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Old 01-20-09, 08:56 PM   #1
atombianchi
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Training for tour across america

outside of regular riding does anyone have any good suggestions for training exercises to prepare for a tour across the United States.
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Old 01-20-09, 09:00 PM   #2
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What is the longest ride you have done ?
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Old 01-20-09, 09:22 PM   #3
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if at all possible, turn your commute into a bike ride so you get used to being in the saddle every day.

on top of this, we would need to know your route, are you carrying gear, are you hotelling or camping, etc etc...

how far do you plan to go each day?
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Old 01-20-09, 10:40 PM   #4
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As far as training your legs, just ride every day and ride lots. This should train your butt reasonably well too. Try to put some hills in your rides.

As far as training everything else, take some shorter tours and do a reasonable amount of your riding on the bike you will tour with and loaded exactly as you will tour with it, including all the same gear you plan to take. If you will need to ship your bike, practice packing it up and reassembling it. Practice cable replacement, spoke replacement and flat repair.
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Old 01-20-09, 11:19 PM   #5
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i'm planning one myself, i ride a reasonable amount, but not as much as i'd like now, i have done much longer rides. there is always one good thing to know:

if you don't train for the ride, the ride will be your training.

and that doesn't mean that's a bad thing. I've read of people who just go for it, and yes, it sucks for about 2 weeks, but your body quickly takes up the task after that amount of time, and your days will start increasing in milage. so i wouldn't worry about it too much, i've done a lot of reading about it. it may be good to know what a century feels like, i did 95 one day, and kicked myself for not going the extra five.

you're in it for the ride, so ride what you can, if that's 30 miles to start, great, if it's 120 a day, that's great too : )

make sure you have a comfy saddle, know when to stop/take a break, and enjoy the ride. nothing else matters

. . . unless your on a time schedule, then HAUL!! >: D

p.s. i've also heard the rule of thumb for "casual" riders (like myself) that a reasonable distance for one day is what you ride in a week, but i would guess that's a loose statement, especially if you ride 30 miles a day ^^;
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Old 01-20-09, 11:41 PM   #6
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outside of regular riding does anyone have any good suggestions for training exercises to prepare for a tour across the United States.

Ok so the route i am taking is the transcontinental route. the group has not decided on weather we should go west to east or east to west any advice on that would be great as well. we all live on the west coast if that helps.
i will be taking only rear panniers (large bright yellow ortliebs) and maybe a handle bar bag depending on my shifting set up. i have toured once before from SF to SD 2 summers ago. i am a pretty avid rider but i want to be like a machine when i start the tour i do not want the tour to train me. on my last tour i felt like the beginning was training and hated it. i had trained prior but not enough
also any advice on super comfortable synthetic saddles. i know a common answer for this question would be Brooks but i am vegan and do not buy or consume things or objects made from animals.
thanks for all the help
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Old 01-20-09, 11:47 PM   #7
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i forgot to add i will be camping and utilizing, couch surfer, and hot shower. we plan to do between 60 90 miles a day. on the prior tour i did we averaged that ratio and from SF to SD we were done in a week. on that tour i rode a Cannondale R600 from the mid 1980's, i will be touring on a Bianchi Volpe from 1999 this time
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Old 01-21-09, 05:50 AM   #8
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Lots of long, slow rides, but without wearing yourself out, just like you are on a tour. You don't need intensity, you just need time in the saddle.

Try to develop the smoothest pedalling stroke you can, to condition your knees and guard against injury on the trip.

Train yourself to eat while riding, and experiment with different foods to find out what works best for you.

The Specialized Dolce is a very comfortable synthetic saddle for touring in a semi-upright position.
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Old 01-21-09, 05:55 AM   #9
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What do you mean by "the transcontinental route"? Do you mean Adventure Cycling's Trans America or some other route? Also do you have a set departure date? Both those items would impact whether I would recommend W - E or E - W.

As far as training... For a cross country tour you really don't need much in the way of training other than it helps to have lots of saddle time in. I would say it would be a big plus to be regularly riding at least 100 miles a week.

My two companions on the TA did fine starting off with very little mileage under their belts, just a handful of 30ish mile rides. They just trained as they went and did low mileage days for the first week and eased into it from there. See our journal for details http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007

If you are on a tight schedule and need to do high mileage right from the get go more preparatory mileage is advised. Still I think that it is smart to ease into the ride a bit and build mileage as you go. I also think it is smart to keep the daily mileage at a manageable level and never do days where you wear yourself down to the point where you can't ride the next day. Keep it fun, don't make it a death march. We found that 60 miles per day average (including rest days) is manageable, but it would have been nice to allow more time for side trips.

Speaking of rest days most people like to day a day a week or so. We preferred to ride every day, but to take some low mileage "half days" where we spent the afternoon resting, reading, or swimming. Also allow some time for at least some short hikes in places like Yellowstone.
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Old 01-21-09, 06:11 AM   #10
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The Specialized Dolce is a very comfortable synthetic saddle for touring in a semi-upright position.
I would suggest that you don't automatically assume that a "semi-upright position" is desirable. If you are very comfortable riding in a more aggressive road bike like posture that may be the best answer for you. I definitely find that to me the case for me. I would say that whatever setup you find most comfortable on long days rides is the best. For me, my road bike with the bars 5" below the saddle is supremely comfortable on century rides so I mimic that position on tour. It has worked out well for me on everything from day rides to a 73 day tour.

The aggressive posture assumes that you need to have good core strength and carry a lot of your weight on your legs, otherwise too much weight will be on your hands. Done properly your elbows are bent and your hands rest lightly on the bars. Not everyone seems to be able to pull it off.

I think that there is potential for more saddle discomfort and lower back pain with the bars up too high and would at least avoid having bars much higher than an inch below the saddle.

I am not knocking the semi-upright riding position, it works well for some riders. Just don't assume it is the best just because you are touring.
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Old 01-21-09, 07:18 AM   #11
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As far as in the gym, try the following exercises with light weights and see if they increase your ability to control your body and bike. These are the exercises you can do without machines, if you have a machine, you could hit the leg press machine which should help you on climbs.

Bent-over Rows for your back (helps hold you up and do aggressive climbs)
Squats for your legs (helps everything)
Lunges for your legs (helps your hamstrings and quads for upstroke pedaling)
Dead Lifts for your legs (helps your hamstrings and butt)
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Old 01-21-09, 08:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I would suggest that you don't automatically assume that a "semi-upright position" is desirable. If you are very comfortable riding in a more aggressive road bike like posture that may be the best answer for you. I definitely find that to me the case for me. I would say that whatever setup you find most comfortable on long days rides is the best. For me, my road bike with the bars 5" below the saddle is supremely comfortable on century rides so I mimic that position on tour. It has worked out well for me on everything from day rides to a 73 day tour.

The aggressive posture assumes that you need to have good core strength and carry a lot of your weight on your legs, otherwise too much weight will be on your hands. Done properly your elbows are bent and your hands rest lightly on the bars. Not everyone seems to be able to pull it off.

I think that there is potential for more saddle discomfort and lower back pain with the bars up too high and would at least avoid having bars much higher than an inch below the saddle.

I am not knocking the semi-upright riding position, it works well for some riders. Just don't assume it is the best just because you are touring.
Just curious, I've been playing around with my saddle and bar drop. I'm have a 3" drop in my bars now and it did get more comfortable. How long are your arms that you could drop your bars that much? I don't want to get to low because of neck pain. I've seen pictures of people on the RAAM and other long distance riders and some of them dropped out because of neck pain. I would like to get more weight off my arms, but I'm afraid of the neck pain then.
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Old 01-21-09, 08:57 AM   #13
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Atombianchi, I using the following schedule adapted from the recommended PAC training schedule. They have you starting three months in advance, but I modified it to give me five months of solid training; however, I am wanting to do long rides back to back.

Five Months before Bike Ride:
  • 150-200 miles per week
  • One day per week over 60 miles
  • One long 100 mile ride during the month
  • Three days of weight Lifting
Three Months before Bike Ride:
  • 200-250 miles per week
  • One day per week over 100 miles
  • One long 150 mile ride during the month
  • Three days of weight Lifting
Two Months before Bike Ride:
  • 250 - 300 miles per week
  • One or two days per week over 100 miles
  • One 200 mile ride during the month
  • Two days of weight Lifting
One Month before Bike Ride:
  • 300 - 400 miles per week
  • Two days per week over 100 miles
  • Ride a 200 mile event under 14 hours
  • One day of weight lifting, lighter weights-high reps
One Week before Bike Ride:
  • Ride enough to keep your legs fit but rested
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Finalize Calorie and Hydration intake during trip
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Old 01-21-09, 10:08 AM   #14
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I've always wanted to be in great shape at the start of a tour, but never have been able to manage it. I've started tours in various conditions from lousy shape to okay shape. No matter what shape I've been in, the first few days are always hard for me - especially the first two or three. For that reason I try and plan very short rides for the first few days, then work up to my regular mileage. I'd rather ride 25 miles a day and not suffer too much, than start out with long days. On my first long tour when I hadn't trained due to a hernia repair, my first day was 26 miles (which seemed awfully long at the time) and my second day was 83! I was in agony at the end of that! My third day was over 50 and I still hadn't recovered from the previous day - more agony! By about the fifth day I decided to take a rest day to recover, but wanted to make a little progress, so I planned to ride about 10 miles to a new campground and stop. Lo and behold, I started the ride feeling fine. I got to the new campground and decided to keep going. I ended up riding about a 50-mile day with no pain. I was finally "in shape!" That was the end of the agony on that trip.
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Old 01-21-09, 10:16 AM   #15
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outside of regular riding does anyone have any good suggestions for training exercises to prepare for a tour across the United States.
I train for all my tours by running stair laps. They add explosive power to your thighs, increase lung capacity massively, build endurance and stamina, and take alot less time than other techniques.

Find a staircase that is 4 stories to maybe, 10 stories in height. I would 'run' up the stairs (two steps at a time) and then jog down the a stairs, one step at a time. The latter is expecially important and useful, because it builds up the muscles ya need to keep your knee balanced.

I was already in good shape when I started running stairs; but in any case I started by running these stairs 15 minutes per day for the first week, adding 5 minutes each week until I peaked out at 40 minutes per day.

Between this training, good diet and proper gearing I made light work of all the Rocky, Alpine, Pyrenees, Andean, and central Asia mountain passes I have crossed in my touring years.

Cycling is simple; keep your training simple as well.


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Old 01-21-09, 12:04 PM   #16
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Just curious, I've been playing around with my saddle and bar drop. I'm have a 3" drop in my bars now and it did get more comfortable. How long are your arms that you could drop your bars that much? I don't want to get to low because of neck pain. I've seen pictures of people on the RAAM and other long distance riders and some of them dropped out because of neck pain. I would like to get more weight off my arms, but I'm afraid of the neck pain then.
My arms are somewhat long for my height, but not extremely so. I used to have neck pain (stenosis was the diagnosis for the problem) even with higher bars but found that with conditioning and some mild range of motion exercises in the shower the pain went away.

Time in the saddle, easing into the position slowly over a few weeks or months, and working on general and core fitness all help. I find that working with light dumbbells and a stability ball helped me a lot.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by kuzuchi View Post
Atombianchi, I using the following schedule adapted from the recommended PAC training schedule. They have you starting three months in advance, but I modified it to give me five months of solid training; however, I am wanting to do long rides back to back.

Five Months before Bike Ride:
  • 150-200 miles per week
  • One day per week over 60 miles
  • One long 100 mile ride during the month
  • Three days of weight Lifting
Three Months before Bike Ride:
  • 200-250 miles per week
  • One day per week over 100 miles
  • One long 150 mile ride during the month
  • Three days of weight Lifting
Two Months before Bike Ride:
  • 250 - 300 miles per week
  • One or two days per week over 100 miles
  • One 200 mile ride during the month
  • Two days of weight Lifting
One Month before Bike Ride:
  • 300 - 400 miles per week
  • Two days per week over 100 miles
  • Ride a 200 mile event under 14 hours
  • One day of weight lifting, lighter weights-high reps
One Week before Bike Ride:
  • Ride enough to keep your legs fit but rested
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Finalize Calorie and Hydration intake during trip
Sounds way extreme for preparing for a tour! What kind of ride are you training for? Is it the PAC tour?

Last edited by staehpj1; 01-21-09 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:08 PM   #18
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I may have missed it but how much cycling do you do now? On your daily rides, how far do you go? Are you a racer? Do you do several centuries a year?


Also, approximately how far are you planning to ride each day on this tour?
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Old 01-21-09, 12:09 PM   #19
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Stahpi1, I am training to do a cross country solo ride from Carlsbad, CA to Yorktown, VA in 20 days. My goal is to average about 150 miles a day. I am sure people think I am insane; however, I believe I can do it with proper tarining.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:22 PM   #20
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Stahpi1, I am training to do a cross country solo ride from Carlsbad, CA to Yorktown, VA in 20 days. My goal is to average about 150 miles a day. I am sure people think I am insane; however, I believe I can do it with proper tarining.
Interesting. I assume you will be sagged at that pace, right? I can see the attraction, but It doesn't seem like a "tour".

Will you be keeping an on line journal or blog?

In any case best of luck.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:35 PM   #21
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Stahpi1, I am training to do a cross country solo ride from Carlsbad, CA to Yorktown, VA in 20 days. My goal is to average about 150 miles a day. I am sure people think I am insane; however, I believe I can do it with proper tarining.
Here: http://www.ultracycling.com/

And here: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/sub...?N_webcat_id=1

Both of these sites (but the first one in particular) will give you some training tips for a ride like that.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:42 PM   #22
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ok to set some more specifics i am not a racer, i live car free and ride to commute or for fun. i have never done a century, the most i have done is 93 in one day.

Also we plan on leaving for 2 months and we are going to be on the trans america route but we will not start or end in the pacific northwest we are tailoring the route so we start or end in SF. we plan on leaving June 15 and finishing august 15. so again any advice on west to east or east to west.

thanks for all the advice do far.
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Old 01-21-09, 12:43 PM   #23
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Stahpi1, I am training to do a cross country solo ride from Carlsbad, CA to Yorktown, VA in 20 days. My goal is to average about 150 miles a day. I am sure people think I am insane; however, I believe I can do it with proper tarining.
WOW, that's going to be some hard riding, good luck.
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Old 01-21-09, 01:13 PM   #24
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Stahpi1, I am training to do a cross country solo ride from Carlsbad, CA to Yorktown, VA in 20 days. My goal is to average about 150 miles a day. I am sure people think I am insane; however, I believe I can do it with proper tarining.

Va VOOOOOOooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm!!! That is two wheeled insanity! Best of luck and I sure hope your training keeps all those joints and jowls in tip top shape.

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Old 01-21-09, 04:57 PM   #25
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ok to set some more specifics i am not a racer, i live car free and ride to commute or for fun. i have never done a century, the most i have done is 93 in one day.

Also we plan on leaving for 2 months and we are going to be on the trans america route but we will not start or end in the pacific northwest we are tailoring the route so we start or end in SF. we plan on leaving June 15 and finishing august 15. so again any advice on west to east or east to west.

thanks for all the advice do far.

OK, so ... how much do you currently ride each day?
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