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Old 09-28-09, 12:31 PM   #1
dm_miller
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45 miles without training?

Hello, I've been invited to go on a bike ride this weekend and I'm not sure if I should try it or not. A group of friends is going on a 45 mile ride to another town. It's on a developed trail that is flat the entire way. I'm not a biker by any means and haven't riden one in a few years. I'm in good shape physically, I just don't know if I'm in 'biking' shape. I have all day and there are towns spaced about 10 miles apart that I can rest in/refuel. Is this a bad idea?
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Old 09-28-09, 12:41 PM   #2
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Given the conditions, I'd say give it a try. You'll probably hurt afterward because the bike riding will be different from the exercise you're getting now. Riding a bike 45 miles is about the same in energy requirement as running 5 miles or so unless you're riding faster than around 12 miles per hour.

You have places to stop, not many hills, plenty of time, and friends to come and get you if it turns out things don't go well. Make sure the bike is in good shape first.
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Old 09-28-09, 12:50 PM   #3
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If you're 20, go for it. If you're 60, think twice.

It'll help to have a good bike and patient friends. And yes, you will be very sore the next day.
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Old 09-28-09, 12:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dm_miller View Post
I have all day and there are towns spaced about 10 miles apart that I can rest in/refuel. Is this a bad idea?
Possibly... If you can ride 10-12 miles in an hour, then you can probably ride 45 miles given an entire day.

The question is: would you want to? If your friends are strong cyclists, they could finish the ride in 3-4 hours and not feel like they've had a workout. Can you keep up? Are you comfortable riding by yourself if you can't? Are you comfortable holding up the group if they decide to wait for you?

My suggestion would be to get out and try to do a couple of 10-15 mile rides this week. Figure out what your pace is, see how you feel, then make a decision on whether the trip makes sense for you.
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Old 09-28-09, 01:00 PM   #5
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I would say go for it. A friend with basically no cycling experience recently did around 50 miles on a very heavy old bike. He was sore the next day but felt accomplished and good. Especially with it being flat the whole time, you should be fine.
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Old 09-28-09, 01:16 PM   #6
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In the end you have to decide for yourself of course, but at 45 flat miles with towns along the way, I would lean more on the go for it side.

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Old 09-28-09, 01:53 PM   #7
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I did 50 miles in one day after not having been on a bike for at least 10 years. I was down for a week after that. And I thought I was in decent shape from running on a treadmill a couple times a week.

What kind of bike will you be riding and what kind of trail? "Developed' as in paved? If it is I recommend NOT doing it on a mtn bike that hasn't seen the light of day for 10 years and still has the giant knobby tires on it.

Good luck.
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Old 09-28-09, 03:10 PM   #8
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I am 52 and just started riding again this spring, after 30 years of not being on a bike. I have done 40+ miles several times. Go for it.
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Old 09-28-09, 03:34 PM   #9
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Make sure the bike you ride fits you; that the seat is properly adjusted. I'd be more worried about screwing up your knees or other joints riding in completely unconditioned form. Also, do like was recommended and try a 10-15 mile ride tomorrow and see what your average speed is and how you feel afterwards.

I did a ~60 mile trip last week with some small hills and an almost full camping load and only had done a 26 mile ride up to that point. It wasn't too bad but i was a bit sore the second day after.
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Old 09-28-09, 06:12 PM   #10
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If you had no problems in your recent physical exam and you are in reasonable shape then I say go for it. What is the worst that can happen? How make a phone call to have someone drag you and the bike back home? Who cares?
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Old 09-28-09, 07:18 PM   #11
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I say go for it too if you've got the determination/motivation. It will be tough though, especially if you try to keep up with more conditioned riders. You'll need to pace yourself carefully. Stay well hydrated and eat a 'power' bar(Snickers?) every hour for quick energy. Load up on carbs the day before to maximize you glycogen stores.

Fit is first. If you try to do this on a bike that doesn't fit you well, you'll really pay a price. For maximum pedaling efficiency, position the seat so that your leg is slightly flexed when the ball of your foot is resting on the bottomed out pedal.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-28-09, 07:36 PM   #12
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get off the bike often

My first suggestion is to make sure your friends understand your situation. This tour may take you considerably longer than the more seasoned riders. If they are fine with that and are willing to slow up to have your company on the trip than do it.

My second suggestion is to get off the bike and walk every 10 miles. EVERY 10 miles. Walk during these dismounts, don't sit. You may want to do this after the first 5 miles, too. It will help your legs and your butt to walk. I do this on every ride I do over 10 miles. Sometimes I'll walk a tenth of a mile, sometimes a half mile. It depend on how long it takes to stretch out a bit.

Drink lots of water.

Sounds like fun. What trail?
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Old 09-28-09, 10:54 PM   #13
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Go ahead give it a whirl. you can always turn around if you havent hit the half way point. You will be sore the next couple of days. but after the pain passes you won't have any pain for the rest of the riding season.

Be sure to pace yourself, since this is your first long ride have your friends slow down if you can't keep the pace. bike fitness is not the same as running fitness. as a preventive measure you may want to get some riding shorts and use a chamois cream this my prevent some of the chafing problems.
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Old 09-29-09, 08:05 AM   #14
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Will you have the capability to bail out? I've started centuries with what I felt to be inadequate training. My wife has been ready to come rescue me with the van if I called.

45 miles is a lot for a non-rider. I took a group of people on a bike ride into town to go to the movies. It was 12 miles. Several of them complained about sore butts, and some were noticably fatigued, especially going up hills towards the end. (None of them was guilty of much exercise in their regular routines, but none were obese either.)

45 miles is a long ride for me these days because I can only squeeze a ride in once a week, and usually around 25 miles. If I went out and rode 45 I'd be pooped at the end. I'd make it fine, but would be pooped. If you haven't been riding at all you may end up more than pooped.

If you go, take lots of breaks. It's amazing how rejuvenating a half-hour rest can be. Don't try to keep up with your faster friends.

Consider having someone to come rescue you. It's not a badge of dishonor, it's discretion being the better part of valor. Go as far as you can. Maybe you'll make it all the way, but if it's obvious you're not going to you'll have a way out.

Good luck.
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Old 09-29-09, 11:07 AM   #15
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I say go for it! Take a couple 10-15 mi rides in the next few days to prep for it. You'll be a little sore the next day but it subsides quickly, just be prepared to become addicted to the wonderful world of cycling.

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Old 09-29-09, 11:11 AM   #16
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A couple ten mile rides should indicate if any parts of your bike are in the drastically wrong location (seat too low, bars too far away...). Otherwise, if it's a nice sightseeing outing over the course of a whole day and not some kind of athletic endurance death march to be completed in 90 min, you should do fine.
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Old 09-29-09, 11:28 AM   #17
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It would be great if you had an "out" if you needed it, as BigBlueToe suggested. If that were the case I'd say don't think twice - just do it. If you do decide to go, don't make the same mistakes my non-riding friends usually make:

- Check the tire pressure before embarking
- Oil the chain if needed
- Check overall condition and adjustment of the bike
- Check your fit on the bike
- Bring a pump and patch kit, or at least be sure your friends have that, assuming they won't leave you
- Bring plenty of water
- Bring something to snack on along the way
- Have a good breakfast before going - my favorite is pancakes and eggs

It's good that the route is flat, however if you run into headwinds it will still be tough. Personally I'd rather ride up a hill than into a stiff breeze.
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Old 09-29-09, 01:45 PM   #18
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Do you have a bike, or are you borrowing one from a friend? If you have one and you haven't used it in a few years you may find its not in good working order. Dig it out, wipe+oil the chain, pump the tires, and take it for a test ride. Make sure the brakes and gears are working. Go for a 5 or 10 mile ride - whatever you have time for before the weekend. Make sure nothing obviously feels wrong about the bike. If borrowing, I'd see if I could ride the bike ahead of the weekend if possible to test it out.

Other ideas are just make sure your friends realize you may be slow and want to stop more often than they do, and that your legs, butt, and/or other body parts if the bike doesn't fit well, may be sore when you are done.
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Old 09-29-09, 07:50 PM   #19
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What is the worst that can happen? How make a phone call to have someone drag you and the bike back home? Who cares?
If it`s a 45 mile ride, that trip for somebody to go pick you up will probably be MUCH shorter than the trip I had somebody make to bail me out last Spring. Like Blue Toe mentioned, have someone "on call" and go for it. Have a good time.
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