Help! Need encouragement or to be told to quit!
Little background info first: I have been riding a mountain bike about 10-13 miles 2-3 times a week plus doing some running on a treadmill. I wouldn't say I am in that bad of shape but there is definite room for improvement. I have biked various distances on and off for years and seem to get really energized in the saddle. I can go from being a complete couch potato to cycling like mad. Btw, I am 30 years old, female. But...
I have been wanting to do an AIDS charity ride for a long time. A friend told me of one coming up June 4th and 5th. It is two days, 170 miles. I told her my history and she said I shouldn't have any trouble getting ready for it. She did the Minneapolis to Chicago ride just fine despite being a smoker and drinking pretty heavily at the time. She is also overweight. She only did spinning classes for that ride and she wasn't consistent. I figured if she can do it, I can. So she inspired me to go out and get a road bike and sign up for this ride. Now, I AM FREAKING OUT! I just started training in earnest on the 9th of May. This week I have logged about 70 miles (Mon - 13miles, Tues - 15.36, Wed - off, Thurs - 15, Fri - 10 (hills, hills, fast, and it was raining) Sat - 25.5 miles - mowed the lawn this day too, push mower up hills). I basically feel okay. I am stretching a lot and taking hot baths to keep the muscles limber. I have read this website and read many threads that seem to be telling me I am insane. I am questioning my own sanity as well. I have thought about backing out but I have sponsors. I have a new bike. I have invested a lot of money in getting set up for this ride (yes, I plan on continuing to ride after - probably doing a lazy person's triathlon in July). But mainly, I have SPONSORS! How do I let them down? I can't! So HOW DO I DO THIS!? Or am I taking too much of a risk? Any training tips? If I am insane any tips on how to bow out gracefully?
I am nervous as <swear word> that I have made a big mistake! Any advice either on training, a pick-me-up-you-can-do-this speech or cheap tickets out of the country? I really don't want to fail at this this and let myself and others down but...is it feasible without killing myself?
Here is the website to the ride's site: www.rideforaids.org
You really need to do a bit of a longer ride than 25-30 miles to see how you stand up. Since the time frame is down to 3 weeks, realistically you aren't going to improve your conditioning a lot in that time frame, but you can some. They mention training rides on the website and you might hook up with one of these to get a better idea of where you stand. Your age is a benefit, younger is always better, I used to get in shape for racing when I was that age in 8-12wks after a 3mo layoff. You really don't want the ride to turn into a death march at 60-70miles. I know the terrain close to Chicago is pretty flat but not sure about Wisconsin and the wind can be a real problem depending on direction. Calorie intake and especially fluid intake will be very important. As you get tired, and a little or a lot dehydrated you lose your appetite and tend to drink/eat even less. Your water bottles should be monitered and you should eat a snack equivalent to a candy bar every 10-15miles (bagel whatever) and try to drink 1-2 oz fluid per mile. So for 85 miles your fluid intake should be at least 3qts or 4 24-280z water bottles full. At least half should be gatorade or equivalent both for the calories and the electrolytes. If you can ride 40-50miles each on this coming Sat-Sun weekend then you have a shot at doing the 170. Advil/aleve is a good idea for the muscle aches, plus take advantage of that buffet and stuff the first nite. You need to replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores, which will be completely depleted by 60-80miles. I think it is quite possible but you need to challenge yourself ahead of the ride to see where you stand. 15miles is a start but won't get you to 85 on successive days. Ride temps in high 80sF or low 90sF will make fluid intake even more critical. Use lots of sun screen. Steve
This can possibly be done. sch had good advice. I would add to definitely do it. Push your distance for a weekly long ride the next couple of weeks. Make sure you show up very rested. Take at least Wed,Thurs, Fri off before the ride. You probably won't sleep well on the Friday night before the ride but that is normal. On ride day just make the ride fun, take it easy, and if you realize you can't go the complete distance take the sag. Most of all don't freak out, the money you raised is for a good cause, as well as is your training. It is a win-win situation for all unless you don't ride. The ride will increase your conditioning and enhance your ability. Hang in there, and most of all just have fun as I am sure you will when the ride starts. GOOD LUCK!!
P.S. Let us know how you fair!
Last edited by Richard Arthur; 05-14-05 at 09:32 PM.
You can do it! These AIDS rides have tons of support. They'e more about community and helping others than suffering on a bicycle. My wife is doing the San Francisco-Los Angeles one next month.
The people with the least amount of fitness spend a long day in the saddle. At this point, I'd say your ability to spend hours in the saddle is more important than riding fast. Try to get in as much saddle time between now and the ride as you can.
And if you think there's no way you can finish the ride, there's always the SAG wagon.
I'm not going to say that you can do it. I'm going to say that you will do it if that is what you really want to do. Don't psych yourself out with worry. This is a charity ride and not a race. Just take it easy at your own pace. Don't worry about the other people that ride faster then you and just enjoy yourself. You will do fine.
You will be fine-get a couple of those longer rides that are mentioned above and take it a little easier the few days before the ride. Ride at your own pace and the miles will glide by.
You guys have no idea how happy you have made me with your support and your encouragement. The training tips are great too and exactly what I was looking for. I will make sure I have plenty of snacks on me and eat at timed intervals.
I have a lot of time this week to get some rides in so I will try to keep my butt in the saddle as much as possible.
Really, thank you so much. I have been so worried that my friend completely misled me. It is great to know that other riders think I can do it too.
I will definitely be checking back in to let you know how it went (and it I have any other questions)!
And if I have to sit on the SAG wagon, oh well...then I will have more energy to hang out when we get to Lake Geneva! LOL!
It sounds like you are training alone. I don't know if you are riding with anyone for the actual ride, but you'll find it much easier if you are. Even if you aren't, people are very friendly so don't be afraid the strike up a conversation. That really helps the miles go by.
Long Distance Cyclist
OK, my first question would be ... how long ago did you know about this AIDS ride, and if it was for some time, why did you only start seriously training for it on May 9th? Why didn't you start earlier??? I'd be nervous too if I was about to do a long ride and had hardly even sat on a bicycle until less than a month before the event.
However, you can salvage things and if you've got enough mental determination, you should be able to do the ride. For you, I think it will come down to mental determination more than physical strength ... being able to continue even when times get tough out there. Remember, you are doing this for a good cause. You've got the sponsors already, you can't let them down, or the people you are trying to help down. Keep that in mind when you hurt, and are slogging through rain and wind out there.
Now on to the physical part:
You need to ride more. Last week was a good intro week, this coming week add an extra 2-3 miles to each of your week-day rides, and do about a 40 mile ride on Saturday. The following week, add an extra 2-3 miles to each of your week-day rides, and do about a 60 mile ride on Saturday.
-- Drink one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours while you are riding.
-- Consume about 250 calories per hour while you are riding.
-- Don't forget to take in some sodium and potassium now and then as well. Dried apricots are especially high in potassium (and area easy to carry and eat on the bicycle), bananas aren't bad. Potato chips and french fries also have potassium, and if they are salted, they've got sodium as well. Salted almonds also have both. (Energy bars will have both as well, but I can only handle those for a short period of time out there, and sometimes I need the extra boost a small bag of potato chips gives me)
You don't have a lot of time to work out equipment issues, but after your 40 mile ride this coming weekend, if you are sore anywhere, make some adjustments and see how you feel during the week. You may discover that a slightly different setup is more comfortable for longer distances. Or that you are struggling to get the energy bars out of your jersey pocket, so you might think about a bento bag.
Have a look over this site for more tips:
Oh yes ... don't forget to have fun! Talk to people while you are riding, take photos, relax!!
Great advice! Thank you! I will follow it and see how it goes.
Believe me, if I had known about the ride earlier I would have started training earlier. I just found out about it the 5th of May. I wasn't going to even do it. My friend talked me into it. Honestly, I really didn't know what I was getting into. I trusted her judgment. I decided to ride May 9th (after much conjoling by my friend) and started training May 9th.
I will try my best to remember to talk and have fun!