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Jul 2, 2001 9:41 AM
It is July 2,2001.In 17 days my fiance & I(getting married on Saturday) will be doing the N.Y. TO BOSTON AIDSRIDE.The coarse is approx. 325 miles.80,85,105 and fifty miles per day.We are both in very good shape(for running,marathons etc. and we're pretty strong physically) for everything but CYCLING,it appears.We are riding mountain bikes and have been riding about a month and a half to train(poor planning).We did 75 miles Saturday and 50miles yesterday and WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!

I see people blowing by us on road bikes and it appears they are pedaling effortlessly and they don't appear to be in exceptional shape.

Question 1.Do road bikes make that much difference?And why?

Question 2.IS IT TOO LATE?!?!?!?Should we buy road bikes so close to the ride?How is the adjustment period?

Humbly,a newbie.
Jul 2, 2001 9:51 AM
the answer to one is "yes - a huge difference". This is due to lower weight, less rolling resistance and a more agressive riding position.

Re too late? Well, you will get the benefit of the above, but there is a comfort price to pay, and it takes time to get the bike how you want it, and to get used to it. You will prob find the RB much less confortable at first - could be hard on your event.

Suggestion? If you are not already, get some high-pressure road tyres for your MTBs, and take the middle course - you will get large % of the benefits with little of the risk of a total change. If you are already there, then if you think that you will really struggle on the MTBs, then go for it - but use a good LBS to fit you up first, and get a comfy saddle (easier said than done).

Good Luck anyway.
Second the slicks on your MTBscory
Jul 2, 2001 10:07 AM
Don't try to do it on knobbies...but if you get some decent high-pressure road tires for your mountain bikes, it's WELL worth the $15-$30 per tire it costs.
As for buying a road bike at this point...I think I probably wouldn't. As muncher said, it takes awhile to get things dialed the way you want them, and I really don't see THAT much difference on actual over-the-road rides between my road bike and my mountain bike with road tires.
Jul 3, 2001 1:24 AM
Good slicks for MTB + rigid fork, and it's a flyer; not a road bike, but crazy fast still. And riding position is better, it may take long time to get used to a road bike riding position.
Jul 2, 2001 9:54 AM
A road bike will make a difference. The main reasons are lower rolling resistance, lighter weight, and aerodynamic positioning.

My personal opinion is that you should put some slicks on your MTB for this event.

I'm sure you could get used to a road bike in 17 days, but that would mean you'd have to buy a bike today. That means you would pretty much have to buy a bike off the rack at the first LBS you go to. Not a good idea IMHO. When you do go to buy your first road bike, you need to test ride a few different models at least. Fit is the first concern. Down shot to buying one now is that you may (and very well could) end up on a bike you hate.

Get the skinniest slicks you can get and buy road bike when you get back. Have fun and don't forget to look at the scenery.
Jul 2, 2001 10:29 AM
Thanks laz,

I think we can complete this ride but if our training rides are any barometer....yikes!!!

On a scale of 1 to 10 ---1 being the easiest overall cycling experience and 10 being muscular and joint meltdown-what is a good roadbike experience vs. a mountainbike with slicks?
For God's sake, get a road bike.pmf
Jul 2, 2001 9:59 AM
Yes, those skinny tires and lightweight frames make all the difference in the world. The AIDS ride is on the road and a road bike is what you need. Aside from being lighter, more aerodynamic and faster, they're also more comfortable to ride long distances on. Instead of sitting straight up, you're in a more comfortable leaned over position. There are more hand positions. My hands get real sore on a mtn bike over a long period of time.

The question is ... do you want to fork over the cash for two road bikes? Decent ones cost $1200-$1500 apeice. If you can afford that and you think you'll ride them in the future (its addictive) then go for it. If you're on a tighter budget you could make changes in your mtn bikes that are relatively cheap.
1. Buy the skinniest, slick tires you can find and pump them up to max.
2. Get some bar ends for your bars to give you more hand positions.
3. Consider clipless pedals and especially cycling shoes. These have stiff soles and are much more comfortable to ride in.

I just did Ride the Rockies two weeks ago. 430 miles over the mtns in 6 days. 99% of those riding were on road bikes. A few people were riding mtn bikes. I don't know how they did it.

Go to a LBS and test ride a road bike for the hell of it. Sounds like you're in very good shape to me (unlike most of the AIDS riders I see training around here). If you're used to riding a mtn bike, a road bike shouldn't be a big shock. You've got plenty of time to get them if you desire.
Jul 2, 2001 10:29 AM
Keep the mountain bikes buddy, you'll be fine. Cycling muscles are not the same as running muscles. I can ride a hundred miles comfortably at ~20mph but I run a 5k "fun run" and my shins were killing me for half a week. You're aerobically conditioned so you'll do fine but your muscles aren't trained to go fast. As the other poster suggested, road slicks would be a vast improvement in the ease of your ride because there is less rolling resistance and higher tire pressure. Pump them up to around 80 psi. If you don't have cycling shorts I would definitely buy some and ask the bike shop about chamois creme to cut down on chafing.

The only thing else I can suggest is think of an easy smooth "spin" when you train. Ride in a low enough gear that you can pedal at a high cadence say 75 to 95 revolutions per minute. This is more efficient and eventually a faster way to go. If you have a HRM try to keep your avg in the 60-75 bpm range.

Think of it this way, if you can maintain a 13 mph avg (which is very moderate) you can knock out 80 miles in about six hours and not be too fatigued for the next day. No worries.
Jul 2, 2001 11:41 AM
Make that keep your heart rate in the 60-75% of max-heart-rate range.
That ride might take you a couple, three days if you kept your heart rate max at only 75bpm. Sheesh. I'm trying to give decent advice and what is my reward? I look like a moron. Sheesh.
Better late then neverLen J
Jul 2, 2001 10:33 AM
I would do the following based on the premise that better comfort will allow you to ride longer:

1.)Replace your knobby MTB tires with high pressure smother tires (your LBS can help). This will reduce your rolling resistance.

2.)If you are not currently using clipless pedals I would recommend them as well as some ATB shoes with clips. These will make each pedal stroke more efficient. (Have clips set at the lowest release tension.

3.) Keep training. Up your miles & remember that AIDS rides have rest stops every 15 to 20 miles, and that most people are riding below 15 mph.

Good Luck & great cause.
Jul 2, 2001 10:39 AM
First thing is do your bikes have slicks, if not get them, this will make the most difference, I think you can pull it off with the bikes you have.
i'm going to get on the "ATB with slicks" kick here...Haiku d'état
Jul 2, 2001 12:15 PM
you would definately be better suited with road bikes, but it does take some time to get your body dialed into the bikes (and the inverse). instead of buying a pair of road bikes, use the money to do (or get) a good tune-up on the MTBs, replace the rim tape and tubes, get some spares, patches, tire tools, etc., and mount quality slicks on the MTBs.

sounds funny, but: consider getting small clip-on aero bars (profile jammer, spinachi, etc.) for the MTBs if you have flat (non-riser) bars on 'em now. another thought is bar-ends. different hand positions, and the aero add-ons will give you an alternate position that is also a little more streamlined than otherwise. i tried this awile back on a MTB and it worked wonders on the commute from home to the trail, but it was awful on the trail, so they weren't long for the bike. for your purposes, though, they might prove valuable.

and, remember--if you have basic fit, and think it's even within a remote realm of possibilities to finish, you'll finish with flying colors. good form on the bike is important; but, more important is a PMA--good outlook and an optimistic way of thinking will carry you through much more than you think! don't push too hard, stay within yourself and keep YOUR OWN pace, and you'll do fine, slicks or not!!!

GOOD LUCK! and have fun!
Jul 2, 2001 1:39 PM
I glanced at all the posts and I don't recall anyone stating the obvious, GEARING. RB's are geared for speed combined with all the other positioning and weight properties.
Jul 2, 2001 1:57 PM
When you go to the bike store to pick up the slicks, have one of the employees give your position on the bike a quick once over. It was said above and I'll say it again, cycling shorts are mandatory for this much time in the saddle. Have fun.