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Cutting Body Fat % for Touring?

Old 07-08-15, 09:03 PM
  #26  
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In David Lamb's "Over the Hills: a midlife escape across America by bicycle," the author, who crossed from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the early 1990s, claims he did essentially zero physical preparation. He packed his panniers, stepped on his bike, and pedaled across the country, drinking and smoking all the way. He did little training (although I seem to recall he did a few weekend rides in advance), and made no effort to curb his junk food addictions.

Nevertheless, he arrived in Los Angeles after an exciting (and sometimes lonely) adventure, in excellent physical and mental shape.
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Old 07-09-15, 02:13 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
In 2001, I cycled one lap around outside of Australia.
^^^ That made me chuckle, calling it a lap!
... "I think I'll just do another couple of laps then hit the shower..."
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Old 07-09-15, 03:20 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Getting REALLY tired of this argument.

1. Getting a custom/handmade bicycle or upgrading to high-end components does more than just shave ounces. There is an inherent quality to well-made stuff that increases longevity, durability, sometimes serviceability, etc.
Yes, this is true. Whether it matters in terms of frame or whatnot is a wholly 'nother issue. I won't be putting a chris king or White front hub on my tourer because Shimano XT is just good enough. Over that level it's really just bling. Especially on a tourer. Same thing with all of the other Basic bearing components. Basic stuff is also much easier to replace. AAAND I would Wager that Basic shimano parts are much easier to source than parts to some obscure Super high end stuff (king, white, etc)

2. Bikes do not roll in a vaccuum. A lighter bicycle is easier to balance, throw around off-road, and lift for small hops over curbs and fallen branches. A lighter wheelset has less rotational mass and is easier to pedal. It doesn't matter if I'm 160lbs or 180lbs, I'd still be interested in losing a pound on the bike.
This might all be of relevance on a crit road bike, but what does it really matter on a tourer? Easier to balance? If you pack 50lbs of gear, how is the 3-4lbs in bike weight going to have any kind of effect? Noticeable at least? Lighter wheelset is a phallacy in most types of cycling. There was a really good calculation about wheel weight on ****** and the conclusion was that 1lbs in rim weight has something like 0.5-2watt difference. Considering again that the bike is carrying 50lbs of gear, I'd rather take absolutely bombproof wheels that are heavy, than lighter wheels which carry a slight risk. A broken spoke is going to slow me down more than the extra wheel weight.

As another example, would I rather use the new Schwalbe tubeless marathon almotion touring tire (mind you, I use road and MTB tubeless so not many tubes used in our household) or a heavier than original sin marathon plus tire? the tubeless is going to be A LOT lighter and probably in the end more puncture resistant. I'd still take the tubed marathon plus due to convenience. Convenience trumps weight almost always. Marathon plus is a very easy tire to hande when dealing with mavic touring rims (you could say they're very compatible) while a tubeless is perfect right to the point when you flat. You might get a 100 punctures before that, but the one time you flat when in a remote Place you're screwed. Getting a tube in a tubeless tire is no mean feat.

3. It baffles me that nobody bats an eye when someone buys a house with 6 more rooms than they need. People buy cars with towing capacity, off-road capability, and seating for 7 and then drive to work alone everyday. Yet, the second someone wants to put a comparatively small payment down for a nice bicycle, they're being foolish because they're not in Lance Armstrong shape.
When speaking tourers, my SO's bike is going to be somewhere in the region of $1600-$1700 after all the mods/accessories it's going to get. And it's a mid level steel framed tourer. Mine is going to be a bit cheaper but when considering personal gear we're looking at $4000 USD in bikes and gear. She's a doctor and I currently work at the disctrict prosecutors office as a kind of paralegal/assisting prosecutor (law student) and to us, that amount is a MASSIVE investment! MASSIVE! There are plenty of people who are poorer than us. So it's maybe a bit unrealistic to call a titanium framed bike a 'comparatively small payment'. To get titanium we'd have to take a loan.



Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Tell that to my XT bits. Tell that to some of the titanium frames people are riding. If you're loading out with carbon race gear, sure, you're right, but I'm talking about high-end touring gear and, specifically, the frames mentioned in OP's post. Spend money there, and you get quality.
Is XT high end? I kinda like XT stuff but Deore usually works just as well, but is just a little heavier. And XT front hubs are pretty nice. I would steer clear of XT rear hubs (or shimano rear hubs for that matter) because they do tend to break. And a funny thing I noticed as well, while shimano XT rear builds a strong wheel, an LX weirdly enough doesn't. At least in the non disc category. With discs it's a whole other ballgame.
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Old 07-09-15, 04:30 AM
  #29  
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Cutting Body Fat % for Touring?

^^^ Good post elcruxio.

Your point about XT making a stronger build than LX, is new to me.
I have XT hubs and no issues, but others have reported the XT aluminium ball bearings being less reliable than the LX steel ones... What other factors do you put it down to?

Hopefully avoiding a broken rim or broken spokes by having "bombproof" hand built wheels is important to me too. Mine are pretty bog standard A719's, DT Swiss spokes and XT hubs, which I too believe are easy to find replacement parts for, as you said.

As to tires I run Gator Hardshells for the ride feel compared to SMP's. Regular Gatorskins are my preferred tires for commuting, but the additional sidewall protection on Hardshells gives me a bit more peace of mind... I have A/B'd the two on the same wheels and the difference is minimal. In a double blind test I think I might just be able to tell the difference, but wouldn't wager on it...

Last edited by imi; 07-09-15 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 07-09-15, 05:56 AM
  #30  
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For my new touring wheelset I'm putting a hope RS Mono in the rear as it would seem to make the strongest wheel in its budget class when in the 135mm OLD mode.

The reason why XT makes a stronger wheel than the LX is due to flange spacing and dish. Now keep in mind that these numbers vary between models but these are taken with current gen widely available hubs (lx t670 and xt t780)

If we translate the hub spacing ratio directly to spoke tension, with LX hub one would get an NDS tension of 56kgf with DS tension of 100kgf. With XT the numbers are 60/100kgf. Not a great difference but since I'm squeezing every kgf out of the NDS side it matters to me. Respectively if we use a more realistic 120kgf DS tension the numbers are 71/67.
I'm personally going to as high as 130kgf DS and with the Hope RS Mono and a few tricks I'm pretty confident I'll get the DS tension to 80kgf
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Old 07-09-15, 06:00 AM
  #31  
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Cutting Body Fat % for Touring?

Thanks for that info, elcruxio.
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Old 07-09-15, 06:48 AM
  #32  
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I have good luck with XT M760 rear hub on one of my tourers and an XT M752 rear hub on another.

Originally Posted by imi View Post
...
I have XT hubs and no issues, but others have reported the XT aluminium ball bearings being less reliable than the LX steel ones... ...
I think you meant to say Aluminum axles, not ball bearings. I agree that the reports on later XT hubs were not good.

But I think the problems were specific to rear hubs, I have not heard of any problems on front XT hubs with Aluminum axles. I use an XT M770 Aluminum axle front hub on my foldup bike, no problems.

I have found Shimano to be a bit stingy on front hub grease.
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Old 07-09-15, 09:53 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
The thing is that the small stuff adds up. I went from 45 or 50 pounds of gear, to 30, then 22, then 14, and then 9 mostly by paying attention to small savings on individual items. I did it mostly by leaving stuff home but also did buy a few lighter items. I still maintained reasonable comfort and camping and cooking capability.

While I agree that the bike isn't the best place to concentrate on when trimming weight, with that big of a gear weight reduction I did find that I was happier on a lighter bike which saved even more weight. After all that trimming the difference was huge when it came to how nice the bike was to ride. To me fairly sporty bike very lightly loaded a joy to ride compared to a heavier load on a less sporty bike, so these choices are key to enjoying the ride.

Weight management for me goes:
  1. Maintain good general fitness and reasonable body fat %.
  2. Choose gear and clothing carefully eliminating weight where ever possible. Go over list again and again before and after each tour until it is fully dialed in.
  3. Pick bike, racks (if any), and bags to suit the load that you determined in step 2.

One drawback to really light packing is that folks assume you are on a day ride and you get a few less invites to stay with folks, but it isn't a big enough drawback for me to worry much about it.
Many people are happier with a lighter bike. That wasn't really my point. My point was that the OP is obsessing over body weight when it isn't really necessary given the weight they gave as an example, 150 lbs. If someone who is 150 lbs needs a couple pounds of weight savings, you don't have to pack much lighter to make that difference. I never really saw touring as an endeavor that was centered on being as light as possible, especially if you already weight 150 lbs.
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Old 07-09-15, 09:43 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by adablduya View Post
maybe i'm missing something in context, but it seems to me the obvious is being overlooked: if you go touring, and spend 5+ hours in the saddle daily, you WILL lose weight AND body fat %. a lot of it. your body will become a calorie and fat burning machine. one post was correct: focus on being conditioned to daily saddle time. fitness and weight loss will come as you progress, and it won't take long. have fun !

This seems to vary a lot between individuals, I knew some couriers that rode more than 5 hours/day & maintained different weights from skinny to significantly overweight. Even pro racers can struggle with getting weight down for grand tours. It's true there's nothing like touring for burning off fat if overeating is avoided. OTOH while trained muscles burn calories better I think there's sometimes a paradoxical effect of the digestive system extracting nutrients more efficiently when diet is cut. IE for overweight folks it can be quite frustrating to diet & find that after initial losses, further weight loss can get tougher.

Anyway, while it's logical to train properly for tours, sometimes adequate time isn't available. But eating a lighter diet in preparation does not necessarily take very much time. Cutting some of the flab gives a boost for short tours where the tour ends just when the training effect really has kicked in.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:05 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Getting REALLY tired of this argument.

1. Getting a custom/handmade bicycle or upgrading to high-end components does more than just shave ounces. There is an inherent quality to well-made stuff that increases longevity, durability, sometimes serviceability, etc.
Let the touring cyclist upgrade to carbon handlebars. Let everyone ride their own ride!

I like fancy tech too--was strongly thinking about getting a nice Co-Motion or custom Ti Gates/Rohloff but I really worry about theft. BTW I happened to be thinking about a carbon handlebar lately as something that might give a nice weight saving for semi-reasonable price...but it appears that a carbon bar would only save about 100 g for $100 more than current alu bar. I did see an Easton carbon seatpost on sale for $30, seems a worthwhile experiment. I'm trying out a Brooks B17 which is nice except for a little thigh rub on right side of nose. I doubt this will disappear with full break-in--lacing the saddle only helped a bit. So I'm going to try out a Terry Ti or similar touring saddle; will be lighter & hopefully comfier. Even checked out carbon rim idea but seems like much $$ for slight weight saving. Touring cassettes are little pigs but I'm not sure if anything can be done about that. My heavy-duty steel racks are pretty heavy; good alu or Ti racks might be a good tactic to save weight.

Anyway no matter what equipment is used, one can still increase fitness easily by carefully watching diet. Alexi Grewal's dad used to say that the best exercise is to "place hands on edge of dinner table & push!", heh.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:16 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Body fat is stored energy in a very easy to transport form. One pound of body fat is 3500 calories of energy. If you're heading out into the wilds, and carrying your food, a few extra pounds of body fat may be quite efficient. I know three days prior to heading out on the Dalton Highway, I ate as much as I could, to build extra fat reserves for 10 days of cycling without re-supply.

Yes & in traditional cultures being a bit "fat" is often considered a status symbol; ie in many cases people could not count on ample food always being readily available. I saw a tv show about Navy hypothermia research--the most resistant to cold-water hypothermia were guys that were fit but had higher body fat (something like 20-25% IIRC). But ironically even if one plans to carry some extra kilos for a tour it might pay off to do some fasting-training to teach body to burn fat. I suppose that mimics traditional diet that could often vary from feasting to famine.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:24 PM
  #37  
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At 21 I rode 4000 miles in 60 days and lost 1 pound (5'10"). Training was a lot of pick up soccer, desert hiking, ran 3 miles a day, rode a bike zip. Started slow (30-40 mi/day) and ended hot (100+ per day). Bike and I plus gear weighed 215, pretty light. 154 for me, 23 for bike, 33-37 for gear, racks, etc. I made my own tent, panniers, didn't get touring gadget clever. Touring is a state of mind. Don't let gear obsession or fitness get in your way. Start riding.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:26 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by nickw View Post
I always try to lean out a bit prior to a tour and lose 5 lbs or so. I train / race year around and generally speaking the intense efforts of, say, cyclocross dig deeper into my reserves than the long slow slog of a bike tour. I tend to do heavy miles on tour, in the summer, and just feel better a bit leaner...probably as much mental as physical. With that said, lots of tri-atheletes lean out a lot for the HI iron man to stay cool, so depending on how seriously you take your riding and what time of year, it can make a difference. I realize I am an exception to the rule, but not superbly so.

I think that beyond the weight savings, being leaner helps the body get rid of exercise/diet waste products better. Many pros try to lean out in preparation for Le Tour--partly to help endure the climbing but also I think to withstand the heat which can occasionally get brutal. BTW some health experts feel that air-conditioning is a major contributor to obesity. In pre-AC days the summer heat naturally helped cut appetite plus there was summer produce available to make lighter meals. Now, sedentary indoor folks' bodies don't really know what season it is.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:46 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Weight control is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Many people don't lose any weight while touring. Some gain. And yes, genetics plays a big role in body fat percentage, as it does with just about everything else related to humans.

Trying to lose weight while touring is not a good idea. Can you say 'bonk?'
It all depends I think. One can run a calorie deficit but eat/drink enough to give muscles enough fuel to avoid bonk, no? I used to occasionally bonk when doing race-training rides but on tours I try to avoid hard pedaling to ensure I don't get unduly fatigued. Like on a Blue Ridge Parkway tour...I got tired from the long climbs but never blew up; only once I chose to walk for a while & that was more to help relax & stretch legs for a bit.
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Old 07-10-15, 03:20 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
It all depends I think. One can run a calorie deficit but eat/drink enough to give muscles enough fuel to avoid bonk, no? I used to occasionally bonk when doing race-training rides but on tours I try to avoid hard pedaling to ensure I don't get unduly fatigued. Like on a Blue Ridge Parkway tour...I got tired from the long climbs but never blew up; only once I chose to walk for a while & that was more to help relax & stretch legs for a bit.
I'm not a physiologist, but believe the general premise is that a bonk is the depletion of glycogen stores. Your body can only refill these at a certain rate, which it can when exercising moderately, but not when pushing hard. Will depend on how trained you are, genetics, etc. I find the same as you, I can tour comfortably with no gels, bars, sports drinks etc. Couple snacks between meals but not much else. On the MTB or a hard 4-5 hour group ride, I need to eat constantly or suffer big time.
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Old 07-10-15, 05:37 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by nickw View Post
I'm not a physiologist, but believe the general premise is that a bonk is the depletion of glycogen stores. Your body can only refill these at a certain rate, which it can when exercising moderately, but not when pushing hard. Will depend on how trained you are, genetics, etc. I find the same as you, I can tour comfortably with no gels, bars, sports drinks etc. Couple snacks between meals but not much else. On the MTB or a hard 4-5 hour group ride, I need to eat constantly or suffer big time.
Agree. If you want to lose weight while touring, then don't push too hard and you'll probably avoid the bonk, while dropping 500 cals/day off the 3000+ you'll be burning. Your body can metabolize fat to meet energy demands if the demand is reasonable.

Strangely, I seem to be one of the few who don't get famished when touring. I find myself forcing cals just to maintain the right balance.

Last edited by Cyclebum; 07-10-15 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-10-15, 06:37 PM
  #42  
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Wow, I am really humbled by this thread...and I want to take up touring at 70?
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Old 07-10-15, 08:29 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Wow, I am really humbled by this thread...and I want to take up touring at 70?
Don't want... start now! You won't regret the experiences.
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Old 07-11-15, 10:10 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Wow, I am really humbled by this thread...and I want to take up touring at 70?
Older folks might actually have an advantage for touring by having more sensible eating habits--often younger people get really hungry & pig out on junk food. & while I think it can help to cut body fat% a bit for touring...it's certainly not a must for most folks. Like other posters have noted, starting a tour off with a couple of gentler days (+ some reasonable training under the belt) is the basic recipe. Comfy long-distance saddle can be more important than training or body fat. Saddle that hurts causes fatigue by having to shift position around, ride off the saddle etc.
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Old 07-12-15, 08:05 AM
  #45  
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I guess I am scratching my head at the thought of dropping body fat in order to go touring. I spent a long long time in the military and used to workout everyday. I did notice that biking typically, for me, consumed about 800 calories an hour, so my guess is that a 6 hour ride should consume at least 4K-5K calories (riding at a reasonable speed and load). Recognizing that fat burn is also a function of how hard you are stressing your body (one good indicator is your HR), if you keep your HR in the 65%-75% range, you should be switching from burning the calories from your blood stream and starting to draw from your fat reserves. Here is where I am getting confused, are you typically riding at a much faster pace or HR? I am not concerned about mph/HR as that seems to go up as you get into better shape and are able to maintain a steady pace for much longer periods. I know that when I used to do any exercise for extended periods, I would lose up to 8lbs in a day. Why drop that reserve before you need it? Am confused at the idea.
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Old 07-12-15, 10:29 AM
  #46  
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Think losing fat while touring , may take a few months on the road , and muscle being more dense than fat

it may be a 1:1 weight change without a lot of lost Kg , Or You are just Old and will weigh the same

and still not be young and trim when you finish the tour anyhow.
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Old 07-12-15, 11:48 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Why drop that reserve before you need it? Am confused at the idea.
Depends on the tour. Three friends recently finished a PCT road tour. Some tough climbing early on with specific daily destinations. They worked hard pretour to condition themselves, including losing some weight for at least one. Every ounce counts when racing, or climbing on tour.

OTOH, there is no point in being in super condition at the start of a leisurely tour, the sort most do. Pedal your way into condition. Lose weight if you're motivated. Not many are.

800 cals/hr? You must be a big guy rolling fast.
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Old 07-12-15, 12:13 PM
  #48  
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OK, I can understand transforming fat to muscle...that makes a lot of sense. Here you might even see a weight gain but an inches loss. Hey, what do you mean I won't get younger, more handsome, gain hair, develop a six pack??? Heck, I thought that is why all you guys like touring so much!! And I am so old that my first flight was in a double wing aircraft.....and not a crop duster. Heck my first bike had solid tires. Can't believe how many technological changes I have seen in my lifetime so far....it's incredible. But a good topic for another thread someday.

As for calories burned per hour, I will go put batteries in my Polar watch (seems to have the best calories burned formulas loaded based on individual weight and condition) and do a recheck. Truth is that I have lost almost 100lbs since I last did a serious check on it...so it may be a lot lower and yes I was riding a full suspension MTB at the time and averaging 15mph with MTB tires. Was a great workout, but that was also about 3 years ago. Also need to ride at least an hour a day for a couple of weeks to get the HR to settle into its natural groove. Now you have me wondering.....LOL

Last edited by cyber.snow; 07-12-15 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Added BS
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Old 07-12-15, 10:42 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I guess I am scratching my head at the thought of dropping body fat in order to go touring. I spent a long long time in the military and used to workout everyday. I did notice that biking typically, for me, consumed about 800 calories an hour, so my guess is that a 6 hour ride should consume at least 4K-5K calories (riding at a reasonable speed and load). Recognizing that fat burn is also a function of how hard you are stressing your body (one good indicator is your HR), if you keep your HR in the 65%-75% range, you should be switching from burning the calories from your blood stream and starting to draw from your fat reserves. Here is where I am getting confused, are you typically riding at a much faster pace or HR? I am not concerned about mph/HR as that seems to go up as you get into better shape and are able to maintain a steady pace for much longer periods. I know that when I used to do any exercise for extended periods, I would lose up to 8lbs in a day. Why drop that reserve before you need it? Am confused at the idea.

On my (short) tours I go pretty slow like 12 mph avg. Many tourists of course ride considerably faster. Losing 8 lbs per day is pretty drastic, one might assume most of that was water weight? As for cutting body fat for touring I'm assuming one has ample food available. IE for longer tours, one should theoretically be able to adjust diet to maintain/lose/gain weight as desired so why would one need a reserve? Body builders are noted for doing low-cal/low-fat diets to get "cut"--I think that usually goes with cutting training back a bit too but OTOH even at that stage they are doing workouts that would "kill" avg person. Metabolisms of course vary.
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Old 07-12-15, 11:07 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Wow, I am really humbled by this thread...and I want to take up touring at 70?
Don't be. I met a man while I was riding from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. He was on the last part of his cross country ride. He started in San Francisco. He was pulling a Burley trailer very heavily loaded. He was 67 then and it was his first long tour. That was back in 2011. He has done long tours every year since that. One year he went from Iowa down to the Florida Keys, then on up to the tip of Maine, and back to Iowa. Currently he is somewhere on his bike. He is in his 70's. Just do it. Oh, and don't worry about all the obsessive technicalities and simply ride and enjoy.

I will add that at one point we camped at a YMCA. They let us set up in their field and use their facilities. After showering he asked me to weigh myself because he was sure their scale was off by something like 10 pounds or more. It was dead on. He lost a lot of weight on his tour, if memory serves me right it was in the neighborhood of 40 pounds. I doubt he is losing anymore, at some point you have less fat to lose and your weight stabilizes. He didn't obsess about losing fat before beginning his tour, he just planned the tour and did it.
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