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Training for Touring?

Old 05-05-10, 09:06 PM
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Training for Touring?

Might sound like an oxymoron, but is anyone up on available trainign plans to prepare for the cycling rigors of a 5-day tour? I've found one in Gale Bernhardt's book, Training Plans for Cyclists, but I'd like to consider a few.
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Old 05-05-10, 09:16 PM
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Just ride.
Lots
And do an over night tour first.
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Old 05-05-10, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jdom
Just ride.
Lots
And do an over night tour first.
This is pretty much all you need to do. I don't worry too much about training plans for touring because I don't ride fast when I tour anyway. The only things you need to be sure about are your ability to handle the bike fully loaded, the making and breaking of camp each day, and the mental toughness to be able to ride another 30km if it turns out your map was wrong about that campsite. You can pretty much get those by riding lots and doing an overnight tour somewhere.
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Old 05-05-10, 09:58 PM
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Touring is mental. Commuting rain or shine is the best training I can think of, especially rain.

Here's a good training schedule: https://www.cyclingtrip.com/sections/guide/index.htm
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Old 05-05-10, 09:59 PM
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+1 on the riding. Also, load the bike with more weight than your going to be carrying and ride with it. It will show what you need to work on. I have problems with climbing while touring, so right now thats what I am working on. I am working on getting ready for weeklong tour also.
Another recommendation, is remember that if it can go wrong, it probably will. It can be very trying at times, but just keep a calm head and work through it. Most important is to have fun.
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Old 05-05-10, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Might sound like an oxymoron, but is anyone up on available trainign plans to prepare for the cycling rigors of a 5-day tour? I've found one in Gale Bernhardt's book, Training Plans for Cyclists, but I'd like to consider a few.
Just ride a few days carrying some stuff and do an overnight trip.
 
Old 05-06-10, 12:21 AM
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I just ride as much as I can and make sure that I always have hills included in my rides, I go out of the way to find hills that reflect my up-coming tour. This year I am working on keeping my speed up while I am climbing, I find that I need to maintain as much speed as possible when climbing with my bike loaded or I start having balance issues. It's easy with no wieght but it become much more difficult when you add 40lbs. to the bike. Just my thoughts.
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Old 05-06-10, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Might sound like an oxymoron, but is anyone up on available trainign plans to prepare for the cycling rigors of a 5-day tour? I've found one in Gale Bernhardt's book, Training Plans for Cyclists, but I'd like to consider a few.
I didn't have a rigorous training plan for my SF to LA tour, but I did train.

Before I started touring, I was riding 4-6 days/week. 3-5 times during the work week, I'd ride through my lunch hour. Most rides were on my road bike, generally a 15 mile flat course riding as hard as I possibly could (~17.5mph average). Once or twice a week, if I was lucky, I'd manage to do a 45-minute lunch ride on my mountain bike. Probably about half the distance, but with a good 800-1000 ft. of elevation gain. Weekends, I'd concentrate on longer (2-5hr) rides with a few more hills (2000-3000 ft.). Weekend rides were generally done at an "all day" pace (~15mph). I eventually worked up to the point where I could do two back-to-back days of ~60 miles with 3000 ft of elevation gain/day at an average 15mph and still feel fresh at the end of each ride.

6-8 weeks before my tour, I finally had my touring bike built and all of my luggage available. I started riding the touring bike exclusively at that point. Initially, I mounted the luggage and packed about half my gear. Backed off on speed and distance a bit, but tried to maintain the same general level of intensity. After a week or two, I started carrying 90% of my gear on the majority of my training rides. Figured I needed the time to get used to riding a bike that was 3X heavier than my road bike. Had to back off the distance again, but slowly started working back toward longer rides. Got to the point where I could do a 60-mile day with 3000ft of elevation at an average of 15mph followed by a 40-50 mile day with 1800ft of elevation at the same pace.

At that point, I figured I was ready to go. My plan averaged around 70-miles/day with a max of 3000ft of elevation gain and the longest day was 90 miles and around 2000 ft of elevation gain. Figured that with 9 or 10 hours of daylight available, my speed could drop to a leisurely 10mph and I'd still make the distance.
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Old 05-06-10, 03:45 PM
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All this reminds of something I noticed a while back. Had such an impact, I wrote it down in a journal.

"I've now been on two kinds of tours. The kind where I train for weeks climbing hills and hauling weight, crunching numbers and poring over maps, charting elevation gain and loss, gear inches, and gain ratios. Also the kind where I just hop on my bike and take off with whatever I throw in my panniers that I think I might need for a week or two, no cyclometer, no maps, no watch. Hard to say which is better, and maybe both should be part of the regular rotation."

To this day, I couldn't tell you which kind of touring I enjoyed more. They are both appealing in different ways. I think I definitely do more planning and prepping for tours these days, and that is probably why I am occasionally able to "just go" without thinking about it too much.

Erick L is right on about the mental aspect. Don't stress over your physical conditioning... after a week of mountain passes, off and on rain, and headwinds, how do you feel? Having a good time? Why not? It's all in your head.

I find it helpful to convert bitter complaining and wishing things weren't as they are to something more positive while on tour:
"More wind please!" - my personal mantra for dealing with headwinds that just won't quit.
"Another mountain? I just love mountains!"
"Well, it's been 3 days since I last showered, can it rain a little harder, please?"
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Old 05-06-10, 04:04 PM
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"cycling rigors of a 5-day tour"

does this mean you've got a set number of miles you have to do in those five days? It's pretty basic. If your five days average out to 50miles a day then hopefully you've experienced a 75mile day, or sequential 50mile days. If your trip involves sequential 75 mile days then hopefully you've experienced sequential 75 mile days or a 100 mile day with 25mile days on either side.

If you cannot do that before the trip then the trip is just another training ride where you have to have time to recover each day and ride the next day. Which means taking it EASY and simply sitting on the bike a long time and getting off frequently so you don't develop overuse injuries like saddle sores, dehydration, bonking and bad attitude.
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Old 05-06-10, 05:16 PM
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I've been sick for the past 5 days and haven't been on the bike for 2 weeks and I start riding the TransAm in 4 days... I plan on just taking it easy until everything is back to normal and trying not to really worry about it too much. I'm sure you'll be fine and have a great time!
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Old 05-06-10, 06:11 PM
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Commute by bike every day, regardless of the weather plus longer weekend rides.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:35 PM
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Some people ride themselves into shape during the first couple of weeks of a long tour. I prefer to begin in pretty good riding shape, but I ride quite a bit for enjoyment, so I don't do too much special training.

I would recommend loading your bike fully and riding it regularly for the week or two before your tour. Not so much to get you into shape, although it will help do that, but to test everything for tightness, balance, and maneuverability.

For most bike tourists, the tour itself isn't enormously strenuous. If you plan to ride 60 miles in a day and you have all day to do it, it's only six hours on the bike at 10mph. Three hours before lunch and three hours after lunch and you're at your daily destination by early afternoon. Some days are longer and hills or a headwind will make you work harder. Touring is more an exercise of persistence than feat of athletic ability.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:38 PM
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ah.... sure.
 
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Ride lots if you can. Being in shape isn't required but....... it sure makes the riding more fun.
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Old 05-06-10, 08:24 PM
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In the words of Eddie Merckx (who rode some pretty impressive Tours back in his day), "Ride your bike. Ride your bike. Ride your bike.". Commuting is good because it gets you into the mindset of riding every day, no matter what the weather is like or how you feel. Dealing with a few punctures or other mechanical issues on the way to work will teach you about bike repair and the value of preventive maintenance. If you can stop off at the grocery store on your way home from work, that will get you accustomed to carrying loads on your bike. If you can work out a way to take the long way to or from work, so much the better.

If you can't cycle to and from work/school, commit to a daily ride no matter what the conditions for as long as you can manage. Touring is more about getting on your bike every day than it is about being super fit. And yes, getting on your bike every day, no matter what the weather, is far more satisfying than waiting for good weather to go cycling.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:37 AM
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I get the ride everyday thing. It makes perfect sense. I'm about an hour bike ride away from work and need a shower etc before I throw on the noose and monkey suit. So I find it way too easy to sleep in past the alarm and just catch a train.

So I do a lot of riding on my off days, and then core training at the gym on workdays in the evening.

Check out a personal trainer, they'll set up a nice personalized program for you; even if you only see them once or twice.


But yeah, commuting is ideal.
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Old 05-08-10, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
"cycling rigors of a 5-day tour"

does this mean you've got a set number of miles you have to do in those five days? It's pretty basic. If your five days average out to 50miles a day then hopefully you've experienced a 75mile day, or sequential 50mile days. If your trip involves sequential 75 mile days then hopefully you've experienced sequential 75 mile days or a 100 mile day with 25mile days on either side.

If you cannot do that before the trip then the trip is just another training ride where you have to have time to recover each day and ride the next day. Which means taking it EASY and simply sitting on the bike a long time and getting off frequently so you don't develop overuse injuries like saddle sores, dehydration, bonking and bad attitude.
Yes, it's a directed tour with SAG support and helpful people cooking for us. About 65 miles a day, three days riding, one day rest, two days to complete the loop.
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Old 05-08-10, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Yes, it's a directed tour with SAG support and helpful people cooking for us. About 65 miles a day, three days riding, one day rest, two days to complete the loop.
The difficulty of riding 65 miles in a day on tour is completely different than going for a 65 mile road ride on the weekend. Your bike weighs more, so you coast longer and develop a steady pedaling pattern, and you have all day to complete 65 miles rather than the span of 'going for a ride.' For me, that latter point makes all the difference. When you're stopping for lunch, taking pictures and talking with your friends, doing a certain mileage seems infinitely easier than trying to make miles on a single ride.

In my opinion, that's the beauty of touring. I think you'll do great.
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Old 05-09-10, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Weasel9
The difficulty of riding 65 miles in a day on tour is completely different than going for a 65 mile road ride on the weekend. Your bike weighs more, so you coast longer and develop a steady pedaling pattern, and you have all day to complete 65 miles rather than the span of 'going for a ride.' For me, that latter point makes all the difference. When you're stopping for lunch, taking pictures and talking with your friends, doing a certain mileage seems infinitely easier than trying to make miles on a single ride.

In my opinion, that's the beauty of touring. I think you'll do great.
This is my thought, too. But I'll be riding with my cousin, who's a very experienced tourer with loads of Ride the Rockies and RAGBRAI experience. I'd like to best be able to keep up with her, despite her high-altitude lungs and my overly adequate central fuel store.
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