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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 07-11-14, 09:31 AM   #1
ISPringle
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Increasing Weekly Milage

Hey guys! I have my first century tomorrow, pretty excited! --But that's not what I am here to ask.

I ride about 200 miles a week and I want to see this number inflated to 500+ a week. My current riding schedule looks something like this:

Mon.-Fri. -- I ride roughly 100 miles, sometimes a little more, sometimes as low as 80 miles. This is spread out over 20+ mile rides, and I usually don't ride on Monday, meaning it's an average of 25 miles the other four days.

Sat. & Sun. -- I ride an additional 100+ miles, with an average of 50 on both days. I say "+" because one of my favorite rides is to Springfield, Mass. and that is more on the line of 65 miles roundtrip.

To answer the question of how I have enough time, something I get a lot from people who ride near me, is I am a college student and it's the summer. Now I work, so I do my weekday rides before work, usually leaving home at about 5:30am. I crafted my class schedule this Fall semester with my bike riding in mind, and basically Mon./Wed./Fri. I am free after 12:30, giving me 5 hours of free time each afternoon, which I plan on devoting to bike riding. Tue./Thur. I can only manage about two hours of free time. Saturday and Sunday will remain wide open to longer rides and longer ride times, I was thinking I would be able to do 10 hours on Saturday and Sunday I'd go with 6. This means that in a week I have a grand total of 35 hours of time I can devote to bike riding.

At a 16 mph pace (or a cadence of 90 on my single speed) this means I could potentially ride 560 miles each week. The obvious problem is that I can't just jump from 200 to 560. So, the question is, how should I be preparing myself and what does a riding schedule look ike that would bring me up to that distance each week without burning me out?

For those curious why I want to ride this much, partially enjoyment, partially health, and partially training for competition biking (crits and road races).
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Old 07-11-14, 11:24 AM   #2
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Training for competitions, you'd probably do better to ride less and get more focused on whatever training that takes. Doing a lot of just-riding-around is great training for just-riding-around. Check in the Racing forum, there may be stickies there with lots of good training tips.

Otherwise, just ride when you have time and see what happens. I suspect there are very few people in these forums that ride 2,000 miles a month, for what it's worth. I average about half that, but it's broken up into short daily rides (20-35 miles) and longer weekend brevets and perms. And I'm not training for anything, just riding around.
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Old 07-11-14, 12:20 PM   #3
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If you want to train for crits and road races, riding 500 miles per week is the last thing you should be doing. Your current volume of 200 is easily enough.

Racing is not just about having a massive aerobic base. That is necessary, but 200 miles a week is plenty to build that base. What kills you in races is not just endurance or average speeds, but repeated accelerations and the ability to recover at speed. So those who are training for racing don't count miles, they count time on the bike, and intensity. Some long steady rides, some all-out TT sessions (not many) some high-intensity interval training. You can't do those AND ride huge mileages, you'd simply exhaust yourself and be unable to sustain the training load.

Take Stephen's advice and look in the racing forum. And buy something like Joe Friel's training bible, which goes into massive detail about planning your training over a season.
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Old 07-11-14, 01:28 PM   #4
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I'll check both those things out, thanks. I'd still like to increase my mileage though, I honestly don't feel very satisfied with the numbers I am putting down. And not in a mental way, but I get back from a ride, even my long rides, and all I can think is, "Yeah, I could go another 50 or 60 miles right now without a problem." I'm going to do my first century tomorrow, so we'll see if that holds true. I suspect it will, I have a very large aerobic "bank" to pull from and it's a rare day when I take a large chunk out of it.

But like I said, I will totally go look at those things right now!

EDIT: Just something I found funny, first post I read in the Masters racer forum is a guy saying you need to spend the 6 hours of the day you aren't doing other stuff (he figured 8 for sleep and 10 for stuff) on a bike in the off season if you want to be a competitive racer.

Last edited by ISPringle; 07-11-14 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 07-11-14, 03:01 PM   #5
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EDIT: Just something I found funny, first post I read in the Masters racer forum is a guy saying you need to spend the 6 hours of the day you aren't doing other stuff (he figured 8 for sleep and 10 for stuff) on a bike in the off season if you want to be a competitive racer.
I'm a masters racer, and I know plenty of older racers who still put in 250-300 mile weeks. I don't know any that do 500-mile weeks. And most of them are still following training regimens that were regarded as normal in their youth, when God was a boy. These days people train for fewer miles but with a more scientific approach to intensity.

Plus, he referred to the off season. The off season is the time for putting in the big distances to build base. Try to sustain those mileages during the racing season and all you do is arrive at the start line exhausted.
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Old 07-11-14, 03:02 PM   #6
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Plus, he referred to the off season. The off season is the time for putting in the big distances to build base. Try to sustain those mileages during the racing season and all you do is arrive at the start line exhausted.
I'm in the off season. I don't own a race bike. I own a single speed... it's all I could afford.
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Old 07-11-14, 03:29 PM   #7
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I'm in the off season. I don't own a race bike. I own a single speed... it's all I could afford.
It's great training...
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Old 07-11-14, 03:46 PM   #8
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I agree. I didn't buy it for that reason, I bought it because it was the only bike with proper road bike geometry on Craigslist in my size for less than $100. But I am very happy to have bought it now. I am on it whenever I don't have to be somewhere else or doing something else, which is why I have so many hours free, I just ride my bike whenever I can. Right now I'm going crazy and I don't know what to do because I didn't want to ride today since I don't want to bonk out of my first ever century.
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Old 07-11-14, 04:09 PM   #9
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I agree. I didn't buy it for that reason, I bought it because it was the only bike with proper road bike geometry on Craigslist in my size for less than $100. But I am very happy to have bought it now. I am on it whenever I don't have to be somewhere else or doing something else, which is why I have so many hours free, I just ride my bike whenever I can. Right now I'm going crazy and I don't know what to do because I didn't want to ride today since I don't want to bonk out of my first ever century.

Right, now we're back on the subject of endurance riding. It's your first century. With the mileage you've been doing, the distance is going to be no problem. Hills might be, if you're on a singlespeed, but I'm assuming you know what to expect there.

The key to enjoying one's first century is to start at a pace you know you can handle. In fact, it's probably best to feel you're going too slowly for the first fifty miles. If you get to 60 miles and you still feel really strong, you can always accelerate, but if you start out too fast, the last thirty miles are going to feel very hard. So start slow and finish fast.

The other key is to stay hydrated and eat little and often. No point in eating too much - you can't absorb much more than 60 grams of carbs (about 240kcal) per hour, so no point in having more than that - but starting to eat after about an hour and then nibbling away consistently through the ride is a good strategy.

Enjoy.
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