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Thinking About Biking Across the State (BRAG) But Need Opinions

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Thinking About Biking Across the State (BRAG) But Need Opinions

Old 04-01-24, 07:36 AM
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Thinking About Biking Across the State (BRAG) But Need Opinions

Some stats: I'm 53, workout 5-6 times a week. Weights, p90x and P90x3 for cardio/legs. Biking has been limited to twice a week 10-20 miles tops. I am interested in doing the BRAG ride (Bike ride across Georgia). Although it's a ride from Atlanta to Savannah so not all the way across.

​​​​The ride is in June. I work out of town two weeks a month, four days each week in Atlanta. I stay in a hotel and really won't ha e time to ride for those eight days that I work. Would I be able to get in shape enough to do this ride. It's 50-70 miles a day. I think it's as casual as you want it to be from what I've been told. But it's still a long ride. Do you think this is doable? I have recently been having neck issues so I'd be doing it on a 26 pound hybrid bike so I can sit a bit more upright.
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Old 04-01-24, 09:59 AM
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How soon will you be able to schedule a 50 mile ride? If you can do a 50 mile ride and feel good at the end, you may have answered your own question. It might be best to do a 35 or 40 mile ride several days before you attempt the 50 mile ride.
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Old 04-02-24, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
How soon will you be able to schedule a 50 mile ride? If you can do a 50 mile ride and feel good at the end, you may have answered your own question. It might be best to do a 35 or 40 mile ride several days before you attempt the 50 mile ride.
That's the problem. Riding consistently. I do stay at a hotel that has a stationary bike, I guess that's better than nothing

But two weeks a month I'll only have 2 days to ride.
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Old 04-02-24, 05:37 AM
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You will need to find a Saddle that fits Your REAR ON Long Distance rides.

My saddle test was 100 Mile Rides.
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Old 04-02-24, 06:43 AM
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Yes, you can do the BRAG. With all your regular exercise and riding during the 2 at-home weeks, you got this. @10 Wheels makes a very good point about breaking in your bum!

My weakness would be the day-after-day riding, so that's what I'd work on during the home weeks - starting with 3 days of 25 miles per day, then a total rest day. But that's me and I don't work out 6 days a week!
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Old 04-02-24, 12:05 PM
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Less than a week ago I typed this in a different thread:
.
You have to train your body to handle multi-hour rides. I did a bike tour last year in April with an old friend and former co-worker, he is a year or two older than me. He used to be in really good shape, but he got ready for that tour with exercise that never lasted over an hour. Thus, his body never ran out of the stored sugars in his muscles and blood system during his training, thus he did not train his other organs to start generating the fuel his muscles needed after a couple hours. Thus, every day he was wasted after a couple hours. I was trying to get ready for a brevet, so I was doing 3, 4, 5, and 6 hour rides to get ready.
.
Some people can get on a bike and do a five or six your ride without any training. I am not one of those and the friend that I did that tour with is not one either. Maybe you are, I am not saying that you are not. But, a long ride that you have not tried to get ready for can be pretty rough. Especially if there are strong headwinds or other inclement weather.

I did my first brevet at age 65, am 70, so do not let your age stop you, I see a lot of distance riders that are older than you.

Some of it is physical and some of it is mental. I have had some very miserable long days on a bike, sometimes you almost have to force yourself to smile. Photo below was on a 14 hour day. This was not a brevet, it was a bike tour where I was camping every night, and the last half of that day was a very tough day.

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Old 04-02-24, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
You have to train your body to handle multi-hour rides.
This. When I wrote above, I was thinking I should be using hours not miles for ride durations.
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Old 04-02-24, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
This. When I wrote above, I was thinking I should be using hours not miles for ride durations.
I think hours for long rides on terrain that I am not familiar with. That automatically adjusts for headwind/tailwind, rough gravel vs smooth pavement, high rolling resistance tires vs low rolling resistance, hilly vs flat terrain, etc. But I am a low wattage rider, so conditions do not have to be very adverse for me to become a slow rider.
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Old 04-02-24, 12:39 PM
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Ok! I appreciate the input. I'll go ahead and register. One thing I learned from year of doing half-marathons is to tell everyone you know you are doing it. Forces you to not back out.
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Old 04-02-24, 06:13 PM
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Also check out the BRAT put on by TN State Parks. It's in Sept each year. Great support and food, multiple routes and distances for
each days ride. Bicycle Ride Across TN
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Old 04-03-24, 06:24 AM
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One more final piece of advice. Do not work on your bike before you start that long event. Make sure you have some miles on the bike before the event, then you will know if it is ready. Exception, lubing the chain while the chain is on the bike is likely needed and that is not really working on it.

Example:
I did a century over a decade ago, a few miles after the start, there were about a dozen riders stopped on the side of the road. I stopped to see if someone needed help. The bike owner of the dysfunctional bike said that it was really strange, both front and rear derailleurs broke at the same time. This peaked my curiosity, so I looked at the bike. Found that the rider had shifted onto the biggest ring in front and the biggest sprocket in back, and his chain was too tight, his rear derailleur cage was at an odd angle. I asked him when was the last time he changed the chain, he said he had a bike shop change it for that ride a few days earlier. I told him to remove the rear wheel, put it in a different gear, re-assemble and DO NOT go into that gear again. And told him the next day to go to the bike shop and chew out the mechanic for cutting the chain too short.

Another example:
It is common to replace a chain, but find out after several miles that the cassette needs changing too when the chain skips on a sprocket or two. But once you start an event and you find one commonly used sprocket skips, that is really bad timing.

It can be tempting to make changes shortly before an event, but you really need to make sure the bike is in good shape with some miles after any changes. After any changes I make, I like to get 20 to 30 miles on a bike before I do any special events, some of those miles include pedaling hard, like up a hill to make sure the drive train can take the stress if I change any drive train components.

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Old 04-05-24, 06:51 PM
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Another question. I have done a few rides of 27-34 miles with no problems. Other than a slightly sore backside. I am currently using mountain bike padded shorts and gym shirts (not cotton, think loose under armour or Nike type gym shirts). They seem comfortable. Is there any reason I should buy bike shorts and bike jerseys if these are working for these distances? It's a six day trip so I guess that would mean Shelling out $500 for clothes which I'm not thrilled about. The daily rides will be longer though but I've had no problems with chafing or anything else.
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Old 04-05-24, 06:52 PM
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Also....they recommend "rain gear" which DOES make sense to me. What do guys recommend?
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Old 04-06-24, 07:38 AM
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Everyone is different. I won't ride a long distance in gym shorts. But everyone's bum is different. And every saddle is different. Sometimes I ride with mountain bike type shorts, sometimes road rider type shorts. Bike touring, I use mountain bike type shorts that have zippered pockets for my wallet and a tiny little multi-tool.

They make bike underpants, basically a padded underpant that you can wear under gym shorts or civilian clothing. I use this in winter at the gym under gym shorts when I am on an exercise bike with an extraordinarily uncomfortable saddle for a 65 minute exercise ride. You could get some of those, they might work with your gym shorts. There is a frequent poster on the Touring forum that uses those bike underpants for bike touring with non-bike shorts.

Often for casual rides near home, I wear cotton tee shirts instead of bike jerseys. I use the greenish yellow ones that are made for construction workers. The low budget ones without reflective print. I have not bought any for at least a decade but I think I paid $5 for them last time I bought some. I strongly recommend something that is high visibility, not earth tone colors. I bought mine in a store, but I looked for mine with an internet search and found they have them on Amazon, these are the ones I use.
https://www.amazon.com/Gildan-Ultra-.../dp/B00GSIOV7G

The rain gear I use would cost maybe $300, so I will let others comment on that.

Bike touring, I usually bring two pairs of bike shorts, one pair is convertible to long pants. And two jerseys, one long sleeve and one short. And I do sink laundry, but I have never done an event like you will where there are hundreds fighting over the limited sink and shower space. And, campground sinks almost never have drain stoppers for sink laundry, I bring my own flat silicone drain stopper for that. Virtually everyone says you should wear bike shorts without any underwear under them. I go against conventional wisdom and wear underwear under my bike shorts, I change the underwear daily but will wear the same bike shorts for several days. I get the synthetic fast drying underwear that is not cheap. Some that have tried underwear under bike shorts complain of seams causing skin problems, that is one possible problem.
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Old 04-06-24, 07:44 AM
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Rain, one more comment, I wear yellow or clear glasses in rain when sunglasses are too dark. I use a mountain bike type helmet with visor, and a rain cover over the helmet and visor so rain is not running down my forehead into my eyes.

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Old 04-06-24, 04:57 PM
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Lots of people wash kit during multi-day rides. You don't need to buy/pack a clean set for each day if you don't already have it. I also wouldn't worry too much about rain specific clothing. Riding several hours in the rain, you'll be wet no matter what you wear. You can get cold, though, even in the summer. A light jacket that dries quickly is useful.
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Old 04-06-24, 07:07 PM
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More on the sink laundry, on a big ride where things may get crowded, you might not have much space to hang your wet gear. Be ready to do things in a compact fashion.



I have a kickstand on some of my bikes, used an elastic to lock the rear brake at the handlebar so the bike won't roll in the above photo.

On a different tour where I was part of a group of a dozen with ACA, I made the mistake of stringing my clothesline before I washed my clothing. When I returned to hang it, everyone else in the group had already used my entire clothes line. Photo below.



Lesson learned, do not put up your clothesline until you are ready to hang clothes on it.
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Old 04-07-24, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
More on the sink laundry, on a big ride where things may get crowded, you might not have much space to hang your wet gear. Be ready to do things in a compact fashion.



I have a kickstand on some of my bikes, used an elastic to lock the rear brake at the handlebar so the bike won't roll in the above photo.

On a different tour where I was part of a group of a dozen with ACA, I made the mistake of stringing my clothesline before I washed my clothing. When I returned to hang it, everyone else in the group had already used my entire clothes line. Photo below.



Lesson learned, do not put up your clothesline until you are ready to hang clothes on it.

You are nicer than I am. Those clothes would be on that picnic table when I came up on it if it were my line

These are all great suggestions! Maybe I could make do with what I got. I've got two pair of mountain bike shorts. One has pads sewn in. The other one, the pads are removable. I like them because they look normal from the back. I have no jerseys just quick dry shirts that I use for the gym. Maybe I could splurge on a jersey or two. And one extra pair of these shorts.
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Old 04-08-24, 06:39 PM
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Some suggestions

* Use your hotel days for high intensity training, and your road days for distance.
* Rest days are as important as riding days. Particularly after HIT rides. Train hard, rest hard.
** This is the only point where your age actually matters
* Buy bike shorts. 3 pair. Just do it.
* Jerseys don't matter as much. Pockets are convenient.
* All rain is not the same. I live in the PNW, where rain is life. There's cold rain, light rain, intermittent rain, sunshine and rain, heavy rain, all day rain, all day and all night rain, days and days of rain, warm rain. So it depends.
* Certain things will make you unhappy: wet socks, wet head, wet butt, cold and wet body. Depending on the type of rain (see above) you want gear to prevent these.
* If you go with a rain jacket, you want a two-way zipper (so you can open up from the bottom) and pit zips.
** Friends don't let friends ride in the rain without pit zips.
* People outside the PNW mostly don't get this, but I'll say it anyway: Bikes ridden in the rain need fenders.
* When you get to the start line, you have the fitness you have. Ride within your fitness, and you'll be fine. Ride outside your fitness and you will be miserable.

Of course, stay on top of hydration and nutrition, but everyone knows that by now, right?

Do it, of course. No question.
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