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Old 02-02-08, 09:59 PM   #1
brotherdan
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200 miles per day?

My first tour was a total of 3500-4000 miles. I averaged, at most, sixty miles per day on that tour, with a lot of rest days and sightseeing. But I did several long days on that tour, and I found that I was quite capable of knocking off heavily loaded centuries, when I wanted to.

On my second tour, I decided that I would up the mileage ante, and I was able to average around 110 miles per day on mostly flat terrain for ten days.

On another tour, I pushed the average up to 135 miles per day over twelve days, and I knocked off 194 miles on the final day. On that tour I was really feeling mileage, and I often had to dig deep to find the motivation to keep pushing in the middle stages of the tour.

This summer I want to take another big leap in my daily touring mileage. I want to do a 2800 mile round trip. I want to sandwich two weeks of backpacking between two weeks of all out, ultradistance touring.

This seems like a pretty extreme jump in mileage, but I don't think it's unreasonable to think that I could do it. I've never really trained all that hard for a tour before. I think if I really push my weekly average mileage up to six or seven hundred miles for a couple of months before the tour, I can get my body to a point where it can handle that kind of punishment.

So I want to know if anyone has ever done a fully loaded tour with daily averages of 200 miles. If so, how did they prepare? And what kind of advice can they offer?
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Old 02-02-08, 11:02 PM   #2
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Are you sure that you would call such a ride a "tour"? I'd head over to the long distance cycling forum and ask the Randonneurs for advice.

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Old 02-02-08, 11:19 PM   #3
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Considering that I will be traveling fully loaded, I thought people that read the touring forum might have specific suggestions that I wouldn't get in the long distance forum.
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Old 02-02-08, 11:25 PM   #4
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How lightly loaded? I've crewed RAAM and can tell you that it's done with full support and a huge proportion of entrants can't hold the pace. If you can ride a fully loaded touring bike 200 miles a day, you'll be among the 1% of the 1% of the 1% of all the riders on the planet.

If you are talking using full panniers and holding an AVG pace of 16 MPH, for example, and that's bloody fast for a touring load, you're looking at 12.5 hours in the saddle at a really tough pace for that long on an unladen race bike and this doesn't allow for terrain, either. I've done 167 miles at that pace and it's a killer...and I was riding superlight with a support van myself.

EDIT: You'll have to hold that pace for 14 days straight, as well. You'll either kill yourself or wind up in hospital, IMHO.
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Old 02-02-08, 11:33 PM   #5
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Pros won't do that, nuff said!
but go for it and tell us how you made out.
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Old 02-03-08, 12:25 AM   #6
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EDIT: You'll have to hold that pace for 14 days straight, as well. You'll either kill yourself or wind up in hospital, IMHO.
Well it's an out and back trip, 1400 miles each way. And I'd have two weeks off the bike in the middle. So I'd only have to hold that pace for seven days in each direction.

I would be carrying a fairly heavy load. I'm thinking fifty pounds minimum.

If I average 12 mph, that would be 17 hours of biking per day. That wouldn't leave a lot of time for sleep, granted. But 12 mph isn't a very difficult pace.
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Old 02-03-08, 12:31 AM   #7
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Would it still be fun?
What happens if you have a strong headwind one or two or more of those days? Or several days of rain?
Is the route flat all the way? Or do you get into hillier country before the end?
Would that schedule have you riding at nights on unfamiliar roads with no place to recharge a light?
Can you work the stops so you do exactly 200 miles a day or will it vary more or less?
Will you still be able to hike when you get there?
Just some thoughts. Good luck.
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Old 02-03-08, 12:48 AM   #8
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Will it be fun? Sure, I think so. I'm as interested in pushing myself to my limits as I am in sightseeing.

I'm not too worried about rain. I've done some pretty long days in rainy conditions while touring before. Serious downpours would be a problem, but run of the mill soggy weather is something that I feel that I can deal with.

The terrain would be mostly flat, but I'll be ending up at the rocky mountains, so the last day could get pretty bumpy.

Headwinds, well that's another issue. The ride out will be pretty much due west, so headwinds could be problematic, if I'm not lucky.

I'll be running my lights on a dynohub, so at least charging batteries won't be a problem. I don't mind riding at night on unfamiliar roads, as long as I have a decent map to guide me.

Finding camping locations spaced out conveniently would be a serious issue. Either I'll have to do some serious logistical planning beforehand, or I'll have to do rides in chunks of more than 24 hours to ensure that I'll be stopping when there is plenty of light to find camping locations.
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Old 02-03-08, 12:59 AM   #9
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Well, I'll tell you a little story about a friend of mine. Back in 2002, my friend flew from England to Vancouver and cycled to Kamloops BC (about 500 kms, I believe). He then rode the Rocky Mountain 1200 ... a 1200 km randonnee. (That's where I met him). Starting the day after the RM1200, he rode across North America, from Kamloops to Boston. It took him 3 weeks to cover that distance. When he arrived in Boston, he rode the Boston-Montreal-Boston ... another 1200 km randonnee. And then he flew back home to England.

Approx. 8000 kms in 5 weeks.

Just to add to the challenge, he rode both randonnees on a fixed gear, and flipped the hub to do the rest of the riding on a single speed.

Both Randonnees involved cycling more than 200 miles a day ... and several of the days during his cross-country tour also involved 200 mile days.

Now ... he travelled extremely lightly. He had a handlebar bag and a Carradice Nelson Longflap ... no panniers. He's also a strong and fast cyclist, who has no issues with lying down in the ditch in a bivy to catch a few hours of sleep before continuing.

Is it possible to cover 1400 miles in 7 days? Yep. After all, Randonneurs cover a little over half that in 3.5 days on our 1200K randonnees.

If you are serious about doing it, I would STRONGLY recommend hooking up with your local Randonneuring organization and doing a Super Randonneur series (at least) as a training ride.

I would also strongly recommend considering lightening your load.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:04 AM   #10
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Furthermore ....

Have a look at my Links page: http://www.machka.net/links.htm There are lots of links on that page about long distance cycling.

Especially have a read over the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association site: http://www.ultracycling.com/ It contains lots of articles about training for ultra-distance events.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:19 AM   #11
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Well at least someone thinks it's possible.

I don't know if I can lighten my load much. I've been touring without a stove or cooking gear for my last couple of tours, and I haven't missed warm meals all that much. But I'm pretty much down to the bare minimum as I see it. I need to carry a complete tire repair kit for my bike and camping gear, including my hiking boots. I'll skip the cassette puller and other bike repair items. I'm thinking I might buy a bivy sack, which would probably weigh about half of what my one man tent weighs...

I've come light years beyond where I was at on my first tour, in terms of traveling light. I haven't gotten to the point that I'm cutting the handle off my toothbrush, but that might be in the cards this time. I might be overestimating my projected load at fifty pounds, but I can't imagine going with less than thirty and still being able to camp above 10,000 feet when I reach my destination.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:20 AM   #12
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On the other hand 12.5 MPH for 16 hours should handle it nicely. Zikes!! Really doing it would require some serious luck, not to get my usual 50% headwinds and rain, and the terrain would need to be pretty perfect. I average about 10 MPH, over about 8 hours of riding. But it takes something like 10-12 hours to get that in. It feels like I never get off the bike, but a stop here and a stop there for food, provisions... On the other hand I'm 48, one legged, and not very tough, so I wouldn't say it couldn't be done.

The biggest thing from the touring forum perspective would be to really manage the weight of everything, and the comfort. Just because it's a "loaded" tour does not mean a lot of stuff or weight. This is cut the toothbrush in half time. But comfortable is essential. Timing and climate would need to be carefully studied so that one could have extreme lightweight and not get gnawed every night. Stevenson Warmlite time. Tarp tent. Read up on something like Reinhold Messner on 8000 meter peaks. Read Ray Jardine.

It might be cool to have a really fast bike, but I would still want the long wheel base, and I would want super comfort on the bike, super efficiency. Sorta thing we ought to have to keep up with the tech level in Triathelon, or MTBs. Aero would have to be taken to the extreme. Bags as fairing, maybe a Zipper fairing. Aero wheels. The problem with going fast is that to do 200 miles in the space of 135, let's take the 16 hour period, requires goingan average 12.5 vs. average 8.4. That is 2.2 times the wind resistance, and at 12.5 MPH, you are about 50% of your effort just moving the wind (my best estimate, I welcome others). So some huge proportion of your increased effort, about 33% I would guess, is being channelled into making a hole. So an aero strategy would help.

I think this is an interesting idea, at whatever level it could reach. Vastly increasing the performance envelope, without achieving it in ways so weird it just seems like every day racing, rather than a contribution to touring technology. Or at least that is the aspect that appeals to me.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:26 AM   #13
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can it be done?

realistically, if your'e camping out (hence fully loaded) i'd say your chance are probably slim. weather and headwinds aside, i'd say what will most likely get you would be ankle and knee injuries. the pain will be there for just about sure, and if you continue to push it too far, it can become debilitating.
i had it happen when i once sandwiched a 212 after a couple of 120 or so mile days. i continued another couple of 120+ days, ignoring the warning signs, until waking up the next morning pretty much unable to use my right leg, and had to stop for 3 days for the swelling to go down. this was when i was 18, so it's not just an issue of older joints acting up.

but, should it be done?

by all means, i think you should give it a shot. just use a little common sense as far as punishing your body goes. and let us know how it works out.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:28 AM   #14
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I don't travel with a stove and cooking gear either, but my load, excluding the weight of my bicycle, comes in at 35 to 40 lbs.

Why hiking boots??? I'd drop those from the list for a start!

All you really need are a few tools, a few clothing items items, a few very basic toiletry and medical items, and some sleeping items.

I know I've got a million things on my packing list (on my website), but if you're doing something like this, where comfort and luxury aren't your goal, you don't need half of what I've got on there.

If you are planning to carry your hiking gear (for the hiking portion of your adventure) with you on the bicycle, I'd think about other options ... like mailing your hiking gear to a certain city so it will be there when you get there.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:32 AM   #15
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i had it happen when i once sandwiched a 212 after a couple of 120 or so mile days. i continued another couple of 120+ days, ignoring the warning signs, until waking up the next morning pretty much unable to use my right leg, and had to stop for 3 days for the swelling to go down. this was when i was 18, so it's not just an issue of older joints acting up.
That sounds like a bicycle fit issue. That's less than 700 miles over a 5 day period. Thousands of Randonneurs do more than that in less time and we're usually fine.

But I agree that if issues like that come up, it's not a bad idea to back off a bit. Hopefully, if brotherdan is going to do this, he will be aware of the Amtrak and Greyhound stops and schedules.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:44 AM   #16
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My conception is that I want to do this trip Goran Kropp style. He biked from Stockholm to Nepal with over 200 pounds of climbing gear. His original plan was to climb Everest completely self contained, using only gear and food that he brought with him at the start of his trip. He did summit Everest using only the gear that he started with, but he ended up supplementing his original food stock with food from other Everest expeditions.

So I don't want to send any gear ahead, even though it might make things easier. If I'm going to need something when I reach the rockies, I want to have it with me when I set out. I'd rather spend an extra day on the bike and go slower overall than send something by post to lighten my load.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:46 AM   #17
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I've been thinking about ditching my racks and going with a bob trailer, to improve aerodynamics. I'll be bringing a hiking pack anyway, and I was having trouble visualizing how I was going to haul it on my rear rack. I could just strap the hiking pack to a bob trailer and keep everything inside of it.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:56 AM   #18
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I'm inclined to say ... give it a go. All you are doing is lifting the performance parameters to a new level. Whether that lift is too ambitious is difficult for us to say from what you have posted in this and the LD threads, but you seem to display the sort of determination and thought about what is required to succeed.

Conditioning of your body and mind will be keys. Along with the already discussed comfort factor on the bike. Try to find a thread on here about lightweight touring not all that long ago. There is one poster whose bike looks almost naked when fully loaded for touring. I am ashamed to say I can't remember who it is, but the pictures left a good impression. The final uncontrollable, however, will be what happens with the weather.

I've done two days of 320km-plus riding (going to the start, then returning on the route of a fleche). I don't know that I could sustain that for many more days than that, but it did require riding through the night and snagging only four or five hours of sleep on the roadside each night.
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Old 02-03-08, 03:02 AM   #19
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Well, there's only really one way to know for sure if it's possible for you. While it's all very good (and useful) to ask other people whether it's do-able (or has been done), it comes down to yourself, and your capabilities, not those of others.

On a different subject, I've been taking a hiking backpack with me through New Zealand on the rear rack. It's not the biggest, baddest, expedition-style pack, it's still good for backpacking and fits everything you need for a short trip off the bike. It's just laid over the rear panniers and rack, perpendicular to the frame. Tent, sleeping bag, and short thermarest go inside the bag, when usually they'd just be strapped to the top of the rack. Then, bungee that thing up good (I use a bungee net as per someone's great advice here), and you're ready to roll (slowly). As you might imagine, there's a fair bit of wind resistance which comes with it--or it acts as a sail.

Good luck, and have fun (even if all you do is think about it and mock-plan it--that's one of the best parts of the touring experience in my opinion)!
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Old 02-03-08, 09:11 AM   #20
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I've been thinking about ditching my racks and going with a bob trailer, to improve aerodynamics. I'll be bringing a hiking pack anyway, and I was having trouble visualizing how I was going to haul it on my rear rack. I could just strap the hiking pack to a bob trailer and keep everything inside of it.
<thread hijack >

I've seen it posted here and elsewhere repeatedly that a BOB is more aerodynamic than panniers. Is it really? Does anyone have win tunnel tests or power meter tests with a 50lb loaded bob v 50 lb loaded panniers to prove this point?

The reason why I'm asking is this is by taking a look at a picture of a loaded BOB (bottom right corner), from head on, you'll notice that the trailer and bag sit at the narrowest portion of the cyclist's body, from the knees down, and below the hubs of the bike.

However, if you look at this bike, you'll notice that the rear panniers sit above the rear hub, the trunk bag and handlebar bag are slightly below
the rider's hips, and the front panniers are at knee level. It may be in a strong headwind, that panniers/handlebar bag/trunk bag might be more aerodynamic than a BOB, and not less. I don't think there is enough evidence to justify the claim that bob's are aerodynamic.

</thread hijack>
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Old 02-03-08, 09:27 AM   #21
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Don't get me wrong, it's theoretically possible. If you really want to try this on for size, all I can say is go for it. If you successfully pull it off, one thing I'll say.....

You'd never have to buy your own beer again in exchange for that story At least not in my presence

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Well at least someone thinks it's possible.

I don't know if I can lighten my load much. I've been touring without a stove or cooking gear for my last couple of tours, and I haven't missed warm meals all that much. But I'm pretty much down to the bare minimum as I see it. I need to carry a complete tire repair kit for my bike and camping gear, including my hiking boots. I'll skip the cassette puller and other bike repair items. I'm thinking I might buy a bivy sack, which would probably weigh about half of what my one man tent weighs...

I've come light years beyond where I was at on my first tour, in terms of traveling light. I haven't gotten to the point that I'm cutting the handle off my toothbrush, but that might be in the cards this time. I might be overestimating my projected load at fifty pounds, but I can't imagine going with less than thirty and still being able to camp above 10,000 feet when I reach my destination.
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Old 02-03-08, 09:37 AM   #22
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Go for it Dan, it sounds quite doable.
Use the naysayers cynicism as motivation.
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Old 02-03-08, 09:48 AM   #23
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I say go for it.

I would suggest that you consider mailing your hiking stuff ahead and back home. If you don't have a friend or relative there send it to yourself care of general delivery. That might allow you to lighten the load a good bit and would make the trip a bit easier.
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Old 02-03-08, 10:11 AM   #24
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Hmmm, good point.

The main reason that I was thinking about a bob is that I need to find some way to carry a big hiking pack. The aerodynamics were only part of my equation. But a bob probably weighs twice as much as a couple of racks. So even if the aerodynamics are similar, or even slightly better with a bob, it seems that the weight penalty might be an insurmountable issue. If I can figure out how to mount my pack on the rear rack so that it isn't sticking out on both sides, maybe it would be a better way to go.
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Old 02-03-08, 10:18 AM   #25
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I figured I could mount the pack perpendicularly, but my pack is pretty big, so it would stick out a lot. I really want to try to mount it inline with my body. I have a Jandd expedition rear rack, which is pretty long, but it would still only support about half of the length of the pack. I'll look into the bungee net idea though. That would probably make loading the bike much easier when you're trying to tie down something like a hiking pack, with all kinds of loose straps and whatnot.
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