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Cycling goals (poll)(47 posts)

Cycling goals (poll)Dave Hickey
Oct 24, 2001 10:18 AM
Just curious if anyone else has a specific cycling goal before they die. Mine is to ride Alpe D'Huez. There is something about the 21 switchbacks and the history. I'll be 45 in two years. Riding Alpe D'Huez sounds like a good birthday present.
re: Cycling goals (poll)CHRoadie
Oct 24, 2001 10:27 AM
Nothing quite that grand, but I'm only 30--I've got time to come up with something fabulous like that. My goal right now is to do all 4 passes of the Breathless Agony ride ( next May. 11,000 feet of climbing in the first 72 miles.
We should have a new poll--why do so many of the best things about cycling involve pain? :-)
Oct 24, 2001 12:11 PM
That which does not kill us makes us stronger...blah...blah..blah
Oct 24, 2001 12:33 PM
There is a corollary to that statement:

That which does not kill us, probably hurts a lot.
re: Cycling goalsTig
Oct 24, 2001 10:48 AM
For now, getting back into what I think is good shape is my primary goal. I just have to remember I'm not in my 20's anymore, so I won't be at the same fitness level no matter what I do! Annual goals are good enough for now. Some sub-5 hour centuries (solo, NEVER in a group!) and some road races are what I am shooting for in 2002. Just keeping with the team's juniors and even some masters would be a good accomplishment.

Long-term goals are just a healthy life. In middle age we have a choice of settling down and enjoying food and luxury (while setting ourselves up for some painful years later), or kicking ourselves in the butt and keeping healthy.

Riding Alpe D'Huez sounds like a great challenge, but I won't be that specific just yet. The Dolomites almost killed me in my 20's, so I can only guess what those 21 switchbacks will do to me in a few more years. Some strong cat 3 riders I know said they could only average between 9 and 11 MPH up it this year. Hmmmmmm...
Oct 24, 2001 11:07 AM
Make all my riding buds either puke or bonk yet avoid them doing the same thing to me. Of course it's all in good fun and maybe that's the real goal: have fun - no matter how you define it. Knocked off the Terrible Two as my first ever double and totally enjoyed myself, even through all the pain. Still, I've had more enjoyment when I've been able to share the experience with some buds. Doing Urup would be awesome.

There is one thing I'd really like to do: Go from the lowest point in the Lower 48 (Badwater) to the highest point (Mt. Whitney) in less than 24 total hours under human power. Basically ride to Whitney Portal and swap the riding shoes for climbing shoes on and start the hike up Whitney before dawn. To make it in 24 hours means you have to start the ride in the afternoon, ride into the night and be ready to hike well before dawn. Many have tried, but few have suceeded. Sleep deprivation becomes the real issue.
Badwater to WhitneyBrooks
Oct 24, 2001 12:17 PM
That sounds great! What is the riding distance between the two? I've hike Whitney and it would be quite the bike climb up to Portal from the Owens Valley. Elevation training would be required (not a problem for me, I live at 7000').
Badwater to Whitneygrzy
Oct 24, 2001 1:10 PM
Distance is around 130 miles - can't remember exactly. Altitude is one thing, but since it's pretty much and assault/dash most would be OK. Having altitude conditioning wouldn't hurt! The real killer is the heat, winds, and sleep deprivation. I think total climbing is something around 13K and some of it's a bit of a grind. Then you have to round some people up to do the support.
Badwater to WhitneyDog
Oct 25, 2001 6:36 AM
use a triple; can't recall if you've ridden up to Whitney Portal, but after the ride from Badwater it feels really steep.

Philosophically, if you want to do this solely under human power, won't that mean you need to carry all your own stuff, too (or stop along the way for water and food)?

I'd like to do the ride with you, except for the hiking part. Lots of fun climbing.

Mine are short and relatively easy to attain.nigel
Oct 24, 2001 11:14 AM
Since I haven't any real cash to throw around for cycling vacations (unemployment can do that to a person), I can only shoot for simple but effective goals for myself on the bike.

Strengthening my legs enough to push bigger gears for longer periods (getting faster, essentially) is one I'm aiming for by spring. Developing a nasty sprint (and/or jump) is also a big goal. I rode with Live Steam on his home turf today, and he blew my doors off on some shorter "sprinter's climbs"; I want to be able to hang tighter and/or challenge on those. My endurance and hill-climbing are my strong points, but I'll work over the winter on my POWER.

Simple and attainable, but these things are what I'm looking for in the short term.

Good topic, Dave. Gear up (or DOWN!) for that epic 21-switchback ride!

re: Cycling goals (poll)mr_spin
Oct 24, 2001 11:27 AM
Mine are a lot like yours, except less specific. Yes, I want to ride L'Alpe d'Huez, but I also want to ride the Tourmalet, the Croix de Fer, the Izoard, etc.

My goal is to spend a few months cycling around France, with no particular place to go. I have this vision of me on a bike with just a change of clothes in a pack and a credit card. Cycling from town to town. Staying in hostels and cheap hotels. And maybe I'll have a trained monkey with me who has an incredible intellect and the ability to speak a dozen languages. Together, we can solve crimes and save souls, like some cheesy amateur detective on a bad TV show.

Anyway, that's my goal. Seriously. Except for the monkey part. And the solving crimes part. Three or four months of riding whenever and wherever I want to go. First France, then Italy, then Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, etc. When I do it all, I go back and do it all over again.

Now if I could just figure out how to make it work while I am young enough to pull it off.
keep riding,guido
Oct 24, 2001 12:45 PM
take care of yourself, and you can do it when you retire!
I will. But what about the monkey? :) nmmr_spin
Oct 24, 2001 1:00 PM
Ok, then do it now,guido
Oct 24, 2001 5:20 PM
the trained monkey might not be around when you retire.
re: Cycling goals (poll)zero1
Oct 24, 2001 11:34 AM
i am 51 and soon to be goal is just to be able to get on my bike and ride and ride and ride.
re: Cycling goals (poll)morey
Oct 24, 2001 11:43 AM
I would like to ride across america. I am 58 now, would like to do before I am 60. I understand it takes about 30 days on a tour?
me tooDog
Oct 24, 2001 12:12 PM
I still want to ride across the country; may even do it like Forrest Gump did, just go and don't stop.

Check out the PAC Tours:

Ride across the ContinentBrooks
Oct 24, 2001 12:31 PM
Back in 1977 when I was 19 and in college, my sister (21) and I pulled out a map, laid out a route of places to see and got on our bikes and rode from SF to Boston. We had never done any bike touring. We just liked to ride. Unprepared, possibly, but we had spent most of our family vacations camping. Instead of throwing camping gear in a backpack we just used panniers (small and cheap compared to what I see today). Every couple of weeks we had a place to stay (friend of friend whose relative knows a guy...) and clean up and hang out for a few days. This was a summer vacation, we spent as much or as little time on the bike as we wanted, didn't feel the need to get up before dawn and blast out a quick hundred miles before lunch. It was a defining point in my life, saw some great countryside, met a lot of wonderful people, raced dogs, got rained on, fought headwinds, enjoyed tailwinds. My point is...Just Do It! And if you come through Utah, you've got a place to crash and a riding partner for a couple of days.
ah, youthDog
Oct 24, 2001 12:36 PM
I yearned to do the same thing. Almost did. Those days of summers available for "whatever" are the best part of youth.

Maybe Dino will do it, now that he's retired.

Sounds like a lot of fun. I might just keep going back and forth if I got started.

I'm so envious.

That had to be a wonderful summer! -NMTig
Oct 24, 2001 1:46 PM
Lifetime goals? No.Rich Clark
Oct 24, 2001 11:49 AM
Cycling is for me a means to an end (or several ends), not an end in itself. My cycling goals tend therefore to be subservient to other goals:

*to ride 4000 miles between my 49th and 50th birthday (this was a fitness goal, easily met).

*to ride 5000 miles between my 50th and 51st birthday

*to maintain the an average of 80% of my trips to work via bicycle

*to ride Route 320 from Chester to Conshohocken without having to ever get off and push my bike up a hill (finally beat that a couple of weeks ago!)

*to never drive if I can ride

...and like that.

What you're talking about sounds inspiring as well. But to me, such things ("to do a trans-American bike tour") are rewards more than they are goals.

Lifetime goals? No.morey
Oct 24, 2001 11:59 AM
Your right, it is more a reward than a goal. It is something I would just like to do.
RewardsRich Clark
Oct 24, 2001 12:16 PM
Me too. I just can't decide if I'd want to do it as part of a supported tour group (I'd appreciate the security, but not the enforced sociability), or unsupported.

I wish my wife was a cyclist (but that's a whole 'nother story). An unsupported cross-country tour as a couple would be perfect.

Oct 25, 2001 3:03 AM
Fortunately, my wife rides. She also would like to do it. We really would like to do it by ourselves, but the route? we don't know the best way. A supported group provides this and security. We need to think about it?
Chester to Conshohocken on 320???Peetey
Oct 24, 2001 1:50 PM
You are a brave, brave man!! I am tracing the route in my mind and I can't think of a stretch where traffic isn't horrible. I went to high school in Chester and know 320 very well.

Good for you!!
Not too bad on weekends...Rich Clark
Oct 24, 2001 3:17 PM
...and there's some sort of shoulder much of the way.

"before they die"...keeping in mind the brevity of life...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 24, 2001 11:52 AM
and the many unexpected endings, and that i never thought i'd see 30 (still a few days yet to go!!!), i'd have to say that my cycling goals are pretty short term, and can be summed up in two statements:

ride lots. do some really long, painful rides.

and my IMMEDIATE-term goal:

figure out how to adjust saddle, what saddle replacement, or what shorts replacement necessary to ride long without pincushion arse or saddle sores. i'm not made of money, ya know?
See how many birthdays I can ride my age in miles.MB1
Oct 24, 2001 12:19 PM
Age 50-50 mile ride, age 51-51 mile ride etc. I think it will start to get hard somewhere around 75 or so, I'll keep everyone updated.
That's a good one! (nm)Rich Clark
Oct 24, 2001 12:23 PM
Thanks, good thing I wasn't born in the winter. nmMB1
Oct 24, 2001 12:34 PM
re: Cycling goals (poll)Starliner
Oct 24, 2001 12:26 PM
If and when I am too old to ride, I want to be able to look back without regret. I don't want to be thinking, 'if only I had pushed myself a little harder; if only, if only...'.

I just turned 48, have no racing experience, but am seriously leaning towards racing the Masters 45+ next season. There's some really fast and experienced racers in the group now, so just showing up and being competitive would be a victory.
re: Cycling goals (poll)DINOSAUR
Oct 24, 2001 12:27 PM
Nothing fancy: Just to ride til I drop; hopefully riding that Nago campy Record ML on some back country road and perhaps the logging truck that finished me off will come back and run over me a second time to make sure that I'm gone. Beats dying of alzheimers in some convalescent hosptial not knowing who you are....
Why do alot of our goals involve climbing?look271
Oct 24, 2001 12:45 PM
The pain? The accomplishment? The look on other's faces when they say"you RODE YOUR BIKE up that?! Who knows. I don't have any real specific goals, but I do want to do one or 2 100 mile rides w/ lots of climbing.Three state/three mtn challenge, mountain mama century, savage century, etc. I've been contemplating doing the nightmare tour-14,000 ft climbing, 178 miles. Early June. Think I'll start training now.......
because it's tangiblemr_spin
Oct 24, 2001 12:59 PM
Point down a flat road 100 miles and tell someone that's where you came from, and it doesn't register. Anyone can ride 100 miles given enough time, they think.

Point to the top of a high mountain and tell someone you climbed it on your bike, and they might understand. Because climbing mountains on a bike is beyond the comprehension of most non-cyclists.
Why do alot of our goals involve climbing?Dave Hickey
Oct 24, 2001 1:00 PM
At 5'7", 145lbs, I'm not a sprinter. My most memorable rides are ones that involve climbs. I'm sure bragging rights has something to do with it.
Cycling GoalsJon
Oct 24, 2001 2:01 PM
Long term:

Ride the CalTripleCrown, i.e. three doubles in one year. Since I live in Ab, that one will probably
have to wait until I'm retired, have tons of time to ride and travel.

Short term:

This winter, get much stronger on my bike, climbing skills, etc. Next year, start road racing in
theMasters group, hang in, not get dropped. I improved my time trialling this year from dead last to
the upper 40% or so, to the point where I can hang with the "A" group on group rides. That was
my self-defined prerequisite to road racing. Next comes climbing skills, ability to accelerate, sprint,
corner. I figure by the time I'm 70 or so I'll have acquired some basic cycling skills!
Miss M earned a Triple Crown living in DC.MB1
Oct 24, 2001 2:50 PM
She thought the hardest part was the plane flight home. Fares should be cheap next spring.
California Tripe Crowndsc
Oct 24, 2001 2:16 PM
Three double centuries in the same year. Hope to accomplish this in the next two years.
Hmmm, a double century would be good ...Humma Hah
Oct 24, 2001 5:28 PM
... next year, maybe my first Brevet 200k (not my longest ride, but probably my toughest), and maybe an easier but longer 160-miler.
Don't forget the length of the C&O (184 all downhill). nmMB1
Oct 25, 2001 5:21 AM
Goal for next yearDutchy
Oct 24, 2001 6:13 PM
to ride a solo century under 5 hours
to ride a solo metric (62mile) under 3 hours

Not to get taken out by some moron in a car, came too close this year

Anyone can ride the Alpe d'Huez, but why not ...PhilippeC
Oct 25, 2001 1:16 AM
make it really memorable?

Here in France one can find any number of cyclosportive races during the cycling season. You don't need to be a liscensed racer to enter these mass-start events and probably the closest thing these resemble are your "Centuries". The riders at the front are racing, the rest are hoping to do a personal best or just finish. Riders range from pro's to 75 yr. olds reliving some of the routes they rode as youths (you would be surprised how strpong many of these older riders are). Security is provided by the Gendarmerie and in many cases parts of the route (or even the whole route) is closed off to cars). The rides are typically between 150 to 220 kms and often a shorter route is offered. Anyway, these rides are fun, convivial and are a great way to discover the classic rides of France --- and there is one that goes up the Alpe d'Huez after covering the classic combination of the Croix de Fer, Télégraphe and Galibier (total distance 174 kms). "La Marmotte" takes place early in July, for details, see the web site:

As far as climbing the Alpe d'Huez, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and a triple can do it. Climbing it fast on a double is another matter.

Another good Cyclosportive is the Etape du Tour which covers the exact stage that riders in the Tour de France wilol cover two days later (the entire course is closed off) -- quite an experience! Two years ago the ride was the Ventoux stage and last year it was the Tourmalet. This year it will likely return to the Alpes (see for more information).

There are many other rides (e.g. the Ventoux, several in the Pyrénées and Alpes as well as elsewhere. If you are interested in a particular region, I can send you the calendar of these races.


Here is an english language review of the Marmotte:


C'est magique, is how the French magazine Cyclo-Passion described the Marmote: a simple description that pretty well sums it up. It's the classic alpine ride; Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Galibier and L'Alpe d'Huez are climbs that put fear into any Tour cyclist - it's very tough. However, with 3,500 other riders on a mass start you'll be drawn along by riders around you while taking in the breathtaking scenery, but in a breathless state - La Marmote, the ultimate cycling challenge: c'est magique.

The 174km of the Marmote is a veritable ride over perhaps the most famous piece of cycling terrain in the World. Starting at Bourg D'Oisans at 7.15 in the morning, the first 3 or 4 miles are fairly flat to get you warmed up for the first major climb on to Col de la Croix de Fer (2068m) the next 30 or so km take you down some pretty impressive hairpins before you start the climb to Col du Telegraphe (1570m). There's an aid station here, with the little restaurant giving a false impression of the top - it's not, and you'll have a short free wheel before climbing to the infamous Col du Galibier: 20km taking you to an oxygen starved 2645m. Descending from Galibier you realise how much climbing you've done, so take a chance to look out at the surrounding peaks and glaciers, because your last 10km is up on to L'Alpe d'Huez!
Thanks for the info! (nm)Dave Hickey
Oct 25, 2001 3:39 AM
re: Cycling goals (poll)mackgoo
Oct 25, 2001 6:15 AM
That sounds pretty cool. Next year I want to do Mt. Washington.
SFO to LA in 5 days (570+ miles)nn23
Oct 25, 2001 8:09 AM
I've driven from SFO to LA and back _so_ many times in the last 2 years that I really want to ride it this time. Except it will be along the beautiful Pacific coast and not on I-5! . It's essentially this dream which made me buy my first over $100 bike this summer :-). Planning for end summer 2002.

Also wish to spend a month touring across Europe biking and camping. But that will have to wait till I climb higher on the strength, stamina, and financial security ladders. Till then LA is good enough.
CAT 3 (nm)aet
Oct 25, 2001 1:35 PM
re: Cycling goals (poll)Len J
Oct 25, 2001 2:29 PM
Great topic. I have 3:

1.) Ride across the lower 48 before I die. Its a dream that I've had since I was 20, responsibilities have kept me from doing this, but someday.

2.) Ride my bike on every birthday. Similiar to MB1's but less & more. So far I have done every birthday since I was 7 years old, I hope to make them all.

3.) Ride a mountain stage of the TDF. I want to really understand what they do every day.