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  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    Training for a tour - and MY tour

    How much preparatory riding do folks do for a week-long tour? I and 'NeilFein' are leaving in two weeks riding from Pittsburgh to DC, and I want to make sure I'm physically up to it. I've been increasing my mileage as I can, and I completed a hundred mile week last week. That includes back to back days of commuting - 33 miles round trip. And my mileage will be increasing during the remaining ten days or so.

    I've heard and read differing advice on preparing for touring. There seems to be a school of 'no preparation' preparation, as practiced by David Lamb in his book Over the Hills, Nick Lubowski in his Dirt Rag article last year, and a poster here who told me he did no training before touring. Then there's the 'ride close to the mileage you will ride' school. And there seems to be a middle approach; I'd heard somewhere that if you can ride your estimated daily mileage back to back days, and feel able to ride a third, you are ready.

    Thoughts on this? Any advice for Neil F. and I, or would that be a case of closing the barn door after the Clydesdale has gone?

  2. #2
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I'm planning to ride my 44 mile RT commute 3x/ week. It'll let me train and also break in the new bike.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

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  3. #3
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I would plan on taking it kind of easy for the last few before departure.

    The school of no preparation
    I think this probably only works for longer tours or ones where you can afford a very easy pace, unless you have some base miles in. Since you are riding regularly I wouldn't consider it no training even if you didn't do anything special.

    The 'ride close to the mileage you will ride' school
    You can't go too far wrong here unless you wind up starting a tour sore or tired because of it. To my way of think that is the danger of this method.

    The middle approach
    Makes sense to me. Again if you wind up starting out your tour sore or tired it is a bad thing.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    How much preparatory riding do folks do for a week-long tour? I and 'NeilFein' are leaving in two weeks riding from Pittsburgh to DC, and I want to make sure I'm physically up to it. I've been increasing my mileage as I can, and I completed a hundred mile week last week. That includes back to back days of commuting - 33 miles round trip. And my mileage will be increasing during the remaining ten days or so.

    I've heard and read differing advice on preparing for touring. There seems to be a school of 'no preparation' preparation, as practiced by David Lamb in his book Over the Hills, Nick Lubowski in his Dirt Rag article last year, and a poster here who told me he did no training before touring. Then there's the 'ride close to the mileage you will ride' school. And there seems to be a middle approach; I'd heard somewhere that if you can ride your estimated daily mileage back to back days, and feel able to ride a third, you are ready.

    Thoughts on this? Any advice for Neil F. and I, or would that be a case of closing the barn door after the Clydesdale has gone?
    Depends on the length of the tour and what I think the terrain will be like. For a relatively flat week long tour with little or no camping (like the one I got coming up), riding to work and back is enough.

    Longer than two to 3 weeks in mountains or hills with camping and food, I'll do 8 to 12 weeks with progressive weight and distance.
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  5. #5
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    I don't think that anything you do for 2 weeks is going to make much difference, in terms of training. I'd say ride as much as you feel like this week (not none), and don't ride very much if at all for the 2 days before you leave, so you don't start tired. Try to get some sleep, eat normally, and relax! It's going to be FUN!

    I know you guys had some issues - I hope you have managed to talk about what was bothering you and come up with some solutions. Sometimes for me, just telling the other person that I'm grumpy or tired or hungry can make all the difference. Also, you might want to plan for a little just-getting-into-camp snack (with beer, in my case!) so you can relax during the setting-up-the-tent and making-dinner part of the day, so you aren't hurrying b/c you are starving. Learning to do that made my camping experiences sooo much better.

    hope you guys have a fantastic trip!
    ...

  6. #6
    Senior Member slowjoe66's Avatar
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    My two cents here. The biggest thing for me getting ready for tours is time in the saddle. I don't let myself get into really bad shape in the winter. (yes I gain some weight and my cardio is not up to snuff, but I don't become a couch potato). I lift weights year around and ride some exercise bike. So for me, when getting ready for tour, I just commute for a month or so, and step up my leg work in the gym, and go on longer weekend rides (of the 30-50 mile range) with some load on the bike. This entails putting 30 pounds or so into my pannier that I use for commuting; loading up my trailer with weight plates inside, and just going on long rides with buddies.

    All this equates to "time in the saddle" with a bit of time with a load on.

    Thats what I do. And as a post script: It's never really 100%; my crotch still hurts a bit on tour; but usually my cardio and legs are golden.
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  7. #7
    fc_
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    Historian,

    As I recall from your other posts, your tour should be a relatively flat one. Do you know what mileage you'll be putting in a day between camping/hotel spots? If so, I'd say to be on the safe side, while you could get by on little or no specific training for the tour, to see if you can do that distance loaded over similar terrain (if nothing else, a shakedown ride, pre-tour, carrying the approximate load that you'll be riding with).

    I've found in the past that the first day or two would have me a bit sore by the end of the day, but after that I quickly got used to the daily distance and climbing on the tours I've taken down the California coast. I did train for them simply by riding lots in the hills in the san francisco area, but there's no substitute for day in day out riding. In any event, I survived to tell my tales, and I expect you will too.

    Don't forget the ibuprofen, and take plenty of pictures on the way!

    Have a great tour, Neils!

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I ride year round.

    Starting in January, I take spinning classes for 1-2 hours a week, and ride the trainer for another 4-5 hours a week for a total of anywhere from 5-7 hours of "cycling" a week. In addition to that I walk, weightlift, ski, snowshoe, etc. I try to aim for 10+ hours a week of exercise. Many years I participate in the Century-A-Month challenge, so some weeks I do more because I'm riding a century. A 100 mile week is my pre-season distance.

    I do about that till about mid-March when I ramp it up in preparation for my Randonneuring season, which starts at the end of April (or beginning of May) with a 200 km brevet. I increase my daily distances, and double (or more) my weekend distances.

    In May I'll log somewhere between 800 and 1000 miles, June is usually slightly less, but then in July and August I'm usually up around 1000+ miles for each month. Then September is slightly less again. And most of my tours have taken place in late summer or early fall.

    By October, I'm just riding casually, maybe back to 100 mile weeks again, and then November and December are sporadic. They are rest months, and I often do other forms of exercise in addition to occasional cycling ... like walking.


    Now, according to the Surgeon General and those people, in order to lose weight, we need to exercise at a moderate level somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes on a daily basis. So that might be a good place to start with your training ... if you can log between 60 and 90 minutes a day, you'll likely lose weight (which will make climbing hill easier) and get fit.

    From there, you might want to start building up the mileage on one or two days a week to whatever you want to cover on a daily basis on your tour. For example, if you're planning to cover 80 kms a day (50 miles a day), you want to have done many 50 mile rides ... and several of them back to back and back to back to back before your tour.

    A 1-week tour is too short to get fit during the tour. If you were out for 2 months, you might struggle during the first few weeks, but then you'd get fit as you go along. But for a 1-week tour, you will want to be fit before the tour so you can relax and enjoy the tour rather than struggling with the cycling aspect.



    I just noticed that you're leaving for this tour in 2 weeks .... you might want to aim to keep your daily distances quite short.

  9. #9
    RPM: 85. MPH: varies. edtrek's Avatar
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    I'd like to suggest that in two weeks, there are 4 things to do:
    1. Ride your bike just to get your bum somewhat ready
    2. Set your bike up, tighten everything, stop tweaking it
    3. Get used to the Assos/Chamois thing it will (literally) save your *****
    4. Buy Motrin

    It's a great ride, you'll love it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Whatever training you decide to do prior to departure, I recommend that you load your bike up as if you were underway on the tour and ride all of the training miles in that configuration. You will be much happier with that kind of training when it is all over. Several things come into play here.
    1. You learn how all of the panniers, etc. are going to function.
    2. You get used to the difference in bike stability with the different load.
    3. You get to feel the real differences in riding a heavy bike.
    4. You have a chance to transition from road riding to touring pace, this requires a conscious switch in your mental approach.
    If you experience these things now, you will be more comfortable when you depart.
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  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I'll just add that when I'm getting ready for an event (randonneuring, a tour where I'll be riding more each week than I usually do, etc.) I like to start "training" a minimum of 6 weeks before the event. That gives me time to actually build up some muscle, and get used to riding with panniers, or whatever else is necessary.

  12. #12
    F*** Corporate Beer daveIT's Avatar
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    I raced competitively for almost 4 years straight and biked a 52 mile RT commute every work day when I lived in Italy. Then I moved to Alaska and had a som, so I find it a lot harder to train now that I have a son...I feel guilty if I'm away too long. I gave up racing because the scene isn't as fun up here...I also gained about 20 lbs!

    So now, I commute to work (20 mile RT) during the spring, summer, fall (whenever there isn't snow), ride with the wife and haul my son in the Chariot trailer (60+ lbs combined) most days after work for an hour or so.

    When I've toured in the past, I plan 60 mile days. That way I can average 10 mph and bike 6 hours (more if needed). Usually 3 hrs, then lunch, then 3 hrs.

    I did a 90+ mile day in just over 8.5 hrs on my trip to Seward that almost killed me (my buddy met we with firewood and beer to dull the pain) I made great time because of awesome tailwinds and pretty fast descents. I did 45+ the next day.

    You can train all you want just don't make it a chore because then it starts to suck.
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  13. #13
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    I ride my 33 mile r/t commute four days a week

    race mt mtb wed nights and *try* to get in a long ride on the weekend (rarely happens)
    Just did a 5 day 400 mile trip and had no problems at all.

  14. #14
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    meant to say that i commute 33 miles r/t trip a day and race mtb on wed.

    Still getting used to posting in here.

    *nooob*

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