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  1. #1
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    training for A tour

    Hello,
    I am curious as to what is a goal in training to be able to go on a cross country tour. I know leg presses would be good. But as far as cycling goes maybe doing 50 miles a day for a week?? Maybe adding weight during those 3 days? ? Thanks kardar2

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    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Many of the week long across state rides have a suggested training schedule. Look those up.

    Riding is the best way to get ready for a tour.

    You don't mention where you are at in riding level or your fitness, this would help with suggestions.
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    I live in Redding CA. North end of Ca a lot of Hills. I commute on my bike to work. I would say I am in fair shape. Okay I will look up those threads.thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
    I live in Redding CA. North end of Ca a lot of Hills. I commute on my bike to work. I would say I am in fair shape.
    It sounds like you are already ready to me. The longer the tour the less training will matter unless you insist on going long daily miles right from the get go. Just take it a little easy the first week or 10 days and you really don't need to train beyond being generally fit and having some saddle time in. It sounds like you already meet those requirements.

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    What he said.^^^^
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    I heard somewhere that you should train up to about 30% of your target weekly mileage. Before my last long tour, I was a 100 mile/week rider. I wanted to average 500-600/week on tour, so I slowly, over several months, ramped my weekly mileage up to about 200 and that was perfect. I didn't hurt myself training, I was able to immediately get my target mileage on tour, and most importantly the touring itself was immediately fun because I was ready for it. Good luck on your trip.

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    Junior Member toekneep's Avatar
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    I've never trained for a tour. I do ride fairly regularly so I am reasonably fit but as staehpj1 mentioned time in the saddle is the most important thing. Being knackered at the end of a days tour riding is OK, just makes you appreciate your dinner. Having a really sore backside because you aren't used to spending five or six hours a day in the saddle is a whole different ball game and is no fun at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by toekneep View Post
    I've never trained for a tour. I do ride fairly regularly so I am reasonably fit but as staehpj1 mentioned time in the saddle is the most important thing. Being knackered at the end of a days tour riding is OK, just makes you appreciate your dinner. Having a really sore backside because you aren't used to spending five or six hours a day in the saddle is a whole different ball game and is no fun at all.
    +1

    If you ride regularly anyway, I wouldn't bother training. You ride into tour fitness very quickly.

    The secret is to take regular breaks for refreshment. keeping fed and hydrated is the most important thing as you burn huge amounts of calories if on the the bike all day.
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
    Hello,
    I am curious as to what is a goal in training to be able to go on a cross country tour. I know leg presses would be good. But as far as cycling goes maybe doing 50 miles a day for a week?? Maybe adding weight during those 3 days? ? Thanks kardar2
    Lots of people will say that you don't need to train for a tour, but I need to put a bit of effort in prior to a tour.

    1. Cycling - if I'm going to be cycling, say, 60-80 km/day, I want to feel very comfortable with that distance before I go. So I might just commute during the week or do shortish evening rides, but I'll do longer rides on the weekends. I also ride on a variety of terrain and ride with the panniers, filled, of course.

    2. Upper body and core weightlifting - lifting and carrying is a big part of my style of touring ... carrying bicycle and gear up and down stairs at a train station, carrying heavy panniers up flights of stairs to the hostel or hotel, etc. So I will try to do some weightlifting before a tour.

    3. Walking - my style of touring also involves quite a bit of walking. We'll cycle to a town, get settled in a hotel, and then go for a long walk around the town sightseeing and looking for a café or restaurant. So I'll make sure to include walking in the months prior to my tours.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I'd have to ask the question:why wouldn't you train for a cross country ride? It seems like a lot of folks equate training with some onerous exercise that is as much fun as going to the dentist. I make the assumption, maybe erroneously, that someone contemplating a cross country bike tour actually likes to ride bikes. We take long rides whenever we can, not because we are "training", but because we enjoy riding. Training can be fun!

    My wife and I ride year around, but put a little more emphasis on hills as the start date for a tour gets closer. On our trip across the U.S. we started the second day with a 4,000' climb over a 4,500' mountain pass. That was followed by another mountain pass the next day. On that same trip we averaged over 50 miles a day on loaded bikes for 74 consecutive days. Being in good shape allowed us to enjoy the riding, even the 4,000 foot climbs and 80 mile days. Riding across British Columbia into Alberta last summer was almost constant climbing. Did we train for that one-- #@$% yes!

    Heck, on a ride the other day, my wife said, "maybe we should do some hill work today." Ugh!

    IMO-I also don't believe you can ride into shape with out factoring in very light days or complete rest days. Sure your butt gets used to the saddle and the body accommodates for some of the stresses placed on it; but if you get into a jam there may not be a reserve to draw from. Most exercise training regimes use the concept of stress and recovery to build up strength and endurance. Look at many of the published training regimes for doing a century. A lot of them are based on an 8 to 10 week training schedule, and that is only 100 miles for one day.

    Having said that, it is a personal choice, and there really is no right or wrong way--only what works for the individual.
    Last edited by Doug64; 02-24-14 at 09:50 PM.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
    Hello,
    I am curious as to what is a goal in training to be able to go on a cross country tour. I know leg presses would be good. But as far as cycling goes maybe doing 50 miles a day for a week?? Maybe adding weight during those 3 days? ? Thanks kardar2
    I agree with others about general fitness but I would suggest training for other purposes. If you aren't used to riding a bike with weight on it, it's a good idea to get a general feel for how the bike handles by riding with your touring weight on it.

    Riding with the touring weight on the bike also helps you train the bike. By that I mean you find out what problems might occur before you get on the road in the middle of no where. It's easier to fix problems close to home.
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    Senior Member boomhauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
    Hello,
    I am curious as to what is a goal in training to be able to go on a cross country tour. I know leg presses would be good. But as far as cycling goes maybe doing 50 miles a day for a week?? Maybe adding weight during those 3 days? ? Thanks kardar2
    i've rode on two cross country tours and trained for neither. I started in bad shape but by day 4 was in good enough shape to comfortably go 60 miles per day. If you think about it, why train at all? You are going to be on the road for around 50 days so what's wrong with getting in shape during the tour? Maybe I'm just lazy but it worked out just fine. Nobody cares how many miles you ride in a day. Just make it comfortable. You will get there but the first few days, whether in shape or not, are not going to be all that pleasant. Your hands and butt will let you know this.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    I'd have to ask the question:why wouldn't you train for a cross country ride? It seems like a lot of folks equate training with some onerous exercise that is as much fun as going to the dentist. I make the assumption, maybe erroneously, that someone contemplating a cross country bike tour actually likes to ride bikes. We take long rides whenever we can, not because we are "training", but because we enjoy riding. Training can be fun!

    My wife and I ride year around, but put a little more emphasis on hills as the start date for a tour gets closer. On our trip across the U.S. we started the second day with a 4,000' climb over a 4,500' mountain pass. That was followed by another mountain pass the next day. On that same trip we averaged over 50 miles a day on loaded bikes for 74 consecutive days. Being in good shape allowed us to enjoy the riding, even the 4,000 foot climbs and 80 mile days. Riding across British Columbia into Alberta last summer was almost constant climbing. Did we train for that one-- #@$% yes!

    Heck, on a ride the other day, my wife said, "maybe we should do some hill work today." Ugh!

    IMO-I also don't believe you can ride into shape with out factoring in very light days or complete rest days. Sure your butt gets used to the saddle and the body accommodates for some of the stresses placed on it; but if you get into a jam there may not be a reserve to draw from. Most exercise training regimes use the concept of stress and recovery to build up strength and endurance. Look at many of the published training regimes for doing a century. A lot of them are based on an 8 to 10 week training schedule, and that is only 100 miles for one day.

    Having said that, it is a personal choice, and there really is no right or wrong way--only what works for the individual.
    +1

    Especially this: "We take long rides whenever we can, not because we are "training", but because we enjoy riding."

    I like going for a long or long-ish ride most weekends throughout the year. Long/long-ish rides are like mini tours because we go different places each time ... so it's almost like we're constantly on tour.


    And I'd rather start a tour in shape than not. I'd like to enjoy the tour from Day 1 ... not have to struggle through the first week or two getting into shape. I've deeply regretted it any time I've let my fitness slip a bit before a tour, and I've enjoyed tours so much more when I am in shape.

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    I'd have to ask the question:why wouldn't you train for a cross country ride? It seems like a lot of folks equate training with some onerous exercise that is as much fun as going to the dentist.
    I guess it depends on what you consider training. It really helps to be at a good general fitness level. It also really helps ti have enough saddle time in that you don't suffer too much with a sore bottom. Beyond that no further training is really necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    I make the assumption, maybe erroneously, that someone contemplating a cross country bike tour actually likes to ride bikes. We take long rides whenever we can, not because we are "training", but because we enjoy riding. Training can be fun!
    A good approach, but it is questionable in my mind that riding as much as you want to, do normally, or even a little more is "training" for a tour.

    Me, I actually have not ridden all that much in recent years when not on tour. I tend to prefer to go trail running as my normal daily exercise. I do ride some, but don't really ride all that much and don't consider it training. I also do not consider my daily trail running to be training.

    So my advice is to ride enough before the tour so that your butt isn't too sore and take it easy the first week of the tour. Ride more if you want, but it isn't a necessity.

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    Garlic
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    Much of the answer depends on what kind of tour you have in mind. Will you be starting on the West Coast and climbing into the coastal range or Cascades immediately? Or will you have a week of relatively flat riding across Virginia before attempting the Appalachians (or an inn-to-inn tour in wine country)? Different preparations are called for.

    In the long distance hiking world, the same question comes up. On the Appalachian Trail, is it possible and common to "hike yourself into shape," with no previous training at all in many cases. None of those people are enjoying the hike for the first month or so, but they can make it. You can get food every thirty miles, and water is seeping from the ground everywhere. On, say, the Pacific Crest Trail, a pretty good level of fitness and experience is required to even hike the first day--it's 20 miles of desert to the first water source, and 100 miles to the first food resupply. You need to be ready for that. Bicycling is much the same--there are easy first weeks, and very difficult first weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I agree with others about general fitness but I would suggest training for other purposes. If you aren't used to riding a bike with weight on it, it's a good idea to get a general feel for how the bike handles by riding with your touring weight on it.

    Riding with the touring weight on the bike also helps you train the bike. By that I mean you find out what problems might occur before you get on the road in the middle of no where. It's easier to fix problems close to home.
    This. I was a regular roadie and commuter before my first tour, which happened to be a x-country tour. I didn't do anything differently physical shape-wise that I normally did. I did, however, ride my touring bike with weight on three occasions to get used to the feel/handling and to learn to properly use the gearing. I also kept weight distribution in mind. My first ride was flat with all four bags and a little weight. The second added more weight and a few hills. The final ride before I left for the start of the trip was a 65 miler will numerous hills, and I carried everyhting I would takie with me plus some extra weight to simulate my share of the group gear I would be carrying.

    OP: You might want to try a short tour first just to get a feel for the routine, especially if, like me, you will not have done one night's worth of camping in your life. For me, getting used to sleeping in a tent and breaking camp efficiently the next morning was the one of the more challenging aspect of the early weeks of the trip. Although I was probably the earliest riser in our group, I was often one of the last to leave camp until I improved efficiency by, among other things, making sure things I wouldn't need in the morning were packed away before I hit the hay for the night.

  17. #17
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Bestest touring training regiment: http://ridestrongbiketours.com/begin...-cycling-trip/

    Commuting day in, day out, will train you for the daily grind of touring. Add an overnight trip or two (3 days, 2 nights is better) to work out the camping and loaded bike stuff. My commute is 35km (total) and I often extend to 40-50km. A touring day is only twice or three times as long except I don't have 12 hours of "downtime" in the middle. Going the distance is easy. Engine noise, a stretch of bad road, cold rain, constant headwind, going to bed with layers of sweat, sunscreen and road grime, biting insects, getting lost, etc. Those are the real hardships of touring.
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    I guess I'm one of the few that actually believes in training before a tour? For me, a tour is much more enjoyable if I don't constantly feel like my lungs are burning or my legs are about to fall off. Aside from that, I don't believe in stealth camping so I usually have daily milage targets I'm trying to hit. Better to do some training before leaving that constantly have to worry that I'm not going to make it to my daily destination before dark.

    In terms of training, I shoot for being able to complete back-to-back 4-6 hour rides on the type of terrain I expect to encounter with the weight that I'm expecting to carry... and still feel like capable of doing a similar ride the next day. I usually switch over to riding my touring bike exclusively 6-8 weeks before leaving and gradually add more and more weight to it. My typical schedule is fast, one-hour lunch rides 3-4 days during the week and then longer, hillier rides at my endurance pace on the weekend.

  19. #19
    Junior Member toekneep's Avatar
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    Fair enough Sstorkel. If you commit to mileages because of accommodation then I can understand the benefit of being really confident that you can do it. My take comes from being just the opposite and not committing to any particular destination each night. Hence I don't feel the need to train. Horses for courses and all that.
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  20. #20
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I never followed any special regimen to prepare other than spending several long days in the saddle in the weeks prior to a tour. That said I do maintain a good level of fitness and keep my weight down when I'm not touring. If you are commuting everyday by bike you are probably in shape for a tour. A good test is to ride a 70- 80 mile ride with the bike loaded for touring and see how you feel at the end of the day.

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    Junior Member toekneep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad View Post
    A good test is to ride a 70- 80 mile ride with the bike loaded for touring and see how you feel at the end of the day.
    Knackered I would imagine! But that's because we normally ride nearer fifty.
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