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  1. #1
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    What is this mysterious "long ride" they tell me about?

    Hi--

    I'm new to riding and I have a training question. I have been doing some research since I started riding, about a month ago. I am overweight and getting into shape now. I have two goals: a 30 mile ride in October and, next summer, the Bike Ride Across Georgia. So I am building up my endurance because I really was starting from zero.

    So here is my question. I read that I should be building my base by doing a "long ride" each week. Right now I ride for about 8.5 miles, five times a week, which feels like exertion, gets the endorphins going, but doesn't leave me feeling drained and exhausted. Should I do a substantially longer distance one day a week? At this phase, what would a "long ride" be for me? I am learning to be very sensitive to my body and the distance I'm doing now, which I'm increasing by about 10 percent each week, feels pretty good--I sleep well, my appetite has moderated, I feel good.

    Any advice, O Wise Bike Gurus?

    Thanks!
    Nancy

  2. #2
    ----- rgerve's Avatar
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    I look more at time than distance. Once you are doing more than 90 minutes or so on the bike, it's getting to be a long ride. You'll get there. Keep going. People can push themselves much farther than they think. But remember, it has to be fun. Cycling is a social activity. Long riders are easier in many ways when riding with a few friends (drafting, talking, joking . . .)

    It sounds like you're learning to listen to your body and that's a good thing.

    Roger

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Work the problem backwards. You have days of 60 mile rides. You need to to build up the mileage gradually until you can do that.

    The gradual increase will also make it easier to deal with the inevitable problems, finding a saddle for long rides, learning how to pace yourself, eating and drinking during the ride.

    Ypu have over a year to train, so you have time. Try to find a spinning class for some exercise during the winter.

  4. #4
    Cherch!!!11!1!Juan!Juan!
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    alot of people on this forum do 30 mile rides to work and back every day...i try to throw a 30 mile ride in once a week usually...it usually takes about 3 hours...i ride out to someplace, have lunch and ride back...you can do it if you just get on your bike and go...pick up a cyclometer (cycling computer) and you'll be surprised just how fast and how far your actually riding and then you'll have something to gauge against during your rides...you'll be able to set new goals..
    Quote Originally Posted by Namenda
    Well, my training is progressing rapidly. I yelled at two squirrels today.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I'd crank it back to 5% a week, you have lots of time to ramp it up. A long ride now might be 16 to 20 miles. Do the specialized training rides like intervals and hill repeats during the week. Get the balance of miles on the weekend with back to back rides of roughly the same size. When they have worked up to 50-60 miles you are good to go. Drop back a bit the last week or two before the tour. The UMCA has a lot of info about training for long rides.
    This space open

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    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgerve
    I look more at time than distance. Once you are doing more than 90 minutes or so on the bike, it's getting to be a long ride.
    I'd say it's all relative. Many would consider 90 minutes pretty short. 10, 12, 14 hours, now you're talking my language (but no doubt *that's* short, to someone...).

    At any rate, yeah, just keep riding, whether you focus on increasing mileage or time or whatever, you will improve if you stick with it. Two years ago I thought 50 miles was "long", but I completely skewed my standards this year by doing a double century. Now 50 is an easy lunchtime ride

    I would actually increase more...you say you are not coming back exhausted; that's good but it's also bad as you're not digging deep. I would definitely make at least one of your rides either longer or harder or both. As your endurance and fitness improves, go to 2x a week, then 3x (don't go for more than 3 "high-intensity" workouts per week or it can get counter-productive). Soon that 30 miles will seem like nothing and the Ride Across Georgia will be like sitting on your couch watching NASCAR.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

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    Thanks!

    Thank you all! I have a better understanding now. Fortunately, I live in Florida, so if there is any bad weather biking season, this is it--rain every day and hot, hot, hot. But hey, that's why God made morning, right?

    Thanks again!

    Nancy

  8. #8
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMomBike2000
    I'm new to riding and I have a training question.
    I have two goals: a 30 mile ride in October and, next summer, the Bike Ride Across Georgia.
    Right now I ride for about 8.5 miles, five times a week, which feels like exertion, gets the endorphins going, but doesn't leave me feeling drained and exhausted.
    Hi Nancy.
    1. Many cyclists are just getting warmed up after 8.5 miles. Keep at it and slowly build up the miles, time, and stamina.
    2. The typical day on BRAG is ~70 miles. Some folks do it in 3-4 hours. Some ride at a leisurely pace and take all day. Ride with friends or family and enjoy it. It's not a race.
    3. I'm not sure what the 2007 route will be, but many years they ride in the mountains. You live in FLAT Florida. Check the route and if there are any mountians or long climbs, you'll have to find a way or place to train for that.

    Good luck and have fun.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale SuperSix EVO carbon

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    ----- rgerve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'nother
    I'd say it's all relative. Many would consider 90 minutes pretty short. 10, 12, 14 hours, now you're talking my language (but no doubt *that's* short, to someone...).
    I can not ride slow enough to need 12 or 14 hours.

  10. #10
    Pat
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    Nancy,

    I am not familiar with the average daily distances done in Brag but I would think it would be 50-70 miles per day. The rule of thumb is you need to do 70% on a training ride of your target distance. Example, if you are doing a century, you need to do a training ride of 70 miles before attempting the century. Of course, no one is going to arrest you or anything if you don't do the training ride.

    For Brag, like other multiday rides, things get more complex. You not only have to train for riding the 70 miles, but the next day you have to do it again and again and so on. So you have to be able to recover. So it takes a bit more traning.

    Do not dispair because your current ride is 8.5 miles. Keep at it and try to do increase your mileage for at least one ride once per week. It also helps to get in aerobic training of some sort several times per week. If you increase your long ride 10% per week, in about 6 months you should be ready for Brag. All it takes is patience and persistence.

  11. #11
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    Just IMHO, but one benefit of having a longer "pace" ride per week is that you get a sense of the issues you will begin to face when you do a long event ride.

    Figuring out how to fuel and hydrate in a way that won't make me get stomach cramping and will provide nice consistent energy levels is something you cannot learn when you ride for under an hour or two.

    Also, tailoring body position on the bike is something that becomes more and more important as the distance and time extend... what is totally comfortable for an hour starts to get pretty nasty after four or five, and I've been taking the time on longer rides (long for me, at least) of working with form and position, as well as trying out things to reduce saddle discomfort and chafing, as well as holding my head so that my neck doesn't get too stiff and sore.

    Right now, my longer rides are 50-70 miles on the weekends. I find that taking a day of pushing for the longest time possible gets me to see some improvement that dovetails with taking hill repeat days, and recovery days.

    Also, keeps you from getting bored.

    Most importantly, don't rush yourself, but don't take it too easy either

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the advice regarding Brag. I'm starting NICE AND EARLY so I can get ready! And, alas, I am well aware that the FL in Florida probably should stand for FLAT. It's hard to find hills near me (I live on the east central coast of Florida) but I'm just starting intervals and practicing on the interstate overpasses and the causeways out to the islands (bonus: BEAUTIFUL ride!)

    Thank you all so much for your encouragement and info. I went today for 1.5 hour ride and things went OK in terms of, my butt didn't fall off (although, perhaps that would not be a big problem...) and my knees kept cranking.

    Nancy in Central FL

  13. #13
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgerve
    I can not ride slow enough to need 12 or 14 hours.
    Correction: you can not ride long enough. Do the math on ~30kph for 350-400km.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  14. #14
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    I don't think an 8.5 mile ride is enough, you said so yourself you are not exhausted. WHY NOT? I am after rides.

    On your bike, you will MAY be warmed up in 3 miles of riding, but usually it takes longer like 5 miles if you are not pushing it. So then you only spend 3 miles of riding in your comfort zone. Its not worth the effort. Why not ride 15 miles then youll have an actual 10 of consistent warmed up riding.

    Good luck, you are better at cycling than you think. Don't EVER be intimidated by a ride.

    PS. If your seat set correctly your legs will be only slightly bent at the low portion of the stroke. Seat height makes a big difference as you add on miles.

  15. #15
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I don't think an 8.5 mile ride is enough, you said so yourself you are not exhausted. WHY NOT? I am after rides.

    On your bike, you will MAY be warmed up in 3 miles of riding, but usually it takes longer like 5 miles if you are not pushing it. So then you only spend 3 miles of riding in your comfort zone. Its not worth the effort. Why not ride 15 miles then youll have an actual 10 of consistent warmed up riding.
    Too many people in this thread are comparing the OPs 8.5 miles with what they can do. When I started, 6.5 miles was hard, very hard. I had to rest on every hill. It took me 49 minutes to complete. The so called hills were really just blips and wouldn't even be noticed by better cyclists. Now, 8.5 miles is nothing to me. Easy, a warmup, or a speed day.

    The OP said they were exerted but not exhausted and drained. I disagree that the OP should be exhausted and drained. You should feel invigorated by the daily workouts, not drained. Now the long ride might feel more like exhaustion. Intervals or hill repeats should be exhausting.



    The general rule of thumb is to do a long ride of double your normal daily distance. For you, do 16- 17 miles at a slow pace. For me, I knock down the average speed by 2-3 mph and/or make sure my heart rate stays around 165 which is the upper end of the fat burn zone. Increase the total weekly distance by up to 10% a week. I prefer to do the same week twice. It can be mentally challenging to feel that I am always so pushed. Doing the same week twice makes me feel as though all my work has gone into making it easier. But do what works for you.

    At first, that long ride will seem difficult. You may feel dead at the end. But keep with it. Before you realize it, that long ride will be your normal ride.

  16. #16
    Senior Member JohnV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mothra
    "Long ride" should be 2-3 hours. Doesn't matter the speed, in the beginning, you want to go slow enough so that you can complete the entire time at a steady speed. Later as you get stronger, your "steady speed" "long ride" will be faster, but you should still go out 2-3 hours once a week. This is an endurance ride, lets you build up your energy delivery system and lets you build resistance to fatigue. .
    I have a question bout this. I have been doing the same thing, getting back into shape again after a real bad injury. I gained wieght and basically was a coach potato. So, been at it a year, did the gym during the winter months.
    I bought a new bike last October, and this past April installed a Garmin Edge 305 with HR/Cad. It stores everything I do in real time. I really thought I was doing fairly well, but when I look at the stats... Im not so sure. Especially the graphs that show your heart rate, against speed, cadence, etc. It's all spikey and up and down. I am concerned that I am not really getting any benifit. I do at least one long ride a week, do 30 to 40 miles in about 3 hours. I think I have too much coasting. My heart rate seems quite good though, recovery is quick. I think perhaps it's time to start some organized training meathod.

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