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  1. #1
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    Are commuting miles acceptable base miles for a double century?

    I am planning on doing a double century (STP One-day) in July. I have had consistent mileage throughout the "winter" of about 70-80 miles per week, but most of these rides are rides of 6-8 miles or less, 8-10 times per week, and maybe one day with 25-30 mile rides.

    Due to various work/family commitments, it is easier for me to ramp up to get more "short" morning rides of 25-40 miles, 4-5 times per week, plus my normal commute home of 6-8 miles.

    Can I train primarily with these base miles, or is it necessary to have multiple, long rides (century +) under my belt?

    While I do plan on taking some longer weekend rides, I don't plan on those being my primary miles. Should I worry or change my plan?

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    All miles are good miles, but I think you would benefit from some longer rides prior to your double century. Everyone is different but I like to get in several training rides under similar conditions and about 2/3 or more my intended distance before trying something significantly more difficult than I have done in the past.
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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    "Acceptable?" Is someone checking on you?

    FWIW, I do not think you can really train for a double only with short rides like these. You can use them for interval training, but optimally you still want to put some long miles in.

    E.g. you need to be accustomed to being in the saddle for that length of time, to hydrating and eating properly, making sure your position is correct, and so forth.

    You also want to avoid jumping from 80 miles a week, to 280 miles a week. Physically you can probably get away with it, but a big leap like that increases the chance of an overuse injury.

    What's your longest ride to date, by the way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    You also want to avoid jumping from 80 miles a week, to 280 miles a week. Physically you can probably get away with it, but a big leap like that increases the chance of an overuse injury.

    What's your longest ride to date, by the way?
    I'm not planning on jumping up the mileage all in one go. Probably ramping up over the course of 2-3 months.

    My main goal is to finish comfortably, and not necessarily quickly. I did several metrics last year, and back to back centuries two years ago (STP) without issue. I will likely do two 200k's prior to STP, primarily to make sure I have nutrition and hydration down. There are few different ACP events in the spring and early summer that I can choose from, or I can go explore on my own.

    Ideally, I'd like to do one long ride each weekend, ramping up slowly to around 140-150 miles three to four weeks prior to the event, but I am hesitating about spending that much time away from my family on the weekends.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'd get in all the miles I could and go for it.
    If I waited until I was properly trained before I did anything, I wouldn't have done much of anything yet.
    So what's going to happen if you're not properly trained? You're going to ride 180 miles then fall over dead. No, just kidding. You're going to ride it in 18 hours instead of 12 like you thought, or something like that. Anyway, you get slower, you get more tired, the fun goes out of it. But generally you don't just fall over dead for lack of proper training.
    One thing that longer training rides help with is dealing with problems, not just physical training. So figuring out how to deal with heat, cold, cramps, and that kind of stuff. You can do 30 mile rides all year and never run into some of the issues you do with a longer ride. Then also, you can have a saddle that's fine for 30 miles and kills you on a 100, and it's helpful to know that ahead of time.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
    Due to various work/family commitments, it is easier for me to ramp up to get more "short" morning rides of 25-40 miles, 4-5 times per week, plus my normal commute home of 6-8 miles.

    Can I train primarily with these base miles, or is it necessary to have multiple, long rides (century +) under my belt?

    While I do plan on taking some longer weekend rides, I don't plan on those being my primary miles. Should I worry or change my plan?
    If I were you, I'd get at least one century and one 125 mile ride in when you do those longer weekend rides.

    There are discoveries to be made when the ride goes up and over the 80 mile mark ... especially within the field of nutrition.

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    Senior Member lonesomesteve's Avatar
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    In 2008 I did STP in one day. Prior to the spring of '08 when I started training for it, I had been commuting by bike for a few years but had never ridden much over 20 miles at a time. To train, I continued my daily commute of about 15 miles round trip and did one long ride each weekend ramping up the distance about 10% each week. My longest ride was about 115 miles a couple weeks before the event. Not an ideal training plan, but it's what fit with my life at the time.

    How did it work? Well, I made it to Portland in a little over 12 hours and that included a fair amount of time off the bike at various rest stops. I can't say it was without suffering. For the last 25 miles or so I really wanted to lie down beside the road and die there. My back and shoulders were killing me, and though I didn't really understand at the time, I just hadn't eaten enough.

    So, if your goal is to finish comfortably but not necessarily quickly, I would recommend trying to get more long rides in. You can probably get much of the physical conditioning you need from relatively short rides, but what you get from the longer rides is more mental conditioning. It's on the long rides where you learn how to manage hydration and nutrition, and sort out the bike fit issues that can really kill you on a long ride.

    In my opinion, riding 100 miles is mostly physical; riding 200 miles is mostly mental.
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    Henry Kingman did a sub-50 hour PBP, mostly on a 5 mile commute plus the qualifiers. That said, he was a phenomenon. You may not have a perfect ride but it sounds like you'll be fine.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I don't remember the details, perhaps someone else knows them- but the story was that this particular rider did the 1200k PBP ride. To qualify for that, they did a 200k/300k/400k/600k series that year. And that was ALL THE CYCLING THEY DID that year. So maybe they were slower and hurt a bit extra, but they didn't fall over dead, either. Of course, another moral involved there is that your overall fitness can vary a bunch, and if you're already super-fit from running or something, you'll have a far easier time than some fat old man that tries the same thing.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I don't remember the details, perhaps someone else knows them- but the story was that this particular rider did the 1200k PBP ride. To qualify for that, they did a 200k/300k/400k/600k series that year. And that was ALL THE CYCLING THEY DID that year. So maybe they were slower and hurt a bit extra, but they didn't fall over dead, either. Of course, another moral involved there is that your overall fitness can vary a bunch, and if you're already super-fit from running or something, you'll have a far easier time than some fat old man that tries the same thing.
    Good to hear. I have been commuting full time (or nearly) for several years and I have done a full cyclocross series the last three years. Unfortunately, I don't do much cross-training.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I don't remember the details, perhaps someone else knows them- but the story was that this particular rider did the 1200k PBP ride. To qualify for that, they did a 200k/300k/400k/600k series that year. And that was ALL THE CYCLING THEY DID that year...
    You pretty much nailed it. That was in 1999. He also did it in tennis shoes.

    I'm not big on riding miles just for the sake of riding them. Much more is to be gained by smart training. You do have to earn your butt and knowing that your saddle is going to be comfy after 100 miles is important. Really, doing a couple longer rides before hand are mainly to straighten out gear and fit. If you already have that straightened out then I don't see the point. I rarely do a "training" ride over a hundred miles. Usually I'm in the 30-50 mile range with a longer 70+/- ride thrown in.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  12. #12
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    I don't really consider anything much over 60 miles as particularly good training. It does help me with my weight, which is always a problem. If I start on a ride and decide that it's going to turn into a slog, I cut the ride short. No point in punishing myself. My motto is, "epic is not a synonym for stupid"

    Having said that, I can't stay in shape with my 7 mile each way commute. I do pretty well if I ride back a longer way and make it ~20 miles one way for a 27 mile commute

  13. #13
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    I would say during the longer commutes, up the intensity a good bit rather than "just riding". Intervals and high intensity training can work wonders if you do it right, especially for those of us without a lot of free time to train. My only real riding right now is my 8 mile RT commute and to at least get a little benefit from it I ride my single speed and hit the biggest hills I can to and from in those 4 miles. My fitness still lacks but it is much better than when I took my geared bike and spun up the hills easily, sort of forced intervals.

    I would try to get in at least one 200k before your double though to make sure all the contact points are good and you have a decent idea on nutrition/hydration.

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    You need to do at least one long ride each week in addition to your commuting. By long I mean 50+, maybe 75. I do not believe you need to do a ride any longer than that for training though. Maybe do a century once before, but nothing longer. If you can do a century you can do a double. Beyond 100 miles its all mental.

    The first time I did STP that's all I did, and even the next 5 times as well. I did my first in 14 hours, but my last in just over 10.

  15. #15
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    At the very least I would get in at least one 100-miler, more for making sure you're good on nutrition than anything else.
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