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Questions about preparing for multi day ride

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Questions about preparing for multi day ride

Old 03-28-13, 06:28 PM
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goldfinch
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Questions about preparing for multi day ride

I am 58 years old and have been riding for two years. I started out obese and now am normal weight. I started out extremely unfit, having lived a totally sedentary life. In February of 2011 I could not bike 5 miles and had to walk my bike up slight inclines. I say this to show that I did not have any base to build on.

I biked and biked some more, getting more and more fit. By last spring I did a metric century. By fall I did a 75 mile ride. I didn't ride much after September due to weather (home base is northern Minnesota).

In January I cranked it up as I was in Florida. I decided that I wanted to ride a fully supported multi day ride with some friends this summer and signed up for the ride.

I did 560 miles in January, my biggest month ever. I did mostly long slow rides. Starting the third week of January did try to at least once a week work in some kind of intervals. I did 650 in February. The longest ride was a metric in January and after that several rides of 50 miles, maybe every week or so. I tried doing some longer back to back rides and the best I could do was 50, 40, and then 20. And then I was wiped.

I've been mostly off the bike since early March and likely won't ride much until May due to travel. I would like to develop a plan to be ready for the multi day ride in mid August. There will be four days back to back with mileage ranging from 60 to 75 miles a day. The week before this ride I am committed to doing two days of RAGBRAI as it travels through a town where my spouse owns a condo we will be visiting. So, that is a lot of riding.

Ideas on a plan to get ready? I am unschooled on "training."
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Old 03-28-13, 08:30 PM
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Good for you! Your training sounds very good. It's about weekly mileage and back-to-backs on the weekends and just slowly ramping up the mileage. Try increasing your weekly with short weekday rides. Don't let another winter go by without riding - get a trainer or a set of rollers and ride some all winter. Do you use a heart rate monitor? Back-to-back days is also a lot about nutrition - what you eat and when. Are you familiar with that sort of thing?

Really try not to be off the bike totally. Buy a trainer or rollers. It's one of the best investments in your health you'll ever make. Try to squeeze it in. There's something like a 3-1 ratio in training time - every week you miss, it takes 3 weeks to get back to where you were. Try really hard not to let more than 3 days go by without riding. If you're traveling by air and will be gone for some time, that won't work, so try to find a hotel gym - they usually have them or can point you to one. Run. When my wife and I visit family, we scandalize them by getting up at 6 and running and driving across town to a gym once or twice. It's only the most important thing in your life - your health I mean.

A training plan isn't nearly as important as just getting in the mileage.
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Old 03-29-13, 03:00 AM
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Goldfinch, all the riding you have done to get fit will have given you a decent base of aerobic fitness, and more than 1100 miles in January and February certainly indicates that you shouldn't be too worried about 300 miles over four days.

But I agree with Carbonfiberboy. It would be better if you could avoid being completely off the bike in April. If you're travelling, try to use hotel gyms or whatever and get on the stationary bike for an hour when possible just to keep yourself ticking over.

Having said that, don't worry too much. You have until August. Get back to doing what you've been doing, building the miles and doing more longish rides back-to-back. And I'd encourage you to keep on working in some intervals at least one, preferably two sessions per week (these are easy to do on the stationary bike in the hotel gym, too - makes it less boring than just chugging away). Keep it simple to start with, maybe just incorporate into your ride a couple of 20-minute periods in which you're going hard enough to breathe more heavily, separated by ten minutes easy spinning for recovery. I'm talking about a level of effort that is maybe a 6 on a scale of 1-10. The idea is to challenge your system a bit more to speed up its adaptation to training, and it should condition you to bump up your cruising speed a little. If you have a HR monitor, we could start talking about training in zones.

But CFB is right. Keep getting the miles in, you'll be fine.

Last edited by chasm54; 03-29-13 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 03-29-13, 08:35 AM
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I just remembered - Cascade Bicycle Club has a 22 week program to prepare riders for riding back-to-back centuries:
https://shop.cascade.org/content/eve...gested-mileage
You'll have to ramp it up quicker, but this program assumes one is starting from zero, which you're not.
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Old 03-29-13, 02:18 PM
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I will be out in the woods, chasing birds. However, I am hauling my bikes with my rv so I should be able to get in some shorter rides. So, it isn't like I will entirely off the bike. I will have some stretches of four or five days where I will not be able to bike. I am just coming to the end of a long trip now but should be able to ride a bit tomorrow. I haven't ridden in a couple of weeks.

I'll look at the back to back century link. Thanks

I have a heart rate monitor. I am not very experienced in using it and only know a little about training zones.About a year and a half ago I worked briefly with a personal trainer at a gym. She calculated my max heart rate at 163. I also know that my resting heart rate at that time was 49. I figured out training zones on my Garmin from those numbers. Before I left Florida I rode with a group from my rv park. I used my heart rate monitor just to collect data and I experimented on the ride. The ride was 12 miles to breakfast and then 12 miles back. For the first half of the ride I spent half riding with the slower group and half pushing it with the faster riders. I did the same thing on the way back. The slower parts of the ride had me at 75% to 85% of maximum heart rate based on my calculated zones. I could easily carry on conversations at that speed and my breathing was steady. The fast part I ranged from 90 to 102% and could only speak briefly The one thing I did learn was the 163 isn't really my maximum heart rate because I went to 165 on that ride. Beyond that, I am not sure what to do with the information.

Last edited by goldfinch; 03-29-13 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 03-29-13, 03:30 PM
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Goldfinch, max HR can't be calculated, it has to be tested - preferably with a gun to your head. The calculations are hopeless generalisations. For example, my theoretical max according to the usual formula is 162, but I regularly see numbers in the 170s and, sometimes, the 180s.

The good news is that it isn't a very important number. Much more relevant is your anaerobic threshold, sometimes referred to as lactate threshold or LTHR (though I think these are, strictly speaking, different things). You can test for this by following the instructions in the sticky at the top of this forum. LTHR is the borderline between aerobic and anaerobic efforts, and is the highest HR ypu can sustain for an extended period. Once you have that number you can set your HR zones as follows:

Zone 1(recovery zone) 65%-80% of LTHR
Zone2 (endurance pace, aerobic development) 81%-88% of LTHR
Zone 3 (tempo) - 89%-93% of LTHR
Zone 4 (sub-threshold) 94%-99% of LTHR
Zone5 (supra-threshold, anaerobic) 100% and upwards.

At that point you can start to take advantage of the numerous HR-based workouts that are available. For aerobic conditioning you probably get the most bang for your buck at the borderline betwen zones 2 and 3. The effort level I was referring to when describing the 20-minute intervals was zone 3.

Just as an example, my max hR is in the low 180s and my LTHR is currently 158. The LTHR figure responds to training. Obviously, the higher it gets the harder one can work without going anaerobic.
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Old 03-29-13, 04:07 PM
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Thanks Chasm. I'll try to find some place to do the test.
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Old 03-29-13, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
Thanks Chasm. I'll try to find some place to do the test.
There are other tests. Some suggest warming up thoroughly then just going as hard as you can for twenty minutes and taking the average HR for that twenty minutes. Carmichael (author of the time-crunched cyclist) goes for two full-on eight minute sessions with (iirc) ten minutes rest in between and taking the higher session's average HR. All of these will give a similar-ish figure, probably accurate enough for your purposes.
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Old 03-30-13, 06:46 AM
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I don't have access to a gym or a stationary bike. Can a person do this somewhat accurately just on the road?
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Old 03-30-13, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
I don't have access to a gym or a stationary bike. Can a person do this somewhat accurately just on the road?
Yes, you have a HR monitor so can record your HR through the efforts. The difficulty is finding a stretch of road that will allow you to go hard and uninterrupted for the duration of the test. With that in mind it might be easiest to do the Carmichael version (two eight-minute efforts) rather than the 20-minute stretches. And try to find somewhere that is flattish, or fractionally uphill. It's more difficult to keep the power going on long downhill sections.
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Old 03-30-13, 03:48 PM
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The RAGBRAI website has a posted training plan.
Personally I think it's more applicable for people who are otherwise fit, acclimated to Iowa weather (the humidity clobbers me), and who recover quickly.
The long weekend ride is pretty important.
You may surprise yourself what you are capable of. The trick is to be prepared enough to enjoy the experience.
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Old 03-30-13, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Yes, you have a HR monitor so can record your HR through the efforts. The difficulty is finding a stretch of road that will allow you to go hard and uninterrupted for the duration of the test. With that in mind it might be easiest to do the Carmichael version (two eight-minute efforts) rather than the 20-minute stretches. And try to find somewhere that is flattish, or fractionally uphill. It's more difficult to keep the power going on long downhill sections.
I am in a hilly area right now but think that I can find a stretch that I can do eight minute shots without a bunch of downhill.
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