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If you can ride x miles, then you can ride 100

Old 06-21-13, 11:57 PM
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If you can ride x miles, then you can ride 100

Hi,
I'm a regular commuter over the last year with a 25 mile round trip to work, which I do 2 or 3 times per week. When I first started the commute, I felt like I completed an ironman afterwards, exhausted, sore, etc. But now it's like a routine and I've acclimated to it. Due to the fact that I have little kids, commuting gives me a way to get my riding in during the week and have weekends with them. As a result, I never really ride more than 15 miles at a pop. We have a beach trip planned in St. Augustine and I was considering leaving a day early and riding from Atlanta to Perry GA which is 110 miles. My wife would then pick me up on her way down. 15 miles to 110 is a big jump, at least I think. Sometimes I think it will just flow and other times I wonder if I'm going to hit a point at x miles where I wonder what I've gotten myself into. I've never worn cycling shorts, but I bought a pair, knowing that a longer ride will take a toll downstairs. Heat will also be an issue. And frankly, I also worry about boredom: an hour on a bike versus 8 or 10. The route drops 800ft in elevation over the 110 miles, so much of it will be downhill. There will also be plenty of places to stop if I don't make it (not packing a tent, just credit card, clothes, food, water). In my city commute, I average close to 12mph moving speed, normally 10.8 overall with stoplights. Getting out of Atlanta will be a lot of stop and go, but I would expect to be able to pick up the pace on the open roads to maybe 13mph. So just to be conservative, I'm thinking 12 hours for the trip with stops for lunch, stretching, etc.
So I was just looking for input as to whether or not you think I should try to take some longer rides over the next few weeks to build up to it (which eats into the weekend time with the family), or just roll with it and see what happens. Is there a point at which, if you can ride x miles, you can ride all day?
Thanks in advance,
Jon
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Old 06-22-13, 12:37 AM
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The rule of thumb from back in the day was one could ride in a one day event whatever mileage one did during a normal week of training. That worked out well for a lot of first-time double century riders I knew. It sounds like you're in for a bit of hurt. I strongly recommend you get some longer rides in pronto. They don't have to be too long, just get a couple of thirty or forty milers in to see how you feel about it. If you can ride a thirty mile ride on Sunday and do your commute two of the next three days, then you can do the trip just fine.
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Old 06-22-13, 12:54 AM
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You could also think about it this way; your 110 mile ride (called a Century ride) would be essentially three of your round trip commutes, one after the other. Or, you're doing essentially seven (7) of your 15 mile rides, one after the other.

What you have to get used to is spending an extended amount of time in the saddle; not just the two hours you spend on your regular ride. The key to riding longer distances is to be as comfortable as possible; if your neck and back get sore after two hours in the saddle, stretch it to four and that soreness is compounded.

B.car is right; double up on your distance this Sunday and see how you feel. Ride your full week's commute, and if your body feels good, then it's all systems go!

Keep in touch next week with any questions you might have; it's exciting helping someone complete their first Century ride!



P.S. Also look at the Long Distance & Randonneuring Forum... there are a lot of tips about spending a LONG time on the bike...

Last edited by oldskoolwrench; 06-22-13 at 12:56 AM. Reason: Maeking mah werds maek mor cence soe peepel kin reed bettur.
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Old 06-22-13, 02:45 AM
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Take the longer rides. It is less a matter of distance than of time on the bike, and you'll be looking at multiplying your current time on the bike by a factor of six or seven. You will find all sorts of issues arise in terms of aches and pains, clothing and so on. You need to get accustomed to just being on the bike for much longer.
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Old 06-22-13, 02:58 AM
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byrd48, I had some good advice before my first century and that was to become comfortable in the saddle for a minimum of three hours. Distance and speed are discounted in importance as the idea is to accustom the body to the position for extended periods. Use a route with as few stops as possible.

Brad
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Old 06-22-13, 03:28 AM
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First of all, I think this belongs in the Long Distance forum, not the touring forum: https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...urance-Cycling
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Old 06-22-13, 05:55 AM
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Great advice above, especially the note about being able to ride the week's mileage in a day. And since you're not riding the day after, you can push it.

And you have very good instincts about the special clothing--shorts, gloves, shoes, etc. I don't bother with those items until I go over 50 miles. I can ride 50 miles wearing anything (and the bike doesn't matter much either). After that it starts making a difference to me.

All I'll add is don't discount the wind on the day of your ride. Wind could affect a long day more than hills will. If you get a strong tailwind, you'll be done in six hours and wonder where the miles went! (I once heard a saying that rookies complain about hills, veterans about wind.)
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Old 06-22-13, 07:47 AM
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What are the second and third points you were going to make ?
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Old 06-22-13, 07:52 AM
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You would be better off if you can gradually increse your milage. You might find you have to tweak your position after a thirty or forty mile ride. I have had a problem with cramps on my first long ride of the year. But that might be age.
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Old 06-22-13, 07:52 AM
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Sunscreen. This can include your head if you lack hair and have large vent holes in the helmet.

Water bottles. Bring enough that you never run out, even if you can't get resupplied for 25 or 30 miles. If you are a regular coffee drinker, your first bottle can be iced coffee, add a little sugar. If you do run out of water, when you finally get resupplied, do not drink too much water too fast, that can dilute/deplete essential salts in your blood system.

Calories. Assuming you are an average sized average age male, eat about 200-250 calories every hour to hour and a half. Do not try to do that all at once or with a couple big meals. Sports gels, sports drinks, powerbars (or similar under different brand names), are the common calorie sources, but granola bars, M&Ms, potato chips, donuts, cheetos, etc., are good sources too. I used to use powdered sports drink mix but have not used any for several years. When I did use sports drinks, I usually watered it down by mixing only half as much powder as instructions called for.

Do not have too much protein in a pre-ride meal. The eggs and hash browns are fine, skip the sausages.

And switch to the long distance forum.
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Old 06-22-13, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
First of all, I think this belongs in the Long Distance forum, not the touring forum: https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...urance-Cycling
Secondly ... 15 miles to 110 is, indeed, a big jump. When are you planning to make this jump?


Thirdly ... "I've never worn cycling shorts, but I bought a pair, knowing that a longer ride will take a toll downstairs." ... The wrong pair of cycling shorts can take a toll downstairs too. Ride with them as much as possible before your big ride to find out whether they will hurt or help.


Fourthly ... if heat will also be an issue, use sunscreen, drink lots, and consume electrolytes. Aim to drink at least one 750 ml bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours ... more if it is hot or windy. Consume salted almond, potato chips, beef jerky and/or electrolyte tablets.


Fifthly ... "So I was just looking for input as to whether or not you think I should try to take some longer rides over the next few weeks to build up to it (which eats into the weekend time with the family), or just roll with it and see what happens. Is there a point at which, if you can ride x miles, you can ride all day?" ... yes, do some longer rides over the next few weeks.

The general guideline is that if you can ride 2/3 of a distance comfortably, you can ride whole distance.


And finally ... go to the Long Distance forum and look for the Century Tips sticky.
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Old 06-22-13, 12:50 PM
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Whatever forum this thread is on the advice will be probably the same: start to build up the miles slowly. For a first time visitor the long distance forum is intimidating, as it is about competition and organized events with time limits. And this is sort of touring after all he is going on vacation.
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Old 06-22-13, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka

The general guideline is that if you can ride 2/3 of a distance comfortably, you can ride whole distance.
This is what I've always personally gone by.
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Old 06-22-13, 02:38 PM
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My rule of thumb is if you can make it more than halfway, you'll make the whole way, because it would take longer to turn around and return at that point.
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Old 06-22-13, 03:15 PM
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Thanks all. I think if the wind is not too much of a factor, I should be ok, and if not, I will stop early when it stops being fun. I only have one water bottle cage. The bike has bosses on the seat tube, but the derailleur clamp is right between them, maybe they make a cage that goes over the clamp, but it's a large Shimano clamp. I thought about one of those hydration backpacks, has anyone used one of those? In the heat of the day, the water in my bottle gets quite warm.
Another decision is tires. I'm currently running 26 x 1.5, which I like since they are more agile and easier to spin up to speed when trying to make a green light. Before I installed those, I was running 26x1.92 Conti Towne @ Country. They are about half a pound heavier each, but much more cushy. In the end, they probably don't make a huge difference in average speed, but they do feel slower.
I was also wondering what type of cue card system to use. On shorter rides around town, I just carry the turn by turn printout, but now I will be looking at many more turns. I have a backpacking gps which I can save the track to, but I don't have a mount for it and it doesn't have the streets on it not will it offer directions. Furthermore, I don't really want to look at it while riding anyway. I thought about some type of sticky notes that I could tear off page by page.
And I did look at the long distance forum, but I got the impression it was more for endurance racing. I don't think this forum is inappropriate, but I'll move if it's a big deal.
Thanks again!
Jon
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Old 06-22-13, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by byrd48
And I did look at the long distance forum, but I got the impression it was more for endurance racing. I don't think this forum is inappropriate, but I'll move if it's a big deal.
Thanks again!
Jon
Racing is a very small portion of what's discussed over there.

As for your cue sheet, why not just print it on one piece of paper, and then fold it. That's what most randonneurs do.
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Old 06-22-13, 10:29 PM
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Jon,

I think you'll find a lot of good tips in the Long Distance Forum which can be applied to your upcoming ride.
Riding a Century is as much about the adventure as it is about performance and time.

The most important thing is to have a good time; have a look around, and enjoy the scenery and surroundings. One of the most pleasing things about Touring and long distance riding is that you get a chance to see things that are just a blur when traveling by car. Take photos... stop at the Lemonade stand run by the two 9 year olds (a mandatory prerequisite on ANY ride)... have an ice cream at the local hangout... HAVE FUN!

Good Luck,and let us know how it went!!

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Old 06-22-13, 11:03 PM
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Thanks again, I'll certainly keep you posted. I'm toying with the idea of making it a multiple day trip, possibly trying to go the entire way, but vacation time is an obstacle. It is exciting planning it out.
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Old 06-23-13, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by byrd48
I only have one water bottle cage. The bike has bosses on the seat tube, but the derailleur clamp is right between them, maybe they make a cage that goes over the clamp, but it's a large Shimano clamp.
Some cages fit where some do not. Also, some people use a stack of washers to hold the cage further out from the frame. A neighbor of mine that is a bike mechanic told me that he saves up the little knurled nuts from blown Presta tubes to use as spacers for when a customer wants a cage installed over the derailleur clamp.

Originally Posted by byrd48
In the heat of the day, the water in my bottle gets quite warm.
Warm water is better than no water. For the millions of years that the human species have been evolving, we did rather well before refrigeration was invented.

Originally Posted by byrd48
Another decision is tires. I'm currently running 26 x 1.5, which I like since they are more agile and easier to spin up to speed when trying to make a green light. Before I installed those, I was running 26x1.92 Conti Towne @ Country.
Thanks again!
Jon
Nothing wrong with 26 X 1.5. I used that same size tires last summer for a 500 mile tour with 60 pounds of camping gear on my bike.

I already gave you a lot of help above in post number 10. You have extensive questions. I suggest you do some research instead of expecting customized personal assistance.
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Old 06-23-13, 07:05 AM
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This is the Tips for riding a Century thread (located in the Long Distance forum) ... it contains tips for riding any types of centuries, including the style you want to do. Have a read and see if you can use any of the tips:

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ding-a-Century
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Old 06-23-13, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by byrd48
Thanks again, I'll certainly keep you posted. I'm toying with the idea of making it a multiple day trip, possibly trying to go the entire way, but vacation time is an obstacle. It is exciting planning it out.
One of the things I like to do to get long rides in is combine them with a family outing. For example, we'll plan a hike in the mountains, my wife will give me a two hour head start and then drive the kids to the meeting point. We'll go for a hike and then all drive home in the car.

It's a great way to get some miles in without significantly affecting the family. In fact, it probably gets us out more.
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Old 06-23-13, 09:02 PM
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Regarding cue sheets: Print out a turn-by-turn cue sheet from a site like https://ridewithgps.com/. I often rework these in a spreadsheet so that I can print out cue sheets that I can read that also fit into a jersey pocket. Sometimes I even laminate them if I'm going to be getting wet. It is quite helpful if you have a functioning, accurate odometer on your bike so you can know when to expect turns. (I haven't had an odometer for decades. I just estimate the distance, but I have a LOT of saddle time, so my estimates are pretty close.) Print out map sections for tricky parts and also bring a larger, lower resolution map so that it is easier to get help from locals if you get lost.

You've been given lots of good advice regarding hydration/fueling. My personal favorite solution is chocolate milk. I often chase it with a caffeinated sugared soda, but my digestive tract is made out of the same material as my bike (steel). Such a combo might not go down so well for others. Carry more than one water bottle. You can purchase water bottle holders that mount on the handlebars or seat post if you can't get the second one on the frame. I often put something like iced tea with a bit of sugar into one bottle and then chase sips of that with water from the other bottle. That keeps me fueled without giving me the feeling that my teeth are rotting.

I hope you give the ride a go. You have a bailout option ready, so it seems worthwhile to try. Worst case scenario is that you find out your current limits on a bike, and that's a good thing to discover (and then expand).
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Old 06-24-13, 05:05 PM
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If I were you, I'd try to do a 30 mile ride before you go. 110 miles isn't very far and it sounds like you're in good shape but it always helps to experience saddle time before a long ride.
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Old 06-25-13, 09:31 AM
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Putting thin cotton socks over your water bottles will provide some insulation from heat, plus evaporative cooling if you keep the socks wet.
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Old 06-25-13, 08:50 PM
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Great idea, thanks!
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