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SF to LA: Am I idealistic, brave, delusional, or insane?

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SF to LA: Am I idealistic, brave, delusional, or insane?

Old 12-27-05, 08:45 PM
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SF to LA: Am I idealistic, brave, delusional, or insane?

I stopped my lifestyle of high-stress work, sedentary lifestyle, and fast food diet... I got back on the bike after a 7 year absence and began commuting, going to the gym, and eating right. In the 6 months since I've lost 48 pounds (200 now) and plan on getting to around 160 by the late spring or early summer (I'm 5'9").

My question is, one of the things that inspired me months ago was the flyer for the annual AIDS ride from SF to LA. I thought, "Man if I can just get back in shape then I can start training and do the ride in 2007."

But I'm starting to think I could do the ride in 2006. However, I've never ridden anything close to that distance (I used to mountain bike and commute... now I commute and ride up to 20 miles at a time). However-ever, I'm still riding around on my 36 pound mountain bike set up with nubby tires so maybe I've got more distance in me that I can even fathom. However-ever-ever, Big Sur is not the place to find out I was wrong and that I couldn't do the ride.

So from people who've done it or people who have trained for long rides like this I'd like to hear if you think I honestly can start training now (2 months late according to their recommended schedule) and complete the ride. Is there a lot of climbing (my weakness at least on my current bike and current weight)?
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Old 12-27-05, 08:58 PM
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You CAN do the ride but if I were you I'd wait a year, do a lot of metric centuries and then start doing full centuries. When you feel competent at those then by all means make any plans you like.

If you bite off more than you can stand to hold in your mouth you might start to identify pain with bicycling and just quit. Better to work your way up.

Keep up the good work and from the sound of it there's nothing you can't do if you're willing to work for it.
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Old 12-27-05, 08:59 PM
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I'd say smart, pick a great route and enjoy!! Do it at a rate that is comfortable for you, 45 to 60 miles per day, and enjoy the trip.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Shifty
I'd say smart, pick a great route and enjoy!! Do it at a rate that is comfortable for you, 45 to 60 miles per day, and enjoy the trip.
See on the AIDS ride they pick you up in a bus if they don't think you'll make it to the predetermined camp by the end of the day. As much as I want to do the ride... I REALLY don't want to find myself a passenger on the shame bus.

I think cyclintom might be right but I'd be interested if there's anyone who can make a compelling case FOR doing the ride this year. Next week I'll begin riding my NEW Surly CrossCheck which, given what I've been luggin around town, should be a noticeable change and first representation of what I'm capable of at this point. Thanks to all.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:35 PM
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I tend to agree with Shifty - Do the coastal ride, but at your own pace.
I think that the AIDS ride would be possible, but at the outer limit, given that you have only just gotten back on a bike after a long absence. I'm guessing from a quick glance that the AIDS ride is about 85 miles per day. There are some pretty hilly stretches along the Coast Highway - although the incredible views make up for the climbs. Still, you'll have some significant climbing to do. Two factors in your favor are that you should have consistent tailwinds by early June heading south and the AIDS ride gives you sag support for your gear. Were you to think of each day as four 21-mile rides - start as early as possible, take a moderate pace, stop for frequent breaks with, perhaps, an hour between segments and two for lunch, you might be able to do it. Although some of the hot-rodders may be on their bikes for six - even as little as four hours - you would need to be riding eight hours each day. If you rode in the above fashion you would need to ride maybe from 7-9, 10-12, 2-4 & 5-7. It could be that the organization wouldn't want you to do it this way - plus you'd probably be missing out on much of the group activities. But it is an outline of how the ride might be possible.
Still, I return to what Shifty said - - Do your own trip at a slower pace.
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Old 12-27-05, 09:51 PM
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There is no shame bus. This is a charity ride, and you'll be doing a good cause. Be positive, and give it a try. I don't know what the daily distance is, but if it's not over 60 miles/day, you should be able to train for it. No matter what, you'll complete the ride with a better body, and next year, you'll ride even better from it. Is it a sag ride where you don't have to carry your luggage, and with plenty of water stops? If so, try to make your bike lightest possible, and don't push it during the first few hours of riding. After one day, with sufficient pre-training, you should do fine. You have full mental support from me.
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Old 12-27-05, 10:54 PM
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I did AIDS Ride 3 - in 1996, starting my training in March, right after having after minor surgery to clean up a torn meniscus. I had gone to a fund raiser for it and when I saw the presentation, it really moved me, so I decided to do it myself. I was 40 at the time, and in pretty good shape from running but not much of a biker. The training for it wasn't too bad. The hardest part is the fundraising...lol, although I managed to raise $5k. You should be able to prepare adequately since you have 6 months and have been biking quite a bit recently. It really isn't as physically difficult as you would think.

I was travelling a lot when training so was unable to do daily rides, but I managed one good ride mid week, sometimes two, and rode both days on weekends. We had a ride coordinator who organized some training rides of 60-70 miles. I bought a used Kestrel to do it on but couldn't adjust to the riding position and ended up putting slicks and aerobars on my Stumpjumper and using that. Finished toward the back 1/3rd of the pack most days but was just happy to be doing it.. We even had a few 70 yr olds doing the ride, and they would struggle in just before dark every day, but there was always someone there to meet them. It was one of the most moving things I have ever seen.

The ride is absolutely gorgeous on mostly two lane scenic routes partly inland, partly on the coast, during wildflower season. You can go at your own pace and there are rest breaks with food every 15-20 miles so you basically split it into 4 shorter rides. The longest day was the first - 93 miles on the windy coast from SF to Santa Cruz, and one day inland when it was 100 deg, but mostly it was 65-80 miles/day. I think our total was about 540 miles, in 6 1/2 days.

I highly recommend you go for it. You have plenty of time to prepare adequately and it will likely be one of the most memorable experiences you will ever have, at least it was for me. Feel free to pm me if you want more info.

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Old 12-27-05, 11:12 PM
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You guys are all awesome and so encouraging. Maybe I'll go for it. At least I'm leaning that way right now. I think when I get my Surly, I'll go out for a 100 mile day. If I can do that, then I'll feel good training for the ride. I feel like I can do it. We'll see.

It's just that 6 months feels a little short to get me ready in time but waiting for 2007 feels SO long away... plus there's the charity aspect which I'd like to do both years if possible since it's for a good cause.

But thanks again for the positive feedback and the honest feedback. Maybe I'll report back on this thread if I decide to go for it.

You all rock.
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Old 12-27-05, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker
You guys are all awesome and so encouraging. Maybe I'll go for it. At least I'm leaning that way right now. I think when I get my Surly, I'll go out for a 100 mile day. If I can do that, then I'll feel good training for the ride. I feel like I can do it. We'll see.

It's just that 6 months feels a little short to get me ready in time but waiting for 2007 feels SO long away... plus there's the charity aspect which I'd like to do both years if possible since it's for a good cause.

But thanks again for the positive feedback and the honest feedback. Maybe I'll report back on this thread if I decide to go for it.

You all rock.
Don't try to jump from 20 miles to 100 miles, it WILL hurt you and you'll probably give up half way. Increase your distance slowly. Try it in 5 mile increments up to 50 miles. Then start early one day and go for 75 stopping for a good rest half way. Then try a century. Keep hydrated, but don't drink too much, and eat a little and often. I did this last year. I started at being winded after 10 miles and ended up doing 60 miles regularly at the weekend and went up to 80 miles. This spring I'll do 100.
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Old 12-28-05, 09:10 AM
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You can do it if you are in average or a bit above in physical condition and many riders are that.
I rode SF to Malibu oct-Nov 04 but I took about 11 days just aveage miles per day camped at nite cept for 2 nites in motels,along the PCH, and those views certainly are inspirational enuf ,the hills and/or grades aren't that bad
The thrill having finished such a ride, and your first, will carry you on to others
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Old 02-18-06, 10:26 PM
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I just did santa cruz to los angeles by way of the coast, it took 4 days, very beautiful, but very lonely as I had no riding partners, lol. Also, this time of year, the sun was going down early and rising late, so, kind of a bummer... but hwy 1 south was so gorgeous it was worth it.
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Old 02-22-06, 12:20 AM
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I'll see you out there... I just got my rider number the other day.

I just started riding in October, and have a great group I train with here who are very encouraging, called Team OC.
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Old 02-22-06, 12:26 AM
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I almost did it. Santa Cruz to Carpentria. Had to get back to work, so took the train. I would have done the whole trip otherwise. Did the CA 1 down through Big Sur. Ride right on the cliffs. Traffic can be bad, so plan accordingly. Go through Big Sur on non traffic days.
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