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Cycling event this weekend: which distance should I sign up for?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway
View Poll Results: Which event distance should I sign up for (read below)
75km with 600m of elevation
4
23.53%
105km with 1000m of elevation
13
76.47%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

Cycling event this weekend: which distance should I sign up for?

Old 04-12-22, 02:15 AM
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maartendc
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Cycling event this weekend: which distance should I sign up for?

Hello all,

I am planning to sign up, on a whim, for a cycling event here in Belgium this weekend. Some background info:

- I was in reasonably good shape last fall. Did some serious rides in the French Pyrenees (90km per day, 1600m altitude), and some 100km/day rides on a 5-day touring trip.
- I took 3 months off the bike completely this winter
- I just started cycling again 9 weeks ago, with some illness in the middle. Been averaging 90km per week since then, half of which is commuting, half of which steady interval rides on Zwift (avg ride 35km on Zwift - 1 hour long rides).

The event has 2 options I am considering: 75km with 600m of elevation OR 105km with 1000m of elevation.

What should I sign up for based on my current training level? Since I have just again started training after winter, only short rides, the longer distance and elevation seems scary. Should my base fitness level from last year carry me through the longer distance? Then again, it is nice to challenge yourself sometimes and feel sense of accomplishment.

What would you sign up for if you were me?

Thanks!

Last edited by maartendc; 04-12-22 at 02:18 AM.
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Old 04-12-22, 03:53 AM
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yaw
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Always the bigger one that feels like pushing it. You will make it.
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Old 04-12-22, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
Since I have just again started training after winter, only short rides, the longer distance and elevation seems scary. Should my base fitness level from last year carry me through the longer distance? Then again, it is nice to challenge yourself sometimes and feel sense of accomplishment.

What would you sign up for if you were me?
You should have enough experience to know if you have the gearing and the fitness to survive the climbing. Otherwise, I think it would depend on what type of "scary" you're feeling. The kind that is exciting and sharpens your anticipation of the ride? Or, the kind that makes you feel as if you have a lead ball in your stomach?
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Old 04-12-22, 08:24 AM
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Only you can know the answer! Personally, I'd go with the shorter one. You most likely lost cardio and strength over the winter. We all do, except those Zwift freaks who ride even more during winter!!
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Old 04-12-22, 11:29 AM
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The question is, actually, "what do you have to do the next day?"
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Old 04-12-22, 11:52 AM
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I think you can do either one you want from your description. However there are several data points we don't have. such as,
1) how old are you?
2) how is your general health
3) how much do you weigh and how does that compare to when you did the Pyranees rides last year
4) did you stay active otherwise during those 3 months off
5) how long have you been a cyclist (you come back quicker when you have years of base)
6) what is your power and perceived exertion on those one hour Zwift rides. Intense short workouts can do more to improve your endurance than many people think. If you've trained your FTP to a high level on shorter workouts, you can ride your long ride at pace well below FTP and do well.

If you're not old, have some history as a cyclist, and are in general good health, you definitely can do the long option.

Whether you should depends on what you want out of the ride. Do you want something that will challenge you, or do you just want to have fun; If any friends are doing the ride, what length are they signing up for; are you using this to build for another event, which route is prettier, more fun, do you need to do anything else that day?
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Old 04-12-22, 01:07 PM
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whichever route has more opportunities for frites. are you racing? no? then does it matter? you'll be fine. 30Km isn't that much different, but those extra 400m climbing might hurt a little. Take your time, stop for frites, have fun --
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Old 04-12-22, 02:02 PM
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thanks for all the responses so far!

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I think you can do either one you want from your description. However there are several data points we don't have. such as,
1) how old are you?
2) how is your general health
3) how much do you weigh and how does that compare to when you did the Pyranees rides last year
4) did you stay active otherwise during those 3 months off
5) how long have you been a cyclist (you come back quicker when you have years of base)
6) what is your power and perceived exertion on those one hour Zwift rides. Intense short workouts can do more to improve your endurance than many people think. If you've trained your FTP to a high level on shorter workouts, you can ride your long ride at pace well below FTP and do well.

If you're not old, have some history as a cyclist, and are in general good health, you definitely can do the long option.

Whether you should depends on what you want out of the ride. Do you want something that will challenge you, or do you just want to have fun; If any friends are doing the ride, what length are they signing up for; are you using this to build for another event, which route is prettier, more fun, do you need to do anything else that day?
Thanks for the response, this is good advice.

- I am 35
- General health Ok
- Weight about 67kg, about the same as last year I would say.
- I do have a pretty active lifestyle, cycling to the shops and such, and go for some hikes once in a while over the winter.
- Been cycling regularly on and off for about 10 years, so pretty solid base.
- Haven't really been hammering too hard on Zwift honestly. I guess it will have helped somewhat. You are absolutely right, they can help a lot to improve overall fitness and endurance when done right.

Dont really have any major plans the rest of the weekend, but it is a longish train ride home which sucks when exhausted.

I will mull it over some, thanks for the advice!
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Old 04-12-22, 08:02 PM
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65mi ride with 3000' of climb? Yeah, I think you can handle that as it's about 45'/mi. It might be tough depending on how the climbing comes(rollers or steep, etc), but based on averaging 55mi/week for 9 weeks, for sure go that route.
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Old 04-13-22, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
................................I will mull it over some, thanks for the advice!
I went into the LBS and heard about a ride that a group of guys were going to do. Remembering the days when I enjoyed climbing and distances I decided on a whim to give it a go. I had 3 weeks to somewhat prepare for the Six Gap Century, 103 miles, 11,000' climbing. I had lived in SW FL for 30 years where a typical 100 miler has 80' to 110' elevation and wanted a do or die challenge so popped on a 12/28 with the 39/53 and had a blast. Age was early 60's.

Go LONG or STAY HOME you got it made
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Old 04-15-22, 02:17 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback!

Turns out I will be cycling with a friend of mine who hasn't ridden a road bike much in the past year or two, so we will be doing the 75 km.

This is what the elevation profile is looking like, so I am sure it will be a challenge nonetheless haha.



I am looking forward to get some solid training done this spring and challenge myself later on this spring / summer with some longer distances! Thanks all.
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Old 04-15-22, 04:00 AM
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75km will be plenty challenging with your current base. Good decision to go with your friend.
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