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    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Minimum training for a 200k

    I am an active rider that typically does 10 - 20 mile rides at a 14 MPH pace in rather hilly terrain. I did a 37 mile ride yesterday at about the same pace and feel fairly good today. I am 54 years old and have done century rides when I was in my 30s but none since. Is there a minimal training plan I can follow at this point to have a chance to finish a 200k ride in early October? I am thinking something like maybe 50 miles this weekend and then a 70 mile the following then the 200k on the weekend after that (and still doing 10 - 20 mile rides every other day in between the big rides)? Is that doable for an old fart like me or are my ambitions beyond reasonable hope?

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    I am an active rider that typically does 10 - 20 mile rides at a 14 MPH pace in rather hilly terrain. I did a 37 mile ride yesterday at about the same pace and feel fairly good today. I am 54 years old and have done century rides when I was in my 30s but none since. Is there a minimal training plan I can follow at this point to have a chance to finish a 200k ride in early October? I am thinking something like maybe 50 miles this weekend and then a 70 mile the following then the 200k on the weekend after that (and still doing 10 - 20 mile rides every other day in between the big rides)? Is that doable for an old fart like me or are my ambitions beyond reasonable hope?
    You're not old, there are lots of people here (including me) significantly older than you who ride big mileages.

    Early October isn't far away, and the jump from 60km to 200km is quite large. Yes, you could jump to 50m/80km next weekend, and to 70m/115km the one after that, but my guess is that you're still going to find the 200km in three weeks time to be a challenge. You just won't be used to spending that long on the bike, and going slower to conserve your stamina won't help with that, just being on the bike for eight hours is tiring in itself and will expose all sorts of aches and pains and minor problems with your position, clothing and equipment that are barely noticeable on a three-hour ride.

    However, I'm not about to tell you that you can't, or shouldn't, give it a try. Do the increased mileages you have in mind for the next couple of weeks and see how you feel then. And if you go for it, make a contingency plan just in case you have to bale out.

    I hope I don't sound discouraging. You can certianly do this, it's just that three weeks isn't a long time...
    Last edited by chasm54; 09-15-14 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Typos
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    You're not old, there are lots of people here (including me) significantly older than you who ride big mileages.

    Early October isn't far away, and the jump from 60km to 200km is quite large. Yes, you could jump to 50m/80km next weekend, and to 70m/115km the one after that, but my guess is that you're still going to find the 200km in three weeks time to be a challenge. You just won't be used to spending that long on the bike, and going slower to conserve your stamina won't help with that, just being on the bike for eight hours is tiring in itself and will expose all sorts of aches and pains and minor problems with your position, clothing and equipment that are barely noticeable on a three-hour ride.

    However, I'm not about to tell you that you can't, or shouldn't, give it a try. Do the increased mileages you have in mind for the next couple of weeks and see how you feel then. And if you go for it, make a contingency plan just in case you have to bale out.

    I hope I don't sound discouraging. You can certianly do this, it's just that three weeks isn't a long time...
    Thanks for the encouragement. I'll try ramping up and see how it goes next two weekends then decide I guess. Maybe I'll push for 80 miles in 2 weeks instead of 70... Yeah and I know what you mean about the things that start to occur on longer distances. I used to do that 20-25 years ago and what I figured out back then is not going to help me at all now (except maybe the relief of Chamios Cream!). I am thinking about dropping my pace to about 11 or 12 mph. My bike fit seems pretty dialed in right now. I do not have a fueling strategy figured out yet, I used to use tons of Gatorade and a few PBJs, but I may need to update that strategy for this.
    Last edited by dwmckee; 09-15-14 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Typos

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    As far as fuelling is concerned, I drink plain water and eat real food. What works is what suits you. I'm eccentic, cheese sandwiches and dried fruit are high on my list...

    Good luck with it. 200k doesn't require much beyond reasonable fitness and high morale, but the latter is heavily influenced by how comfortable you are.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    If you want to maximize your chances of success, ramp up hard and early. Go for 80 miles this weekend (but plan the route with one or two shortcuts/bailout points in case 80 proves to be too much.) Make further plans depending on this weekend's outcome. As far as fueling, some people may be able to do 200k's on plain water and real food with sufficient training, but I'd play it safe and load up on gels.

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    A few years back, I rode my first 200k in February, so pretty much off-season for me. I hadn't ridden over 55 miles in decades. I did fine, my worst problem was navigating, since I wasn't used to doing that. Fortunately, the organizer rode with us.

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    This might seem like blog shilling, but here it goes anwyay: How Little Can You Ride and Still Do Rando? | The Rothrock Cyrcle of Hell

    Basically, it's largely a mental game, as long as you know how to pace yourself and can tolerate sitting on the bike for 10-13 hours or so. So, generally, time limits are on your side. It's amazing how good one's endurance is if you don't ride too hard and keep eating and drinking a reasonable amount.


    Where was this brevet posted? I didn't see it on the website.

    I just started a thread on the Pgh Randos google list. https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...tsburgh-randos
    I am not sure how hilly Jim Logan's North Park 200K is, but I don't think it's intentionally hilly - probably typical for western PA.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    I am an active rider that typically does 10 - 20 mile rides at a 14 MPH pace in rather hilly terrain. I did a 37 mile ride yesterday at about the same pace and feel fairly good today. I am 54 years old and have done century rides when I was in my 30s but none since. Is there a minimal training plan I can follow at this point to have a chance to finish a 200k ride in early October? I am thinking something like maybe 50 miles this weekend and then a 70 mile the following then the 200k on the weekend after that (and still doing 10 - 20 mile rides every other day in between the big rides)? Is that doable for an old fart like me or are my ambitions beyond reasonable hope?

    That is quite a jump!

    Can you do a 50-60 km rides on Wednesdays for the next couple weeks?

    Then I would aim for at least 100 km this coming weekend ... preferably something in the neighbourhood of 125 km. See how that goes. If it felt all right, try at least 125 the following week.

    Be sure to take 2 days off each week to rest ... relax, hot baths, eat well, go for a massage, etc.


    And regarding the eating and drinking ...

    One 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours.
    200-300 calories per hour.

    Personally, I drink water and I eat real food. Go for salted almonds, beef jerky, and potato chips (high in electrolytes), bananas, trail mix, granola bars, oatmeal raisin cookies, pastries, chicken sandwiches with pickles, french toast, etc.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    At this point, a bunch of extra riding will probably serve to give you more confidence moreso than actually making your muscles any better. But I'd say go for it.

    Things to watch:
    Is the route in question a bunch hillier than what you normally ride? Some of these rando routes intentionally pick out hillier routes, so be prepared.
    If things work well, great, but if things go poorly, will you be out after dark (or does the ride start before daylight?) In either case, lights and reflective gear are required.
    If you average 14 mph (which most of us take as "rolling average" based on what our speedometers calculate), you're likely to be riding by yourself, FYI. So be prepared for that.
    Have you got a good way to carry a cue sheet where you can read it?
    Watch the weather forecast, be prepared for whatever is likely to come up.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    If you average 14 mph (which most of us take as "rolling average" based on what our speedometers calculate), you're likely to be riding by yourself, FYI.
    Probably not. Climbing rates around here are 60 to 75 feet per mile, typically. 14 mph rolling average would be pretty fast.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I an considering the North Park 200k here in Pittsburgh. Do you folks have experience on this route?

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    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    This might seem like blog shilling, but here it goes anwyay: How Little Can You Ride and Still Do Rando? | The Rothrock Cyrcle of Hell

    Basically, it's largely a mental game, as long as you know how to pace yourself and can tolerate sitting on the bike for 10-13 hours or so. So, generally, time limits are on your side. It's amazing how good one's endurance is if you don't ride too hard and keep eating and drinking a reasonable amount.


    Where was this brevet posted? I didn't see it on the website.

    I just started a thread on the Pgh Randos google list. https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...tsburgh-randos
    I am not sure how hilly Jim Logan's North Park 200K is, but I don't think it's intentionally hilly - probably typical for western PA.
    This is really helpful. Thanks for the links.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    Probably not. Climbing rates around here are 60 to 75 feet per mile, typically. 14 mph rolling average would be pretty fast.
    Fast is relative, and I'm not familiar with the local riders or the local terrain.
    Checking on RUSA results for this route, there are only 6 times listed for two different outings on the route: 8:30, 8:23, 10:45, 8:43, 9:10, 9:30.
    Based on experience with local rides, the time of 10:45 might have been a rolling average of 14.0 mph. But I would bet all the rest were a fair bit faster than that. A rolling average of 14.0 mph requires 8.9 hours rolling time for a 200k, and most of us spend a fair bit of time at controls.
    I see in each case, there were other non-RUSA riders, so I don't know how they fit in, they may all have been on the slow side.
    And just looking at those times, doesn't look like anyone was riding with anyone else anyway, so maybe a moot point.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Fast is relative, and I'm not familiar with the local riders or the local terrain.
    Checking on RUSA results for this route, there are only 6 times listed for two different outings on the route: 8:30, 8:23, 10:45, 8:43, 9:10, 9:30.
    Based on experience with local rides, the time of 10:45 might have been a rolling average of 14.0 mph. But I would bet all the rest were a fair bit faster than that. A rolling average of 14.0 mph requires 8.9 hours rolling time for a 200k, and most of us spend a fair bit of time at controls.
    I see in each case, there were other non-RUSA riders, so I don't know how they fit in, they may all have been on the slow side.
    And just looking at those times, doesn't look like anyone was riding with anyone else anyway, so maybe a moot point.
    that doesn't seem particularly representative for Pgh area. either those six were faster than typical, or it's a flatter than typical route for these parts. in any event, I am highly unlikely to do it in less than 10 hours.

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    As far as I can tell, North Park 200k is the same as Fall Rally 200k and Pittsburgh Fall 200k (same controls.) RUSA database is apparently messed up: one of the most recent occurrences (2013/09/07) shows up in the search as "Pgh Weirton Monongahela 200k". (It's pretty unlikely that there were two different brevets starting in Pittsburgh on the same day, and Jim Logan is listed as a finisher of "Pgh Weirton Monongahela 200k" on that day, with time 10:20.)

    Cue sheet and a map: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!to...os/rYsgQbm5r2E
    Cue sheet looks exceedingly complicated for a 200k and I'd make sure to get a hardcopy taped to handlebars, and, if possible, upload the route into a GPS. I tried to sketch it roughly and I got about 9k of climbing, though almost all of it is in the form of short rollers, with no climbs bigger than ~300 ft.
    Last edited by hamster; 09-16-14 at 01:55 AM.

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    9000 ft of climbing on a 200km is a lot. But having visited Pittsburgh for the first time this spring I have no trouble believing that number. IMO, 9000ft of short rollers is more difficult than 9000ft of mountain climbs. Try to ride at least a 60 miler in over similar terrain. If you still want to ride the brevet after that, then go for it.

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    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Cue sheet looks exceedingly complicated for a 200k and I'd make sure to get a hardcopy taped to handlebars, and, if possible, upload the route into a GPS.
    that would be a short cue sheet in the Eastern Pennsylvania series, I'm always happy if those cue sheets are less than 6 pages. I agree with your advice, make sure to carry a copy that can be read on the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilesDealer View Post
    9000 ft of climbing on a 200km is a lot. But having visited Pittsburgh for the first time this spring I have no trouble believing that number. IMO, 9000ft of short rollers is more difficult than 9000ft of mountain climbs. Try to ride at least a 60 miler in over similar terrain. If you still want to ride the brevet after that, then go for it.
    That translates to about 71 feet per mile, which is pretty typical for Pgh area. Eastern PA is similar. Lots of short steep hills. Not the easiest place to ride brevets.

    It is possible to design routes around here that have only about 5K to 6K of climbing per 200K, but it's difficult to do so, and tends to place riders on not-so-fun roads.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I've found that if I can ride ~60 miles with ~4000' of climbing, all out, so that I'm still climbing hard at the end, for several weekends in a row, I'll do OK on a 200k. But that's already knowing how, what, and when to eat and drink and how to pace myself, which is a lot of the battle already won.

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    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Thanks all I am trying to figure out pace right now. On my daily 10 and 20 mile rides I ride pretty hard. I just tried the same route at a slower pace of about 12 mph and finished feeling like I did not even ride. I think i am going to go for a 100k ride this weekend at the easy pace and see how that goes. The PA continuous rollers can really wear on you, but I have spent some all day rides in serious headwinds and that to me is worse than rollers.
    Last edited by dwmckee; 09-16-14 at 08:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    Thanks all I am trying to figure out pace right now. On my daily 10 and 20 mile rides I ride pretty hard. I just tried the same route at a slower pace of about 12 mph and finished feeling like I did not even ride. I think i am going to go for a 100k ride this weekend at the easy pace and see how that goes. The PA continuous rollers can really wear on you, but I have spent some all day rides in serious headwinds and that to me is worse than rollers.
    That's good. That gives you an idea of how to ride conservatively on a 200K and not break down 30 miles from finish or whatnot.

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    A rule of thumb: You can cover three times what your normal training week average covers. In other words: if you train 350 km a week (50 km 4 days a week) and one long ride (150+ km) you should be successful with 210 km. 350 km divided by 5 days of training for the week, multiply that by 3 and you get 210km.
    Do take note that the one long ride is three times the daily training. It is more difficult to do 33 Km X 4 days a week and one 150 Km ride if you are looking to do a 200 Km ride. For one the 150 km ride is going to be difficult and if you do the math, 100 + 150 = 250/5 = 50x3 = 150km Thus, adding in another 50 km is going to be all pain especially if you have not been riding for over a year or so.
    This is just a rule of thumb and everyone is different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thrllskr View Post
    A rule of thumb: You can cover three times what your normal training week average covers. In other words: if you train 350 km a week (50 km 4 days a week) and one long ride (150+ km) you should be successful with 210 km. 350 km divided by 5 days of training for the week, multiply that by 3 and you get 210km.
    Do take note that the one long ride is three times the daily training. It is more difficult to do 33 Km X 4 days a week and one 150 Km ride if you are looking to do a 200 Km ride. For one the 150 km ride is going to be difficult and if you do the math, 100 + 150 = 250/5 = 50x3 = 150km Thus, adding in another 50 km is going to be all pain especially if you have not been riding for over a year or so.
    This is just a rule of thumb and everyone is different.
    This sounds extremely high to me. By this logic, in order to do a successful double century, I need to average 330 miles per week (1300-1500 miles/month) by riding 50 miles/day 4 days a week and 150 miles on the weekend. At 14 mph average, it's 23.5 hours/week on the bike. This is just nuts. I did 5 doubles in the last 1.5 years, granted that I don't train as much as I should, but I don't average anywhere close to 330. I did 280/week for two consecutive weeks once and that was exhausting and very time consuming. My hardest double was completed with ~100 mi/week average over the month prior to the event. (OTOH, 50 miles/week is not enough to maintain shape for the same distance.)
    Last edited by hamster; 09-17-14 at 02:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    This sounds extremely high to me. By this logic, in order to do a successful double century, I need to average 330 miles per week (1300-1500 miles/month) by riding 50 miles/day 4 days a week and 150 miles on the weekend. At 14 mph average, it's 23.5 hours/week on the bike. This is just nuts. I did 5 doubles in the last 1.5 years, granted that I don't train as much as I should, but I don't average anywhere close to 330. I did 280/week for two consecutive weeks once and that was exhausting and very time consuming. My hardest double was completed with ~100 mi/week average over the month prior to the event. (OTOH, 50 miles/week is not enough to maintain shape for the same distance.)
    Yeah, I agree. I have been doing 200Ks each month without trouble on a weekly mileage of only 30 to 50 miles. Every one of those training miles is spent in the "pain cave", though.

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    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Just an update, I managed to comfortably finish a 100k today in 4 hours and 40 minutes. I kept a pace of 12.6 mph and still felt pretty good when I finshed. Course only had about 1700 feet of climbing though and the North Park 200 has something like 7500 of climbing. The slower pace made a huge difference in my endurance but I am still pretty worried about all of the climbing I will have in the 200.the advice here has even pretty helpful. Thanks for
    The help.

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