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Longer Rides(16 posts)

Longer RidesGiles
Jun 3, 2002 12:03 PM
How many miles do you have to log before longer rides are as easy as shorter ones. Last weekend I did a 40 mile ride over mountainous terrain and was out of gas and cramping toward the end. I would like to figure out a training plan so that I can ride 50 miles and feel good at the end.
Patience, regular riding,
Jun 3, 2002 12:27 PM
There is no easy answer to your question. I began riding two years ago at the age of 41. My progress has been incremental. However, I have seen my greatest progress when I ride regularly, including as much as possible during the week. A physician I know who believes in the beneficial effects of drinking alcohol has often said that a drink per day is good for you, but a week of abstinence followed by a six-pack on Saturday night is not. The same is true with respect to riding. I think that reqular and frequent short rides (i.e., 20-30 miles) will get you further than occasional, longer rides. Assuming that you are riding regularly, you just need to keep doing the things that are difficult to become better at them. Also, rest and nutrition/hydration are very important for finishing long, hilly rides in good shape. How did you sleep and what did you eat/drink before (and during) your ride?
how much do you ride now and how often?ColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2002 12:43 PM
how much do you ride now and how often?Giles
Jun 3, 2002 1:14 PM
I usually fit in two rides per week one 20 mi and the other about 30 -35. Sometimes I can manage another 20 miler or so. There is no way I can do more due to other commitments - job/family. . Usually the rides are fairly flat for LA where I live. I also usually ride first thing in the morning and eat sparsely before the rides. I think I had problems with staying hydrated more than anything else - ergo the minor cramping. Would like to be able to do 40 - 50 miles at an average speed of 16-17 mph over hilly terrain.
how much do you ride now and how often?nn23
Jun 3, 2002 1:53 PM
Running out of gas sounds like you are not eating/drinking enough. Depending on how much you ate before you started you may need to eat once or even twice on a 50 mile ride.

Personally I eat about 300-600 calories every two hrs and finish a bottle (750 ml/ ~25 Oz) of half strength Gatorade every hour. Working by time rather than distance serves me well for flats as well as the hills.
Eat while RidingGiles
Jun 3, 2002 2:23 PM
How can you eat that much. I can see a banana here or there, but 300 - 600 calories of food every two hours seems like over kill. How can the body even use the food while while exerting. I don't think the stomach is digesting any solid food at that point.
use gels and sports drink (nm)ColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2002 2:43 PM
I usually find on a typical century that I need a minimum of a large bottle of something (cytomax/gatorade) and hour and a GU shot about that often. It helps me to eat some solid food as well...pop tarts work as does fig newtons or clif bars--plus at the halfway point a good sandwich is often nice. whatever sounds good to you. You can also get some more training in if you're willing to get up and ride outside or on a trainer for an hour or so 5x a week or so. You can find time to train if you really look and are willing to sacrifice a bit of sleep for it. Personally by the time I get home from work it's all over. That's why I do it first thing in the morning.
actually there was a message there...not (nm)ColnagoFE
Jun 3, 2002 2:44 PM
Jun 3, 2002 3:07 PM
I understand what you are saying.

I am curious as to how much the pros eat during a ride. Eating to me seems like a distraction.
Pros eat constantlyKerry
Jun 3, 2002 5:19 PM
In long races, the pros are eating "constantly" with solid foods, gels, and drinks. A long race will have two feed zones, and they take on a pretty full bag at each pickup. Especially in stage races, they have to eat as much as they can to keep the tank full - if it ever runs empty it's much harder to recover. Armstrong had his bad day in the TdF two years ago by making a "rookie mistake" and not eating enough. For reference, on my 110-120 mile distance rides, I eat about 1000 calories on the bike, and then 350-400 more at the break plus a Coke (250 more calories). Eating is not a distraction - it's how to have an enjoyable ride.
Replenishing glycogenMcAndrus
Jun 4, 2002 5:44 AM
Someone else might have more accurate data. I believe you deplete your glycogen (blood sugar) in about 2-2.5 hours of riding, depending on exertion. To prevent bonking on rides of longer than 2.5 hours, I'll start eating around 1-1.5 hours out. As someone (Colnago or Kerry?) said, the foods to eat are the high glycemic, fast digesting types that get into your bloodstream quickly. Depending on your exertion, your body will be consuming 500-800 calories an hour and you have to keep it stoked up.

Actually, pros will eat both quick and slow digesting stuff to keep the energy for long periods but then they're doing six-plus hours at a 25 mph pace. Learning when and how to eat while riding is just another of a rider's training considerations.

Keeping properly nourished and hydrated can be the difference between a fun ride and a death march.
re: Longer Ridesrufus
Jun 3, 2002 1:16 PM
i'd say he's right. just by riding more often, and increasing your mileage, eventually, 50 miles won't seem like that much. adding some hill work, such as intervals, will help build strength and climbing ability so hillier rides won't take as much out of you.

unfortunately, i have yet to ride enough to reach this point yet. hopefully this is the year.
re: Longer Ridesjrm
Jun 3, 2002 1:39 PM
I've found that being able to commute to work during the week really helps on those weekend group death marches. Even riding after work for an hour a coupla or 3 days during the week helps.
If you ride short and easy you....bear
Jun 3, 2002 2:40 PM
if you ride your shorter rides easy you never will be confy on lnger rides...ride hard on your short ride, one day hard one easy and you will see the different!
ride and learnDougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 6:00 AM
Read everything here:

Even though it is focused upon ultra riding, it will help you a great deal, too.

re: Longer RidesDragon33
Jun 4, 2002 10:18 AM
I took some time off for a while and yes even the 30 mile group ride hurt. SO basically you have to decide what it is you want. Is it speed, distance, sleep or tv? I too have a very hard time with finding the time to ride but as soon as I get home I just go, once I am riding everything feels better and worries are gone. When it comes to food you definately need to eat on long rides, personally 50 miles is about the limit though (50 or less I don't need food while riding), I will usaully pop in 2 poptarts on the weekends fill up my water bottles and head out eating while riding to the group ride. The key is nutrition, rest and lots of base miles. Ride at least 3 times a week at 20 miles minimum each time and try to spread them out so there are never 2 consecutive days off.