Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Help with pacing/training?

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Old 12-27-17, 04:30 PM
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torero310
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Help with pacing/training?

Hi, so I signed up for my first half century (I know it's not "long" but I've never ridden more than 25 miles at once or 30 in a day. Assuming I know my FTP is there a percentage that I should ride at, and go by feel? It's about 2000 feet of climbing so not too bad, and I estimate that if I can pace myself well, I should be able to finish within 4.5-5.5 hours. Also what would you suggest to ready myself for this distance? When training, will time on the bike matter more, or the distance traveled? Note: The event will be in about 3 months, but I'll only have about 2 months of good training (and only 2 months with a powermeter)
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Old 12-27-17, 05:41 PM
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Is this a ride or race? Most long distance riders don't speak the language of FTPs and watts.

If you are not careful in your training rides, you might go over your 50 mile target by accident If it's just ride and not a race, you can use Maffetone's rule for full aerobic HR (google it) to define "low intensity" and create a schedule of 2-3 low intensity rides a week and 1 high intensity ride (time trial/hills/intervals), increasing both total miles per week and longest ride length at the rate of 5-10% a week. Ramp up too fast and you might get some strain/tear etc. If you ride on consecutive days, alternate hard or long days with easy or off days. You get stronger when resting, it's as important as riding. Once you are riding 75 miles a week and longest ride is around 40 miles on terrain similar to your event, you'll be fine for your half century. As you are training and gradually increasing your mileage, if you start to develop any soreness or pains, troubleshoot it - often a bike fit issue - don't ignore it. Drink water every 15 minutes, about a bottle per hour. 200-300 calories per hour, starting just before you ride, bananas and energy bars are easy and widely available/cheap compared to gels and powder mix. If you reach your mileage goals early, than keep total weekly miles static and start ramping up intensity, e.g. 2 high intensity rides per week, and your longest weekly ride should be on a route similar to your event, in terms of elevation gain/hills. In the final week prior to your event, no long rides, just a short easy ride every other day with a one or two spurts of high intensity thrown in, don't ride the two days before your event. Don't vary your routine on your event day, don't try new nutrition or a new bike saddle. Develop a pre-ride checklist so you don't forget anything on event day. I don't really know what I'm talking about, but this is just what I did/do after doing some reading and training and it's gotten me from a 10 mile ride to a 200 mile ride.

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Old 12-27-17, 05:48 PM
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You might ask a mod to move this thread to the Training sub forum as it has nothing to do with long distance cycling. You'll probably find more folks there interested in FTPs and such.
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Old 12-27-17, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by torero310 View Post
Hi, so I signed up for my first half century (I know it's not "long" but I've never ridden more than 25 miles at once or 30 in a day. Assuming I know my FTP is there a percentage that I should ride at, and go by feel? It's about 2000 feet of climbing so not too bad, and I estimate that if I can pace myself well, I should be able to finish within 4.5-5.5 hours. Also what would you suggest to ready myself for this distance? When training, will time on the bike matter more, or the distance traveled? Note: The event will be in about 3 months, but I'll only have about 2 months of good training (and only 2 months with a powermeter)
A half century is 50 miles. You're at 25 miles now. Next weekend ride your 25 mile distance. The following weekend ride 28 miles. The next weekend ride 32 miles. The next weekend ride 36 miles. Then 40 miles. Then 45 miles ... and the next weekend you're there.
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Old 12-27-17, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Flounce View Post
Is this a ride or race? Most long distance riders don't speak the language of FTPs and watts.

If you are not careful in your training rides, you might go over your 50 mile target by accident If it's just ride and not a race, you can use Maffetone's rule for full aerobic HR (google it) to define "low intensity" and create a schedule of 2-3 low intensity rides a week and 1 high intensity ride (time trial/hills/intervals), increasing both total miles per week and longest ride length at the rate of 5-10% a week. Ramp up too fast and you might get some strain/tear etc. If you ride on consecutive days, alternate hard or long days with easy or off days. You get stronger when resting, it's as important as riding. Once you are riding 75 miles a week and longest ride is around 40 miles on terrain similar to your event, you'll be fine for your half century. As you are training and gradually increasing your mileage, if you start to develop any soreness or pains, troubleshoot it - often a bike fit issue - don't ignore it. Drink water every 15 minutes, about a bottle per hour. 200-300 calories per hour, starting just before you ride, bananas and energy bars are easy and widely available/cheap compared to gels and powder mix. If you reach your mileage goals early, than keep total weekly miles static and start ramping up intensity, e.g. 2 high intensity rides per week, and your longest weekly ride should be on a route similar to your event, in terms of elevation gain/hills. In the final week prior to your event, no long rides, just a short easy ride every other day with a one or two spurts of high intensity thrown in, don't ride the two days before your event. Don't vary your routine on your event day, don't try new nutrition or a new bike saddle. Develop a pre-ride checklist so you don't forget anything on event day. I don't really know what I'm talking about, but this is just what I did/do after doing some reading and training and it's gotten me from a 10 mile ride to a 200 mile ride.
It's just a ride. (or a timed GranFondo to be exact), but my only goal is finishing it, have fun, and enjoy the scenery, experience, food and whatever else I can. I honestly don't care about how I place, I just don't want to be dropped immediately, nor do I want to die after putting the gas on too high. Thank you so much for the advice!

EDIT: This also helps as I won't be using a powermeter so I can just focus on distance for the next month, and then check out my power output as a way to use numbers to gage my pace (as a way of double checking). Thank you again!
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Old 12-27-17, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
You might ask a mod to move this thread to the Training sub forum as it has nothing to do with long distance cycling. You'll probably find more folks there interested in FTPs and such.
Thanks for the advice! I think I've gotten what I needed though
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Old 12-27-17, 08:24 PM
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Glad you found it helpful. A few more things came to mind (my buddy is doing the same as you, just starting out): check your cadence to make sure you are spinning and not grinding, try 80-90 rpm; some form of HR monitor is helpful to make sure HR not too high (see prior comment re: maffetone and aerobic base building) ; seems like a lot of people starting to do longer rides have butt soreness, which might be due to having a thin racing saddle that came with the bike or not knowing how to sit on your "sit bones" (ischial tuberosities), my friend had both issues.
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Old 12-27-17, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by torero310 View Post
I just don't want to be dropped immediately
These GF style "timed" events w/o the course controls, class/experience segregation and discipline of sanctioned USAC competitive events can be a mish-mash of levels of fitness, experience and bike handling skills all on the course at once.

Finding a local cycling club with a non-testosterone poisoned "pace-line ride" is a great way to build the specific skills, seat-time, reflexes and speed required for organized group rides. The ability to ride a straight line and basic pace-line etiquette are as important as base fitness in safely and enjoyably participating in mass start GF type events, even if ridden as a "solo".

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Old 12-28-17, 09:16 AM
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I don't in any way want to diminish the importance of your goal here. I remember my first 20 miler I was bragging about, then a 40 mile ride. I felt I had conquered the world!! Never had I dreamed I could ride a bike that far.
Having said that...
50 miles is a nice ride but not exactly what most would call a "long distance" ride. At 5 hours, that's only averaging 10 mph. So my point is, I don't see any necessary "training" to get to a 50 mile distance, especially if you can ride 25 miles now, other than just get out there and ride as often as you can. Keep adding distance incrementally and pretty soon you'll rather easily go past 50 miles and even longer.
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Old 12-28-17, 11:23 AM
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For long distance stuff, I find a HRM (sorry, don't have a power meter) most useful for keeping my enthusiasm in check.


My biggest problem on long rides is riding too hard early on and suffering for it later. So I watch my heart rate and don't let it get above my "endurance" zone until the last 50 miles or so, if at all. Works pretty well when I can actually remember to DO it!


SP
OC, OR
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Old 12-28-17, 11:53 AM
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The same can be done somewhat the same without a heart monitor by not riding with the feeling of cranking, or pedaling with effort. I do this for touring all the time and shift down when I get the feeling I'm working too hard. I also have the luck to have a Brooks sprung saddle that begins to squeak whenever I pedal too fast without resistance (bounce) so I know when to shift up .

As for training for a 50 mile ride: I think all these things involve a bit of breaking through a psychological barrier more than a physical one so the most important thing to do is adopt some basic good habits and just keep pushing your distance and don't get side tracked by "things" until they really become necessary. A bike that fits, good seat, hydration, eating, slowly upgrading my riding kit and a pace that I keep working on improving incrementally is my basic strategy.
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Old 12-28-17, 12:40 PM
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Yeah, echoing the previous comments. "You've got this." Riding 3 days a week, 1 to 2 hours for weekday rides, and a long ride on the weekend, will get you ready.

I think Grand Fondo rides tend to bring out faster, competitive riders. So some group ride experience will be very helpful. (But it looks like some events that would have simply been a "Ride" a few years ago are now a "Grand Fondo".)

Time limits
Some Grand Fondo rides (and even most other event rides) have a time cutoff for the rest stops. Your 4.5 to 5.5 hour estimate is likely to be slower than their limits -- check with the organizers.

So, if you might be close to the cutoffs, don't spend time at the stops, get in and out as quick as possible. It's easy to hang around a rest stop, using up time.

Pacing on a longer than usual ride
I've used my heart monitor to keep me near a pace that I can sustain. I got the target heart rate by observing on my longer, steady effort rides. And noticing the higher heart rates where I had to slow back down after a while.

With hills, I'll go over the steady pace number on climbs at times, but I try to limit the really hard efforts. (it's the concept of "burning matches" -- very hard efforts add up during the day.)

But, with the amount of training time before the event, this won't be a ride that's way longer than your recent rides. (Someone on BF said that riders can usually do their weekly mileage in one day -- it won't be easy at all, but they will finish.)

A power meter will get you even more data. It's not necessary, but very interesting if you like stuff like that. The free Golden Cheetah software will analyze your power meter rides, and show you your best power over a wide range of time periods, from 5 seconds to your longest ride time -- it's the CP Chart, critical power chart.

Elevation
Your 50 mile ride with 2000 feet of climbing is 40 feet per mile. That's a moderate amount, similar to many of my local cycle club rides.
10-20 feet per mile: very flat, like rail trails or flat terrain with slight elevation changes.
25-50 feet per mile: some quite flat sections with some small to medium hills mixed in.
50-75 feet per mile: a "hilly" ride, with some easier sections.
100 feet per mile: "very hilly". Often has almost no flat parts, it's either climbing or descending.
120 or more: now the climbs are getting steep, too.

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Old 12-28-17, 02:47 PM
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I have seen faster riders that said keeping power at below 66% of ftp is a requirement for a pleasant long distance ride, but that was in reference to a 300k, IIRC. 50 miles is about the distance where I can ride at (estimated) 90 percent of my ftp a significant portion of the time without totally destroying myself. That used to be my strategy for riding with faster riders, go out and wait for them to wear themselves out a little. Depending on fitness, hills may mean that you have to ride above your ftp part of the time. Generally a bad idea.
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Old 12-29-17, 05:16 AM
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Hello,

I wish you all the best for reaching your goal. I am no expert and I am only taking part in the conversation here as I ride a lot. Retirement and bicycles just go together! All riding/training as of late is on a smart trainer on Zwift with an overall goal of endurance riding. I do 1000+ indoor miles a month and a metric century every couple days. I started riding again in July.

My 'go-forever' pace is around 60 rpm/100 watts. I go a faster cruise around 75 rpm with no problem. 90 rpm makes me sweat like a pig and can be harder on the butt (trainers aren't so smooth), but I do train with it in intervals.

Seat position is so important for me. I fine tuned it and because the trainer controls variables so well, I can really feel the cause and effect of changes to height, front/rear and tilt, which are all tied together IMHO. Before I had this right, even with my new Brooks C-17, I could only do 20 miles before the sore butt. Time spent adjusting here really pays off and my legs eventually give out first now.

Again, best of luck to you and I plan to do a Metric as soon as I can this spring. I will tour in the future but that will be a bit bittersweet for me and I am in no hurry for it.
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Old 12-29-17, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
I don't in any way want to diminish the importance of your goal here. I remember my first 20 miler I was bragging about, then a 40 mile ride. I felt I had conquered the world!! Never had I dreamed I could ride a bike that far.
Having said that...
50 miles is a nice ride but not exactly what most would call a "long distance" ride. At 5 hours, that's only averaging 10 mph. So my point is, I don't see any necessary "training" to get to a 50 mile distance, especially if you can ride 25 miles now, other than just get out there and ride as often as you can. Keep adding distance incrementally and pretty soon you'll rather easily go past 50 miles and even longer.
I know that 50 miles should not be considered a long ride, but my logic here, is it's a long ride compared to what I've done previously similarly to how someone who may be experienced at riding may be trying something that is truly long distance. And I'm trying to be conservative with my estimate of 10mph. I am pretty sure it would be 10mph if I did it solo and did not pace myself well, but considering I'll be in a large bunch (hopefully) and my average is generally around 15mph solo when I'm not pushing, I feel pretty good about the pace. My main concern was not training enough to actually finish the race.
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Old 12-29-17, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by torero310 View Post
My main concern was not training enough to actually finish the race.
A GF is NOT a Race, although it is a timed cycling event.
This is important to fully understand and behave accordingly on open public roads in a mass start event with a group of riders and act accordingly to respect the rules of the road, common sense and cycling etiquette. Riding a GF as a race is a sure sign of testosterone poisoning and should be treated immediately before signs of 41-ism develop.

See Post #8

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Old 12-29-17, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by torero310 View Post
I know that 50 miles should not be considered a long ride, but my logic here, is it's a long ride compared to what I've done previously similarly to how someone who may be experienced at riding may be trying something that is truly long distance. And I'm trying to be conservative with my estimate of 10mph. I am pretty sure it would be 10mph if I did it solo and did not pace myself well, but considering I'll be in a large bunch (hopefully) and my average is generally around 15mph solo when I'm not pushing, I feel pretty good about the pace. My main concern was not training enough to actually finish the race.
Yes & please don't think I'm disparaging 50 miles. It is a significant ride by anyone's measure. It's just that if you're riding 25 miles now easily enough, then 50 is no problem. Just look at it as a goal. My only point was I don't think it requires some type training regimen to get to 50, other than just keep riding as much as possible and constantly add to your distance.
As far as pacing, burning too many matches early on is what will blow it all. I usually ride a consistent average speed of 15 mph. I live in mountainous country so that includes the slow climbs and downhills. On flat land that bumps up to 16- 17 mph. I've recently bought a touring bike and aim to ride some long distances. I know I won't do that at 15-17mph average. So I have to literally FORCE myself to slow down and conserve energy early on. I'm used to climbing hills on my carbon road bike at 7-10 mph. I'm having to FORCE myself to slow down, drop this touring bike in the lowest gear and slowly winch myself up the hill at 5 mph or less.

And that's what I'm seeing most people on here advising you, don't push too hard, pace yourself and you'll get there in the ride. In the meantime, just keep adding miles, the 50 miles is the easy part.

Also, keep in mind bike fit will come into play. I can ride anything for 20 miles. At about 30 miles is when saddle angle, fore/aft position, neck pain, lower back pain, bar height/position, knees, etc start showing up as a result of bike fit. At least with me. If I make an adjustment or for instance, put on a new saddle, as I start zeroing in on proper set up, I don't consider anything correctly adjusted until I can ride 40+ miles comfortably. You don't want to get to 35-40 miles in the GF and find you can't finish, or worse, suffer an injury. Just something to consider. Good luck with it all!!

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Old 12-29-17, 01:03 PM
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Another thing you'll start running into at 50 miles is nutrition and hydration issues. Many folks just starting out trying to ride further will need to eat much more frequently than experienced riders who have trained their metabolisms. Many people trying to ride further think they're tired when actually they just need to eat a little something. One doesn't necessarily feel hunger. A good thing to do is to take a couple Clif bars with you, opening the packages ahead of time. Eat them 1/4 at a time, maybe at 1/2 hour intervals. Clif brand bars just because of their excellent durability combined with reasonable edibility. If you feel tired and/or a little sleepy, eat.

You can drink to thirst, but be sure to drink when thirsty. You may need to stop to refill water. Or not, depending on temperature.
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Old 12-29-17, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
One doesn't necessarily feel hunger. A good thing to do is to take a couple Clif bars with you, opening the packages ahead of time. Eat them 1/4 at a time, maybe at 1/2 hour intervals. Clif brand bars just because of their excellent durability combined with reasonable edibility. If you feel tired and/or a little sleepy, eat.
Good advice, I do that with Clif bars on longer rides. Just pinch off a bit every now and then to keep fueling the motor. If I don't eat on longer rides, and I suddenly start feeling hungry, it's too late, I'm already running out of fuel and it is difficult to catch back up. Much easier to constantly nibble and sip along the way, at least for me. Much over 30 miles and I'm going to carry something to snack on.
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Old 12-29-17, 03:00 PM
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I would also think twice about the "keeping up with the group" thing. It may be that I'm more comfortable doing solo stuff but trying to match what others are doing is a good way to mess yourself up. I would much rather come up with a pace that I want to maintain and train to hit that and during the race discipline myself to keep to that goal. The pace is up to you, not someone else. That way you also get a very clear feeling of having set and met a goal and can adjust for the next time depending on how easy/hard it felt to achieve it.

ie. If you want to finish in 4 hours (for example) then the average pace will be 50/4 or 12.5mph.

Clif bars with nut butter filling ( just sayin )
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Old 12-29-17, 06:06 PM
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I really can't stand cliff bars any more. Eating too much of something will do that to you. Maybe I should try one with nut butter filling.

make sure you've started eating before 20 miles in. There is a bit of a delay before it kicks in.
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Old 12-29-17, 08:14 PM
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I would quote all of you but that would be a lot of messages... so thank you for the support/advice! I will take heed and the 50 mile ride will have two rest stops so I hope I don't get dehydrated :O I do know that I sweat more easily than other people so I just hope I don't run out of liquid. (I will definitely try refueling earlier and more often).
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Old 12-29-17, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by torero310 View Post
I would quote all of you but that would be a lot of messages... so thank you for the support/advice! I will take heed and the 50 mile ride will have two rest stops so I hope I don't get dehydrated :O I do know that I sweat more easily than other people so I just hope I don't run out of liquid. (I will definitely try refueling earlier and more often).
You will have two water bottles on your bicycle ... right?

If you drink at a rate of one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours, you should be fine. If you are indeed a person who sweats more than others, go for one 750 ml bottle every hour. An 80 km ride would take you, say, 4-5 hours ... two bottles on board, and two rest stops where you can refill the bottles should be ample.

Also, if you are a person who sweats a lot, don't forget your electrolytes.
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Old 01-01-18, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You will have two water bottles on your bicycle ... right?

If you drink at a rate of one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours, you should be fine. If you are indeed a person who sweats more than others, go for one 750 ml bottle every hour. An 80 km ride would take you, say, 4-5 hours ... two bottles on board, and two rest stops where you can refill the bottles should be ample.

Also, if you are a person who sweats a lot, don't forget your electrolytes.
well I'll put it this way... in theory I can fit two water bottles on my bike. The issue is that I need to carry a pump (I have a frame one... that wedges between seat post and down tube) and I have a saddle bag for if I get a flat (we also have to take care of our own flats) so I don't really have room for another bottle. The reason I can't have 2 bottles AND a pump in the middle, is because my bike is smaller than most... I believe I have a 47cm or something similar to that (possibly 45). I can definitely fit 1 750 ml, If I'm lucky I may be able to fit a 500 mL but I still haven't figured that part out yet. I've considered putting water bottles in my pockets (thinner ones but long, 500 mL) but I feel like that may be uncomfortable. I've also toyed with the idea of bringing a light rucksack/backpack but I don't really know. I would show a picture of my bike but I'm not with it...
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Old 01-01-18, 10:34 AM
  #25  
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If you can't fit two water bottles and a pump on your bike, then wear a cycling jersey that has pockets in the back and keep your second water bottle in the center pocket. Drink that one first, so that it will be empty half the time and less weight. I've ridden with three 24 oz water bottles in my jersey back pockets and two on my bike = 5 hours of riding without stopping for water.
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