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Training for long rides

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Old 07-01-18, 10:14 PM
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124Spider
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Training for long rides

Hi,

I'm 65, and my wife is 64. We're in good shape generally, and have been avid cyclists for several years now. We've done long rides (last year, for instance, we did 133 miles in two days--59 followed by 74). We've done several rides this year over 40 miles. In June, I rode 500 miles, and she rode over 400 miles (much--but not all--of our cycling is on our tandem, but we each have nice road bikes).

We've signed up for a ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC that's almost 200 miles in two days. We plan to do it on our tandem.

We know we have to do some extra training, but we also are mindful that too much training will increase the risk of injury.

Is there a resource that we could mine to optimize our training?

Thanks.

Mark
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Old 07-01-18, 10:45 PM
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When is the event?

Generally speaking ...

Increase your weekly long ride by about 10% per week. So if you're comfortable with 50 miles ...

Week 1 - 50 miles
Week 2 - 55 miles
Week 3 - 61 miles
Week 4 - 67 miles
Week 5 - 55 miles
Week 6 - 62 miles
Week 7 - 68 miles
Week 8 - 75 miles
Week 9 - 60 miles

And that sort of pattern ... increase for a few weeks, then back off and increase from there.

Because you're doing back to back, you'll want to do about 2/3 of the distance on the following day.

Week 1 - 50 miles on Saturday + 35 miles on Sunday ... that sort of thing.

During the week, mix it up.
Have a rest day or two.
Have a day where you do a short intense ride - intervals, hills, or just riding briskly. But given the area you're riding in, you might consider hill repeats.
Have a day where you do a recovery ride ... something slow, casual and not long.
Have a day where you do a casual mid-distance like 25 miles or so.

Practice your eating and drinking on your longer rides.

Get into a stretching routine on and off the bicycle. Rowan and I have done some long distance tandem riding, and we stand to stretch about once every 15 minutes or so.

Do a little bit of upper body & core work. I find I'm more comfortable on the bicycle for longer distances if my core strength and upper body strength is decent. You don't have to go crazy but including a bit of that in your routine helps.
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Old 07-02-18, 07:11 AM
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Good advice from Machka. I've found that if my wife and can do 60 mile rides comfortably, we can do centuries without major problems. But, for back to back long rides I try to get a few 75% full length rides in as part of training - mostly for rear end toughening.

The only other trick I've learned for long supported rides is to understand the rest stops towards the end and plan your eating accordingly. Sometimes the spacing is odd or the food is peculiar - the Salisbury Century here has pie as the major food at the last rest stop, so avoid all the sugary stuff until that one!
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Old 07-02-18, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
...... But, for back to back long rides I try to get a few 75% full length rides in as part of training - mostly for rear end toughening...............
Great replies!!!

Like the "rear end toughening" for the B2B longer distance. Lots of people have the legs but not the butt time that is what helps provide the comfort towards the end.

ENJOY !!!!!
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Old 07-02-18, 10:09 AM
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Very helpful; thanks!

The RSVP ride is August 17-18.
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Old 07-02-18, 08:26 PM
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From what you’ve described I think you’re already in good enough shape to do 200 miles. Just take your time and stop a little more than normal. From a riding style I found on subsequent days it helped to use a slightly easier gear and spin it a little faster. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at your capabilities.
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Old 07-02-18, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
From what you’ve described I think you’re already in good enough shape to do 200 miles. Just take your time and stop a little more than normal. From a riding style I found on subsequent days it helped to use a slightly easier gear and spin it a little faster. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at your capabilities.
Thanks!

We just did 50.3 miles, fairly fast (16.5mph average), and it went well. I think we'll be in good shape (literally and figuratively) as long as we don't overdo it.
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Old 07-03-18, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
From what you’ve described I think you’re already in good enough shape to do 200 miles. Just take your time and stop a little more than normal. From a riding style I found on subsequent days it helped to use a slightly easier gear and spin it a little faster. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at your capabilities.
Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
Thanks!

We just did 50.3 miles, fairly fast (16.5mph average), and it went well. I think we'll be in good shape (literally and figuratively) as long as we don't overdo it.
Just keep in mind that faster spinning can also be a negative. On my 200+ and 300+ 24hour rides I often pedal standing in highest gear as well as sitting in highest gear when conditions permit. The slow yet comfortable effort can be very relaxing.

Had prostate cancer surgery last Wednesday and bicycled to our LBS to see the Sat. morning group of riders off accompanied with Mr. Foley. Because I pedal standing often on my rides even a 3 mile section back home standing was not an issue.
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Old 07-03-18, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Just keep in mind that faster spinning can also be a negative. On my 200+ and 300+ 24hour rides I often pedal standing in highest gear as well as sitting in highest gear when conditions permit. The slow yet comfortable effort can be very relaxing.

Had prostate cancer surgery last Wednesday and bicycled to our LBS to see the Sat. morning group of riders off accompanied with Mr. Foley. Because I pedal standing often on my rides even a 3 mile section back home standing was not an issue.
Yeah, we're working on harboring our energy when the going is easy, and that involves spinning at lower numbers (<80).
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Old 07-03-18, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Had prostate cancer surgery last Wednesday and bicycled to our LBS to see the Sat. morning group of riders off accompanied with Mr. Foley. Because I pedal standing often on my rides even a 3 mile section back home standing was not an issue.
After my robotic prostatectomy I was activity-restricted until the Foley was removed and it was six weeks before the surgeon allowed normal activity; except bike riding which came after 12 weeks. I specifically asked about biking else it would have been six weeks I guess. The physician's assistant told a cautionary and perhaps apocryphal tale of a prostate patient who rode a bike with Mr Foley and messed up his healing with permanent side affects.
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Old 07-05-18, 03:12 PM
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I'm 52 not 65 so can't speak authoritatively.

My longest ride this year is 400 Kms done just over 30 Kph average but for doing (building up) distance I generally ride shorter distances than whatever event I plan on doing (time poor sometimes). I ride the shorter distances at a slightly higher power which (to my mind) equates to riding the full event distance at a slightly lower power.

I prefer higher cadence with less resistance as I find it easier on my joints, if distances are extreme I find spinning less resistance is also much better than grinding or mashing gears.

I also stand quite a lot to relieve pressure on the rear end, for this I shift up several gears and just roll along standing on the pedals (turning them over slowly) for a few minutes every so often.

Your main thing will be riding and then riding again on a subsequent following day and the previous posters have given great advice re ride 50% or 70% again the following day on training days.

Food is both a mental and physical thing.....I love whipping out occasional snickers bars out of a small bar bag, they give me energy but vitally cheer me up no end on longer rides. Water and hydration are important. Getting in food or water in proper order prevents the liver depleting all its glycogen and ensures best performance if fluid intake is good/proper/adequate.
I think the most important thing is being happy and enjoying the spin. Mentally a happy mind can do just about anything and if you are happy those kinds of chemicals in the body have a tendency to nullify any pain or discomfort, seems to override the neurons and cancel out a lot of discomfort, so keep smiling....

Enjoy the cycle and best of luck with it, sounds like you have it all in order anyway and are well prepared.......
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Old 07-05-18, 07:03 PM
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Wow! 250 miles at close to 19 mph. You are going to make the folks on this forum feel even older. We may need to up the age of admission to 60
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Old 07-06-18, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by tigat View Post
Wow! 250 miles at close to 19 mph. You are going to make the folks on this forum feel even older. We may need to up the age of admission to 60
I was lucky, it was a lovely day with little wind..........................don't get that too often.
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Old 07-06-18, 01:28 PM
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How does a long ride on a tandem compare to monorider? Easier? Harder?
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Old 07-06-18, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
How does a long ride on a tandem compare to monorider? Easier? Harder?
Different.

Riding a tandem successfully is all about teamwork (especially since I pedal with almost exactly twice the power she does over any longish ride); we're talking constantly to make sure we're in sync.

We go faster on level (or nearly level) ground than most half-bikes go; we go much faster down any hill than half-bikes go, and slogging up significant hills (long and more than about 2% grade, or short and steeper) is a chore, since we're heavier than the sum of the two of us on our half-bikes (tandems can be heavy, unless you're willing to spend well into 5-digits--American dollars--on them) and we can't stand up and power our way up a hill on a tandem. Over any ride we do, we go much faster than she goes on a half-bike, and a bit slower than I go on a half-bike.

It has served well to make it fun for us to ride together, since we're joined at the hip. But it's tiring over a long ride, and it'll be interesting to see how we take to doing 100 miles with a lot of climbing.

We both have pedal-based power meters, which are really helpful for modulating our efforts to help us last over a long ride.
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Old 07-06-18, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
Different.

Riding a tandem successfully is all about teamwork (especially since I pedal with almost exactly twice the power she does over any longish ride); we're talking constantly to make sure we're in sync.

We go faster on level (or nearly level) ground than most half-bikes go; we go much faster down any hill than half-bikes go, and slogging up significant hills (long and more than about 2% grade, or short and steeper) is a chore, since we're heavier than the sum of the two of us on our half-bikes (tandems can be heavy, unless you're willing to spend well into 5-digits--American dollars--on them) and we can't stand up and power our way up a hill on a tandem. Over any ride we do, we go much faster than she goes on a half-bike, and a bit slower than I go on a half-bike.

It has served well to make it fun for us to ride together, since we're joined at the hip. But it's tiring over a long ride, and it'll be interesting to see how we take to doing 100 miles with a lot of climbing.
Yeah ... this ^^.

Rowan and I have done up to 300 km on our tandem, and it's not really easier or harder ... it's different, as you describe.

The more difficult thing for me is the need to remain so still. On my single bicycle, I put a lot of weight on my feet and just sort of perch lightly on the saddle, and I move around quite a bit. On the tandem, I tend to sit more (more weight on my butt, less weight on the pedals) and if I move, it can throw Rowan's balance off a bit, so I sit still. This results in quite a bit more butt discomfort for me. On short rides, this isn't too much of an issue, but on long rides it can be.
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Old 07-06-18, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
The more difficult thing for me is the need to remain so still. On my single bicycle, I put a lot of weight on my feet and just sort of perch lightly on the saddle, and I move around quite a bit. On the tandem, I tend to sit more (more weight on my butt, less weight on the pedals) and if I move, it can throw Rowan's balance off a bit, so I sit still. This results in quite a bit more butt discomfort for me. On short rides, this isn't too much of an issue, but on long rides it can be.
This is an excellent observation! We are both very sensitive to wiggling by the other, so we both work hard to stay still. And you really cannot stand while pedaling on a tandem, or we're more worried about capsizing. And my butt does feel it more acutely on the tandem than when I'm riding my half-bike.
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Old 07-06-18, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
This is an excellent observation! We are both very sensitive to wiggling by the other, so we both work hard to stay still. And you really cannot stand while pedaling on a tandem, or we're more worried about capsizing. And my butt does feel it more acutely on the tandem than when I'm riding my half-bike.
We do a stand-and-stretch thing about every 15 minutes, usually on a flat or gradual descent if there's one handy.

Rowan will say, "Right down" and we'll put our right pedal at the 6:00 position, then we might stand together or one at a time and just do a quick stretch. Then "Left down" and same thing.

We also stop more frequently, like once an hour, to do an off-the-bike stretch.
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Old 08-21-18, 01:31 PM
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Update: We rode on the tandem, 106 miles/4000 feet of climbing the first day, and 81 miles/2600 feet of climbing the second. We had no problems (well, except for one quarter-mile/400 meter long 12% hill, which was a true challenge), and enjoyed it immensely.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-21-18, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
Update: We rode on the tandem, 106 miles/4000 feet of climbing the first day, and 81 miles/2600 feet of climbing the second. We had no problems (well, except for one quarter-mile/400 meter long 12% hill, which was a true challenge), and enjoyed it immensely.

Thanks for your help!
WELL DONE !!!!!
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Old 08-23-18, 12:23 PM
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We know we have to do some extra training, but we also are mindful that too much training will increase the risk of injury.
I find this statement meaningless. Mostly because - "too little training will increase your risk of injury."

No one can improve your cycling as much as yourselves. You have - and your wife has - a beautiful feedback system that tells you how hard you can go and how often you need to take it easy. Why are you lacking the confidence to trust your own sense?

I don't know anything about you or your wife but I do know all about cycling. And the single most important aspect of successfully increasing your ability to complete longer rides is simply picking a manageable pace - or effort level to ride at.

NEVER - try to keep up with faster riders - and never ride so long that you feel you HAVE to stop. Always rest short periods, saving longer stops for the 2nd half of the ride.......

Good luck.
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Old 08-27-18, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
Thanks!

We just did 50.3 miles, fairly fast (16.5mph average), .
God! I feel pokey!
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