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Humbling Experience

Old 06-30-13, 04:09 PM
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Humbling Experience

I just got home from a two day tour in PA. It was very humbling! I wanted to use this overnighter as a shake down for the four day tour that I am starting on Wednesday. So I packed the way I would have (pretty much) for that tour. Well, all was going well until the last 25-30 miles which were rolling hills to steep climbs. I've only had to walk once hill thus far in my riding life but on Saturday. I had to walk four hills. I just could not manage to pedal up those things. Legs were shot and I was just plain tired. I know it need to lose weight (working on it) and need to ride more hills and I also need to really rethink packing.

On the packing.... I am still having a hard time figuring what what the needs are versus the wants.

Blah... I am beat right now!
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Old 06-30-13, 04:51 PM
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I feel your pain. I commute 10mi RT a few days a week on my touring bike. There is small hill that takes me maybe five minutes to get from the bottom to the top and I also carry quite a bit of baggage (textbooks/laptop/groceries) on a regular basis. I though all the riding throughout the week that I've been doing for the last couple years would have me well conditioned for short touring. I was way wrong. My wife and I rode around Lake Tahoe Last spring, it's only like 70mi all the way around but there are some pretty decent hills. I managed almost all of the hills fairly well because many of them were on par with the one on my daily commute. But the last one, south of "Incline Village" (I should have known by the name, right?) was rough. It was a very, very long climb, at least compared to anything I've ridden over before. I never really walked it, but I had to stop several times because my but hurt soooo bad and my legs were spent (I thought my Brooks Saddle was well worn in by that point but maybe not). It was still a great trip (first time to Tahoe), but that part of it...I will likely never forget.
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Old 06-30-13, 05:15 PM
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I found out the CTC route suggestion* to take the route on the south side of Loch Ness, in Scotland Was diabolical.

Obvious was why the main route was on the north Shore it stayed near the shore ..

Foyers on the southern high ground used the waterfall's drop to power a hydro powered generator
to make Aluminium for the RAF in WW2, making it a target for German bombing.


adding:.. for Rowan.
[the section ,( looking at old OS map), B862, Ft Augustus, to Foyers, then down Inverness]

+ ref : *Gausden & Crane's book, "Cycling Britain And Ireland " their No. 265

they started from the Inverness end, not the sudden rise.. I was coming from Oban ,
after Island hopping the inner Hebrides..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-30-13 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 06-30-13, 05:28 PM
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Chefisaac, it has happened to all of us.

I was so arrogant one year that I went on a supported tour without hardly any training, my legs suffered terribly on that ride.

Now I have always try to be prepared with plenty of riding in the spring. I also ride more training rides with a loaded bike. When its too cold in the winter I ride a trainer. I don't belong to a gym anymore but when I did I would go to spin classes because having someone yell at me pushed me harder.

You will know that you need work harder preparing your fitness to have an enjoyable tour.

I just finished my supported tour last week and I prepped well enough that I didn't suffer during the rides.

Good luck on your 4 day tour. Certainly re-evaluate your packing list for this short tour. Half of the items that I brought along on my tour I never used.

The items that I brought along that I didn't use were
Tight
pants
too many sock
too many riding clothes
jacket
windbreaker
too much food

I just used my rain jacket for the cooler mornings and washed my clothes every day after the ride. all of my clothing is synthetic and dries quickly except the shoes and gloves.

I'm not familiar with your gearing but after my trip in 2010 (there are a lot of hills in south eastern Ohio), I changed the granny chainring on my crank and changed the rear cassette from an 11-27 to an 11-32.

This year's tour I rode my Waterford but never used my 53 tooth chainring on my crank.
I may look at changing to a mountain crankset for the steeper hills, since I don't use the big gears any more.
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Old 06-30-13, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
I found out the CTC route suggestion to take the route on the south side of Loch Ness, in Scotland Was diabolical.

Obvious was why the main route was on the north Shore it stayed near the shore ..

Foyers on the southern high ground used the waterfall's drop to power a hydro powered generator
to make Aluminium for the RAF in WW2, making it a target for German bombing.

We did a guided coach tour on the north side of Loch Ness last year and we came upon a couple of touring cyclists who held up the bus just a little. The driver was less than sympathetic, saying she couldn't understand why they couldn't use the road on the other side of the lake.

I did pipe up and say we were cyclists and that it was OK. Plus, the riders couldn't have access to the Loch Ness tourist centre... blah blah blah.

Anyway, Machka investigated a little further on returning to our digs, and found that googlemaps would only start the route at some location midway along the southern road. I think its recommended cycling route was on the northern road.

You just can't win with some people, even those ensconced in the tourism industry.

Anyway, chefisaac, it does get better the more you do it. My first-ever tour was a long one. I spent a LOT of time in the first couple of weeks climbing hills that I would eat for breakfast now.
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Old 06-30-13, 06:28 PM
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chefisaac, I imagine that most cyclists have walked a hill and if they haven't, they will. There are just days where no matter how positive your attitude or how strong a rider you are, there's just nothing in the tank.

Brad
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Old 06-30-13, 08:53 PM
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Some hills would beat anyone up if the gearing was more than their legs could handle. It might be that you're taking too much stuff or it might be that you're just not geared for climbing hills with loaded panniers. Could you post your tire size and gear ratios front and back?

I'm running 700x40's, a 22/32/44 up front and an 11-34 in back myself. Not built for top speed, but travelling with loaded panniers in scenic territory - I'm not usually in a rush anyway.
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Old 06-30-13, 09:30 PM
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Like others have said, you may have just had a down day. The weekend before this last one, I did a loop overnighter with lots of steep climbing. I rode very, very slowly on the last big climb to the campground, but made it. So this weekend, I did a much less hilly loop of the same distance (just got back), but seemed to just have no real "get up & go" both days, compared to my energy level on the hilly trip, even with a somewhat lighter load on the second trip. (I'm factoring in the temperature difference, we have a big heat wave here at the moment, but I did camp at the much cooler beach)

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Old 06-30-13, 10:42 PM
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Some folks on here say, nah, you don't have to train to go touring. True enough. But if you want to tour without pain, better get the pain in training before you go touring. I find that makes a tour much more enjoyable. Pain either way, just need to choose when you want it. 62 training miles today, 2600', 48 minutes of lactate threshold, 16 minutes anaerobic. Hot, too, over 90, so got in some heat training. We do higher pass climbs the next 2 weekends, 4000'-7000' climbing. 300 mile tour coming up in a couple weeks.

Shoot for a 20 lb. load, including bike tools, pump, empty bottles, rack, panniers - everything that's not the bike. Our tandem runs a 26T granny and a 34T cassette. That helps, too.
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Old 06-30-13, 11:10 PM
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Humbling Experience

Hah! Chefisaac; as you see, as bradtx wrote "I imagine that most cyclists have walked a hill and if they haven't, they will..."

Tired and hungry, sometimes I've climbed in small, very small, sections, taking micro-rests leaning on the handlebars... knackered!

It's all part of it... and in the end I love those parts as well
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Old 07-01-13, 12:29 AM
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One of the things I used to do was set targets. 100 pedals strokes, perhaps (one on tour, there were some long, hard hills towards the end, and that's the only way I could get through without walking... counting, then stopping. Sometimes, I'd get to 150 or 200).

Then you might use power or telephone poles, or 10 corners, or whatever. Resting does help the legs recover a little before the next bit.
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Old 07-01-13, 01:18 AM
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Thanks guys. I am so sore this morning.

I need to work on the fit. Headed ot the bike shop on Tuesday morning because Wednesday I leave again on the four day tour.

I am having home fit issues. The area between my thumb and pointer finger (where you put your hand on the hoods) hurts on both hands. I think I am putting to much pressure on that area of both hands. Shoulders hurt, hot foot on both feet, and my insides of the upper thighs hurt and rashed. I believe this might be because of the Brooks Flyer. I THINK that when the springs are engaged the side of the saddle on both sides are flexing out and hitting the inside of my thighs causing rubbing. I do not have this issue with the other two Brooks I have.

Much to ponder and much to think about leaving home when it comes to packing. That is the hard part for me I guess is figuring out what I need and what can be left home.
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Old 07-01-13, 05:14 AM
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chefisaac, A good friend of mine and I were on a ride and he was having one of these bad days. Like you he was overly sore for a couple of days afterward. He figured that he was more sore than normal because he'd become aggravated with himself during the ride and had tensioned muscles in his back, arms and hands unnecessarily, which had also contributed to his energy loss. Just something I hope I remember during a bad day and not just afterwards.

Brad
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Old 07-01-13, 05:30 AM
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What's wrong with walking at times? It's almost as fast on steep hills and it gives your legs a little rest. After all you are doing under your own power.
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Old 07-01-13, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
I know it need to lose weight (working on it) and need to ride more hills and I also need to really rethink packing.
+1 to this. Probably applies to all of us. No shame in pushing a bike though: it's all adventure.
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Old 07-01-13, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
Well, all was going well until the last 25-30 miles which were rolling hills to steep climbs.

Blah... I am beat right now!
Hi Chefisaac
The "last" 25-30 miles?
What "first" miles were you doing?
I find 30-45 miles ample usually and very rarely do 60 as anything over 55 means I usually wont want to get back in the saddle the next day.
I've been known to do more but only when safe in the knowledge I'm having the next day or so off.
Give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements but ease up is my advice.
Touring for me is about slowing down and smelling the flowers and actually looking and enjoying the sights and surrounding.
Forget about head down and bum up.
Its not a race and your supposed to be enjoying yourself.
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Old 07-01-13, 07:50 AM
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No sympathy here as you caused you own misery"

https://chefonabicycle.com/

"See, most people are sane and bring not so much stuff for an over nighter but my hope was to utilize this trip as a shakedown and trial run (run? pedal perhaps!) for the four-day Cape May trip that is coming up very very very soon. So I packed a little heavier like I would for that trip just to test the waters out. I honestly think I should have kept all that stuff at home. More on that craziness later!"

Maybe it's time to actually head the voluminous amount of advice you have solicited on this subforum.

BTW.....Just because a tour is longer doesn't mean you need any more stuff than you do for an overnighter.
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Old 07-01-13, 07:59 AM
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When I toured, I had 8lbs of camping gear because I religiously chopped anything I didn't need. It IS possible. My best advice is to get excited about "ultralight" camping, read articles, read the blogs by iik and crazyguyonabike, and then attack your panniers.
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Old 07-01-13, 09:06 AM
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Remember one thing also...the load does slow you down. I learnt that last year unplanned on. I was in good shape riding 100-225 miles day all the time. July 15-17 each day I rode an average of 160 miles with tons of daylight left to spare. On the last day I felt great. I had ridden over 2000 miles in the first 17 days of July. I figured I had 160 miles a day easy on the first leg of my trip last year. Yes, I was doing most all the riding in July last year, with nothing more than a laptop computer on me. I left for my trip in August and was shocked that I was struggling/pushing it to do 120 miles a day. I finally come to realize just how much the gear does slow you down and how much of a difference the climbing makes to help make the gear slow you down that much more. By the end of the 2800 mile trip I was easily doing 120 mile days without trying even with big climbing. The one thing I saw happen but had never heard until this year was about the two days of touring. Day 3 and day 14. Day 14 is incredible. The only problem I had...I didn't know to expect it to occur. It pleasantly shocked me when it happened but I didn't know it was coming so I couldn't work with it the way I could now.
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Old 07-01-13, 10:18 AM
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Ya know, chefisaac may have bonked. On long hard days, nutrition is important; it's not purely conditioning- if you run out of glycogen, your power just goes down to zip even if you're in good shape. I've bonked and it's not pleasant.
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Old 07-01-13, 10:28 AM
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I enjoy getting off and walking every now and then. It's a good chance to stretch and work some different muscles.
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Old 07-01-13, 10:42 AM
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Yep, it is different with a load. I cycle (mostly) every day and when we tour, it takes a bit of getting used to with a load. Basically we tend to ride into touring fitness, taking it easier the first few days.

Gearing is important. At the moment I run a 44-36-26 front with a 13-26 (I think) rear. I only ever use the inner ring if loaded but if I'm pedaling slower than I can walk, I walk

Don't get stressed about the tour.

As to how much to pack, you will always take too much. I've done the "put everything on the bed and leave half behind" and it's still too much!

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Old 07-01-13, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chewa
Yep, it is different with a load. I cycle (mostly) every day and when we tour, it takes a bit of getting used to with a load. Basically we tend to ride into touring fitness, taking it easier the first few days.

Gearing is important. At the moment I run a 44-36-26 front with a 13-26 (I think) rear. I only ever use the inner ring if loaded but if I'm pedaling slower than I can walk, I walk

Don't get stressed about the tour.

As to how much to pack, you will always take too much. I've done the "put everything on the bed and leave half behind" and it's still too much!

John
Thanks John. Appreciate the advice.
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Old 07-01-13, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog
I enjoy getting off and walking every now and then. It's a good chance to stretch and work some different muscles.
Agreed. I think it was more work to push the darn bike up the hill.
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Old 07-01-13, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
One of the things I used to do was set targets. 100 pedals strokes, perhaps (one on tour, there were some long, hard hills towards the end, and that's the only way I could get through without walking... counting, then stopping. Sometimes, I'd get to 150 or 200).

Then you might use power or telephone poles, or 10 corners, or whatever. Resting does help the legs recover a little before the next bit.
great idea!
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