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  1. #1
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    Three months to train for a 500 mile ride endurance ride, is it possible?

    I have some old friends that want to get together for a coastline trek possibly around the Seattle to Somewhere in Oregon, or from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the fall.

    What we don't plan on doing is carrying a lot of gear with us. We want to travel light and stay at hotels and dine at sit downs along the route. This is more of an endurance cycling gig rather than a slower paced tour.

    I commute to work on bike and ride roughly 100 miles per week. I know I need to start working on more distance riding as I have not even accomplished a century yet. Is strength training at this point worthwhile? I live in IL so it's relatively flat, but I want to be prepared for some climbs.

    Any tips on preparation would be great, I'm going to start doing research from this point on forums and online. I'm super excited about the trip!

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    How many days are you planning on using ? More than 100-120 miles a day would be sketchy IMO with your background and only three months to train.

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    7-10 days. I recommended giving us time to do 75 miles / day. They are tri athlete's but only compete in sprints, so this is a different kind of cycling.

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    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelharmony View Post
    7-10 days. I recommended giving us time to do 75 miles / day. They are tri athlete's but only compete in sprints, so this is a different kind of cycling.
    Yeah, its not like 75 miles a day will kill anyone. Really, the bigger issue is just whether you have compatible styles and personalities.

    As you long you put some time on the same bike that you intend to use for the "big trip" you'll probably be OK. But if these guys want to ride like jerks, showing of their power by riding unevenly, or hammering hills - then it won't matter how you prepare.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Perfectly do-able.
    Start riding more/longer distances.
    Yes, CA will be hillier (even on the coastline) than what you are used to in IL.
    Go for it!

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    This is really a touring scenario, "credit card" touring to be precise.

    If you were trying to do 500 miles in 2 days with minimal stops, that would be "long distance."

    The route is extremely hilly, especially the SF to LA route, and the coastal route will be closer to 600 miles. E.g. Big Sur to San Simeon is over 6000 feet of climbing with multiple climbs well over a 5% grade. 10 days is doable if you're in shape, 7 is (imo) too aggressive.

    Find some hills, set up your bikes with low gearing, and pick up a copy of Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast route map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    This is really a touring scenario, "credit card" touring to be precise.

    If you were trying to do 500 miles in 2 days with minimal stops, that would be "long distance."

    The route is extremely hilly, especially the SF to LA route, and the coastal route will be closer to 600 miles. E.g. Big Sur to San Simeon is over 6000 feet of climbing with multiple climbs well over a 5% grade. 10 days is doable if you're in shape, 7 is (imo) too aggressive.

    Find some hills, set up your bikes with low gearing, and pick up a copy of Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast route map.
    Yea I didn't know which subforum to put this post in because I felt like it was touring, but I'm not planning on putting any racks or bags on my bike.

    I heard Big Sur route is closed? I need to verify that though.

    So I guess the best way to train is to keep riding longer distances and try simulating climbs? No recommended strength training required?

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    Start ramping up the distance, and include back to back longer days. Get your bike fit dialed in if it's not already. No strength training needed. You'll be fine.

    Either of those sections is fantastic. Enjoy.
    ...

  9. #9
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    What she said. You are already daily commuting, so you are used to back-to-back-to-back in all kinds of weather days on a bike. Can extend you AM or PM commute to start building distance? Add hills to your route, and add what gear you'll be bringing to get used to the different miles, weight, and see if it affects your bike's handling. Work in some longer miles on weekends to fine-tune fit, equipment, etc. Have fun!

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelharmony View Post
    Yea I didn't know which subforum to put this post in because I felt like it was touring, but I'm not planning on putting any racks or bags on my bike.
    Yep, that's what mods are usually for


    Quote Originally Posted by pixelharmony
    I heard Big Sur route is closed? I need to verify that though.
    It *might* be open but I'm not sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by pixelharmony
    So I guess the best way to train is to keep riding longer distances and try simulating climbs? No recommended strength training required?
    The best training for climbing hills is to climb hills. It'll build you up both mentally and physically.

    I'd go to ridewithgps.com, map out the possible routes, and use that as a guide for the type of elevations you'll be facing. Then try to find something in your area that you can get to with similar profiles, or at least where you can do hill repeats.

    Also figure out in advance how much gear you'll need and how you'll carry it. You can easily end up with 25 pounds of gear once you factor in clothes, repair gear, extra tubes, sunscreen, energy bars and the like. You ought to train with the gear you'll be carrying with you every now and then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ks1g View Post
    What she said. You are already daily commuting, so you are used to back-to-back-to-back in all kinds of weather days on a bike. Can extend you AM or PM commute to start building distance? Add hills to your route, and add what gear you'll be bringing to get used to the different miles, weight, and see if it affects your bike's handling. Work in some longer miles on weekends to fine-tune fit, equipment, etc. Have fun!
    I have been extending my commute route to include the only two hills in my area. It's almost a 10-15% grade but that's because it is an overpass.

    My other concern is right now I have a Specialized Sirrus. I am running on 25c tires, but have been contemplating getting a carbon roadbike.

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    Three months is plenty of time to ramp up your strength and stamina, by whatever means you choose - riding around with some extra gear weight, romping up some mills, doing a century ride or two....there's not much you could do wrong.

    Getting a new bike and going through the period of adjustment and fit and physiologic adaptation to a new riding position might be a bit much to accomplish, though.

    Lots of folks around here are putting cheap aerobars on their hybrids for long rides, my GF being one of them. She loves them. Great for easier pedaling on the flats, gets the weight off your butt for a bit.

  13. #13
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    Check the Rando forum - this is more their style.

    it's more than possible. Check out the rigs of the guys in the rando forum as they have some genius setups that would work great for fast-light touring.

    One thing's for sure; you're going to need a-lot of riding under your butt to condition yourself for the miles if you're not already. Try doing a century, and then keep doing them until they become cake. Then you're trip will be that much less painful and more enjoyable

  14. #14
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    500 miles in 10 days is do-able even if you do little training. 12 days would make the trip a lot easier: what if you encounter bad weather, want to take a day or two off, or stop to smell the roadside flowers? It's no fun pushing to one's outer limits if it takes days to recover afterwards.

    It sounds like you already commute 20 miles a day. To ride 50 or 60 miles over the course of an entire day won't be hugely difficult. It's slow going in hilly territory, so ensure you have sufficiently low gears. (But you can make up time on the downhills!)

    Take regular breaks. Drink copious amounts of water. Eat throughout the day to keep your energy up. Get enough sleep. It could be an amazing adventure.

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    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    I'd like to weigh in with my random thoughts.

    First, you say you're not planning to put racks or bags on your bike. Please rethink this. A rear rack and small panniers or a gym bag will make for a much more pleasant ride than trying to carry the weight in a backpack or messenger bag. Your back will thank you. It's also possible to get a rack that clamps to your seat post and can handle a light load if your bike will not accept a conventional rack.

    Second, don't replace your bike this close to a tour. That's not a good idea as you need time to get used to the bike you'll use. As for the tires, my suggestion would be to swap them out for 700x28 tires. The ride is noticeably more comfortable.

    Third, when you're riding up hills, the biggest challenge is in your mind, not in your legs. If you can get somewhere hilly for a few days, try riding up and down hills until you understand a bit better what to expect.
    Life is good.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    This is how I've packed for a light and short tour, with a tent, tarp and sleeping pad. My sleeping bag was inside the black bag, along with some spare clothes. If I take those off, the black bag and the handlebar bag are all I need for light credit card touring.

    Last edited by Newspaperguy; 06-14-11 at 10:08 PM.
    Life is good.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    E.g. Big Sur to San Simeon is over 6000 feet of climbing with multiple climbs well over a 5% grade. 10 days is doable if you're in shape, 7 is (imo) too aggressive.
    Big Sur to San Simeon is 68 miles and 3800 ft of climbing, according to my Garmin Edge 705.

    When I rode from the SF Bay Area to Los Angeles, the trip was 550 miles and I did it in seven days. Honestly, if I were to do it again I'd plan for six days. I had several easy, flat 60-mile days near the end where I hit the road at 10am and was done riding by 2:30pm. Prior to the tour, I'd been riding 100-150 miles/week. I spent about two months training on my touring bike with all the gear I planned to carry. I did a credit-card tour with 20lbs of gear. My average speed most days was around 13-14mph. From Santa Cruz to San Simeon, my average speed was around 9-10mph, but much of that slowness was because I spent a ridiculous amount of time stopping to take pictures.

    During my training I did focus on hill climbing, working to the point where I could do back-to-back days with 40-60 miles of riding and 2000-3000+ feet of elevation gain each day. Again, this was on my touring bike with gear attached. Touring bike + gear + water weighed 3X more than my "regular bike" (51lbs vs. 17lbs)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelharmony View Post
    7-10 days. I recommended giving us time to do 75 miles / day. They are tri athlete's but only compete in sprints, so this is a different kind of cycling.
    no problem if you're presently commuting 15-20miles/day and have three months to put in some back to back long miles days. Six hours of riding with plenty of rest stops is perfectly doable. The real issue as Richard says is how people expect the ride to happen assuming everyone is agreed on where the day ends. If the expectation is to make each day a 75mile fast training ride with the rest of the day recovery you'll find out real fast if it's doable, like the first day if not the first ten miles.
    No use figuring this out four days into a eight day trip. Acknowledge the possibility starting off. Make some room for riding seperately, be willing to ride slower than you're capable so the ride is a group ride, be willing to ride by yourself if the others pace is higher than you wish. It may be a hammer fest for one person and they'll go off on solo rides, someone else who isn't used to riding in a group will jack rabbit in the morning then drag by early afternoon.

    If you're a person who likes to schedule things one could schedule out some stair-stepping progressions for miles and back to back days in the months before to make the trip more of a fun fest than hammer fest. Specifics of the program are basically increasing miles and making sure there are recovery days and that your commute is recovery or strengthening according to your condition. It would be nice to have the experience of two 75mile back to back days before your trip or one day over 80 miles just so you know how to take it easy and recover on the bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Piece of cake given your current mileage from bike commuting. The only recommendation I would have is to start doing some longer rides on weekends. Try to do some back-to-back longer rides as well.

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