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Rest Days

Old 04-12-24, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by WaveyGravey
I am aiming to ride the Natchez Trace perhaps this summer. Approximately 465 miles. Trying to determine how much time to budget with the necessary rest days at my age of 71.
Natchez Trace is fairly flat at the south end, steeper hills further north. If there is a detour for road construction, the detour could have some very steep hills. I walked up several hills on a detour.

Summer, could have high humidity and heat, that might mean you need shorter days if you have to quit earlier. I did it a year ago during early April to avoid the heat.

I left you a link on my Natchez trip at your other post on AI. That will give you some more resources. There are not a lot of places to stop to get water along the way, it would be best to plan ahead and know where there are stores, or carry enough water to last the day.
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Old 04-12-24, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by spinconn
"Soft tissue damage, IME, is usually saddle sores. Cleanliness and prompt treatment usually manage to save the next day's ride."

Please tell me what prompt treatment you use for saddle sores that gets you ready the next day.
I have used this:

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Old 04-12-24, 03:01 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by spinconn
Great comments guys, and informative, but they deal with why you do not want to ride without taking days off. But how about needing to (other than for weather, sickness, etc). From a strictly physical standpoint do you not need a day a week to recover your muscles or is that not an issue going slowly in lower gears?
When I was a young man I could and did ride weeks on end, doing a hundred miler every day. I could not help but just hammer all day, self contained, camp out, and do it again the next day. But I had been riding almost daily for years and everything, body-wise, was in tip top shape.
Nowadays, not so much. Things like work, surgical procedures, family obligations, advanced age all conspire (or have conspired) against my time on a bicycle. Consequently, I'm not in the shape I'd like to be. I feel like rest days are somewhat mandatory for me now. But for me a rest day just means taking it easy, like light hiking, perhaps doing a few easy miles in the afternoon or maybe just napping all day long and not going hammering on my bicycle like a madman. Cycling is physical and one needs to listen to their body.
tl;dr One size does not fit all, all the time
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Old 04-12-24, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by WaveyGravey
I am aiming to ride the Natchez Trace perhaps this summer. Approximately 465 miles. Trying to determine how much time to budget with the necessary rest days at my age of 71.
1) As the other Tourist noted, the Trace gets hillier as you go into Tennessee. How far do you think you can ride with 2-3 miles of 5-6% climbing every 10 miles? Cross-reference that with other resources on housing/lodging/camping -- you may have some longer days. Grades and climbs drop as you go south in Mississippi.

2) As for rest days, I think the only place close to the Trace in Tennessee is Hohenwald. IIRC it has a post office and church named for the place, so it's a town by my daughter's bike touring definition of a town. Everything else is 5-10 miles off route. So enjoy some time off in Cherokee, AL, and prepare to memorize the signs in the campgrounds if you need a day off between Cherokee and Nashville.

3) Despite the rain and winds, this is the beginning of the spring optimal riding season IMHO. From now through mid-May temperatures are reasonable and comfortable, at least compared to July and August. After mid-may, I'd wait until mid to late September for another 6 weeks or so of comparatively good weather.

Originally Posted by spinconn
Please tell me what prompt treatment you use for saddle sores that gets you ready the next day.
Bath or shower (preferred) ASAP after getting off the bike for the day, then clean clothes. Bag Balm is my treatment of choice after cleaning for acute pimples (about to, or already, burst); some people use diaper rash ointment. If the skin is just red and/or swollen, chamois cream before dressing the next day. Shorts never worn twice without washing.
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Old 04-12-24, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
All cyclists are known to have poor bone strength, including roadies. Runners and weight lifters stress their bones that result in more bone strength, but cyclists don't. For that reason, when I go to the gym (three times a week in winter, once a week in summer), I always try to stress my leg bones on a leg press to aid in bone density. (And other exercises for other bones.) This lack of bone density is common for cyclists and also common for older people. If you are an older cyclist, that makes you especially susceptible. Two years ago I had a bone density test, result was good. A friend of mine crashed his bike about a decade ago and broke a hip so badly that he no longer cycles, but he had not tried to do anything to improve bone strength. My point here is that bone strength might be a bigger issue than the other things you cited. But that is something that we can work on ourselves, which many people do not do.
You are so right about the impact training. I would augment my bike riding with weights, and running. I find running really helps my bicycling. I need to get back out and do it again. I had some issues that took me out of weight lifting and running, I lost a lot of muscle mass and endurance. I basically have to start over and that has been a challenge and rather depressing. I am slowly starting to run again, but have mainly been walking.

I found riding the bike so much easier if I run. It really helps, and of course as you said, it strengthens the bones, which really becomes important as we age.
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Old 04-12-24, 05:23 PM
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During a tour, I take rest days when I want, and when the weather is yucky. As alluded to above, schedules can become tyrants.
During the non-touring part of the year, I take months of rest days at a time.
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Old 04-13-24, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes
You are so right about the impact training. I would augment my bike riding with weights, and running. I find running really helps my bicycling. I need to get back out and do it again. I had some issues that took me out of weight lifting and running, I lost a lot of muscle mass and endurance. I basically have to start over and that has been a challenge and rather depressing. I am slowly starting to run again, but have mainly been walking.

I found riding the bike so much easier if I run. It really helps, and of course as you said, it strengthens the bones, which really becomes important as we age.
During winter, most weeks I am at the gym three times a week. Roughly 20 to 25 minutes doing strength exercises and several exercises that my physical therapist recommended for my lower back problems. After that, 65 minutes (last 5 is cool down) on an exercise bike or stairmaster, with the bike being most common.

While I do recommend retirement to everyone, this advanced age thing is not conducive to doing what we want to do like we used to without more exercise.

To avoid boredom on the bike or stairmaster, I put news articles ahead of time on my phone (5.5 inch screen) to read at the gym. The first 60 of the 65 minutes is at a constant heart rate that I feel is adequate to stay in shape without being too high so that I find it is too hard to concentrate on what I am reading.

Summer, only get to the gym one or two times a week, then only do the 20 to 25 minute routine of strength and lower back exercises. Riding bikes outside instead of at the gym. That said, I will do stair master a few times a month in summer to try to get ready for backpacking, as those hills seem to be steeper every year and the pack only gets heavier even though the scale says it is lighter.
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Old 04-13-24, 08:40 AM
  #33  
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My experience is a bit different than most of the other comments.

First off, I don't camp or carry camping gear. This means I have to find places to stay every night, either hosted or paid. I spend a lot of planning time finding places along my route (something having to alter my route) where I can find a room for the night. So far, I haven't reserved (paid for) a room I didn't use, though many places will allow someone to cancel a room reservation the day of or the day before scheduled arrival.

While I don't always plan every day of my tours, I often plan the first week just so I know how the tour will start. Many multi-week tours are planned down to the day, which helps me as I like having a goal for the day and knowing how far/hard I have to ride.

I have found that my tours are more enjoyable when I plan a non-riding/rest day for every 4 riding days. This isn't a rigid rule, but one I try to follow. I also try to plan routes where every fifth day I am at a place where spending a day off the bike will provide something interesting to do. That said, I can usually find something to do most anywhere for a day.

As Pete does, I also occasionally plan a short day instead of a rest day when the distance between 2 towns is too long/hard for one day and there is a place between them to stop for the night.

Another way to look at rest days is as a "bank" that several others above have noted. I usually add an extra unplanned day or 2 at the end of the trip to allow me to change my schedule if something comes unexpected comes up. Generally, the places to end tours are big cities with airports, so finding something to do in, say, Vienna, Jasper, Avignon, or Bern to fill a day or two isn't hard.

Note that I have been retired since I started touring, so my schedule is somewhat flexible as to length of time to tour. Though, my endpoints usually coincide with family commitments.

As for training at home, when I am preparing for a trip, I try to ride 2 days out of three. When I am not training, I still try to ride 2 days out of three, but the distance is usually shorter.
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Old 04-13-24, 12:01 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
During winter, most weeks I am at the gym three times a week. Roughly 20 to 25 minutes doing strength exercises and several exercises that my physical therapist recommended for my lower back problems. After that, 65 minutes (last 5 is cool down) on an exercise bike or stairmaster, with the bike being most common.

While I do recommend retirement to everyone, this advanced age thing is not conducive to doing what we want to do like we used to without more exercise.

To avoid boredom on the bike or stairmaster, I put news articles ahead of time on my phone (5.5 inch screen) to read at the gym. The first 60 of the 65 minutes is at a constant heart rate that I feel is adequate to stay in shape without being too high so that I find it is too hard to concentrate on what I am reading.

Summer, only get to the gym one or two times a week, then only do the 20 to 25 minute routine of strength and lower back exercises. Riding bikes outside instead of at the gym. That said, I will do stair master a few times a month in summer to try to get ready for backpacking, as those hills seem to be steeper every year and the pack only gets heavier even though the scale says it is lighter.
You sound like me. I used to read the news while on the bike in the gym, still do, but I use audiobooks in the gym a lot now, To keep me interested in the gym now, or when outside walking, I listen to audiobooks. I have found I don't want to quit because I want to continue listening to my book. I generally have an audiobook going and a regular book.
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Old 04-16-24, 02:57 PM
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Seeing as how tourers are regularly snubbed by the others, I'd say for most of us... Don't know since we're tourers.
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Old 04-16-24, 07:35 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by spinconn
I do not tour. I would love to, and have always read what I could in the way of touring stories, but I don't recall hearing anything about rest days. I am just curious why you folks don't seem to need any recovery time for your soft tissue.
don't worry, when and if you try bike touring, you'll see what feels good for you.
And yes, a lot of us regular folks do like taking rest days once in a while. I've been touring for about 30 odd years and have always liked a rest day about once a week or so.
Getting older, so after 5, 6 days now is nice--but as others have said, it also depends on the specific conditions and whatnot.
Don't overthink it or go by what internet folks say, just listen to what your body tells you.
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Old 04-16-24, 08:00 PM
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I don’t intentionally plan rest days. In my experience I have found the best way to recover from a hard ride is more riding. I’ve had days when I have been almost too sore to lift a leg over my bike, but after a few miles all is good.

When planning a long ride, I do add a rest day or days, depending on the length of the ride, and where I am riding. If the weather is simply too bad to get on the bike (rain, wind, falling trees), or I get a case of Montezuma’s revenge and can’t be far from a toilet, those days come in handy. If the weather is good, and I don’t get sick, I can do some sightseeing, or spend time with new friends.
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Old 04-16-24, 08:57 PM
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I've toured for 40 years - tens of thousands of miles.
Probably close to 100.000.
And I always build in non-riding days.
Others folks have different riding styles.

For me, the extra day each week allows me not to rush.
If I have bad weather or bad plumbing, so what?
There is nothing worse than playing "catch-up" on a long bike tour.
Isn't touring about ditching the rat-race anyhow?

I've hiked and camped the back country in dozens of national parks.
Crossed the Grand Canyon 6 times, hiked back into Denali.
I've also played the piano at small town churches and linked up with other riders.
Why not stay an extra day in Cathlamet or Nebraska City?

I can't tell you where I'll be on June 23rd.
And, quite honestly, I don't want to.
So, I have an extra day each week of my tours.
It's one of the best things I've ever done.

Pic - Hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier N.P.

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Old 04-17-24, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Seeing as how tourers are regularly snubbed by the others, I'd say for most of us... Don't know since we're tourers.
It's because the majority of tourers are retirees
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Old 04-17-24, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by spinconn
... From a strictly physical standpoint do you not need a day a week to recover your muscles or is that not an issue going slowly in lower gears?
I am retired so I have the flexibility to do long trips. But my longest vacations for outdoor activities before retirement were a week long. If I needed a day per week for rest and recovery, that rest day could be the day before I go back to work, or maybe the first day at work. Some people are fortunate and can take longer vacations, but I think the norm is not to be that lucky.

Looking at this another way, you are making a comparison against athletes that perform in a non-sustainable way. Bike touring is a lower wattage activity, but it is an endurance activity. It is generally done at a pace that does not require rest days. But, there are many reasons to include rest days, for laundry, re-supply, equipment maintenance, inclement weather, and mental health. Some people schedule rest days in advance. I don't, instead I take a day off or perhaps a short day as needed. Or, perhaps as desired for sightseeing. It is an activity that should be enjoyable, otherwise why do it? I do not call those days rest days, I am not really resting on those days but they are days with less exertion.

Trips that involve air travel, I want a few contingency days near the end of the trip to make sure I did not miss my flight, so did some sightseeing late in a trip.

At this time I am trying to get in shape after winter. Most bike rides before April were less than 22 miles. Every spring it is a chore to re-train my body for endurance activities that last for several hours. It is not so much the muscle tissue that needs to be ready, it is my bum on the saddle and my internal organs that have to keep supplying fuel to my muscles after the initial glycogen stores are exhausted. Only longer days in the saddle work for that.
.
  • April 6 - rode 53.5 miles.
  • April 10 - rode 67.4 miles.
  • April 15 (two days ago) - rode 90.1 miles.
The three above rides were about 20 miles of pavement, remaining distance on gravel rail trail. Rode my heavy touring bike, which has 57mm wide tires, some of the trail is still soft and muddy from recent spring thaw. But being mostly rail trail, not much hill climbing.

I am not ready to do long consecutive days, but I think I should be in good shape in early June when my planned bike tour starts.

I would like to do a 200k brevet on April 27, I think I am ready for that, but want to do another long ride before then on more hilly and paved terrain on my rando bike to make sure I am ready.
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