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Down Africa

Old 04-01-09, 05:30 PM
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Down Africa

Hi everyone,

I am 27 from Northern Ireland, haven't done a lot of cycling before, but pretty fit, play rugby, football (soccer), go to circuits and spin classes.

I have just signed up for a 6/7 month cycle down Africa (about 15,000km) starting dec 2009. It's just kind dawned on me the extent of the challenge, max amount of cycling per day is about 160 km put usually around 100 km. I know the rest of the guys aren't really cyclists either and I feel it is my duty to get them training and ready to go asap as I feel as if we need to be physically at are peaks for going.

I any advice on training??
Many thanks

Stewart
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Old 04-01-09, 07:46 PM
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How many centuries (160 km) have you and your friends done so far? What's your usual daily ride and weekly riding like?

This site might help you with some training info:
https://www.ultracycling.com/

And I'd highly recommend joining your local randonneuring/audax organization, and doing the rides with them:
https://www.audax.uk.net/index2.htm
https://sorrentocyclingclub.com/site/audax/
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Old 04-01-09, 08:08 PM
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Is this a supported tour?

You have some time to train so go about it methodically. There's no substitute for time in the saddle and miles ridden. It's good to cross train by running etc for cardio, but nothing can prepare you for the way a long day of cycling can exhaust your energy reserves except cycling. The insidious thing about cycling is that you can do it for hour after hour burning 700 calories an hour and if you don't fill up your tank you can completely deplete your glycogen stores and "bonk". This happens in other endurance sports like marathon running too.

So start off easily with 5 or 10 mile rides 3 or 4 times a week giving yourself a day's rest between rides. Then start longer rides at the weekend. Depending on your fitness you may get up to 30 or 40 miles in a few weeks. Don't go for speed start out slow maybe 10 or 12 miles an hour and increase according to how your body feels. Once 40 miles is just a short ride for you start increasing in 10% increments until your doing 60 or 70 mile rides at the weekend. You should be doing 30 mile rides a couple of times during the week too and don't forget to include some hills. Make sure you eat and drink regularly during these rides. I'm a fairly average cyclist but here's what I do. 30 mile rides after work 3 times a week which takes about 2 hours, then at the weekend I do a long ride of 60 miles plus and once a month I'll do a century. I make my routes hilly as that way I am fit enough to really enjoy my tours.
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Old 04-02-09, 04:32 PM
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Thanks nun,
That's great, it will get me started and it's good to get some assurance that it's not an impossible task. The Tour is supported by an a.c.t.s Truck with a core team of 8-10 people, its to rasie money for Hope academies run by Ambassadors in Sport South Africa. We hope to make it down for the start of the World Cup. I'll get on my bike and see how I get on, I'll keep you posted.
Cheers Stewart
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Old 04-02-09, 04:45 PM
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Ps We are currently looking for sponsors/ free equipment etc, you wouldn't know any companies who would be interested??
Cheers
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Old 04-02-09, 05:50 PM
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Try and learn as much as you can about the type of roads you'll be riding on, and get a bike that is appropriate for those conditions, as well as the amount of riding. You'll thank yourself if you get a good saddle and good wheels/tires.
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Old 04-03-09, 05:10 AM
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You should build up fitness on the way quite quickly. So knowing what the daily distances are (if fixed) during the first few weeks will be a better guide of what to aim for with training.

I've met 2 guys who are leaving in a couple of months who are cycling to SA for the World Cup - they're heading via West Africa before hopping across to East Africa and continuing south. You don't say which route you'll be taking.... but you may pass them.

If you haven't sorted out bikes or equipment yet - follow IceNine's advice - a good saddle and tyres will make a massive difference. I've just bought a touring bike with brooks saddle and schwalbe tyres and they're great. I wish I'd realised what I was missing out on sooner!

Enjoy the training.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:17 AM
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Hi Stewart,

100 km pushing the bike through sandy roads - respect :-)

I go normally on a three weeks trip 70 km per day incl. sight seeing. I guess you can extent it up to 100 per day. But keep in mind that you'll need a lot of visa. So you can stuck 1 or 2 weeks in the major cities. For a long trip I would calculate with 50 km per day (incl. rest days). Still about 10000 km in 6/7 months. The max per day will be higher (nice road with tail wind).

Please keep in mind that climate topics (heat in the desert, high humidity in the tropical area, only 12 hours daylight) will limit your physics. I always say 1 km counts doubles outside Europe/North America...

Thomas
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