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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 04-07-07, 08:47 AM   #1
newbeginnings
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What have I gotten myself into?

Hi! I'm new here. I work for a nonprofit organization that is doing a bike across America fundraiser June 2008 and I get to go on it! I know, the guys at the bike shop were jealous beyond belief that I get PAID to bike for 8 weeks.

My longest ride last summer was 30 miles, so needless to say I have a LOT of training to do. Good thing I have a year to do it. First thing I need to do is get a bike. The bike shop is recommending a Specialized Allez Elite 'cause I'm also hoping to do some sprint level triathlons this summer. Also the tour is fully supported.

Any advice?
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Old 04-07-07, 09:38 AM   #2
OBXBIKR
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If you are young and strong and a really good climber, you can get away with riding a racing bike cross country. If none of these apply, I'd go for either a touring bike or a sport tourer like the Co-Motion Norwester.

You're going to have some long, gradual climbs out west, but the eastern mountians will be the killers. You'll be 5 or 6 weeks into nearly 100 miles per day, and you'll be tired. Besides that, the eastern hills are STEEP. That's when you'll need some low gears unless you're really strong.

Ride your bike a lot between now and the start. You'll be able to ride the distance without much problem, because you aren't racing and you can go at an easy pace, but you'll be sitting on the bike for 6,7 maybe 8 hours a day. That's what you need to be prepared for.

Have fun, it's a great experience.
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Old 04-07-07, 09:59 AM   #3
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You might want to take a look at the Sequoia instead of the Allez. Even though the Allez will be better for racing than the Sequoia, a cross country tour will mean A LOT of hours in the saddle, and comfort is going to be more important long term. Also, neither the Sequoia nor the Allez are really a tri bike, but put a set of aerobars and either, and there you go.
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Old 04-07-07, 10:09 AM   #4
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"My longest ride last summer was 30 miles, so needless to say I have a LOT of training to do."

Maybe not. If you are young -- and even if you are not, but are in reasonable physical shape -- you may not have to do that much training. In fact, you may be fine without any training. Just ride as much as you can in the coming year. Many people discover that training to get "in shape" is not a good motivator. I would suggest instead that let pleasure be your guide. Go out for an hour's ride after work to unwind. On weekends or holidays, head out on 20 or 30 or 40 mile spins to someplace nice. Try loading up your bicycle and going three or four hours in one direction, stay overnight, and return the next day. Take a course on basic bicycle maintenance. It's a good feeling to know you can adjust the brakes or derailleurs whenever they need it rather than wait for a mechanic.

When you finally begin your epic, take it easy for several days. You will build endurance as you go. Don't make every day a marathon.

When I first began multi-day touring, I told myself that I should get in better shape before each trip. But I never seem to do more than get into the habit of stretching three or four days before I begin.

That is all I managed before my first major trip, when I was 42-years-old. I was, however, comfortable on and familiar with my bike. I went riding with friends two or three times a week. I did day treks in the country. About two weeks before I left, I loaded up my bike for a single, two-hour trial run. And that was about all.

I set out on a 14-day bike trip. Day 1 was difficult. I relaxed my pace on Day 2 and stopped riding by mid-afternoon. Day 3 was fine. By Day 4 I was beginning to hit my stride. On Day 5, I headed up into the mountains! On Day 6, I rested. For the next several days I ascended and descended several mountain passes a day with a lot of effort but without trouble. Life was good! By the end of the trip, I was ready for anything! And I had hardly "trained" at all.

Good luck on your trip. It sounds like an amazing opportunity.
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Old 04-07-07, 10:12 AM   #5
newbeginnings
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Oops. I just checked out the bike's website again and I think it WAS the Sequoia they were recommending. I just remember the "regular" fit me really well, but they were going to get the Elite in from another shop because I would probably need more quality components.

By the way, I just turned 30 so I'm not sure if I still fit into the "young" category :-)
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Old 04-07-07, 10:21 AM   #6
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You're still young--- and the Sequoia is a nice bike for your trip.

and +1 on the whole training thing. Just ride a lot and have fun. You'll toughen uo plently on the trip, so don't worry about it. Being a supported tour, honestly, it's a milk run! Wish I was going.

Have fun and don't worry!
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Old 04-09-07, 07:15 PM   #7
newbeginnings
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Thank you all for the encouragement! I CAN do this!
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Old 04-09-07, 07:30 PM   #8
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Maybe not. If you are young -- and even if you are not, but are in reasonable physical shape -- you may not have to do that much training. In fact, you may be fine without any training. Just ride as much as you can in the coming year. Many people discover that training to get "in shape" is not a good motivator. I would suggest instead that let pleasure be your guide. Go out for an hour's ride after work to unwind. On weekends or holidays, head out on 20 or 30 or 40 mile spins to someplace nice. Try loading up your bicycle and going three or four hours in one direction, stay overnight, and return the next day. Take a course on basic bicycle maintenance. It's a good feeling to know you can adjust the brakes or derailleurs whenever they need it rather than wait for a mechanic.
Excellent points! I couldn't agree more.
Ride to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy your bike.
The "training" will take care of itself!
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