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Long road biking trips

Old 04-24-22, 09:05 AM
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Bikerdrummer
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Long road biking trips

I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles, small group trip. About 2,000 ft of climb (mostly 3 large bridges) and a couple bathroom breaks and one lunch break for a quick sandwich. I brought 2 water bottles, some granola bars, and some energy gummyís.
Iím in my mid 40ís, my average heart rate was 135 on the trip, I burned 5,700 carioles, and the speed varied as there was a lot of stop and go because it was in city limits. Iíd say Iím an intermediate and seasonal rider.

My right knee started hurting toward the end but nothing crazy. Then when I got home, both knees started to swell up a bit giving me some trouble trying to walk around. Today my knees are much better, swelling went down, and Iím just sore.

Iíd love any tips for long ride prep or post ride rituals from those with experience. Iíd definitely do another long trip in the future. It was really fun.

Last edited by Bikerdrummer; 04-24-22 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 04-24-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles, small group trip. About 2,000 ft of climb (mostly 3 large bridges) and a couple bathroom breaks and one lunch break for a quick sandwich. I brought 2 water bottles, some granola bars, and some energy gummyís.
Iím in my mid 40ís, my average heart rate was 135 on the trip, I burned 5,700 carioles, and the speed varied as there was a lot of stop and go because it was in city limits. Iíd say Iím an intermediate and seasonal rider.

My right knee started hurting toward the end but nothing crazy. Then when I got home, both knees started to swell up a bit giving me some trouble trying to walk around. Today my knees are much better, swelling went down, and Iím just sore.

Iíd love any tips for long ride prep or post ride rituals from those with experience. Iíd definitely do another long trip in the future. It was really fun.
I would check out how well your bike fits you. 80 miles is a long ride but not necessarily a length that should leave you in the level of discomfort you described.

It's great you're out there.
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Old 04-24-22, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
I would check out how well your bike fits you. 80 miles is a long ride but not necessarily a length that should leave you in the level of discomfort you described.

It's great you're out there.
good point. Iíd like to get a proper bike fitting but will have to budget. Itís several hundred dollars where Iím at.
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Old 04-24-22, 04:23 PM
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Google "saddle height", your saddle may be too low. You want almost full extension or you will place undue strain on your knees. You gain power as well. Second thought is pedals with float.
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Old 04-24-22, 06:22 PM
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Your calorie burn is probably about half of that estimate.
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Old 04-24-22, 06:54 PM
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Can you localise that knee pain a bit more precisely?

If you are not comfortable spending the bike fit money right now, check YouTube professional bike fit advice videos and improve your saddle position based on these tips. Hopefully this will improve things as the pain/swelling is not normal. But it will likely not take you all the way.

A good bike fit is some of the best money spent. It may end up costing you more than you think if you need parts like stems/bars/saddle changed but it is well worth it when you can ride very long distances and hop off the bike with no discomfort whatsoever beyond muscle fatigue.

The extent to which things are wrong can be massive, even if you think you received expert advise in a shop.
When I first got into road biking after some decades of not cycling, I left the store with
- a frame one size too large
- a saddle way too high
- a saddle way too far back
- a stem way too short
- a handlebar stack way too high
- the wrong hood angle

It feels fine to ride when you don't know any better. After all that was corrected, holy cow.
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Old 04-24-22, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Your calorie burn is probably about half of that estimate.
Calories are from the wahoo roam with heart monitor set up. After the ride I ate 2 dinners. Lol
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Old 04-24-22, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
Calories are from the wahoo roam with heart monitor set up.
Yeah, that's what I assumed. Calorie estimates of that type are typically off by a lot.

How many hours did it take you?
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Old 04-24-22, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Yeah, that's what I assumed. Calorie estimates of that type are typically off by a lot.

How many hours did it take you?
about 7 hours, but it was a lot of stop and go which is a lot of work.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
about 7 hours, but it was a lot of stop and go which is a lot of work.
5,600 calories over 7 hours implies roughly 225 W average power. 11.4 mph on that fairly flat course probably would have required less than 100 W average, unless you tip the scales at 300-400 pounds.
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Old 04-25-22, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
5,600 calories over 7 hours implies roughly 225 W average power. 11.4 mph on that fairly flat course probably would have required less than 100 W average, unless you tip the scales at 300-400 pounds.
Good guess, my ave speed was 11.5. Although it was all in a metro area so 90% stop and go. A non-stop 80 mile route would of been much easier. Iím about 190 pounds.
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Old 04-25-22, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles, small group trip. About 2,000 ft of climb (mostly 3 large bridges) and a couple bathroom breaks and one lunch break for a quick sandwich. I brought 2 water bottles, some granola bars, and some energy gummyís.
Iím in my mid 40ís, my average heart rate was 135 on the trip, I burned 5,700 carioles, and the speed varied as there was a lot of stop and go because it was in city limits. Iíd say Iím an intermediate and seasonal rider.

My right knee started hurting toward the end but nothing crazy. Then when I got home, both knees started to swell up a bit giving me some trouble trying to walk around. Today my knees are much better, swelling went down, and Iím just sore.

Iíd love any tips for long ride prep or post ride rituals from those with experience. Iíd definitely do another long trip in the future. It was really fun.
Did you refill the bottles at any point? 2 bottles seems little for 80 miles.

I would almost suggest seeing a physio at least once for a check, not just a fit. Swelling should not really happen. How much do you usually cycle? Could be just this effort was way too much for your normal riding and the fit isn't good so it happened. Rather than something else going on.
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Old 04-25-22, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Did you refill the bottles at any point? 2 bottles seems little for 80 miles.

I would almost suggest seeing a physio at least once for a check, not just a fit. Swelling should not really happen. How much do you usually cycle? Could be just this effort was way too much for your normal riding and the fit isn't good so it happened. Rather than something else going on.
good point. I do a yearly physical with my Dr, next is scheduled for July. I can bring it up.
It wasnít hot out so not a lot of sweating. I had 2 bottles of water. Iíve zwifted through the winter 3 times a week for 30-40 mins. Nothing major. Could just be out if shape.
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Old 04-25-22, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
good point. I do a yearly physical with my Dr, next is scheduled for July. I can bring it up.
It wasnít hot out so not a lot of sweating. I had 2 bottles of water. Iíve zwifted through the winter 3 times a week for 30-40 mins. Nothing major. Could just be out if shape.
Ok, 3 times for 40 minutes max is nothing compared to 80 miles. So yes, probably just a poor fit and nothing serious with your knees.
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Old 04-25-22, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles,

My right knee started hurting toward the end but nothing crazy. Then when I got home, both knees started to swell up a bit giving me some trouble trying to walk around. Today my knees are much better, swelling went down, and I’m just sore.

I’d love any tips for long ride prep or post ride rituals from those with experience. I’d definitely do another long trip in the future. It was really fun.
A lot of us do 80 mile rides without thinking much of it, but that's because we put in fairly serious miles week in and week out. If you do 80 miles just once and a while with your prep being mostly 30-40 minute indoor training sessions, then those 80 miles are going to hurt, even with a perfect bike fit.

So, as per the tips you are requesting? Ride more often and at longer distances. If you regularly do 30, 40, and 50 mile outdoor rides, those 80 mile outing won't seem like anything at all.
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Old 04-25-22, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles, small group trip. About 2,000 ft of climb (mostly 3 large bridges) and a couple bathroom breaks and one lunch break for a quick sandwich. I brought 2 water bottles, some granola bars, and some energy gummy’s.
I’m in my mid 40’s, my average heart rate was 135 on the trip, I burned 5,700 carioles, and the speed varied as there was a lot of stop and go because it was in city limits. I’d say I’m an intermediate and seasonal rider.

My right knee started hurting toward the end but nothing crazy. Then when I got home, both knees started to swell up a bit giving me some trouble trying to walk around. Today my knees are much better, swelling went down, and I’m just sore.

I’d love any tips for long ride prep or post ride rituals from those with experience. I’d definitely do another long trip in the future. It was really fun.
what sort of average cadence were you cycling at? I can't think of anything, apart from really bad fit or excessive low-rpm grinding, that would essentially target your knees. If it was simply a case of too long, too early, I would expect your thighs and arse to be making as much noise as your knees. Do you have float on your pedals and is it centered?
As for post-ride, you could ice your knees, although I once used to use a microwaveable heat pad when one knee was playing up, which worked well. You could also pop a couple of Advil pre-ride
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Old 04-25-22, 08:01 PM
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man, good effort!! are likes not visible? Seems like this forum doesn't indulge the 'like' button much

I'm in awe!

Hmm, I'm building up my ride length, for most of my life i've been a commuter, the longest rides being up around, i dunno, 18-20 miles, in imperial? more recently i've been getting up around 50-60 mile.

The next trip I want to try is about 200km return, i dunno, 150 miles? to a oceanside city across a pretty shallow mountain range... looking forward to it, just need a day where i can disappear for 12 odd hours without annoying my girl

i have a slightly shorter trip that would take me around a very long mountain reservoir, but that's got about twice the elevation as the 200km ride.. intimidating!

Thoughts on prep and recovery!

- Bananas. i always get carried away with aches and pains and forget that basically the moment i eat a banana a huge percentage of those problems wink away into nonexistence.
- Hot'n'cold cream of some description all around those knees, along the tendons leading into those knees, and the muscles around there, too. this is useful before and after the trip, just be wary of smelling strongly...
- buy some 'eposom salts' and have a long soak in a cool epsom salt bath, they will sap the swelling out of your knees and let your body start healing quickly. Swelling is a natural shock absorber intended to protect the injury though so be gentle once you've sapped it out.
- 12 second stretches before the ride and whenever you get tight during the ride, 30 second stretches that night.

- is your seat height ideal? as far as i can tell seat height can be pretty idiosyncratic - experts might tell you that it should be so high, but if you're like me you might ride more on the balls of your feet and need a bit of extra height in the seat? If your knees are cramping a bit from not extending ideally during your ride, that would probably be the red handed culprit. it only happening in one knee is a not so clear though...

- far fetched here, but do you favour your right or left knee in some way during daily life? My wife likes to sit on her right leg while working at the PC and she gets a lot of trouble out of that. if you tend to put your leg across one knee or the other, that might explain the a-symmetry of your issue...

just some thoughts!

Last edited by tajimirich; 04-25-22 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 04-25-22, 11:52 PM
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I've been struggling with knees too. I'm doing an MS150 this weekend and I'm rather concerned about how my knees will feel on day two. I've been trying to work up to it and have been doing a 40-60 mile ride every weekend for the past couple of months. I mostly feel ok on the ride, but my knees are still always a little angry a day or three after.

I've adjusted about everything on the bike multiple times and watched a lot of fit videos. I've also used myvelofit and got everything in the green. I'd try a shorter crank next, but don't want to make any big changes this close to the ride in case it makes things worse. Maybe I just have bad knees. I did this ride 5 years ago and my knees never complained, but I'm on the wrong side of 40 now.

Anyways.. I use a knee brace and always take a long soak with salts afterwards. I don't know if either of those actually help. I've never had any swelling. Just soreness above the knee cap.
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Old 04-26-22, 06:25 AM
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[QUOTE=Bikerdrummer;22482665]I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles,

How much have you been riding so for this season? It could be as simple as overuse and undertrained for the distance. 80 miles is a long ride, especially early in the year.

Ice, Advil, rest and the imperial IPA of your choice.
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Old 04-26-22, 01:38 PM
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[QUOTE=bblair;22484897]
Originally Posted by Bikerdrummer View Post
I went on my longest to date road biking trip, 80 miles,

How much have you been riding so for this season? It could be as simple as overuse and undertrained for the distance. 80 miles is a long ride, especially early in the year.

Ice, Advil, rest and the imperial IPA of your choice.
Knee swelling went away 100% by the end of the next day.
Iíll get a fitting before my next long ride. Bike size should be right so steam and saddle height maybe have to be adjusted.
Thanks for all the input everyone.
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