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  1. #1
    weirdo
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    What`s your limiting factor?

    When you`re really pushing it, what is it that normally demands that you call it a day? Knees, feet, butt, something else? Never really hit a physical limit?

    On roads (paved or maintained dirt), my limit depends on what kind of mood my knees are in. On a good knee day the pain in my butt eventually decides for me when I`m at the end of my road. That`s maybe as much as eight hours of broken up saddle time or five to six in a row (you can stop laughing any time, rando folks) and my knees are still looking for more. If my knees are in a crappy mood, one or the other (rarely if ever both) is capable of stopping me within two hours or less and leaving me hobbling around like an arthritic dog.

    On rough terrain, it`s a different story- I don`t remember ever being stopped by knees or butt. It`s always been an all around bonk/out of gas/"say goodnight, Gracie" situation. I imagine my butt does better because I spend more time out of the saddle, but I have no idea why my knees don`t ever bother me on those days. It seems like it should be much harder on them than road riding.

    So, what stops you? I`m curious as to how many people get stopped by what parts of themselves and how consistant it is for you. Most always the same thing, depends, or it could be anything? Or how many have still been in good shape at the end of EVERY day and never hit some kind of limit?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Did you really mean to put this in the touring forum?


    As for limiting factors ... I've ridden four 1200K Randonnees. That's 1200K in 90 hours or less including all breaks.

    My bicycle fits me very well (it should ... it's a customized, custom-built bicycle), so that eliminates most joint pain. I've got a good saddle ... a Brooks B17 that is well broken in and fits me like a glove, so that eliminates butt pain.

    I have had trouble with my lungs (EIA) ... but I've got a set of inhalers now which help with that.

    My shoulder slowed me up a bit last year. I crashed and separated it in 2007, and it has started to dislocate at will. I rode a very painful 300K in 2008 with my shoulder half out of place, and opted to leave that as my longest distance for the year. But I'm working on building up the muscles in the area to hold it in place. It's a good idea, in general, to build up the upper body and core so that you can sit properly in the saddle and hold your body in a position that won't cause pain for extended periods of time.

    Bonking is easily prevented by eating regularly. Bonking is simply low blood sugar. Long distance cyclists generally recommend eating about 250-300 calories per hour while you ride to ward off bonking ... and if you're riding more than about 6 hours, you might want to stop for larger meals every so often.

    Along with eating to prevent bonking, it's also a good idea to drink about one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours while you ride as well ... more if it is hot and windy. But don't go overboard with the drinking without taking in an adequate amount of electrolytes.

    Have a read over the articles on this site for further information:
    http://www.ultracycling.com/siteindex.html


    Now, currently, I've been completely sidelined. I haven't cycled much since I got to Australia in mid-June, and it turns out that was probably a very good thing. I have Deep Vein Thrombosis, and I was admitted to the hospital several days ago with a large blood clot in my thigh, and a whole series of them in my calf. Exercise could have moved those clots along a lot faster than they have moved ... and that would have been fatal.

    Good news is ... whenever they decide to release me from the hospital, I should be able to start cycling again!!

  3. #3
    mev
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    My limiting factor in touring is much more often mental than physical. When I was in college, the limiting factor was darkness, but now I'll choose to stop earlier.

    I like to ride most or all days of a tour and hence do not very often push myself to limit. Instead start early and stop in afternoon so I can easily repeat the next day - or can ride another 40 miles if for some reason my chosen campsite/motel isn't available. At that type of pace, I've ridden across continents for multiple months.

  4. #4
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Time

  5. #5
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    machka great advice as per usual, glad your recovering that could have been nasty if it had not been discovered.hope your back on the bike very soon.

    roder don't know how to answer that one,but it sure gave me a laugh.
    with your sense of humour you should have no problem's.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Not exactly sure what your point was but my take is this. When on a tour, I reach my stopping point when I reach my planned destination for the day. My daily plan is always doable for me unless weather intervenes and I stop short. I don't do cold, windy, and wet (rain or snow), I stop.
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    crazyguyonabike.com/lighthorse

  7. #7
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    xilios brilliant website i will sit down one evening and read about all your tours well done.

  8. #8
    Hooked on Touring
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    My limiting factor is elderly pets.

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    I didn`t know you were laid up, Machka. Very sorry to hear that.

    Yeah, maybe it is a stranger question than I thought, but most responses are along the lines of what I was wondering.

  10. #10
    Neil_B
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    I have several limiting factors, including my 'disability', my inexperience, and my weight. However, they usually don't prevent me from doing whatever I want to do. The true limiting factor for me is time.

  11. #11
    Share the road. bugly64's Avatar
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    My limiting factor has been being on this island for three years. I will be leaving for good in 6 days then I will find a new limiting factor. Anybody do any touring in Montana?

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugly64 View Post
    My limiting factor has been being on this island for three years. I will be leaving for good in 6 days then I will find a new limiting factor. Anybody do any touring in Montana?
    I did a hub and spoke tour in Montana ... Logan's Pass area:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7606589046925/

    But I'd like to get over to Japan to do some touring in the future. What was the limiting factor about touring there?

  13. #13
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    My limiting factor is usually running out of fuel. I don't have travel snacks at home and I never think to buy them out on the road. I have actually bonked so bad on a weekend trip that my friends and I had to hitch a ride back home. I don't keep bike snacks around because I will eat them first for breakfast/lunch/and especially dinner. I also haven't found the best combination of foods to use for long distance.

    My other limiting factor is my knees. Both will always ache. I usually will have to stop for a while and stretch. Sometimes, walking my bike will bring energy back into my legs and relieve the pain in the knees. I don' know why. Then I ride until my knees ache again.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    My limiting factor is general fatigue aggravated by a sore rear. Damn saddle, a B-17. Five or six hours on bike a day is usually enough for me.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  15. #15
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Time is usually my limiting factor, and possibility my total and complete inability to deal with heat. Strange, then, that I should live here and have to deal with days of 33 degrees C in what is still officially "winter".
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    My limiting factors have been saddle comfort and on-road nutrition. I've plateaued at distances of about 40 miles based on rather significant butt pain. Lately I'm trying a Selle Anatomica, and so far so good, I went about 40 last week, and 32 last weekend with minimal discomfort. I need to just ride more and snack as I go, and finally I'm hopeful about doing that.

  17. #17
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    My limiting factor is my left knee. It'll start to ache when I reach a certain point and if I try to push through it it'll take me off the bike for 2-3 days, so I try not to press my luck. I can ride a (non-metric)century at a moments notice, but longer I have to be well rested.

    It's an age issue and too many injuries when younger. Funny part is that the right one was surgically rebuilt when young (20) and it's never given me a minutes problem.

    -R

  18. #18
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighthorse View Post
    Not exactly sure what your point was but my take is this. When on a tour, I reach my stopping point when I reach my planned destination for the day. My daily plan is always doable for me unless weather intervenes and I stop short. I don't do cold, windy, and wet (rain or snow), I stop.
    +1

    Even If I did the wild-camp thing, I would end my day based on where I can get food for dinner and where can I get off the road to camp. Not a physical limit thing.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    In 30+ years of cycling, I have never bonked, so I know that energy is not a limiting factor for me. On long rides, excessive heat and humidity both me more than anything. They don't keep me from riding, but I enjoy it a lot less so I tend not to ride as far.

    My left knee has been bothering me all summer, but never while I am riding. I think I initially injured it riding by fiddling with my saddle height and foolishly deciding to start riding a single speed. It gradually getting better, and I've put the gears back on my SS bike.

    As far as riding in general, my weight is my biggest limiting factor. I would be a much better rider, probably remarkable for my age, if I could lose 20 lbs. However, as I get older, my weight keeps creeping up year to year. I am exercising just as much and not eating any more, but my metabolism keeps slowing so I gain weight. It is very frustrating because it seems that someone who exercises as much as I do should lose weight rather than gain. To lose weight, I am afraid that I'll have to quit drinking beer and coffee with cream. But then would life be worth living?
    Last edited by tarwheel; 08-24-09 at 07:55 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    In 30+ years of cycling, I have never bonked, so I know that energy is not a limiting factor for me. On long rides, excessive heat and humidity both me more than anything. They don't keep me from riding, but I enjoy it a lot less so I tend not to ride as far.

    My left knee has been bothering me all summer, but never while I am riding. I think I initially injured it riding by fiddling with my saddle height and foolishly deciding to start riding a single speed. It gradually getting better, and I've put the gears back on my SS bike.

    As far as riding in general, my weight is my biggest limiting factor. I would be a much better rider, probably remarkable for my age, if I could lose 20 lbs. However, as I get older, my weight keeps creeping up year to year. I am exercising just as much and not eating any more, but my metabolism keeps slowing so I gain weight. It is very frustrating because it seems that someone who exercises as much as I do should lose weight rather than gain. To lose weight, I am afraid that I'll have to quit drinking beer and coffee with cream. But then would life be worth living?
    Join the club

    But don't give those things up, your right, it won't be worth it!!!!!

  21. #21
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badwx View Post
    I don't keep bike snacks around because I will eat them first for breakfast/lunch/and especially dinner.
    I`m terrible about that too- lucky if I can keep a box of granola bars around for a whole week. Fortunately, my prefered snack is a local house-brand granola bar that only costs $2 per box, so it`s no problem to stock up.

  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    My limiting factor is usually the distances between towns. There are times when I feel like doing a long enough day that hours of daylight become a factor, but not often, especially since I like to start in the dark in the morning.

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