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  1. #1
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    Pacing for longer distance riding

    Today I wanted to break my average speed record of 28km/h for 5 hours riding this...

    IMG274.jpg

    I almost did it for the first 64km. 27.3km/h average, cruising between 30-37km/h where it was safe.

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/iJtV50Bw-o0

    Now, my legs where telling me that 35-37km/h was a go, but I know from experience that my body can't supply that much energy to last for 6 hours at that speed - regardless of how much I seem to eat. I was right. I got to the island I was heading for did a whole 20 minutes of mtbing, but since the bike is set up to be efficient on the road its not ideal. Still it was a pretty if steep trail. My legs are conditioned for long distance medium pace and this was a real change.

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/lRFguSyyw3c

    All good so far. But, right at 100km my energy levels droppped like a stone. I was snacking the whole way to try to keep the energy up. I resorted to chocolate and cola at one point, but that was a temporary boost at best.

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/sPkypG7yfJ0

    Now the average speed drops to 24.8km/h. To be fair there was a head wind for most of the way and I got stuck behind the slowest group ride in history on the mup part of the course... too many people to pass. Still, I could feel my energy flagging... not because of muscle fautigue either, but because the energy simply wasn't there to be used.

    I know that athletes can ride longer distances faster than this. Sure they are fitter - but this wasn't a case of not being able to. It was a lack of fuel. I feel good, no sore muscles, my heart rate wasn't all that high.. in other words the engine was doing fine. So, how do I make sure I have enough energy to keep up the pace? I ate a huge dinner last night, had breakfast, took a lot snacks with me. but it still wasn't enough...

  2. #2
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    It's still a matter of conditioning and not a true lack of fuel. Not wanting to dump on you but you just might not be ready for it, you did say energy started flagging and that is a sign of conditioning. If you continue to try and break this goal you will overcome it, just give it a chance. I started riding in 2007 and my goal was to ride a century, 2008 was to ride 200km, 2009 was 220km, 2010 was 250km, 2011 was to ride a double century 320km, this year I completed 380km in one day that was a 14hr total time with 12hrs of riding. Keep working at it and it will become easy.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  3. #3
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    If I pace myself a little slower I can pull off a century in just under 6 hours riding time. Which isn't too bad on an mtb. Sadly due to two young kids, a sick wife, a busy work schedule riding more than 30km every morning gets difficult. I commute to work, but thats a drop in the bucket when it comes to distance and speed training. I try to ride at least 140km every Sunday as fast as I can, and I've had success. 6 months ago I couldn't ride 20 miles without feeling like I was dying. Now I can ride 100 miles in about 6 hours and still feel pretty good. If I ride 60 miles I can up the pace a lot, but I really want to be able to hold 30km/h+ for 100 miles or better. It seems that becoming quite fit is easy. But becoming very fit is much harder. Have to say that offroad riding is a totally different thing. Takes explosive energy not just endurance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    I know that athletes can ride longer distances faster than this. Sure they are fitter - but this wasn't a case of not being able to. It was a lack of fuel. I feel good, no sore muscles, my heart rate wasn't all that high.. in other words the engine was doing fine. So, how do I make sure I have enough energy to keep up the pace? I ate a huge dinner last night, had breakfast, took a lot snacks with me. but it still wasn't enough...
    How many calories are you eating per hour? 100 miles on a non-aerodynamic, mtb with fat tires is way more difficult than riding a century on a road bike so I think you're doing very well compared to most people.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    How many calories are you eating per hour? 100 miles on a non-aerodynamic, mtb with fat tires is way more difficult than riding a century on a road bike so I think you're doing very well compared to most people.
    If we are assume he's talking statute century, and not metric century, which is possible, given he is speaking in metric.

  6. #6
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    f we are assume he's talking statute century, and not metric century, which is possible, given he is speaking in metric.
    Another doubting thomas. I have an entire LBS full of them. A century is 160km. A metric century is 100km. I can ride 114km in 4 1/2 hour. Want proof? There it is.

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/oWq0XQ46g9Y

    I can ride 150km in 5:40 minutes. Average lap time around 2:10-2:20 seconds. That puts me at 6 hours for 160km. Want more proof?

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/jRrLkUSF1og

    Now... This is all on the above mtb weighing in at 15kg running a 24 speed drive train.
    How many calories are you eating per hour? 100 miles on a non-aerodynamic, mtb with fat tires is way more difficult than riding a century on a road bike so I think you're doing very well compared to most people.
    I take about 1500 calories with me. I figure body reserves should make up the rest and endomondo lies when it counts calories.

  7. #7
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    Wasn't trying to doubt so to speak, just trying to make sure everything was clear. Even the 60 miles and change of a 100km ride is going to be harder and more impressive on a mountain bike.

    One of the issues at hand is the faster you go, the harder it will become and the more you will need to store beforehand. Your body can only process so much food into energy per unit of time, and burning more energy in the same amount of time will limit how much on-on-the ride intake can provide to your energy needs. Do you ever do any sort of carbo-loading?

  8. #8
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    We went to a buffet the night before and I ate a lot more than I usually do. That should have put my energy stores right up there. But still, If I exceed 30km/h constant cruise for more than 3 hours I simply.. run out gas. I can't process food fast enough to make up for the energy output. Perhaps I am reaching a limit of sorts. Maybe stopping at 4 hours and eating a whole bunch then resting or playing for an hour might bring the levels up enough to keep up the pace on the way home.

    When I got home I pretty much kept lightly snacking all day long. It amazes me that the guys in the olympic mtb 3 hour ride could keep up the pace they did and not simply run out gas. Conditioning for sure, but they must have been eathing/hyrdrating just right as well.

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    There are also carbo-loading programs that begin up to a week before you plan on your physical activity. I haven't done anything serious like that because my rides are all pretty slow paced and I take 10-20 minute breaks at points and eat something solid (I try and map out rides through scenic areas...in my opinion, at least,) but there is a plethora of information on carb-loading regimens online and in libraries. They are meant to maximize the amount of carbs you can store in your system, and you'd have to do your homework on which style seems the best and best suits your needs and lifestyle.

  10. #10
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    I like to stick to interesting rides as far away from people as possible. Kind of hard in Seoul. Thats why I ride the course you see in Endomondo often. I also have very limited time due to my 2 kids so I have no choice but to go as far and fast as possible. I have a maximum of 8 hours including breaks. At the speed I can maintain 200km would be tbe limit. I want to be able to go further. Thus the mission to get faster.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kingfishr's Avatar
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    Kelly when I look at your Endomondo profile back to July I see very few rides over 100km. Lots between 60-100. But 150-160 is a big jump from 90. You need to train at those distances regularly if you want to develop the endurance and speed you are aiming at. Doing it on a mountain bike is pretty impressive in any case. I bet if you trained on a mtb and did the ride on a road bike you wouldn't have any problem.

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    Time was the issue back then. Very young baby made it impossible to go any further. Also I was working on slow rides to lose weight. Now I'm at my target weight (85kg) and working on endurance and speed. 100km is easy now. I can keep up a rapid pace for the whole thing. 120-130 its hurting, hitting 150-160 like I've been pushing for last few months and it REALLY hurts. But I have hope that it will become easier just as everything else has. Actually a lot of the 60-90km rides were part of a longer ride as I hadn't figured out how to get enough power to the smart phone to stop it from dying at 100km.

    For all the recorded data there is an average of 10% more riding that never got logged as it was just a pain to do so. I think that my days of road bike riding are over. As a kid I rode in the drops all the time but these days my back just doesn't like it. An mtb may be harder but its far more comfortable - at least for me.

  13. #13
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    You seem to be positive that it's a fuel issue, and that may just not be the case. I don't know how you'd tell, actually.

    Anyway, if snarfing food along the way isn't doing it for you, you might try Perpetuum or other similar drinks/food.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  14. #14
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    You seem to be positive that it's a fuel issue, and that may just not be the case. I don't know how you'd tell, actually.

    Anyway, if snarfing food along the way isn't doing it for you, you might try Perpetuum or other similar drinks/food.
    Well I look at this way. My muscles aren't tired, my respiration is doing great, not even breathing hard a lot of the time. heart rate is plodding along at a lowish level (no HR monitor, but my pulse isn't overly fast unless I've just climbed a hill). In other words I feel great. If its a lack of conditioning I'd be puffing and panting and generally feeling miserable. None of this is the case. So, if its not nutrition what is it? Lactic acid build up leading to muscle shutdown? Pacing myself a little beyond my aerobic threshold leading to this condition?

    If thats the case then all I can do is condition myself more and hope that I can develop a tolerance to higher cadence and hopefully improve my aerobic threshold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    Well I look at this way. My muscles aren't tired, my respiration is doing great, not even breathing hard a lot of the time. heart rate is plodding along at a lowish level (no HR monitor, but my pulse isn't overly fast unless I've just climbed a hill). In other words I feel great. If its a lack of conditioning I'd be puffing and panting and generally feeling miserable. None of this is the case. So, if its not nutrition what is it? Lactic acid build up leading to muscle shutdown? Pacing myself a little beyond my aerobic threshold leading to this condition?

    If thats the case then all I can do is condition myself more and hope that I can develop a tolerance to higher cadence and hopefully improve my aerobic threshold.
    Anyone riding at a low to moderate intensity will eventually get tired. You don't have to be breathing hard or panting for fatigue to set in regardless of your nutrition status. I don't know how long you've been riding or how many hrs/yr you ride but if you keep increasing your volume and intensity your fitness should improve and you'll be able to ride longer before getting tires.

    There is no magic. Ride more.

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    There is no magic. Ride more.
    Wish I could. Two young kid make that impossible. I get up at 4am every morning as it is to ride as much as I do.

    Still, some improvement today

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/u3ZKD3s0bl4

    100km in 3:33 wasn't too bad. I was on target but cramping set in at 120km which I pushed through with a can of powerade which seemed to help. I suspect all the water I was drinking had my electrolytes a little low. The cramps came back really strong at 140km and I had to call it. i think next time one of my water bottles will be dilute Pocari Sweat (Japanese brand electrolyte drink - hardly any calories) the stuff tastes awful but it works really well. 27.2km/h average and a pretty uniform graph.

    I did discover the power of cola and chocolate at 80km in. Stopped at a convenience store and couldn't resist buying a bar of white chocolate and a can of cola. Talk about turbo boost! Doesn't last long, but when its working its like someone pushed the "reset to fully rested" button...

  17. #17
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    Wish I could. Two young kid make that impossible. I get up at 4am every morning as it is to ride as much as I do.

    Still, some improvement today

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/u3ZKD3s0bl4

    100km in 3:33 wasn't too bad. I was on target but cramping set in at 120km which I pushed through with a can of powerade which seemed to help. I suspect all the water I was drinking had my electrolytes a little low. The cramps came back really strong at 140km and I had to call it. i think next time one of my water bottles will be dilute Pocari Sweat (Japanese brand electrolyte drink - hardly any calories) the stuff tastes awful but it works really well. 27.2km/h average and a pretty uniform graph.

    I did discover the power of cola and chocolate at 80km in. Stopped at a convenience store and couldn't resist buying a bar of white chocolate and a can of cola. Talk about turbo boost! Doesn't last long, but when its working its like someone pushed the "reset to fully rested" button...
    What you are feeling is correct nutrition. The caffeine doesn't actually do that much. You want to feel like that all the time, figure out how to get that many calories down in a more continuous fashion, from the start. You want to do 250-350 calories in the first hour and in every hour thereafter. That's how you get up the road and don't run out of energy on a long ride.

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    I have trouble eating enough early in a ride, and I always start feeling it around 50-60 miles so this sounds familiar to me. Eat more. Candy or perpetuum solids is the only thing that works for me that early in a ride, later on I can go with more sensible food.

  19. #19
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    You should aim to complete the 2nd half of the ride faster than the first. Going ridiculously slowly at the start helps.

  20. #20
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    I ate pretty much the whole way and felt that my energy levels were up to the task of the last 20km. It was the cramp that killed it. Only in one leg at that. At 120km I got a can of sports drink that definately made the problem go away, but it came back at 140km much worse. I had to slow down. I'm sure that this was caused by low electrolytes as I've heard the same story before. Not enough minerals=cramping.

    You should aim to complete the 2nd half of the ride faster than the first. Going ridiculously slowly at the start helps.
    I rode the first half with a target cruising speed of 28km/h and the second pretty as much as fast as legs would allow. Sometimes hitting 40, mostly 30-32kmh. I had the same thought. Its better to have a little energy left than run out just before the end. Now to deal with the cramping issue and I think I can pull it off.

  21. #21
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    I ate pretty much the whole way and felt that my energy levels were up to the task of the last 20km. It was the cramp that killed it. Only in one leg at that. At 120km I got a can of sports drink that definately made the problem go away, but it came back at 140km much worse. I had to slow down. I'm sure that this was caused by low electrolytes as I've heard the same story before. Not enough minerals=cramping.



    I rode the first half with a target cruising speed of 28km/h and the second pretty as much as fast as legs would allow. Sometimes hitting 40, mostly 30-32kmh. I had the same thought. Its better to have a little energy left than run out just before the end. Now to deal with the cramping issue and I think I can pull it off.
    Cramping is usually caused by overuse. Hard intervals are a good cure for that. If you're irregular about electrolytes, get some Endurolytes and put them in a coin purse up your shorts leg. Take them every hour or half hour like clockwork. You'll know you're taking enough if you're a little thirsty. Researchers now believe that neither low electrolytes nor dehydration causes cramps. "Idiopathic" is how they put it. "They go away with training" is how I put it.

    Add up the calories in everything you ate. Divide by the elapsed time in hours, not the riding time. If the result is 250 or more, then you're eating enough. Otherwise, not.

  22. #22
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    Drink your calories, don't chew them. Absorption will be faster.

    Also, how is your rehydration on these rides? You put a lot of store in your nutrition, but dehydration can have as much an effect on energy levels as nutrition. It could be that you are achieving a fluid deficit early on in the ride, and it's just getting worse. The clue here is the drink you had to solve the cramping.

    Drinking your calories might help solve both issues at once, including the sodium and potassium intake.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  23. #23
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    Also, how is your rehydration on these rides?
    I take along 5 liters of water and usually end up buying a can of something or the other somewhere along the way when I feel like I need a break. In the summer I was going through all of it and having to get another 2 liters. Now its cooled down 4-5 liters seems to do the trick. Drink too much and you need too many bathroom breaks and I don't like stopping more than I really need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    I take along 5 liters of water and usually end up buying a can of something or the other somewhere along the way when I feel like I need a break. In the summer I was going through all of it and having to get another 2 liters. Now its cooled down 4-5 liters seems to do the trick. Drink too much and you need too many bathroom breaks and I don't like stopping more than I really need to.
    This is bad strategy.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    This is bad strategy.
    What's bad, drinking too much or stopping too often?

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