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Old 01-28-08, 11:39 AM   #1
DougG
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Weakest spot on multi-day tour

I might be doing my first multi-day tour this summer. I've done a number of rides of the daily distance we'll be doing (60-70), but never on consecutive days. So what tends to give you the most trouble on your 3rd or 4th day on the road? I would guess one of:
  • Legs
  • Back and/or neck
  • Butt

I used to take long motorcycle trips with some friends, and we always said that the 3rd day on the road was always the worst on your butt. Then, by the 4th day you toughened up and it didn't bother you any more.

So what is the typical touring weak point as far as "feeling the mileage" goes?
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Old 01-28-08, 02:37 PM   #2
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Butt

I'll put in a vote for butt. I, like you had done very few back to back rides prior to my first tour. Surprisingly, my legs never let me down even though I was going longer and over probably tougher terrain, and doing it for seven straight days. You'll be surprised how your legs respond.

My butt was another story. I very uncomfortable days 3-6, and it wasn't till day 7 (the last day) that I was able to ride in comfort. I had two pair of cycling shorts, one that I knew was comfy for long distance, and a pair that I used for shorter rides, but didn't want to spend the money to upgrade. Day 2 on the latter pair was enough to ruin me for the rest of the trip. The next year I made sure I had two pair of shorts comfortable over longer distances, and really never suffered any discomfort.

Mark
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Old 01-28-08, 02:44 PM   #3
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A few years ago, I had trouble with chafing because of the shorts I used. That's really the only problem I've ever had when touring. I haven't had any problems since I got better shorts.
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Old 01-28-08, 02:45 PM   #4
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Old 01-28-08, 03:52 PM   #5
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No particular body part or day stand out as problematic when think back on the Trans America this past Summer. The two difficult things were the steep climbs in the Appalachians (the Rockies were a breeze by comparison) and the return to real life. The latter being very difficult after months on the road.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:42 PM   #6
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None of the above.

But then ... I'm used to doing long distance rides, one right after the other. I was into Randonneuring before I got into touring. Compared with certain Randonneuring events, touring can be a walk in the park.

However, after about the 4th or 5th day of riding, I simply get tired. Nothing hurts in particular, I'm just tired of cycling, and I want to take a day off and go for a walk or swim or something different.


BTW - if your butt is giving you trouble ...

1) Set your bicycle up correctly. If the saddle is too low, you'll be putting a lot of pressure on your butt. If the saddle is too high, you'll be rocking. Both will cause chafing issues.

2) Get a good saddle. Personally, I am very fond of my Brooks B-17.

3) If you have your bicycle set up correctly, and you've got the right saddle, you should be able to ride in any sort of lower body garment. I can ride with cycling shorts; or underwear and basketball shorts; or underwear and zip-off pants; or a wet bathing suit and basketball shorts ... or whatever.

If your neck and shoulders bother you ... again, check the setup of your bicycle. You should be able to ride just fine with no problems, or only minimal problems.

If your legs hurt ... you need to ride more.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:53 PM   #7
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I've found that if I jump in and beat myself up on day one, I feel like I've been beaten up. If I take it easy on day one and then go a little harder on successive days, I just feel stronger every day.

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Old 01-28-08, 06:16 PM   #8
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My butt hurts on the first day. My knees start aching the second day. Shoulders are painful the third day. The fourth day I get a pain in my neck. The fifth day its my lower back. The sixth day...
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Old 01-28-08, 06:27 PM   #9
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My butt hurts on the first day. My knees start aching the second day. Shoulders are painful the third day. The fourth day I get a pain in my neck. The fifth day its my lower back. The sixth day...
Sounds like you and a really good bicycle fitter need to get together!!

Unless you've got some medical issues, you should not be in that much pain when you ride.
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Old 01-28-08, 07:30 PM   #10
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  • Legs
  • Back and/or neck
  • Butt
you left out the biggest one

[ ] mental fatigue
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Old 01-28-08, 07:41 PM   #11
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If you put the time in before the tour, building up to as long as your longest day will be (once a week) and ride on successive days, you should be fine. As long as you have a bike that fits and is set up right for YOU. I did my first multi day 3 years ago and was unsure how it would affect me riding 60 plus miles a day for a week. It was a breeze because I put in the base leading up to the tour. And I had a blast! This will be my fourth year doing it.

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Old 01-28-08, 08:44 PM   #12
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I agree with Machka......

"I simply get tired. Nothing hurts in particular, I'm just tired of cycling, and I want to take a day off and go for a walk or swim or something different."

On the 4th or 5th day of a tour I am thinking about spending the money on a good hotel with a nice jacuzzi to soak in for about 2 hours before going to a nice dinner in a nice eatery and then go to sleep before 7:00PM.

After I have a night like that, in a first class hotel, I'm good for another 3 days on the road.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:00 PM   #13
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For the chaffing, a dab of Vaseline before riding helped me After awhile, it's all so hardened/toughened/deaden down there, I don't feel a thing.
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Old 01-28-08, 10:24 PM   #14
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No part in particular is bothered, but for me, a general sense of fatigue sets in around day 3 or 4 of most tours. My solution, like Machka and Lambkin55, is to rest and baby myself.

However, this has become less of an issue on my last two tours because of two changes I made to my clothing:

1. A bandanna that protects the back of my neck from the sun.

2. A long-sleeved cycling jersey that protects my arms from the sun.

Still, a rest day every few days is a great restorative.
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Old 01-29-08, 12:32 AM   #15
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I work in the orcharding industry. One of the things a fruit grower told me some time back was that he brings in the pickers on a Wednesday, they work through to the Friday, they have the weekend off, and then they're into a five-day week (or longer, depending on how much fruit and how urgent it is to get off).

It's that three-day *thing*. In our business, it's called getting work hardened; getting the body used to the workload, and especially if pickers are only just starting up. It's really no different to cycling, except we're doing it for pleasure. Three days initially on the road, then a rest day, then maybe four or five days before the next break seems to be a nice balance for most people.
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Old 01-29-08, 02:07 AM   #16
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I find I get better every day. I normally have a stiff neck cause maybe I haven't been on the bike seriously for a year. By day 2 or 3, I usually start to feel good. Hardest thing for me is my schedule. I'm early to rise early to bed on the road and the reverse at home.

The ass and chaffing would be a huge problem If I weren't prepared for it. no undies, double thickness pile in the seat area, peneten, clean as required use polysporing if chaffed, ride B-17.

Feet can be a problem without cycling shoes. hands without tough gloves.
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Old 01-29-08, 07:31 AM   #17
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Old 01-29-08, 12:48 PM   #18
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Thanks for the replies. Some good hints. So many people have raved about B-17s that I guess I'm going to have to go take a more serious look at one -- my butt is definitely my biggest concern. I just recently got my first pair of real roadie bib shorts but haven't worn them yet (winter in Michigan, ya know). So if they work as well as I hope, I'll be sure to get a 2nd pair for the trip.

This tour is a fully-supported "recreational" type, so I won't have to ride continuously all day like on a long-distance or cross-country trip. Yeah -- I think I can do this!
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Old 01-29-08, 01:00 PM   #19
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Sounds like you and a really good bicycle fitter need to get together!!

Unless you've got some medical issues, you should not be in that much pain when you ride.
No medical issues. I just like to complain.
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Old 01-29-08, 05:14 PM   #20
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I'm embarressed to tell this on myself, but don't be afrade to take some time off. A rest day, or a long aftermoon is very good for the mind. After days of prety hard riding I was in West Virigina, I was told the next camp ground was 5 mountains away. I panacked hitchhiked for 60 miles. I drove back two yrs. later to do the 60 miles, not only had I been lied to but the 60 miles was very plesent.
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