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first time run of 160km in a day

Old 01-04-21, 03:41 AM
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wilson_smyth
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Planning first time trip of 160km in a day

Im planning a cycle of 160km in a single day. ive done a few 4 hour+ cycles, but estimate this will be about 11 hours including rests.
The route is not very difficult, its all roads, no major climbs, will pass through towns & villages, but i wont have any support, its a solo run.

My question is surrounding carrying enough supplies. for a 4 hour cycle a single 750ml bottle and few choc bars have been plenty as long as i had a good drink and decent meal before leaving, but I think i have not been drinking or eating enough and so will need a lot more for a 160km trip in one day.
Im estimating 5+ liters of water and at least 200 calories per hour of food, with one reasonably normal meal (nice sandwich).

Should I carry all i need or plan to stop to purchase supplies along the way?
I like to travel light, up to now only carrying a small backpack but would i need panniers for such a trip?
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Old 01-04-21, 04:05 AM
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I did a basically flat 200km night ride last July. I started with two full bottles one with water and the other was half Gatorade and half water. I stopped to refill them every 2 hours. It took 8 hours. The water bottles were not quite empty so I’d estimate I drank about 5 liters. For food I didn’t eat much. And hand full of cashews and a piece or two of peanut brittle at each refill stop.

My route was like 45 loops in a local urban nature preserve so I resupplied out of a cooler in my vehicle. A small backpack with almost 5 liters of water won’t be fun (but I’m not used to carrying a back pack) but at least it will get lighter as you go. If you can make stops to refill, I’d much rather do that than a back pack.

Either way, have fun!
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Old 01-04-21, 04:36 AM
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a lot depends upon the weather you'll be encountering. if it's cold, the food will be more essential. if it's hot, the liquids. if's it's somewhere in between...then a mix.
if it's a route I'm familiar with, i'll try to fuel and hydrate up beforehand and stop/supplement/take a break...usually 10 km's before or after the halfway point.

take two bottles and fill one with water and the other with whatever power drink you prefer. eat a good sized meal 1-3 hours beforehand with some protein and lots of carbs.

i'd pack an emergency power bar/candy bar that won't melt, a debit/credit card and some loose bills/coins than amount to enough to buy you a complete meal/a ride in case of
unforeseen weather extremes, mechanical failure, internet/power failure.

panniers would be totally unwarranted unless you're continuing on like this multiple days or outfitting a group. you'll be faster the less you carry and be happy for the breaks for
grub and grog. enjoy them. if there are no reliable/unknown services along the route/closed due to the pandemic, that's a different story.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 01-04-21 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 01-04-21, 05:12 AM
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There are many variables at play, but if the planned route goes through towns and villages there should be plenty of opportunities to resupply, so there in theory is no need to carry much more than you do for your 4 h rides. I have done a couple 160+ km rides; in a mostly flat terrain (~15% gravel) and in comfortable weather (+20-25 C) it takes me about 8-9 hours total, 3-3.5 l of water + 0.5 l Coke, one decent meal around halfway and 4 chocolate bars along the way. Half of the hydration acquired along the second half of the ride, the rest I carried with me.
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Old 01-04-21, 06:40 AM
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Unless your route takes you through long stretches with no way to buy snacks/water, I'd recommend treating your 160km ride like two 80km rides or 3 50 km rides. Carry enough for either 80km or 50 km, restock once or twice on the ride (the last stop you will be at the end).

For me, I carry two large size water bottles (one with water, one with vitamin or sports drink), a 350 calorie SANS meal bar and a pack or two of fig newtons that gets me to the 50 mile/80 km or so point, then I refill water bottles and buy a "safety" snack if I ate both fig newton packs. That all then usually lasts me to the 100 mile/160 km point back at my car, but if it is unusually hot or cold, I'll stop at the 120 km/80 mile or so point and buy more.

It is all based on individual metabolisms/preferences, so if your first try can be on a route where you have the option of stopping and refueling more often, you can calibrate yourself. If you are regularly doing 4 hour 70-100 km rides, you should be pretty close to set.
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Old 01-04-21, 07:06 AM
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Great information given so far.

It's not rocket science was my approach to longer rides when I began them decades ago and with current day technology possible issues are easier to be prepared for should they happen.


Much of the route might be viewable via satellite imaging along with terrain conditions as to elevation changes, location of alternates if roads are under repair, businesses opened for supply replenishment and comfort breaks, Emergency Care facilities should the need arise, bike shops if major repair is needed.................


Break the ride up into easily manageable distances and pack for those distances and then a stop to replenish PLUS add a bit extra for a little longer segment if you should catch a tail wind. Stay within your limits. IMO it is better to consume smaller amounts more often so things don't sit too long for digestion causing unwanted physical AND mental blips on the radar. Never too cool downing a bunch of food/drink too quickly and then feeling like puking because you needed to expend more effort due to winds or climb or out-riding an aggressive animal.


Enjoy the experience !!
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Old 01-04-21, 08:10 AM
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great advice from everyone, thank you!
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Old 01-04-21, 09:06 AM
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If your route has majestic scenery and varied terrain, it makes the miles fly by. Only other concern I have on longer rides are the road surface conditions influencing my bike and tire choices.
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Old 01-04-21, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
If your route has majestic scenery and varied terrain, it makes the miles fly by. Only other concern I have on longer rides are the road surface conditions influencing my bike and tire choices.
Terrain should be varied, and take in a lot of scenery & castles.
Bike and tire choice are already set, what i have will have to work!
kind of a flat bar road bike. very comfortable although i think the flatbars, which are perfect for commuting will be a negative on a longer trip. Not something to cancel the trip over though, or spend piles of cash trying to remedy.
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Old 01-04-21, 09:16 AM
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Perfect illustration of Bike Forums at its best. Great info here
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Old 01-04-21, 09:26 AM
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I like the advice some Brits had for a 100 mile ride some years back. Ride 25 miles, stop for tea, repeat three more times.

OK, I'll usually stretch it to 30-40 miles riding without a stop. Find a convenience store for snacks or food, buy more drinks, walk around a few minutes. Repeat until done.

If you've been dry at the end of your shorter rides, consider setting a timer to remind to you drink something every 15 minutes. Depending on temperature and thirst, you may drink a mouthful or a cup of fluid each time. Even in crisp, cool temperatures, you'll need to be replacing fluids lost to respiration and perspiration, but I don't get very thirsty until I'm a few hours down the road and really dry in those conditions.
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Old 01-04-21, 09:28 AM
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My preference is always to stop and get a meal mid-ride somewhere. If you're going through a bunch of small towns, that's the perfect opportunity to hit some small mom-and-pop place. On the occasions where I was doing the ride for time, I packed a 70-oz hydration bladder full of Heed, along with a couple of water bottles full of plain water, and never stopped. OTOH, I figured I was burning something like 850 Calories per hour so a candy bar wasn't going to cut it. If you pack your own food, chocolate is a poor choice not only because it can melt but also because chocolate will make you thirsty. Whatever you take, make sure to test it on your system ahead of time. I know of one person who did a long difficult ride using a 'new' energy drink, and he suffered diarrhea for the last 30 miles because his system wasn't used to it. Don't be that guy.
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Old 01-04-21, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by wilson_smyth View Post
Im planning a cycle of 160km in a single day. ive done a few 4 hour+ cycles, but estimate this will be about 11 hours including rests.
The route is not very difficult, its all roads, no major climbs, will pass through towns & villages, but i wont have any support, its a solo run.

My question is surrounding carrying enough supplies. for a 4 hour cycle a single 750ml bottle and few choc bars have been plenty as long as i had a good drink and decent meal before leaving, but I think i have not been drinking or eating enough and so will need a lot more for a 160km trip in one day.
Im estimating 5+ liters of water and at least 200 calories per hour of food, with one reasonably normal meal (nice sandwich).

Should I carry all i need or plan to stop to purchase supplies along the way?
I like to travel light, up to now only carrying a small backpack but would i need panniers for such a trip?
Donít overthink it, and IMO a backpack is overkill for a century. carry some snacks in your jersey, start with two bottles of your beverage of choice. Youíre going to be passing through towns/villages, so stop and buy as needed. My last century (107mi), I started with two bottles and a banana, stopped for coffee, a muffin and a bottle refill at ~55 mi, then finished the ride. Previous centuries, I stopped for coffee twice. Both approaches worked
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Old 01-04-21, 11:12 AM
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Something to consider .... You can probably push yourself a long way on too little food and water .... but you will pay for it later.

Better to get the couple hundred calories you can each hour For Sure, and drink everything you can, than to either bonk with 20 K to go, or to feel terrible for the next couple days .....

(As far as I know 400 cal/hr is max absorption and that is while sitting. The harder you are working the lower the absorption rate (according to the internet ... which means the actual answer might be anything. Most other places say 200/hr or so .... )
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Old 01-04-21, 11:20 AM
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100 miles sounds better, just sayin
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Old 01-04-21, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by wilson_smyth View Post
Im planning a cycle of 160km in a single day. ive done a few 4 hour+ cycles, but estimate this will be about 11 hours including rests.
The route is not very difficult, its all roads, no major climbs, will pass through towns & villages, but i wont have any support, its a solo run.

My question is surrounding carrying enough supplies. for a 4 hour cycle a single 750ml bottle and few choc bars have been plenty as long as i had a good drink and decent meal before leaving, but I think i have not been drinking or eating enough and so will need a lot more for a 160km trip in one day.
Im estimating 5+ liters of water and at least 200 calories per hour of food, with one reasonably normal meal (nice sandwich).

Should I carry all i need or plan to stop to purchase supplies along the way?
I like to travel light, up to now only carrying a small backpack but would i need panniers for such a trip?
Panniers for a 160km ride? Nooo. And a backpack would drive me nuts on a long ride.

Caloric consumption depends on a bunch of individual variables which relate to your physiology and your ride -- but planning to consume 120-150 cals per hour is a good starting point. You can carry energy food (gels, Clif Shot Blocs, etc), or cookies, sports drinks, some combo. Personally, I like real food, but later in a ride the prepared items (gels and such) might go down easier. Plan it out, stuff the foods in your jersey pockets, and bring cash in case you decide to stock up at a convenience store.

Water consumption depends on climate - hotter means more water. Take two 750ml bottles, and refill as necessary.

Don't forget to ensure that your bike is in good shape, with proper psi in the tires and a clean chain that is freshly-lubed. Take your repair kit and be prepared to deal with punctures.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 01-05-21, 09:41 AM
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Castles!

Besides food and a small tool/flat kit, I would consider the expected weather conditions and have appropriate layers of clothing.

I did a similar ride in November (in Canada) and wore long tights, wool jersey, took arm warmers, knee warmers, jacket, gloves and a microfleece balaclava. That allowed me to layer up or down as needed. The question is: where to put that stuff when not wearing it?

Rather than a backpack, a lot of longer range riders prefer a handlebar bag, small saddlebag or a rear rack top bag. Any one of those is enough for all the gear/food needed for a century ride.

If you live in a region with stable warm weather that might not apply.
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Old 01-05-21, 10:17 AM
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With the renewed "lockdown", I think this will be pushed out a bit. Im not too worried really as id rather do it with slightly longer days, leave at 6am, giving me 12 hours of light which should be plenty of time.
Weather will also be warmer so i can hopefully leave behind most of the extra gear (neck warmer, hat, insulated gloves).

I have a 20L backpack i wear regularly on 2-3 hour spins to hold hat, gloves, neckwarmer etc.
The backpack is useful for when i pick up stuff in shops etc.its never been uncomfortable or even noticeable up to now as long as its not overloaded.
For commuting i just have a small saddlebag that contains my repair kit (very pump, spare tube, 3 levers, 3 cable ties, self adhesive patches & multi tool, chain link).

That said, i will look into a bigger saddlebag. I dont like the idea of a handlebar or crossbar bag, ive seen them swing and just look more uncomfortable than anything else.

Surprisingly, the most awkward thing to carry is a U-Lock! if i go in anywhere to use the toilet or grab a coffee, i need a decent lock, but its also relatively heavy!
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Old 01-05-21, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wilson_smyth View Post
Surprisingly, the most awkward thing to carry is a U-Lock! if i go in anywhere to use the toilet or grab a coffee, i need a decent lock, but its also relatively heavy!
That's why there are trees.
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Old 01-05-21, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wilson_smyth View Post

Surprisingly, the most awkward thing to carry is a U-Lock! if i go in anywhere to use the toilet or grab a coffee, i need a decent lock, but its also relatively heavy!
Depends where you live as to theft risk. If I need something I take a smaller cable lock and practice situational awareness, keeping my bike in sight via windows etc... Just something to slow a thief down so I can run out. Even a simple padlock through the crank/chain works. I take my bike into public restrooms.

When I have carried a u lock (commuting) I secured it on my rear rack with a bungee. No flopping around.
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Old 01-06-21, 05:43 AM
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I recommend taking some and then stopping at stores along the way to replenish. It not only reduces what you carry, but gets you off the bike to stretch your legs a bit. Local fruits or pastries help make longer rides more enjoyable.
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Old 01-06-21, 09:10 AM
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You can always lock your bike with a light cable and take the rear wheel with you into the restroom. Or .... just take both skewers.
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Old 01-06-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Or .... just take both skewers.
Ha ha. The effect on the thief would be funny to watch.

I made this ghetto bike alarm a few years ago for my touring bike. When the wheel turns it pulls the pin and emits a 130db alarm. IRL I disguise it a bit better so its not so detectable.



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