Training for REALLY long bike rides

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 3:30 AM GMT
    So I'm an avid cyclist. It's both my preferred method of transportation and favorite form of cardio. A friend of mine just got back from an 18 month bike trip across North America taking him from Ottawa to Miami and back again couch surfing, living in tents and cycling like a mother fucker. I think this is quite the adventure and I would like to do the same. I've had a yearning to go to california and the west coast for some time and this may just be the way that I do it.

    So my question is, how does one train for a trip like this? I'd be looking at doing a 100KM bike ride every 1-2 days. Since my friend has the body of a spartan warrior and I'm a fat piece of shit, I don't think he'd be the best person to talk to about this so I figured I'd bring it to the RJ community so it can get trolled to death.

    Right now I ride a fixie with a flip flop hub so I can switch to a single speed. I know that seams unreasonable for a trip like this, but it's going to happen, JUST WATCH!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 3:32 AM GMT
    wow, I didn't mean for that to come off as schizophrenic and "through the looking glass-ish" as it wound up sounding. apologies.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 5:02 AM GMT
    Fountains said
    So my question is, how does one train for a trip like this?
    Two ways:
    1. Slowly work your way across the country, riding whatever you feel comfortable with each ride, couch surfing 2-3 night in each spot you stop so you're well rested, and picking up the pace as your body allows.

    2. HIIT and lots of time.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 27, 2010 5:59 AM GMT
    i would train for a century ride. when you can complete one of those babies you'll be ready. i recommend taking spin/cycle classes; they'll help get your body into technique and your heart into shape.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 6:47 AM GMT
    Ultra Cycling training:

    http://www.ultracycling.com/training/raam_riders_training.html

    note: RAAM = race across America
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    May 27, 2010 12:17 PM GMT
    Pick out a few local charity rides to train for. Most of these rides have the option of doing a metric century (100km) or full century (100mi). In your training, plan out a schedule where you're riding regularly, but not biting off too much too soon. Build up to one long ride each week of at least 60-70 miles, with 2-3 shorter rides per week. On the long rides, make sure you're hydrating well and that you have some energy bars on hand.

    But I'd seriously consider not doing your rides on a fixie. You'll want to make sure that you are comfortable on your bike and that it fits you as close to perfectly as possible. Most decent bike shops will take the time to set you up where everything is carefully calibrated for maximum comfort and efficiency.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 1:12 PM GMT
    If you can ride 20 miles, you can ride 100. You have all day to ride, so you don't have to rush. Keep drinking water, keep eating, and you'll be fine. Electrolytes (sodium, potassium and calcium), carbs, and fat during your ride for muscle function, and protein after to build muscle. Go ahead, supersize it. If you're riding for a week or longer you'll burn it all off. And take a multivitamin at night.

    And get a steel-frame touring bike (like a Surly brand Long Haul Trucker.) Steel is heavier but it absorbs vibrations, whereas aluminum/carbon frames telegraph every tiny pebble of a bump into your, um, seat. I have both types and I rarely choose to ride the carbon frame over the steel.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 2:10 PM GMT
    I've never ridden more than 100 miles in a single day, last time about 18 months ago, will be doing it again this November. For long rides I've always had a touring bike, so I can carry my gear properly, one with lots of gears because you're gonna encounter hills and bridges. I always believe in using the right tool for the right job, and I can't see the advantage of a single-speed bike for such a long trip across varied terrain.

    Below is a factory pic of my Cannondale touring bike. (I kept the pic large for detail; drag it to your desktop or copy to see the entire frame if it's clipped in your browser) Features include 30 speeds that are geared lower than a standard road bike, factory rack, fork lugs for mounting front panniers, 40-spoke rims to handle extra weight, moderately wide 700x35 puncture-resistant tires, an ability to add mudguards, and lugs for up to 3 water bottle cages, or 2 bottles and an air pump.

    It's actually not very heavy with an aluminum frame, but natrick is correct about road shock & vibration. So I replaced the solid seat post with an air suspension one, and the handlebar tape is padded, plus I wear gel-padded gloves, and a padded chamois on longer rides. I alternate between 2 different pedal sets: one is Shimano clipless for long rides, the other set with toe clips I can use with any athletic shoes for daily rides.

    8TR1_gry.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 27, 2010 3:07 PM GMT
    A good way to get yourself into shape is to ride your bike every day, avoiding your car whenever you can. To make that practical I configure that bike different ways, depending on how I'm using it. Immediately below is how it looks in daily around-town street use, running grocery errands and so forth. (Took this pic about 30 minutes ago) The mudguards are useful in Florida where it showers unexpectedly, and I don't want a racing stripe on my street clothes going into a store or gay bar. I don't mount the bottles around town, nor the GPS on the handelbars. The soft saddlebags are just for errands and slip right off. I also have true luggage panniers, with semi-rigid frames.

    DSC01808_2.jpg

    For this 165-mile Key West charity ride I stripped off everything, including the rear rack, even the relfectors in the spokes, and swapped the pedals for clipless. But I did add the handlebar bag to hold snacks and my cell phone, sun block, route sheet in the clear map pocket, and so forth. I temporarily added a 3rd water bottle cage, too. With me is a ride founder and organizing committee member, who bet I couldn't make it, here at the finish.

    S7300148_5.jpg
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    May 27, 2010 3:24 PM GMT
    Well you've already done the hardest part which is to believe you can do it. Now just make some plans and follow through.

    Your 6'1" and 240 pounds gives you about an extra 50 pounds to take along. That's quite a bit of weight so you might consider losing that.
    There are about a billion threads on this board about losing weight and it's a very personal decision to modify your diet. The upshot is: you're probably eating too much.
    As for the bike trip, I was surprised that my triathlon bike was more comfortable than my previous bike which had me in more of an upright position.
    It might be good to breakdown the trip and train for specific parts. Then when you do the actual full trip it'll all snap together on the building blocks you've trained for.

    Have fun!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 12:27 AM GMT
    The tips for the gear is right on: you would find it really difficult to complete an event such as the RAAM on a fixie. Most individuals who do these types of tours have bikes that have 30+ gears.

    I have a Specialized Roubaix SL Pro SRAM frameset, but I re-outfitted it at the shop to have a triple up front (originally came comp) and 10 in the back (originally came with 7). Having those extra gears make all the difference when I'm tackling mountains in the various events I participate it. However, my rides are only 100-150 miles in one day, so having a light frame is perfectly fine.

    Once you get the bike, you need to start training. The hardest part will be staying in the saddle for that length of time - a cross-country tour will take, like you said, 18 months, and you figure you'll be in the saddle, pedaling, for a good 8+ hours per day. While the Century rides mentioned here are good practice, they are also deceptive - imagine doing that ride again and again and again (with slight variations, of course), day after day.

    So what I would suggest is continue doing your 100K rides, but see if you can complete those rides each day, not sparse them over 2 days. Slowly, increase your mileage each time until you get close to 200K and when that happens, you'll be in the home stretch.

    I would also second calibro's suggestion of taking a Spin/cycling class at your local gym/health club/health spa. Be religious about going - Spinning, unlike cycling, is significantly more difficult. I always warn my class to be sure they are fitted correctly before class and to let me know if anything doesn't feel right. A piece of advice - the best instructors are the ones who ride outdoors, since they understand how to train for different terrains and can better translate bringing that ride indoors and make fun as well as challenging.

    I would suggest buying cycling shoes (you can get them anywhere, however, I would suggest trying them out at the local bike shop and then bargain hunting online) and some nice, padded shorts. If you're in possession of a, ahem, life raft, you might want to consider a bib (I prefer knicker bibs) since they come up over your shoulders, pull everything in and don't pinch your stomach. I prefer bibs since I don't want the riders behind me in a paceline looking at my crack (that's honestly the last thing I'd want to see anyhow). If you already have these things, bravo! If not, now's a good time to invest.

    Not to rag on it further, but swimbikerun has a good point. At 6-1 and 240, you've got a lot to pull. Weight is your number one enemy on the bike. The terrain is not always smooth and you might find yourself climbing some pretty tough climbs. The less weight on the bike, the better. (Now, weight isn't necessarily a bad thing. Aluminum and Steel bikes are the best for ultra tours since they absorb shock and vibrations the best and give you the greatest stability due to their weight. I certainly wouldn't take Reuben on an ultra tour - he's purely for (relatively) short charity events).

    When you get yourself physically acclimated to the rigours of the road, it's time to discuss nutrition. You should start experimenting with what feels good to eat when you're pedaling. Those energy blocks and shot things? Those are good for refueling when you've depleted your Glc (glucose) levels and your liver is tapping into its stores of glycogen to fuel itself. When I'm doing events, I'm usually consuming a packet an hour after the first 2 hours because I'm trying (read: slowly getting dropped consecutively) to keep up with various pacelines. Carbs become your friend at this point since they provide long-term energy. After you've gotten yourself warmed up, you're going to find that you're constantly hungry. Pack those protein bars - you'll need them. It's not uncommon for cyclists to burn close to, if not more than, 1 KCal each hour while on an intense ride. For water, you should be consuming at least one bottle an hour if you're really gunning it. If not, one every 2 should suffice. I usually try to avoid Gatorade since it's not really good for you. I'll look and see what I use - let me know if you want know what it's called.

    Ok - I apparently have no brevity so I'll stop here. Cycling/Spinning are my passion and once you get me rolling, it's hard to stop icon_redface.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 12:35 AM GMT
    When I was training to do a lot of centuries I rode hills as frequently as possible. I'd read in Bicycling magazine that this was Greg LeMonde's training method when he couldn't put in a lot of miles. Seemed to help!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 12:44 AM GMT
    wetboypdx saidWhen I was training to do a lot of centuries I rode hills as frequently as possible. I'd read in Bicycling magazine that this was Greg LeMonde's training method when he couldn't put in a lot of miles. Seemed to help!


    Dude, that's soooooo true! LeMonde shot up those mountains and made them look like undulations! Crazyyyyy. Hills will become your best friend. Tip? listen to 80's music before-hand to get a beat started. That way, you can synchronise breathing, cadence, and stroke all at the same time. And ignore everything. Once your attention is diverted, it's really hard to re-synchronise. And, under no circumstance, should you stop. It's nearly impossible to get back up if there are no switchbacks if you stop on a tough climb.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 3:55 AM GMT
    Hey dudes, thanks for all the advice! that's a lot to think about before I do this. This ride will happen on a fixie/single speed as I don't have a lot of money and basically to get something way pro would take years to save up so the single speed would have to do.

    I'll do a century ride uphill everyday to train for this if that's what it takes to do it on a fixie.

    Right now the plan is to lose 60 lbs. train for this shit. I've got someone special in Newark, so maybe I'll ride down there and back a few times as part of my training.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 4:01 AM GMT
    A friend of mine just got back from an 18 month bike trip across North America taking him from Ottawa to Miami and back again couch surfing, living in tents and cycling like a mother fucker.

    Wow!! that's huge...shows determination

    I'm also an avid cyclist..i am more of an endurance rider like your friend, but nothing of that equivalent as to traveling a whole country lol ..although i would like to someday. Good luck on your future adventures icon_smile.gif



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 12:54 PM GMT
    Madone65 saidA friend of mine just got back from an 18 month bike trip across North America taking him from Ottawa to Miami and back again couch surfing, living in tents and cycling like a mother fucker.

    Wow!! that's huge...shows determination

    I'm also an avid cyclist..i am more of an endurance rider like your friend, but nothing of that equivalent as to traveling a whole country lol ..although i would like to someday. Good luck on your future adventures icon_smile.gif



    Speaking of lodging, a friend of mine recommended I visit www.couchsurfing.com. I thought he was pulling a mickey on me, but it's actually real and pretty cool. Basically, you put up a profile (like everything else) online and you tell potential hosts when you'll be in the area and how long you'll be staying, they message you back and tell you when and how to get to their place for a stay. No hotel fees AND you get to network. Plus, you get to rate the people who come in and stay with you so that others know they aren't some psycho or anything.

    I haven't tried it yet, but I think it's a great idea. My friend's on a cross-country road trip right now and he's having phenomenal success with it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 28, 2010 1:02 PM GMT
    SC_Rider said
    Madone65 saidA friend of mine just got back from an 18 month bike trip across North America taking him from Ottawa to Miami and back again couch surfing, living in tents and cycling like a mother fucker.

    Wow!! that's huge...shows determination

    I'm also an avid cyclist..i am more of an endurance rider like your friend, but nothing of that equivalent as to traveling a whole country lol ..although i would like to someday. Good luck on your future adventures icon_smile.gif



    Speaking of lodging, a friend of mine recommended I visit www.couchsurfing.com. I thought he was pulling a mickey on me, but it's actually real and pretty cool. Basically, you put up a profile (like everything else) online and you tell potential hosts when you'll be in the area and how long you'll be staying, they message you back and tell you when and how to get to their place for a stay. No hotel fees AND you get to network. Plus, you get to rate the people who come in and stay with you so that others know they aren't some psycho or anything.

    I haven't tried it yet, but I think it's a great idea. My friend's on a cross-country road trip right now and he's having phenomenal success with it.


    that's a neat idea icon_smile.gificon_idea.gif