# Thread: How does over-exertion effect distance?

1. ## How does over-exertion effect distance?

First, let me thank all of you who have responded to my other "distance" questions. The discussion has been very helpful for the application I am designing. Here is another one.

How much does over-exertion one day effect the distance you can do the next day?

I'm looking for a percentage decrease, like 25%, which is my guess. As an example, say I normally do 50 miles/day and have to ride 70 one day. That is 40% more than I usually do in a day. In my experience, I can still do 50 the next day, but I feel it. Two 70 mile days and the third day's distance usually suffers.

Unfortunately, this is a bit too complicated for my current application and I want to simplify it. Using the 25% decrease I mentioned above, if I over-exert by 40% then I lose 10% of my distance the next day. In real numbers, after riding the 70 mile day, the next day, my "normal" distance would be 45 miles (50 - 20/4).

If after one 70 mile day, I did a 63 mile day (40% over 45 miles), then on the third day, my new "normal" distance would be 40.5 miles (45 - 18/4).

Does this make sense?

Thanks, again,

Ray

2. All depends upon training and setting your goals.. If it's a flat 70 miles - it would pose no problem. Should one take on a real challenge like crossing North America, I'd hope for more than a fifty mile day average.. Once I did a tour across the desert.. We did about a 70 mile average. But, one day it was 117 miles but the last 15 miles or so had us climbing about 3500 feet. That was my worst day ever..
.With some beers and a potato/ steak dinner and a full nights' sleep, we were up for nearly 70 the next day.. But that 70 was flat, so it seemed a relief.

3. Originally Posted by raybo

Does this make sense?
No.

Not sure what exactly you are trying to do, but you seem to be entirely in the realm of the hypothetical. How far you can ride on any given day is going to depend largely on your level of fitness, the terrain, the wind, and how many hours you spend in the saddle.
I might be really tired, but if I put in 10 hours on the bike on flat terrain with a tailwind then I'll go much farther than if I feel totally fresh but only ride for 7 hours on hilly terrain into a headwind.

Motivation also plays a huge role.

I don't want to sound too harsh, but it seems like whatever application you are trying to make isn't going to be very useful in the real world.

4. Originally Posted by northboundtrain
I don't want to sound too harsh, but it seems like whatever application you are trying to make isn't going to be very useful in the real world.
I'm trying to create a computer model of bike touring. I am an experienced computer modeler and find that while such models are rarely "very useful in the real world," they are often useful to give someone an idea of what something is like.

The world abounds in computer models, some better than others, none completely accurate. This one may be completely bogus. But, instead of relying only on my experience, I am hoping to increase the "reality" in my model by getting other people's experiences and opinions.

Originally Posted by northboundtrain
How far you can ride on any given day is going to depend largely on your level of fitness, the terrain, the wind, and how many hours you spend in the saddle.
The model already includes all of these factors. Now, I'm trying add fatigue.

Thanks for the comment,

Ray

5. Ray, I think you actually have to consider the specific motors capabilities and not miles. The miles aren't the determiner of fatigue, it's the motors capabilities within a time and distance. Are you working from one motor in particular? In other words a motor that is worked to 95% of it's capacity will be fatigued more quickly than one that is worked to 75% of it's capacity. So you could go and hammer for 50miles at 90% and be toasted the next day or you could ride 70miles at 60% effort and do 50 just fine.

Seems to me you should add anaerobic threshold in the model .

6. Originally Posted by LeeG
Ray, I think you actually have to consider the specific motors capabilities and not miles. The miles aren't the determiner of fatigue, it's the motors capabilities within a time and distance.
I'm still in the "thinking about it" stage but am starting to create a simple design.

My basic idea is this. Effort is represented by calories. Distance, slope, and wind are reflected in the number of calories it takes to go a certain distance at a certain speed, up a specified slope, against a wind of a set strength. This information I got from the calculator at http://www.noping.net/english/ .

There are different levels of touring experience. I am representing experience by increasing the number of calories someone can expend on a daily basis.

That is the basis of the model for now.

There are very many factors involved that I am not able to model nor am I trying to faithfully duplicate bike touring. I'm just trying to deal with the main factors.

I hope this helps explain what I'm trying to do.

Ray

7. Originally Posted by raybo

There are different levels of touring experience. I am representing experience by increasing the number of calories someone can expend on a daily basis.

I hope this helps explain what I'm trying to do.

Ray
I understand. My \$.02 is that the fatigue a person experiences is also correlated with intensity of effort and not just total energy expenditure. Not sure how you can model that. Most folks learn that long distance efforts come from holding back on effort than going harder.

8. Originally Posted by raybo
First, let me thank all of you who have responded to my other "distance" questions. The discussion has been very helpful for the application I am designing. Here is another one.

How much does over-exertion one day effect the distance you can do the next day?

I'm looking for a percentage decrease, like 25%, which is my guess. As an example, say I normally do 50 miles/day and have to ride 70 one day. That is 40% more than I usually do in a day. In my experience, I can still do 50 the next day, but I feel it. Two 70 mile days and the third day's distance usually suffers.

Unfortunately, this is a bit too complicated for my current application and I want to simplify it. Using the 25% decrease I mentioned above, if I over-exert by 40% then I lose 10% of my distance the next day. In real numbers, after riding the 70 mile day, the next day, my "normal" distance would be 45 miles (50 - 20/4).

If after one 70 mile day, I did a 63 mile day (40% over 45 miles), then on the third day, my new "normal" distance would be 40.5 miles (45 - 18/4).

Does this make sense?

Thanks, again,

Ray
I think it depends not only on the physical, but psychological and emotional as well. Take two riders, they ride 40 miles per day, they are a similar age, similar condition, they need to push to 70 miles on one day. The next day, one of them is raring to go, and has no problem doing the normal 40 miles. The other one is completely defeated by that 70 miles and is barely capable of getting out of bed, he thinks the other guy should be locked up for even suggesting 40 miles.

9. Raybo,
I think that it is recovery you should be looking at, not fatigue. We all become fatigued at somoe level when we ride. What determines tomorrows ride is our ability of our bodies to recover for the next day. Recovery is based on fitness, particularly your muscles ability to perform to a specific level after being trained previously. Pro cyclists in a grand tour do repeated 100 mile days for two or three weeks at a time at race pace. That ability comes from years of riding miles and miles. That is why racers talk so much about base miles in the off season. Many cyclo tourists can manage that daily milage, but not at that effort level. Others might make it half the days before taking a rest, and so on.
A quick example: I raced bicycles for 10 years, averaging just over 1000 miles a month of structured training. My wife rides for fun on weekends, and while she can hold a nice pace, if we do two days in a row, her legs feel it and mine don't. One a long tour, for any given day, her fatigue level will be higher than mine regardless of topography or weather. Not that a long day of wind or climbing won't kick my butt, but I will always be less fatigued than her the next day to to my bodies cycling specific fitness. That is until our fitness levels match.
If you follow some journals on Crazy Guy, you will notice the daily milage tends to increase over long tours as fitness builds and the body adapts to the effort. "The Road, The River, The Moon" is a good one to see this in action. It comes up in the daily milage counter, as well as in anecdotal form as they talk about how they feel. And it's an interesting journal.

10. If I had to write a program that modeled bicycle touring, I would go on a bunch of tours, and keep various objective and subjective measurements. eg. I'd get an SRM power meter to keep track of effort (power/heart rate/cadence/etc...), keep track of food & environmental variables, and periodically answer questions like "how do my legs feel this morning", "how energetic am I", "how motivated am I", "how much sleep did I get", etc...
Then when I had a good bunch of data, I'd look for patterns.

11. "Over-exertion" is not necessarily based on the number of miles in a given day. Typically it is measured by anaerobic efforts (90%+ of max HR), but as long as you don't bonk, it doesn't matter much how many miles you're riding aerobically. Too many miles in a day may result in overuse, but determining what mileage will result in an overuse injury via mathematics is effectively impossible.

I don't think it makes much sense to try and make any sort of online calculator for this particular task. There are simply too many factors and variables that almost all tourists don't bother to quantify or measure. E.g. it's exceedingly rare for tourers to use HRM's, and even rarer to use a power meter, while on tour -- let alone anything to accurately measure wind. I can't imagine anyone other than a fanatic who writes for Bicycle Quarterly booking time at a wind tunnel to quantify the aerodynamic penalties of their touring setup. Your weight (gear and body), the route's elevation, temperature (yes that can matter), weather, your start and stopping points, distances between services, time taken to eat etc is going to vary on a daily basis. Of equal importance is mental aptitude, which cannot be mathematically analyzed in any meaningful fashion.

The primary benefit of the Kreuzotter-style calculators, despite the specificity of the numbers, is in painting broad strokes of the effect of a given variable on performance. So you can figure out that small changes in weight have a minimal effect, or that a wind needs to be fairly stiff to have an effect, or that the time you gain on a descent is very small compared to what you lose with the climb, the general effect of using skinny high-pressure tires vs treaded tires, and so forth.

It's much better to do a few tours, figure out your approximate speed including stops, and use that as a guideline for how far to go in a given day. A good baseline will and a little experience will provide much better results than the illusory precision of a mathematical formula....

12. While I appreciate all the feedback, I'm not writing a calculator. Neither am I trying to be specific nor exact nor scientific. I'm trying to devise a reasonable model for use in a more fanciful application.

I have a fair amount of experience as both a computer modeler and bike tourist. However, I also believe that others with the same or more experience and insight will have lots of good ideas and suggestions that I can make use of.

While saying it can't be done doesn't help much, I do appreciate your taking the time to offer me your thoughts.

Ray

13. Originally Posted by raybo
How much does over-exertion one day effect the distance you can do the next day?
You already know all the possible variables, so all I can do to help you is to say that I'm good for about 50 miles a day of solo, loaded touring on flat terrain with no wind factor. More than that, and I'd be looking for about a 20% decrease in mileage the next day for each 5 miles over 50. If I did 60 miles, next day might be about 40.

I have experienced the motivation factor when touring with others. More miles and less fatigue. Interesting.

BTW, I'm 68 so don't recover nearly as quickly as I could have 20 years ago. Besides, I'm in no hurry.

Hope this helps.

14. Sounds like the only way you're going to model yourself is to go out and try it. I've had long days and followed them up with medium days, no problem. I've had a 140km day with a planned 50km loop the next day that just didn't happen because I was too tired, and didn't have the motivation. How you look after yourself on the big days makes a big difference too - enough water? enough food? not pushing too hard up hills?

But everyone's different. Your 10% might be someone else's 50%.

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