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  1. #1
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    Coast to coast ride

    I am planning on doing the coast to coast ride in a couple years, figure that is how long it will take me to get in shape to ride 3300 miles in 7 weeks. Can anyone that has done this ride before give me some advise on training and anything that will help me accomplish this task.

  2. #2
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Start by getting up and riding your bike tomorrow. Keep doing that... go farther than the last day until you get to a time-limit, than keep trying to do that distance in less than the last day. Read up on healthy eating and all that jazz. 3300 miles in 49 days is almost 70 miles a day. Try to work up to riding 70k and see what that feels like!

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    There's no "set" training schedule for something like this. Some people, never having ridden 2 miles in one day, buy a bike from a big box store and just head out. Eventually, they reach the other coast.

    Others say you should be able to ride 50 miles a day with 4 fully loaded panniers (roughly 50-70 pounds of stuff) for 3 consecutive days before you set out.

    The fact is that, if you can ride for an hour at a time, you can go coast to coast with little to no training if you are determined and unconcerned about speed. After the first week (5-6 days of riding 4-8 hours a day over varying terrain), you'll have begun to get into "true" bike touring physical shape and should be able to complete the tour.

    After Day 3 and/or about 100 miles, the only limit will be in your mind, your wallet or your actual physical health (hopefully not due to an accident, but illnesses have ended trips).

    Best advice I have heard was to plan on taking the first 3 days easier/making them shorter than you planned average mileage for the entire trip. This somewhat limits your aches and pains while also providing you with some real distance from the start point.

    Also, consider the difference in route distances such as the 3 ACA routes: Northern Tier-4321 mi (more or less depending on how you go around the Great Lakes); TransAm (across the central US)- 4250 mi; Southern Tier-3132 mi. Like said above, at 70 miles a day, you can plan on anywhere from 44-90 or more days on the road not counting rest days off the bike. Most people take 1 day off every 7-10 days, some more, some less.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 10-13-10 at 11:10 PM.
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    What is your route? If you are planning on doing in a couple of years then there isn't much point trying to get touring-fit now. You should just eat right and do exercise, whether that includes a bike or not is up to you. I've seen all sizes of people do it, but you'll probably enjoy it more the less body weight you are carrying.

    I think you should start to prepare for the tour physically maybe 3-4 months out, as others have said, build up your ride distance gradually until you feel comfortable riding 2-3 hours at a time, once you can do that, you can do a coast to coast no sweat.

    If you are looking @ 70 miles a day average, that is quite a high average for a coast to coast ride I reakon. are you planning on treating it like a race, or is the 7 weeks an imposed limit due to work/other commitments ? I think 50-60 is a good daily avearge, depending on your route, you will have higher days and lower days, but you must leave yourself time for days off the bike to explore and recharge those legs. On my C2C I took over half of my rest days within the first 3 weeks, the further I got into it , the fitter I got and more tour-hardy my legs got, so my advice would be start out slow and build up to that average.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Two years is a long time to plan ahead for a tour. We just decided to go and went in a few weeks.

    I would say just ride and generally stay in shape. Three of us did the Trans America (4344 miles) in 10 weeks without any real training. We averaged less than your goal mileage at 60 miles per day though. I had been riding a good bit leading up to the tour, but my two companions only had a handful of moderate length training rides in the few weeks before the tour. I think their longest pre-tour ride was only 33 miles since they were very busy finishing their senior year of college.

    We just took it easy for the first two weeks or so and rode ourselves into shape on the tour. That worked out fine for us. That said you will find it easier if you have some more substantial mileage in before the tour.

    Some shorter tours as dry runs may be helpful, but we didn't do any and didn't regret it.

    If you have some experience with some kind of self supported travel like backpacking or canoe/kayak camping and are generally a resourceful person you will find the camping/cooking part pretty easy. Otherwise at a minimum be sure you know how to use your camping/cooking gear.

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    I want to do the Coast to Coast for Lung Cancer tour, it runs from Portland, OR to Washington, DC. It is a fully supported tour, so they have a truck that carry your luggage and you have to complete the route miles everyday. I plan on being a lot lighter than what Iam now, I will be down to 170-160lbs by then. Thanks for the feedback so far.

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    If you ride lots and lose the weight you plan to lose, then you'll be fine. There's no specific training plan you need other than to accumulate the miles. The more miles you accumulate, the easier and more enjoyable time you'll have. Start a log today.

    As Pete said, many people use the first part of the ride to get into shape. And drmweaver2 suggests you take it easy at the beginning. But since you are on a fixed and fairly agressive schedule, you probably don't have the luxury to do either of those. So you'll want to already be in shape when you arrive at the start. If time permits, try to get in 10,000 miles (5000 per year) between now and the start of your trip. Don't stress out about it however. If you can even do half that, you'll be successful (although not so enjoyably so). Include at least some long hills in your rides, as you'll encounter many of those on your trip.

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    IME it takes a long time to get fit. About 7 years from starting to ride to as fit as you could ever get. So start now. Start working your weekly mileage up to around 150 or so. This should take some months. Then add things like hill repeats, group rides, other hard riding as you are able. Ride 52 weeks/year. Plan to ride a couple of double centuries next summer. If you live somewhere that's not possible to do outdoors, buy a set of rollers and join a gym. Besides getting in shape, this will give you time to resolve bike fit and saddle issues. Meaning buy the bike now that you'll plan to use on your trip and start riding it. Since yours will be a fully supported ride, you won't want a touring bike, but rather a TdF style road bike, probably carbon.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    That's a great challenge you've given yourself. Lose lots of weight and ride for a good cause. Two years to lose that much weight is reasonable and totally doable. If you meet the conditioning goal, you'll have little problem keeping up with the group, maybe even setting the pace. Best wishes and keep us in the loop as to how you're doing.
    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

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    Yep. Riding fully supported/unloaded is a different kettle of fish than riding loaded, that's for sure.

    Simplest plan I can think of, do an Internet search for "training for a century". These show basic training plans for working up to completing a single day's ride that is 30 miles longer than what you plan to average. Take that training plan and modify it to suit your current fitness, riding ability, availability of time to train each week and personal pain threshold (yes, riding can be painful - ask my butt).
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  11. #11
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Like you, the years saw me get heavier than I wanted. It was a struggle to get to my current 210 but 2 years is plenty of time. From having watched many people start with expensive equipment only to quit later from lack of motivation, my advice is to 1) set milestone goals achievable every month, 2) stay with your current bike until you reach a big milestone, say 240, then reward yourself with a new bike, and 3) get a riding buddy, to help encourage you during the low points (it happens). Best of luck.

  12. #12
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    ShoMeRacing, the part of touring that rarely gets mentioned on here is that it's 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical. Even if you ride your bike just 4 hours a day on tour & spend 20 hours a day off of it, you'll cover the country in less then 3 months.

    However, what might get you prepared is to do some mini-tours and pick some BAD WEATHER DAYS. The mini-tours will give you a chance to test out what works and what doesn't work. You will get wet, you will fight unreal crosswinds, and you will deal with mechanical issues.

    SPeaking of mechanical issues, learn your bike well. Learn how to fix a flat, change a spoke, replace a bicycle chain.

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    My advice woud be to ask the tour operator. They determine the pace, or the attitude to the pace. Dreamweaver2 +1 on normal touring. I have often said, that, and the 3 day thing is part of my practice. I have a friend though who is a racer, and they did a tour across canada where they did old guy RAAM pace the whole way. I would drop out on the first day. The critical thing is the pace (and your current level of fitness). If the tour operator assumes that at least some of the folks will show up unfit, every time, then the pace may be reasonable to start. It all comes down to pace. If you live anywhere near the starting point you could just try riding the first day, over and over. If you don't maybe you can get a blow by blow of the first day, and try to relate it to a local route and try that over and over.

    In general, people today are far too obssessed with training. We have people doing office work with more rigourous training schedules than people training for the olympics in the 1930s. When i was on the high school rowing team in the 1970s they did oxygen uptake test on us, and the fitness level of 17 year olds was higher than the numbers for the pros on the Toronto Maple leafs (think smoking). Training is fine if you like it, but unless you start unhealthy, you shouldn't require any special training.

    The other problem people have is they think these routine activities are super achievements. There is nothing all that tough about cycling all day on a bike that allows you to maintain a constant cadence, and power level. Many people in the world would find it easier and certainly more pleasant, than their day jobs. When I did my half a continent crossing in 05, I weighed 270, and had incipient heart problems and high blood pressure, and was in my late 40s. I took normal touring load, like about 45 pounds plus food water, etc... I invariably passed folks on guided outings the few times I came upon them. Operators are in a business that involves hearding sheep at the pace of the slowest lamb.
    Last edited by NoReg; 10-14-10 at 01:03 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    My advice woud be to ask the tour operator.
    Best advice so far.

    OTOH, my personal communications with tour operators has run the gamut from "keep up or get dropped" to what you describe when I was researching paid tours.

    the tour operator. They determine the pace, or the attitude to the pace....Operators are in a business that involves hearding sheep at the pace of the slowest lamb.
    The OP stated that riders are expected to cover the distance ("you have to complete the route miles everyday") which could mean anything from one extreme to the other. I've heard a couple of third hand horror stories of "get in the SAG wagon now or leave the tour with no refund".

    So, definitely contact the tour operator and find out the official word/policy. Anything else involves speculation.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 10-14-10 at 02:25 PM.
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    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    Even if you ride your bike just 4 hours a day on tour & spend 20 hours a day off of it, you'll cover the country in less then 3 months.
    By which time he'll be about 6 weeks behind the support van with all his stuff in it.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the info, I am riding everyday now already that is why I dropped 36lbs in 1.5 months already, so I think the weight will not be a problem. I am planning on doing quite a few local tours next year, incl the Across Kansas ride and the Kansas City MS 150 in 2011. I have a good bike already, so I will just train and ride miles every month doing about 300 miles a month now. I will contact the Event organizer and get all the details as you guys said.

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    If you can finish the BAK 2011 in good shape, you can definitely complete a cross country tour. Quoting from their 2010 FAQ - "One suggestion is that you should be able to do 30 miles in 3 hours or less. Make sure you can ride 50-70 miles in a day"... so there you are. I assume that they won't be moving the date of the 2011 BAK much more than a week or two from the June 5-12 schedule used this year... so there's a fairly significant "training peak goal date" for planning purposes.

    FWIW, I only started riding again this past June. I'm currently ~240lbs riding the Natchez Trace Parkway pulling a 45 pounds of gear in a trailer. My highest mileage between mid-June and last week when I began this ride was 125 miles in 1 day, 250 miles in one week. I can average 12-13 mph over 6 hours (with 5-10 min breaks each hour) pulling the trailer but, without it, I can consistently do ~19 mph over 2 hourst before I really need a break.

    Good luck with your training/plans.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 10-14-10 at 10:28 PM.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I try to take a multi-week tour every summer (I'm a teacher.) It's always my intention to get in good shape first, but it usually doesn't happen. The end of the school year is my busiest time, and getting away for one ride per weekend is often impossible.

    Sometimes I delay my trip until after the 4th of July (when I can never find a campsite anyway) and ride as much as possible between the end of school (usually mid-June) and then. That works pretty well. Once I left in my truck from home (central coast of California) to the starting point of my ride (north central Washington) right after school was out, but stopped to ride along the way - one day of driving followed by one day staying put in a campground and riding in the area. That was fun!

    Sometimes I just go and start my tour in whatever kind of shape I'm in - not very good.

    I always seem to have to start easy on tour for a few days, no matter what kind of shape I'm in. In years when I'm in pretty good shape I get "into the groove" within 3 or 4 days. From then on I average around 55 miles per day. When I start out in poor shape it may take a week or more for me to build up to this average.

    For many years my itineraries have been very loose - no deadlines, lots of times no set end point; I ride until I feel like I've had enough then figure out how to get home. The one time I did have a date I had to be finished I felt some pressure to grind out miles every day, and a few regrets.

    The biggest problem with not having an official destination is it makes me more likely to abort my tour early. You know how there are often moments on tour when you wonder, "Why am I doing this?" or think, "I wish I was home," or "I'm ready for this to be over?" I always get moments like that, but they always fade. However, when you have no official endpoint, it's easy to give in to those feelings in a moment of weakness.

  19. #19
    Senior Lurker, mostly. DW99's Avatar
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    Good for you ShoMeRacing! That seems to be a lot of weight to lose in 1.5 months, undoubtedly diet and exercise, huh. Stay motivated and keep on pedaling, you'll get there, no problem. Your program is working much better than mine. Part of my program is riding 10 miles to my favorite cafe for biscuits and gravy and back.

    I am curious, have you done or do you plan to do a multi-day tour on the Katy? Though not a taxing ride, it's a fun way to log miles and miles of saddle time. Perfect for a light weight credit card touring. The Ride Across Kansas and the MS 150 sound interesting, that should give you a good idea of where you stand for your coast to coast tour.

    Thanks for the post, many great responses for consideration. Keep us posted on how the training is going. Good luck!
    Last edited by DW99; 10-16-10 at 06:57 AM.

  20. #20
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    http://www.cleanairadventures.org/bi...across_america Well I followed all of you guys info and help and read up on the tour more, it should be no problem to be done and hope more of you guys can join. Let us do it for a good cause.

  21. #21
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    There is tons of good information on endurance training.
    Check out training and diet for marathons and triathlons.
    Build some variety into your training... hiking with hills.
    even golf without a cart would be good for rest days.

    Have some intermediate goals... Total miles per month, weight lost per month, Time to do 10 miles.
    Mapping your progress on those goals will help to keep you motivated.

    Read inspirational books...

    report back here periodically.

    Good luck, and go for it.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

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