit right in at some of these events. So you don't have to build yourself up to RAAM level before you do anything.
    -If you can't compete in the events, see if they need volunteers, or go be a spectator. Either option can be informative if you've never been there.
    -Some of the local riders that are not great racers have gotten involved by crewing for other people.
    -Your local randonneuring club MIGHT have some really good long-distance racers in it, check into the club. Not just for that reason, but that's a side benefit.
    -Randonneuring is not intended to be training for long-distance racing. On the other hand, riding a 600k at a leisurely pace is probably a lot better than sitting on your sofa or riding a Saturday morning club ride, too. You can train your body spinning pedals in a garage, but getting out and doing things helps to train your mind. Getting sleepy when you're riding through the cold at 4:00 AM or puking because you've had too much Gatorade over the last 10 hours is hard to duplicate in your garage.
    -A potential benefit of doing some of the above is that you might discover you don't like it without having to look too foolish. I managed to "RAAM Qualify" a couple of years ago. My theory is that this RAAM-Qualification is to rule out people that are half nuts. Because, for RAAM, you need to be full-nuts, not half. And so having finished that 500 mile race, I would never in a million years sign up for RAAM.
    -RAAM and RAW can be very expensive, what with transporting vehicles and support personnel across the country, housing them in hotels, etc. On the other ultraraces, ones that are close and ones that don't require a support vehicle will be easier on the pocketbook.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cellar View Post
    ...I didn't know if this should go here or the T&N section of the forum, but I thought this might actually be the better spot.
    It is, they have no clue about endurance events there. They think triathlons are endurance events...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cellar View Post
    ... Reading some posts here at BF, I get the impression that the newer riders should just try to log miles; so I've been trying to ride as much as I can. However, there isn't any structure to what I do (ride during the week, listen to my body, then try something longer on the weekends) and I feel I can make a lot of progress with a plan...
    IMHO, riding just for the sake of putting in miles is a waste of time (unless that is your plan). As a new rider, you do need a base but you should be building it with a plan. If you are serious about racing, your rides/training should be with a purpose. I'd also look at doing some longer race events like the RAAM challenge or one of the 500 mile races. When I'm training to do an ultra race I rarely ride over 100+/- miles. I will throw in some doubles etc to get used to riding through the night but my usual regime is 30-50 mile training rides with intervals, hills and TT's interspersed with recovery rides and a longer 100+/- ride on the weekend. Train with intensity but don't over do it either. It is supposed to be fun.

    The engine pretty much nailed the course description, I'd say to be competitive you should be able to do consecutive 300+ mile days. Yes, it's hot every year. If you are fast enough though, you can get to Yarnell before the heat of the second day. Once you are in the mountains, the heat tempers.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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