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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 12-22-13, 01:34 PM   #1
lungimsam
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What makes you long distance riders want to ride so much?

I really admire folks who do long distance riding/training.
Was wondering what it is that makes you want to be on the bike so long and in all conditions year after year, day after day.
The obvious answer would be that you love riding, but I wonder what the other reasons are that keep you going.

I trained solo for the Century I did this year. I had a great time, but felt a little nervous being so far from home and on my own out there on the training rides.
I would love to do some longer Rando type riding, but I think I would need a training/riding buddy to make it more fun and less scary doing it on my own, but I don't know of any Rando groups around me and I don't think I could keep up with anyone anyway as I would probably be considered pokey on the bike (~15mph).
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Old 12-22-13, 03:35 PM   #2
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>>only partially tongue in cheek<<
It's a way to hide from the rest of life with a minimum amount of negative consequences for at least a few hours. Stuff like aging issues, relationship problems, financial woes, and especially crappy news about politics just don't matter when you're 35-60 miles from home in the middle of a wind/rain/hailstorm.

If your profile included your location, someone might be able to point you towards local clubs or rando groups. Then again, with the number of posts you have, you already know that.
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Old 12-22-13, 03:40 PM   #3
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Free Jersey.

My club gives a free jersey if you can ride a century each month of the year.
aside from that, there ain't much on TV but commercials.


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Old 12-22-13, 04:53 PM   #4
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... .
I would love to do some longer Rando type riding, but I think I would need a training/riding buddy to make it more fun and less scary doing it on my own, but I don't know of any Rando groups around me and I don't think I could keep up with anyone anyway as I would probably be considered pokey on the bike (~15mph).
15-mph is fast enough. You won't be part of the fast-crew, and depending on the conditions and terrain that drives that 15-mph, you may be close to being in the lantern rouge crew, but ... so-what.

I find that it sometimes helps to be riding with others, but sometimes I'd rather be alone, esp. if I'm in a purgatory period during the ride.

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>>only partially tongue in cheek<<
It's a way to hide from the rest of life with a minimum amount of negative consequences for at least a few hours. Stuff like aging issues, relationship problems, financial woes, and especially crappy news about politics just don't matter when you're 35-60 miles from home in the middle of a wind/rain/hailstorm.

... .
The above reasons also work on absolutely fabulous days, too.
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Old 12-22-13, 09:15 PM   #5
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Just because you can! Seriously it helps clear my head and you will find other riders who enjoy the same. One thing I have found, at least for me is that I have made some great friends riding a bike.

Oh yeah, it is normal to a bit nervous on your first few long rides. Always have a backup plan and a way to contact someone.
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Old 12-22-13, 10:08 PM   #6
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I'm still relatively new to the whole thing, so it's about the challenge, pushing myself farther than I have before. I've met some really cool and encouraging people along the way, and I think the lack of prizes or fame (outside of our little circle) helps keep the pursuit "pure" and focused on personal accomplishment.
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Old 12-22-13, 11:31 PM   #7
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People are motivated by different things. But in my case, my long distance riding is a chance to do things with other people, not by myself. When I first started randonneuring, I was mostly riding by myself, and did one ride a month. When I started riding with other people, that was a lot more fun, and I started riding every week.
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Old 12-23-13, 02:04 AM   #8
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man I wish I can ride other people but my schedule doesn't fit in with riding clubs in my area. In terms of riding long distances, my longest is 65 miles. It took me about 4 hours but it's a way to relax and also a sense of accomplishment that I was able to go 65 miles ever since I started cycling 2.5 months ago. And most importantly, it's a great way to exercise.
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Old 12-23-13, 03:00 AM   #9
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Pretty much what I've written before ...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...stance-cycling

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...y-do-you-do-it

Especially what I wrote in the second thread.
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Old 12-23-13, 06:35 AM   #10
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It's like being a drug addict. It takes more and more to get high. I don't really feel satisfied unless I get 100 miles or more.

Not sure why, but short, intense rides don't do it for me. That's part of why I don't race. I'm not so great at that, so I feel like a loser when I don't place well. But somehow on a long ride I get a sense of accomplishment no matter how fast I go.
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Old 12-23-13, 06:55 AM   #11
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It's like being a drug addict. It takes more and more to get high.
+1 on this.

And also like a drug addict, you always try to get higher and higher, and you always try to keep the high going for as long as possible before you crash.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:37 AM   #12
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man I wish I can ride other people but my schedule doesn't fit in with riding clubs in my area. In terms of riding long distances, my longest is 65 miles. It took me about 4 hours but it's a way to relax and also a sense of accomplishment that I was able to go 65 miles ever since I started cycling 2.5 months ago. And most importantly, it's a great way to exercise.
That's not bad at all for 2.5 months cycling. It takes time to work up the speed and distance.
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Old 12-23-13, 11:13 AM   #13
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I have decided I'm going to keep riding long distance until I have a ride where I don't hate myself sometime during the ride. Ok, j/k. It gives me goals, otherwise I don't ride and I need to ride to maintain my health.
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Old 12-23-13, 11:36 AM   #14
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When I ride double centuries, I am playing star, again.

Inspired by Bob Seger's Song: Turn The Page

On a long and lonesome highway
east of anywhere
You just become the engine
moanin' out a one note song
You can think about the woman
or the girl you knew the night before
But your thoughts will soon be wandering
the way they always do
When you're ridin' sixteen hours
and there's nothin' much to do
And you don't feel much like ridin',
you just wish the trip was through

Here I am
On the road again
There I am
Up on the stage
Here I go, playin' star again
There I go ,turn the page

Out there on a road bike
you're a million miles away
Every ounce of energy
you try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body
and the miles fade away
Later in the evening
as you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the wind noise
ringin' in your head
You sip the day's last sports drink,
rememberin' what she said
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Old 12-23-13, 08:06 PM   #15
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I never feel better than after a long, challenging ride. My mind is clearer, I feel tired but yet stronger, and my sleep is as sound as it was when I was a kid. Short training, group or recreational rides are a lot of fun and have a lot of fitness and social benefits, but there is something about hitting that rhythmic cadence for hours at a time that resets my physical and mental workings. A few times, I have ridden so long and so hard that for the last 10 miles I swore that I'd never get on a bike again, only to lie back on the grass at my destination because I'm too tired to walk, use my helmet as a pillow, and feel absolutely fantastic.
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Old 12-23-13, 09:47 PM   #16
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<---- Drug addict!
Definitely +1 on it being like a drug in that you develop a tolerance and then you need more and more to feel like it's really an adventure.
It's also like a real mental vacation. If I'm out in the middle of nowhere, my cell phone won't ring, I don't have to answer my email, and I don't have to be anywhere except the next control. I can let my mind wander, listen to the music that's stuck in my head, work out designs for stuff I'll probably never get around to making. It feels somehow cleansing to just go and get physically exhausted.
I also feel like seeing new places on a bike gives me a real feel for the terrain that I don't get otherwise.

In terms of being out in the middle of nowhere alone, I don't usually feel particularly nervous unless I'm in a particularly bad area. Maybe I should be more worrried, but I'm not. I like riding with people, but I don't mind riding alone. I did a 1000k all alone last year (I was the only one who signed up) and enjoyed it, although it made my better half a little crazy to think of me doing that. But even if you're with other people, on a ride that's that long, you'll still have long stretches where no one has anything to say.

So yeah, there's definitely a meditative aspect of so much time alone in my own head and away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. And it just feels really good to sit on my bike and keep my feet going 'round and 'round.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:18 PM   #17
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When I started, it was about learning I could. That journey if breaking through what I thought were limits was pretty powerful stuff.

Since then, it's more about the experience itself, of continuing to push myself.

Plus I just plain love riding my bike.
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Old 12-24-13, 09:12 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I have decided I'm going to keep riding long distance until I have a ride where I don't hate myself sometime during the ride. ... .
Hmmn:

I've hated my bike;
I've hated bicycling;
I've hated randonneuring, sure that bicycling and rando were invented solely as a torture device / method.

I've hated the pain in each of my buttocks;
I've hated the pain in my lower back;
I've hated the pain in each of my feet, calves, quads, hands, and in my right tricep;

I've shed tears of pain because of an extremely painful tendinitis in my right leg;
I've yelped due the pain as my shorts tried to whittle the end off ... something.

I've hated the rough road;
I've hated the look of the next climb;
I've hated the never-ending FLAT road.

I've been "fed-up" with the person(s) I was riding with;
But I've never hated myself (while cycling).

Maybe if / when I ride a 1200?

Last edited by skiffrun; 12-26-13 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 12-24-13, 12:01 PM   #19
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yeah, I really hated myself starting at about 100 miles to go on PBP "Why did I do this to myself?" "Never again"

It's just a catch-all phrase, no permanent ego deficits were caused or revealed. It actually happens a lot less now that I use a carb/protein mix in my water bottle for nutrition. I still have to remind myself to eat, but it's easier now.
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Old 12-24-13, 12:10 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
Hmmn:

I've hated my bike;
I've hated bicycling;
I've hated randonneuring, sure that bicycling and rando were invented solely as a torture device / method.

I've hated the pain in each of my buttocks;
I've hated the pain in my lower back;
I've hated the pain in each of my feet, calves, quads, hands, and in my right tricep;

I've shed tears of pain because of a extremely painful tendinitis in my right leg;
I've yelped due the pain as my shorts tried to whittle the end off ... something.

I've hated the rough road;
I've hated the look of the next climb;
I've hated the never-ending FLAT road.

I've been "fed-up" with the person(s) I was riding with;
But I've never hated myself (while cycling).

Maybe if / when I ride a 1200?
Is that a poem?
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Old 12-24-13, 08:59 PM   #21
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Yes, you do develop some tolerance to cycling, so longer distances are not as hard as they once were, but as someone holding a job and living with a family, time available for cycling is always limited. Sometimes you get to ride more, sometimes less. Because of that the conditioning doesn't get just better and better. It's always and up and down, though hopefully still going up over time.

Like many others I'm not a particularly fast cyclist, so being able to go further I can still feel a sense of achievement. I think that's definitely a common theme and one of the reasons why randonneurs tend to be older: The younger guys still get their kicks out of being fast

Being far from home and on my own is not really a challenge. I do worry about time cut-offs in brevets, I worry about rain, about running out of water in the summer, even about bears on mountain roads at night, but not about how far I am from home. It doesn't frighten me. I incrementally increased my distances and each step provides experience and confidence for the next. Once you've done 150 km, going 200 km isn't scary. After 200, 300 adds only sleep deprivation and more riding in darkness. Same for when I attempted 600 km.

I largely ride for the views, for the experience of being out in nature and seeing things. You notice so much more than while driving and cover so much more territory than while hiking. I like seeing places at different times of day, the early morning, the late afternoons, sunrises and sunsets, even night time. You wouldn't get this kind of variety on a 2 hour ride
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Old 12-26-13, 05:57 AM   #22
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Quote:
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Is that a poem?
Could be.

Oh, do you mean "did I quote a published poem?"
If that's what you meant, then the answer is "no, I just typed my own experience, perhaps as a verbose Haiku (more than one friend has described some of my blog posts as such)."
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Old 12-26-13, 12:55 PM   #23
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REALLY long distance riding....

"Was wondering what it is that makes you want to be on the bike so long and in all conditions year after year, day after day".

I wasn't gifted with the genetics that makes exercise 'enjoyable' and it takes a cattle prod or threat of death to keep me at it. As a consequence I gained almost 100lbs working a sedentary job. I discovered that loosing the weight was easier than keeping it off long term. Randonneuring became the best possible solution. I sign up for a 1200k or two every year- each one a harder and more daring ride than the year before. I'm not a strong rider and having something so monstrous dangling over my head keeps me training in one form or another year around in a highly structured way. I have to train progressively year after year and I'm constantly working on my alpha weakness which is climbing. To maintain the kind of training demands I have gotten really discliplined about eating a clean and appropriate diet. Even with riding 7-10K miles/yr, I still find that I have to manage my weight and health and keep the naughtiness to a minimum.

Yes there are good and occasionally great days on the bike. Riding a historic route through France or Spain is certainly worthy of envy. But frankly it's a heck of a lot of grinding work. I've learned more through this process - cycling, sports physiology, tactical planning, you name it- than it would have been possible to learn if I was just riding centuries or riding for 'fun'. The up side has been learning the discipline of the lifestyle, learning to take outrageous risks and of course the feeling of having accomplished a 1200K ride. I think it's true that it's impossible to communicate that feeling unless you've accomplished something like it. It changes the reference for a typical day.

best wishes on your journey
Sekhem

Last edited by Sekhem; 12-26-13 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 01-08-14, 06:12 PM   #24
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It's a good question, I think I just like training/working towards something and achieving a goal. Also, I don't have cable so have to do something.

I had always heard about the famous "century" and thought it was a neat idea. I bought a bike last May and had never done anything over 12 miles, but trained and knocked out a couple centuries in Sept/Oct. I just love the sense of accomplishment. I relate it to some other "goals" of mine such as 50 mile backpacking trip (ended up being a lot longer in Desolation Wilderness and was a blast), completing the Rubicon Trail in a truck I built myself (1985 Toyota Pickup pulled it off after a lot of suspension work in my garage and a lot of learning), making Eagle Scout, starting my own business (still working on that one), etc. Biting off more than you can chew and then pulling it off is way better than watching TV and wasting your life. I love finding something that you think about 24/7 and can't wait to get home from school/work to do. You don't want to end up being 50 and all you can do is quote funny lines from Cheers...
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Old 01-08-14, 07:19 PM   #25
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Y'know, that makes me think. I'd like to be the fastest cyclist out there, and go ride faster than everybody. That just ain't gonna happen, I could train till I died, and I wouldn't be impressive in speed. But riding long distances is something I CAN do.

I've also noticed that there is a sense of accomplishment from completing a ride that adds to the experience of doing it- so even if the actual ride sucks to a greater or lesser extent, you may still be glad you did it because of that sense of accomplishment when you're done.
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