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Those that don't train for touring and just "go"...

Old 11-06-19, 05:59 PM
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KC8QVO
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Those that don't train for touring and just "go"...

How do you build up on the go?
Do you have a mileage range that you try to maintain?
How do you plan stops and what contingency plans might you have in mind if you cant make your stops?
Do you have a "stopping point" with how your legs, joints, body, what ever, feel that you know when you're there its a mandatory shut-down?
Do you put mileage on then lay low for a day or two to recuperate or keep the mileage manageable as per some of the above answers that lets you keep moving every day?
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Old 11-06-19, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
How do you build up on the go?
Do you have a mileage range that you try to maintain?
How do you plan stops and what contingency plans might you have in mind if you cant make your stops?
Do you have a "stopping point" with how your legs, joints, body, what ever, feel that you know when you're there its a mandatory shut-down?
Do you put mileage on then lay low for a day or two to recuperate or keep the mileage manageable as per some of the above answers that lets you keep moving every day?
I don't explicitly train, but I'm on my bike most every day. Prior to a long tour in 2001, I sold my car and haven't gotten around to buying one again. I'm also taking shorter trips through the year which helps as well.

As a preface to your other questions, I treat the answers differently depending on duration of the trip. Consider three durations:
- "weekender"; in this case I pretty much know where I am going to stop overnight. I might either moderate my distance or have a contingency in mind if that plan was otherwise overly ambitious. Most recent example a few weeks ago cycling from Austin to San Antonio with an overnight stop.
- "week"; in this case, I don't know where I will stop overnight. Instead, I look in advance for a list of candidates. I'll also build in a contingency day or so that I can otherwise use for weather or unforeseen circumstances. Most recent example, two weeks in Guyana/Suriname/French Guyana.
- "expedition"; I definitely don't know where I will stop overnight. Instead I know what season I'll finish and have a rough idea of direction. Most recent example was 18-month trip from Alaska to Argentina.

> Do you have a mileage range that you try to maintain?
On the weekender I likely have specific mileage. On the week, I know how much I plan for the week overall, but not any specific day. On the expedition, I know a rough estimate of total mileage and from that keep a "mileage budget" (as long as I'm averaging X, I'll be ahead).

> How do you plan stops and what contingency plans might you have in mind if you cant make your stops?
On a weekender, I have specific overnight stops in mind. On a week, I'll look with Google maps and create a candidate list along the entire route. On the expedition, I figure it out as I go along.

> Do you have a "stopping point" with how your legs, joints, body, what ever, feel that you know when you're there its a mandatory shut-down?
I have those limited, but I tend not to push myself very close to that.

> Do you put mileage on then lay low for a day or two to recuperate or keep the mileage manageable
I typically try to keep mileage at a rate that I can repeat again the next day, and the next day. Sometimes I mis-judge and might take a slower day later but that isn't the normal plan.
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Old 11-06-19, 06:24 PM
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I ride bikes, lots. No training. My bikepacking is usually 8 hrs or so per day, depends. 30 -50 miles for mixed terrain like dirt and singletrack with some paved thrown in. My " plan " might change 2-3 times per day. I do try to have at least 1-2 nights stay planned out. Weather, legs, hills all come into play. Much of my touring is in New England, I sort of know the lay of the land. Rids with GPS is great for elevation and such. I usually add 1 hr and 10 miles for whatever I plan on a map. Eat early, eat often and start pedaling early. Never pass up a good lunch, even if it's 11 am. Be resourceful, talk to the locals, and take advantage of whats around you. Such as a great swimming hole, the diner that smells awesome, campers next to you with huge an mounts of food, seasonal fruits and veggies.
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Old 11-06-19, 11:19 PM
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Big questions
What I've learned from preparing for a trip:
Being in good shape is helpful, but more importantly having a comfortable bike will far out last the time you spend on the bike.
Geometry and not only have a good saddle, but being ready to stay on that saddle for hours.

If you have set destinations, it's best to take a few rides with a loaded bike to see if those distances are good for you. Too short and you might get bored. Too far and you will wear yourself out and probably never bike tour again. Knowing your limitations will make the trip more enjoyable. Set aside entire days for prep riding to see what your limits are.
Also, the more time you spend riding, the better shape you will be. So your first day, compared to a week later could make the difference in 20-30 kms a day.

Set a route, but be ready for anything. The more confident you are in your ability to change plans and adapt, the less nervous you will be in doing it. Eg: Getting lost (or a little confused) is not a problem, it's an opportunity

Finally: Enjoy yourself. If you want to admire a view, do it. If you want to stop for a coffee/tea, do it. If you want to take a nap on the grass, do it. It's not a race, it's a vacation.
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Old 11-07-19, 12:16 AM
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Why would anyone start a bike trip not being in the best condition possible? Riding into shape while on a tour uses the same priciples as training before the ride; exertion followed by recovery. You either do it before the ride or during the ride. My preference is training/conditioning before the ride in controlled situations so I can handle most situations on the tour and still have some reserve left at the end of a hard day.

My wife and I started a long tour in good condition, and averaged over 50 miles a day for 74 consecutive days. I was 64 years old at the time. We've also started long tours with less conditioning, and it made a significant difference. At my age it takes longer to recover from hard days, and if I don't follow up with a short day or a rest day, I just keep going deeper in the hole. Being in good cycling shape before the tour starts increases endurance and facilitates quicker recovery; and you dont have to take as many rest days while on the tour.

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Old 11-07-19, 01:22 AM
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I bike commute almost every day 30 miles on the identical bike I use for touring. First couple days of fully loaded touring requires a bit of getting used to, but no big deal. On my last trip in September, I did a 170 mile weekender the week before, which definitely made a difference.
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Old 11-07-19, 01:44 AM
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I don't think I've ever trained for touring ... but I do train for the long distance event I've done in the middle of most of my tours. I also ride quite a bit just generally.

I also tend to go with the flow when I'm touring.
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Old 11-07-19, 03:53 AM
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I just ride my bike. I don't particularly train for a tour but I might up my daily mileage to get my butt in shape for longer hours on the saddle. If I'm going to go on a longish tour I'll load the bike up with some weight as I ride prior to starting the tour. I like to know how the bike handles before starting on the tour and it also gives me time to do a couple of shakedown rides. Anything that feels/looks like it might be a problem usually comes to light during those loaded shakedown rides.

Cheers
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Old 11-07-19, 05:00 AM
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I think it depends on how you define training. Depending on the definition I either never train or always train for my tours. By my definition I never really train.

On any given tour how important your condition going into it is will vary with the tour.

If you want to and can meander along doing 20 mile days on easy terrain taking it easy, it would seem that anyone with reasonable general fitness could manage with little or no preparation. Obviously having some time in the saddle would be a big plus, but that time in the saddle could certainly be very casual and not need to be anything that would have to be labeled as training. There would be a short time in the saddle spread throughout the day and there could be lots of breaks.

If you want/need to hit the road doing 60, 80, or 100 mile days and/or doing difficult terrain you probably need to be in better shape. Even then there is the question of whether the requisite preparation needs to be something that you call training. You likely want to have a good bit of time in the saddle, but that may just be your normal recreational riding for fun or a daily commute. Or maybe you are a runner and just supplement by spending a little time riding for fun on the weekend to get acclimated to the saddle. Is any of that really training? I guess it depends on your definition.

As far as riding into shape on tour. I have done that to a varying degree on different tours and think it is a good idea to do it but not rely on it to heavily. By that I mean show up in at least somewhat decent shape, but take it a just little easy the first week or two on a long tour. Especially for that first two weeks ride a pace and distance that you can handle without burning yourself out. Pushing hard enough that you need a rest day is a bad sign especially in the first two weeks IMO. In fact I think that needing a rest day is a sign you went way too deep. Note that I am not saying that you shouldn't take a rest day to enjoy it, that it shouldn't be because you overdid the riding. My personal preference is most often to save the rest days to do fun active off bike stuff (hiking, tourist stuff, whitewater rafting, peak bagging...) and even then it is most often half days with some riding. I have only rarely taken a complete zero day with no riding at all, but fairly often take a short day to rest.

BTW, I think all that stuff about rest days and pushing to hard applies whether riding into shape or not.
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Old 11-07-19, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
How do you build up on the go?
Do you have a mileage range that you try to maintain?
How do you plan stops and what contingency plans might you have in mind if you cant make your stops?
Do you have a "stopping point" with how your legs, joints, body, what ever, feel that you know when you're there its a mandatory shut-down?
Do you put mileage on then lay low for a day or two to recuperate or keep the mileage manageable as per some of the above answers that lets you keep moving every day?
What do you do?
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Old 11-07-19, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Finally: Enjoy yourself. If you want to admire a view, do it. If you want to stop for a coffee/tea, do it. If you want to take a nap on the grass, do it. It's not a race, it's a vacation.
Yeah. I am a planner because it is my vacation. I don't want to have to spend energy addressing logistical issues like where I am going to get supplies and camp. At the same time, that doesn't mean I am not flexible if I need to be.

For my two-week trip in June I incorporated a short day that afforded me the opportunity to visit one place that I really wanted to see. Two years ago I had to ride by the turnoff for it because I was doing a much longer day and a side trip would have taken up too much time and effort. Another short day allowed me to hang out for a while at a really cool place without having to rush to make sure I could secure a campsite.
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Old 11-07-19, 06:55 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
What do you do?
My reference to "touring" in the thread is multi-day extended tours. To that point - I have not done any so there is no answer to your question. That is where my questions come in from others. All of my riding has been across a single day (not necessarily a calendar day, but no sleeping/camping between start and finish even though the start/finish may have been on a different day - except for my last ride).

As a related answer, but not direct to your question (because a direct answer doesn't exist) - I try to build up my miles over time. I have had some time this fall to do that, but in the past couple years I have had very little riding in (2018 I rode 1 time for about 10 miles). The years I did ride - time was hard to come by so I was forcing in rides sacrificing cooking dinner and sleeping after work during the week at times. My weekly averages were in the ~100 mile range at the peak of my mileage times - a 40-70 mile ride on saturday or sunday with 2-3 shorter runs 15-25 miles on a week night. If I rode hard/long on a weekend day I would give more rest days.

So my questions weren't so much "what I do" it is "what you [the reader] do" - specifically those that proclaim, in other threads, to have "not trained" for tours. The reason I ask the questions is I am curious how people hold up, physically, during extended periods of riding.

To use my own example - this Fall I have built up to that ~100 mile/week range again. I think that just came to a close with the way the season has turned, weather-wise. Not only that but my schedule is soon going to not allow riding time except for nights and weekends, weather-dependent. I had the opportunity to do a trip the past few days and I would put it in the category of over-do'ing it for my current fitness state, after having done one round of it. I know, from other threads, that there are people that don't train for tours - so comparing my mileage build-up this fall to how others build up (or not) for a tour was interesting to me. So I posted the questions. In my own case, I think the only thing I can do to "train" better is to gear up while hitting the same mileage goal. The mileage goal is going to be the hard part as that is time dependent, and if I only have so much time then I need to supplement that better. That isn't to say my regular riding is light and fast - it isn't, I just don't have a full touring load.
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Old 11-07-19, 07:42 AM
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KC, as you've seen, the one recurring thing here is that most of us ride regularly, and it can be commuting and not even a long commute, but this helps a great deal with our bodies being used to being on a bike.
I've always tried to do some longer rides gradually when I can, 30 or 40km rides, and like the person who mentions being on the same bike that you'll tour on, its great because this helps in showing up any slight fit issues, and over time, should allow you to identify small fit changes that make things a bit more comfortable for you.

When I commute, I often have two panniers on the bike, often full of stuff, so at least the legs are a bit used to riding a heavier bike, so this helps.

For me though, the main thing in response to your reasonable questions is to plan the first bunch of days to be very reasonable in distance.
50k 60k, so 30-40 miles, is great because especially if you give yourself time, you can take it easy, not overwork your leg muscles, have ample time to take many small breaks, lunch break etc, and get to your planned camping spot with ample time to not be rushed, so its a nice day.

Obviously, by doing rides of about this distance numerous times before hand means you know how your body will respond, so you have confidence in how you will be physically, and have a reasonable idea of what eating you need to do, proper drinking etc.

After a number of shorter days, gradually increasing distances will become natural, as you quickly get stronger and fitter.

Its all doable, just be reasonable and use common sense in preparing yourself beforehand with regular riding and gradually increased distanced training rides.
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Old 11-07-19, 08:53 AM
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I'm in the training before a tour camp. I also plan my rides down to the place I'll be staying for the night. I do this because I don't like to camp and don't take camping gear when I tour. As a result, I have to get where I'm going or abandon a place to stay that I've usually paid for in advance (usually the day before).

So, I train hard. I do long rides (50 milers) up hills on consecutive days to insure I can do the mileage I have planned. I feel ready when I can do consecutive fully loaded 50 miles days.

Should anyone care, I wrote an article detailing my training regimen.
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Old 11-07-19, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I'm in the training before a tour camp. I also plan my rides down to the place I'll be staying for the night. I do this because I don't like to camp and don't take camping gear when I tour. As a result, I have to get where I'm going or abandon a place to stay that I've usually paid for in advance (usually the day before).
Good point, folks vary pretty widely on that. I am the exact opposite. I typically make it a point know what my options are for likely places to finish my day, but often don't have a clue which of them I will stop at until I am there. I might start the day not knowing if I will ride 30, 70, or 130 miles that day if those are the options. I might take a break at 30 miles, still not decide if I am stopping there until I stop a while, get restless, and ultimately push on to the 130 mile option.

When I say I know what my options are, that may just mean that I know there is a town there and I may assume I can improvise something when I get there, especially in the rural "small town" middle of the country. I never had a problem camping in small towns on the Great Plains. Closer to either coast I trust improvising a bit less.
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Old 11-07-19, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
My reference to "touring" in the thread is multi-day extended tours. To that point - I have not done any so there is no answer to your question. That is where my questions come in from others. All of my riding has been across a single day (not necessarily a calendar day, but no sleeping/camping between start and finish even though the start/finish may have been on a different day - except for my last ride).
About the last time I "trained" for a tour was in 2003 (see Solo Without Pie in the sig). I progressively added weight (using beans and rice) over about 6 weeks before setting out on a month long tour. It helped but the next time I decided to do a long tour, I just skipped the training. I, like many others, ride a lot anyway and found that the training just wasn't necessary. As I've done more tours, the training becomes even less necessary.

Part of the reason for "training" is to help first timers get used to the whole idea of riding a bike a lot with a lot of weight. It was more mental training for me than physical training. For most people who would like to tour but never have, the mental issues are probably more difficult to surmount than any physical limitations. The "what ifs" or, as Pee Wee Herman says "the big buts" ("But what? Everyone I know has a big but. C'mon, Simone, let's talk about *your* big but.") play through your head and make you feel like a bicycle tour is just too much of an undertaking. If you haven't toured before, "training" kind of helps you prepare because you've put in a lot of time and effort so you are committed.

Once you done a few tours, the physical training isn't needed and you got enough experience to get past the mental part of it. The doubts are still there...I feel like just going home in the first 1 to 3 days of any tour...but you are better prepared to deal with them than your first time.
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Old 11-07-19, 11:08 AM
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I generally do not train as the word train is commonly used, as in building up muscles, etc. But I try to do some longer rides to get my bum more accustomed to long consecutive days in the saddle. This year I did a 200k brevet a month before my five week tour, I think that helped me mentally deal with long days in the saddle on the tour.

If I am going somewhere with some exceptional hill climbing I might do a couple hours on a stair master at the health club during the month before i go, so maybe I do a little bit of training. But i did not do that before my tour this year. I am more likely to do the stair master thing before a backpacking trip than I am a biking trip.

I do not plan contingency stops, but I do try to set reasonable goals for how far I want to go each day. I am retired, thus I do not have the constraints of having to get back home in time to get back to work. Thus, I can be flexible in how far I want to go each day, sometimes it might be 30 miles and sometimes closer to a hundred. I almost always will set my distance goal each day based on where I want to spend that night which is almost always a campground. I set that goal based in part on the weather, expected traffic (I am more likely to avoid busy times of day in tourist areas on weekends), elevation gain during the day, possible scheduling issues (avoid popular campgrounds on weekends when they might be full), etc. On my long trips I tried to put the campgrounds into a mapping app on my tablet so I could plan each day by looking at the map of places to stay and often am thinking a couple days ahead when I formulate a plan for that day.

I almost never stop early on a tour by cutting my distance short for a day, but when I toured Iceland there were two days I stopped early because the winds were just too horrendous, one of those days I quit at 10:30am. And there also were two days where I had such a strong tail wind that I hated to waste, that I decided to keep going for hours after I reached my planned destination to take advantage of the tail wind.

I almost never take a day off to recover from a long day. I do however recall at the end of a very tough 14 hour day taking the next day off to recover but that one day is the only recovery day that I can remember taking without planning in advance to take off. If I take a day off, it is much more likely to be because the weather would be really bad for riding that day. On my last tour of 34 days I took four days off due to heavy forecast rain and three days off due to forecast strong headwinds. Thus, took about one and a half days off each week due to adverse weather. Of those four rain days I took off, one was the first day of the trip and the forecast was for over 5 cm or rain, two of the days were in the middle of five consecutive days of rain, and the fourth rain day also had a forecast of over 5 cm of rain. I rode on enough rainy days on that tour, I was happy to take those additional four rain days off.

The windy day when I quit at 10:30 am, I took the photo below of the wind blowing the water stream to the side in the outdoor sink at the campground. That was a really windy day.



I am assuming that in part you are asking these questions:

Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
How do you build up on the go?
Do you have a mileage range that you try to maintain?
How do you plan stops and what contingency plans might you have in mind if you cant make your stops?
Do you have a "stopping point" with how your legs, joints, body, what ever, feel that you know when you're there its a mandatory shut-down?
Do you put mileage on then lay low for a day or two to recuperate or keep the mileage manageable as per some of the above answers that lets you keep moving every day?
because you had to quit early on a long day recently.

Maybe your nutrition plan for that day did not work out so well. A long day has to have a nutrition plan designed to keep you going all day. I try to average about 200 to 250 calories per hour, most of that is carbs with some fats thrown in too but I never want over half of my calories to be from fats. I think french fries, ice cream, etc., are great things to keep you going during the day. And within a half hour after quitting for the day, have some protein, maybe a protein bar with 20 grams of protein to aid muscle recovery for the next day.
​​​​​​​
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Old 11-07-19, 11:35 AM
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Speaking of some protein at the end of the day for recovery, I love a good fish fry when touring near an ocean coast where seafood is abundant.

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Old 11-07-19, 11:38 AM
  #19  
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That's a great photo. For the stream from the tap to bend that much, it must have been just a tad gusty.

Re hills, KC, there will always be some hills, and the only way to get more accustomed physically and more importantly, mentally, to sustained climbs, is simply to get out there and do hills sometimes.
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Old 11-07-19, 11:45 AM
  #20  
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Planned rest day after three days riding. Sleep aid drugs the first two nights due to first day butterflies and high speed traffic jitters. Easy to digest non cooked non gut bothering foods for two days. Aka. No spicy fried street tacos :-).
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Old 11-07-19, 12:26 PM
  #21  
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My touring thus far has been two days with an overnight ~90 from home. But I regularly do 200K brevets and even a 300K brevet. To build up to 300K in a single day (these events have time constraints, albeit generous ones ~10mph avg including stops), I did several weekends where I rode 200K on Saturday and then a 100K on Sunday.

For one ~80 mile permanent that went up Reddish Knob in Virginia (6 miles sustained climbing at 8-10% grade) this flatlander put time in on the stationary bike at the gym which gave me an approximation of my wattage. I worked up to 2@20 minute sessions sustaining what an online calculator claimed was the wattage I need to haul me and my bike up that grade. That ride up Reddish Knob was the hardest thing I've ever done but I didn't stop, didn't topple over, and didn't walk. The views were incredible! I really had to push the remainder of that route since I was so slow going up the mountain that I was way behind when I got back down into the valley in West Virginia.

Last spring I rode 3 permanents (100-120K each) in different states out east (collecting states for an American Explorer award) along with a 200K brevet, a 10 mile hike in Shenandoah National Park, and another hilly ~120K perm. That was 6 straight days of challenging physical activity. I was most concerned about any issues with my saddle but all turned out fine.

I typically can only ride on weekends due to the work constraints but I do get to the fitness center every morning and I'm no stranger to the weight room.

So to echo what others have said, if you keep a certain base level of fitness as well as have realistic expectations of daily touring mileage, you don't really need special training (barring terrain you aren't usually riding!). I also found it helpful for my recent mini-tour to have ridden my bike several times prior fully loaded so that I could get a feel for how it handled as well as make a few tweaks to my setup/packing.
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Old 11-07-19, 01:00 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I am assuming that in part you are asking these questions:

because you had to quit early on a long day recently.​​​​​​​
It was a combination of factors - timing and weather were the primary ones. Had the forecast held I would have worked out tackling the return trek, but I also wore myself pretty good on the trip out. As far as "quitting early" on the way out - the only reason I tapped out on the way out was the wind. Had it just been the hills I would have been frustrated and kept plugging away - slowly - but I couldn't get through the wind. So that was the tap-out point. Fitness-wise - I am sore even today, but had the weather held up I would have tackled the return with the realization I wasn't going to make the run in one day. As to planning the miles - I wouldn't be able to figure up how to divide that until I got on the bike and started making progress. That is where the overall trip speed average I have been looking over in my riding metrics thus far this season comes in - and as I would be riding with a tail wind on the return the first part of the trip's lower speed average (the way out with a head wind) wouldn't be an accurate correlation to the return. So there again - until I got on the bike and well in to the ride I wouldn't be able to plan because the data I would have to go off of wouldn't be accurate - fitness included in that.

As far as not tackling the return - timing and weather. Its snowing here today. I had an opportunity yesterday to make vehicular transportation back work so I took advantage of it, and it also opened up something I was able to do today anyway. Had I rested and left wednesday, not making it in one shot would have put me in to today = wet and snowy = not good to ride in. Could I have? I would have made slow progress and I'd rather get back home than pace myself in the weather.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Maybe your nutrition plan for that day did not work out so well. A long day has to have a nutrition plan designed to keep you going all day. I try to average about 200 to 250 calories per hour, most of that is carbs with some fats thrown in too but I never want over half of my calories to be from fats. I think french fries, ice cream, etc., are great things to keep you going during the day. And within a half hour after quitting for the day, have some protein, maybe a protein bar with 20 grams of protein to aid muscle recovery for the next day.
​​​​​​​
Good point. I did have energy bars, peanut butter crackers, and candy for my snack breaks. I did not keep any numbers on calories, but I tried to snack every stop and stay "ahead" of being hungry. I think I did a pretty good job as I never got to an energy burn-out and never had cramps (that actually surprised me - usually on long rides in the past I have my calves wear out but I never had a hint of that the whole trip this time). I did have my quads wear down so I off-loaded that feeling with using a more circular pedaling stroke around the crank (SPD's so I can pull too). As far as energy went, though - I think I did pretty good from how I felt, but I don't have any way to gauge it from numbers etc.

Others have pointed out saddle soreness. I did get a tube of butt butt'r and from a chafing perspective it worked great. Although, I have not really had that much of an issue with chafing in the past. I wanted to give myself as big of a leg up in the rear end as I could on the trip so I thought I would try it. It does not do anything for the sit pressure against the chamois/saddle, though. I was able to jump on the bike on day 2 and cruise over 10mph again so I think between rear-end wear and fitness starting day 2 I was in decent shape at least.

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Old 11-07-19, 01:09 PM
  #23  
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Two simple principles of biking tell you how to ride a tour when you haven't trained ahead of time.

1) Ride according to how you feel. If you feel like continuing to ride, keep on riding.
2) Once you have ridden 1000-1500 miles, you can ride a century everyday for the rest of your life.

If you feel like riding big miles one day, do it...if you don't, don't. Listen to the body.

I had a day on 2015 trip where I was planning around 125 miles one day and then 100 the next. I got into town for the evening and had resupplied for the next day and went to go looking for the campsite for the night. As I left I found the worst pavement I have ever ridden on. I couldn't take my eyes off the road, it was in such bad shape. I passed by a couple of the possible campsites as a result of riding past them while trying to not get 'lost' in the horrible pavement. I knew in no way at all would I ride that stretch of road after dark. I knew I had one more campsite which I figured would be a winner. I didn't realize it was that far out of town. As I rode more and more toward it I thought about changing up my normal evening routine. By the time I got to turnoff for the campsite I had already made the decision to combine the two days into one. I was feeling great and I knew the forecast for the overnight was to be lows in the mid 50s(I knew that would help to keep me awake for the overnight ride). I said the heck with it and decided to pull the 227 miler for the trip and kept on riding and finally pulled into my moms house around 5AM. It was one of the nicer rides of the entire trip.

Don't let yourself be rigid in your trip plans. They will never go according to schedule. Be willing to explore, even the human limitations you think exist, you might be surprised at what you can do.

I saw here on the forum back in 2013 a discussion about the three most pivotal days of a bike trip. Day 1, Day 3 and Day 12. I couldn't agree with that posting more, other than to say there are more days, further out which have an even bigger impact on things. I have experienced it and have heard other people talk about when they have been interviewed on podcasts. The body goes through an amazing transformation when you give it the chance. You can go from not having been on a bike in ages to being able to ride higher mileages consistently, even touring, in a relatively short amount of time...as long as you keep at it constantly everyday.

The more rigid you make your trip plans the less room you have to maneuver when things don't go according to schedule. Learn to be flexible in your thoughts on how the trip must go. Better yet just go ride and only plan from one day to the next. I quite often change my plans midday even when I see something I wasn't expecting and want to stop to explore more. If that causes me to not to get into town until after dark...so be it. If enough things go wrong than I may very well change where I was planning on spending the night and learn how to wing it. This is the one reason I like not spending nights at hotels/campgrounds/hostel/etc. I can go wherever I find a place to lay my head for the night and I don't have to make a specific destination.
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Old 11-07-19, 02:01 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Why would anyone start a bike trip not being in the best condition possible? Riding into shape while on a tour uses the same priciples as training before the ride; exertion followed by recovery. You either do it before the ride or during the ride. My preference is training/conditioning before the ride in controlled situations so I can handle most situations on the tour and still have some reserve left at the end of a hard day.
I feel the opposite. To be in the best possible condition for a tour, I need to have multiple, consecutive days in the saddle over long miles with a lot of gear. If I'm doing that, I might as well be touring.

That said, I don't jump into a trip with no biking leading up to it, because I bike commute and bike pretty much every where else. Yesterday I did 30 miles or so between working and going out, which is not a lot for many people, and not a lot for me in terms of touring, but it's about as much as I'm likely to do in a non-touring day. More than average, but not unheard of. I figure if I can comfortably do 30 miles of riding around the confines of my usual day, then getting 60 or so in on a day when I have nothing to do but bike and eat should be possible. It generally is.

In reality I don't train for the tour before the tour or while on tour. I never have more than 2 consecutive weeks off, and that's not really enough time to put myself into any kind of extra good, touring shape. I just try to plan days I can handle. It doesn't always work out. On two occasions, I planned a 90+ mile day during a trip. On both occasions, I was able to do that day, but the next day was tiring (although in one case, I think I did the planned miles of the next day, but detours meant the planned miles did not take me as far as I had hoped).

Mostly I just try to plan my day so that I have options. I like to know where I'm spending the night, but I also acknowledge that sometimes things don't go as planned. I usually have a plan for the place I would like to camp for the night along with contingencies for where I could stop if I wanted to bail out early and where I might make it to if I wanted to go further. Even that doesn't always work out, and I've spent a night or two in completely unplanned locations, but that's not the end of the world. The biggest problem, though, with the short tours I do, is planning them out so the miles are not too ambitious, but not too short to be interesting. I've definitely bitten off more than I can chew a time or two and had to hop a train or otherwise get a lift to keep on schedule.

Specifically for the OP, because I know the last trip started in central Ohio, if you can make your way to Pittsburgh, Cumberland, or DC, the GAP/C&O is a very nice ride because there are well-spaced camping options throughout the route, especially on the C&O end. If you can be flexible with your time, you can simply bike until you're done, and you will likely be within 5 or 10 miles of a campsite. I have not found that to be true other places I've traveled, including the Ohio to Erie trail.

Personally my trips are not long enough to incorporate rest days just for the sake of recuperating, so I plan miles that I feel I'm likely to handle well. But, also because my trips are short, I do often have minimum mileage goals to keep myself on track. While trying to keep to those miles, I also try not to get to the point where my legs want to quit. I don't think I have hit a level of fatigue where I just couldn't go on for the day, but I have learned to get off the bike periodically. Rather than pushing hard until I want to or need to quit, if I'm wearing out, or even if I'm not, but I've been riding a while, I find an excuse to stop and rest throughout the day. I try not to get to the point where I'm too exhausted to push on, and instead try and keep fresh as much as possible throughout the day. As a result, I often get to camp later than I would have liked, and sometimes I find myself riding in the dark when I'd rather not. Sometimes the dark, the weather, and/or sparse camping opportunities dictate my stopping point, but generally not fatigue. Better late than never, as they say, and I've found that if I set both time and mileage goals, I will tire out early and make neither goal. Rather plan for an end point, and I get there when I get there.
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Old 11-07-19, 02:11 PM
  #25  
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I usually fly to the city that I'm starting and take a couple of days to bike around the city and go site seeing with my bike everywhere. That's usually is about 30~50km for the first day. I do that for a couple of days and I usually get my legs back.

Learned my lesson when I planned a trip that I had to do 160km with 2600m of climbing on the second day.
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