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50% of year's miles in 4 days. Go/No-go? Advise.(23 posts)

50% of year's miles in 4 days. Go/No-go? Advise.nn23
Nov 12, 2001 5:50 PM
Thanksgiving is coming and I have been thinking of putting in some serious miles. 250 miles in 4 days may not sound too big for most of you, but its 50% of my year's total so far! I think I can do with all the advice I can get here.

What I'm trying to get from the cumulative experience here is primarily a go/no-go signal for right now.

Some background to help you help me.

This is my first year biking, and I have put a total of 450 miles so far. Have been averaging 55 miles a week for the last 3-4 weeks and feel comfortable. Weekend ride is usually 30-40 miles @14 mph with avg climbing of 40-60 ft a mile. Weekday ride is almost flat and 20 miles at 15-17 mph. I've never attempted a metric century.

I'm planning to cover the distance over 4 days at an average of 60-65 miles per day. To keep weight minimum, I'll be staying at cheap motels and buying food on the way instead of camping.

I'm 26. I'll be riding w/ a friend w/ an almost identical background.

Go or no-go? (The terrain too hilly? Too long? The goal to high to soon? I'm young... what the heck go for it. Worst case I'll abort after 1 day... go for it ). You get the picture.

Advise.

- nn23
gofortBirddog
Nov 12, 2001 6:11 PM
I met people on RAGBRAI that had little or no training in advance of riding 450 to 500 miles in 7 days. I was quite astonished but several of them said they do this every year.
You'll train into it.guido
Nov 12, 2001 9:04 PM
I did a similar effort like you're planning after a year of riding. Did about 70 miles the first day and got a training effect from it the second day, where covering another 50 miles was a piece of cake. By the third day I was feeling invincible. By the last day, coming home, I felt so good I covered 120 miles in a marathon 9 hour ride.

Just drink and eat alot. Have fun!
Go for it!tarwheel
Nov 13, 2001 5:56 AM
I rode BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) with my wife when we were newlyweds in the mid 1980s. She had hardly ever ridden before, but I was a big runner and biker at the time. My wife read about the cross-state tour and actually suggested we do it together. She started training about 3 months before BRAG, but had done very little biking before then (or after, for that matter). Anyway, to make a long story short, my wife rode the whole tour, about 380 miles in seven days, with no problem.

I also rode in the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (430 miles in 7 days) and Cycle North Carolina (230 miles in 3 days) this year, and there were lots of people on both tours who obviously did not have a lot of cycling experience. Lots of children with their parents, elderly retirees, and very overweight people. Both tours averaged 60 miles a day for a week.

Here are some tips to make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable:
1. Carry lots of water, at least two large waterbottles, or a Camelbak, and drink frequently.
2. Eat a good breakfast and lots of snacks along the way to keep your energy up. Bring some Cliff bars or similar energy bars in your jersey in case you start to run out of energy.
3. Keep a moderate pace and spin as much as possible.
4. Make sure your bike is in good working condition, with good tires, as well as a spare tube, tube repair kit, pump or CO2 inflator, and basic tools.
5. Draft with your buddy to reduce your wind resistance.
6. Make sure you've got some good cycling shorts, wash them out at night and hope they're dry by morning.
punishmentDog
Nov 13, 2001 6:30 AM
Just remember there is a difference between training punishment. Too often, I think many of us venture into punishing our bodies (I'm there with the worst).

I think you probably *can* do it, but why? You will be extremely sore and probably not want to bike for a while.

Nonetheless, if you do it, here are a few hints:

*Take very low gears; use a triple or at least a 27 cog in the back. This will allow you to spin up the hills and save your legs.

*Take a Camelbak, and drink frequently. Dehydration will get you faster than anything else, even if it's cold out. Set a timer to remind yourself to drink.

*Take some concentrated food energy of some type, be it Powerbars, candy, cookies... something.

*Use Chamois Butt'r on the pad of your shorts, and apply liberally. You'll need it.

*Take clothes for any possible weather scenario.

*Pace yourself. You should never be breathing hard.

If you do it, let us know how it goes. Where are you doing this, anyway?

Doug
North to south along the california coast. (nm)nn23
Nov 13, 2001 11:02 AM
All down hill + tailwind!grzy
Nov 13, 2001 6:11 PM
Wifey rode from Sandy Eggo to Marin in five days solo carrying camping gear - did the return trip in four days!
Spooky.
Just take the advice given above and do it..John-d
Nov 13, 2001 7:08 AM
You are 26, if you dont break out at your age what will you be doing when your 56 - nothing!!!!

This is an adventure, after this one think up another.
you'll be fineColnagoFE
Nov 13, 2001 9:18 AM
If you can ride 40 miles without stopping now you shouldnt have any problem with 60-65...though after a few days you'll porbably start feeling a bit fatigued.
Do it!grzy
Nov 13, 2001 9:46 AM
You'll learn a lot about yourself. Anything worth doing is worth over doing! Just leave yourself a bail-out option incase the weather gets bad, or you tweak something.

Sure it's ill advised from the cautious perspective - but you're young and naive. Don't let youth be wasted on the young. Maybe you'll find out what it meands to hit the wall. The post ride buzz should leave you fatigued and blissed-out for a few days. I could make a forutne if I could bottle and sell this stuff. A good attitude is more important than a "death march" schedule. Maybe you'll meet up with the Swedish Bikini Team and get side tracked...
I'll be looking for the Swedish Bikini team on my next ride! nmmr_spin
Nov 13, 2001 2:45 PM
They *always* split just before I top out! (nm)grzy
Nov 13, 2001 6:08 PM
I'd worry more about the weather than the distance.MB1
Nov 13, 2001 9:54 AM
Tough for a new rider to do those kind of miles in really cold, wet or windy weather. Unless you already have lots of experience in those conditions it could be very tough. Don't forget that you will need to start near sunup to assure yourselves plenty of time in case something goes wrong. You will need lots of clothing layers including waterproof and windproof stuff and lights and reflectors just in case you get caught out after dark.

Ideally I'd make the third day a little shorter than the others since you will probably be somewhat tired and sore by then. The last day ought to be a breeze for you with the sense of acheivement carrying you through.
Go!dagnelson
Nov 13, 2001 10:13 AM
I am fairly new too, and I wrote 50 miles each weekend the past 3 weekends, and feel fine. If you have a whole day to complete 60 miles, rather than 4 hours, you can take a break, right, for your butt, and too eat/drink (my only problem after weekend riding is I am craving more food for days after). I would try. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. At the end you'll be in better shape. I would really assess my limits though as far as the state of your joints goes. I don't know if my knee would like it...Also depends on the route, hilly or not, the weather etc. Dag
Oops. The route = PCH 1nn23
Nov 13, 2001 10:40 AM
Will be going North to South on the Pacific Coast Hwy 1 in California. Plan is to start from home (next to Palo Alto) and meet PCH in Pescadero. Will go south from there. Basically following the route as explained in the book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast". Only mountains along the route are after Big Sur. Two climbs of about 1000 ft each, rest of it is flat to rolling hills.
tailwindsDog
Nov 13, 2001 10:52 AM
You should be fine. Should have tailwinds 90% of the time, although the recent weather might change that.

Have fun. I'd like to go with you, if I could.

Take rain gear!

Doug
I'd like to go with you, if I could.nn23
Nov 13, 2001 11:18 AM
Thanks for saying that, 'cause we both know how well matched we are in our riding prowess ;)

About the weather... hmmm... need to give rain gear a better thought.
Watch those rolling hills!mr_spin
Nov 13, 2001 3:04 PM
I say go for it. Either you make it or you don't. Hopefully you have fun and have some great experiences.

That said, don't forget that you have to get to Pescadero from Palo Alto. That's at least 2000 feet of climbing, and probably closer to 3000. Don't miss the pink flamingo house along the way. Hopefully the guy will have his christmas stuff out when you go. Riding to Pescadero is one of my favorite rides.

PCH south of Pescadero is an amazing area to ride through. It's a small scale Big Sur--absolutely spectacular out on the cliffs. You will have to work to get up some of those "rolling hills" but it is worth it.

I don't know where you plan to stop on your first day, but getting over the mountain to Pescadero and down the coast to Santa Cruz would be a tough ride at your fitness level. With the latest storms we've had, you could get wind out of the south, which is a killer out on PCH (trust me, I've done it). Generally, the wind blows out of the south, which means tailwind. Cruising along at 30mph is not uncommon! Unfortunately, there is nowhere to stay between Pescadero and Santa Cruz, except for the Pigeon Point lighthouse, and a campground or two.

Getting through Santa Cruz will be a challenge because of the traffic. Get past the downtown are and onto Soquel Drive (not Soquel Avenue!) and you'll be fine.
go... bring advilnm
Nov 13, 2001 12:25 PM
nm
re: 50% of year's miles in 4 days. Go/No-go? Advise.cioccman
Nov 13, 2001 1:39 PM
Go for it. I'd say the hardness factor of the ride won't be your worst enemy. 60 miles per day? Shouldn't be a piece of cake for a 26 year old in mildly decent shape even if you're not a high mileage rider. You might find yourself wanting to go longer. Weather *might* take that enemy spot.

If it's rainy and you get some headwinds, PCH and especially dangerous and fast cars on that highway if it's wet will be your enemy. Flying water and mud off them.

Just a bit of mechanical suggestions that you can take or leave. You might want some 25 or bigger tires with at least some tread, forget the 20 Axial Pro Lights or racing slicks. Bring lots of tools and tubes and stuff as it sounds like your going sans support. Know how to fix most of what might typically go wrong, chain, der adjust, flats, tightening stuff.

Hopefully the weather will be great, but if it is rotten, it can be miserable if you're not fully prepared. In my experience, when I've done multi day sporting events and been exposed to lots of rain, the saving grace was the ability to put on clean dry clothing, rain gear and ESPECIALLY dry shoes the next day. That meant carrying dual of each.

You ridin' back on alternative transport or are you turning around and *riding* back?
No(t) turning back.nn23
Nov 13, 2001 4:59 PM
Due to headwinds, turning back is not an option. Though I still need to figure out the alternate transport back.
Too many unexplored options right now. The first time of anything (unsupported long distace ride in this case) always has a lot more uncertainty.

- nn23
Well, your ass is probably going to feel like...Lone Gunman
Nov 13, 2001 4:12 PM
you just got out of prison., Good luck.
That's what I did for 20 years ...Humma Hah
Nov 13, 2001 7:32 PM
... my wife and I would ride about four times a year, two in the spring, two in the fall, when the weather met her definition of perfect. Three miles around the neighborhood.

I don't recommend that.

But if you have been getting in 55 miles per week, you can do the mileage you're talking about. That's not a terribly great distance for one day.

Hopefully, it will inspire you to put in greater training distances in the future. You'll probably get hooked on distance riding and start looking around for centuries.