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double century riders: your longest pre-200 training ride?..(13 posts)

double century riders: your longest pre-200 training ride?..JS Haiku Shop
Aug 19, 2002 7:20 AM
i'm about to do my first double century, a supposedly 90% pancake-flat route, starting at 1:30 AM. i'm registered for another 200-miler the following weekend (the second one has "recommended gearing"). both rides are structured such that the lights and extraneous stuff can be dropped at the start after dawn (loops from the start, then the rides pick up the "regular" century route).

last year's target events were double metrics. those were my longest rides to date, two 125-milers in september. last year's long prep rides leading up to the double metrics were 60-80 milers, and at this time last year i'd logged 2,900 miles for 2001. last year's total mileage was around 5,000 miles.

presently i have about 4,000 miles logged for 2002, including losing 6 total weeks off the bike for injury and recovery since february. my build-up rides this year have been 75-85 milers, at a much higher intensity than last year, with 16.5 and 17 average mph centuries the last two saturdays. weekend long rides are group-based, including either a solo 30+ miles at the beginning or end of the ride. this saturday i got ~90 minutes of riding with lights at the beginning of 103 miles (5 AM start). this year i'm much stronger over longer distances, measurably faster over short distances (30-50 milers), and fairly comfortable with 85-105 miles on the bike with minimal stops.

what advice do you 200-mile-and-longer veterans have for a first double, for tapering (the doubles are on 8/31 and 9/7--two weeks away), or any other related topics? i am fine with fueling and staying on the bike, pacing, and i do know that there is no magic number--200 is just a loooong ride.


ps: 2002 peak weekly mileage = 200 + change. nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 19, 2002 7:26 AM
you'll be fineDougSloan
Aug 19, 2002 7:43 AM
If you are rested, pace yourself, eat and drink, you'll be fine. Pretty much the same as for a century, but each aspect just becomes a little more critical.

The longest before my first double was 155 miles, the Climb to Kaiser. With 13,500 feet of climbing, I knew if I could do that I could do a flatter double. The double was easier.

To give yourself some confidence, you might try a 150 miler. In addition to confidence, it might reveal any problems that a century might not, like irritating shorts, those sorts of things. It looks like you are too close to your events to do that now, though.

Taper off 2 weeks before. After that, drastically reduce mileage but keep some intensity. It's surprising how much intensity there might be in a double, whether climbing or staying on a fast pace line. It will make you feel stronger, too, with a bit of a "peak."

Don't overdo it on the food the day before or that morning. If you do, you might get stomach problems or need to visit the toilet too often during the ride. What you eat during the ride is more important, in my view. A medium sized bag of Cheetos the night before is my well-proven ritual.

If you have a HRM with a limit alarm, set it below your threshold and stick to it. This can help keep you out of trouble in the heat of the moment.

Be prepared that at some point in the ride you may bonk, even if not totally. It's a progressive sort of thing. You may start to feel it coming when your legs just don't feel right, and you find yourself having a hard time riding as fast, but you aren't breathing hard. Immediately slow down and get some food and water in you. Carry a Hammergel in a flask and save it for this possibility. It has saved me many times. When you do start to bonk, you will stop having fun, you may feel a little depressed, and possibly want to quit. Just ride through it, though, and you will finish and be proud you did. Knowing ahead that you will feel this way and get through it helps a lot. It happens to everyone. Just keep thinking to yourself that you just need to go 10 more miles, and then you'll feel better. Before you know it you'll be done.

If you have a watch with a countdown timer, set if for 10 minutes to alert you to drink. This is most helpful if you get caught up with a group and are thinking about the group riding and not drinking.

Be careful. You may encounter people who don't have well-developed group riding skills. Seek out people who do.

Why the heck are they starting at 1:30 a.m.? Is this a bunch of vampires? :-)

re: 1:30 AMJS Haiku Shop
Aug 19, 2002 9:59 AM
i'm not sure about the reason for the early hour, but also don't really mind it. only thing that might be a concern is that much time in the dark on unfamiliar roads.

the "regular" century starts at 7:00. i assume they're expecting riders to average 20 mph for 100 miles with 30 minutes or less of off the bike time in the first 5.5 hours, with the goal of starting the last 100 with the single-century riders. i personally will not be averaging 20 mph for the first 100 of my first 200-miler, mostly on dark unfamiliar roads, unless drafting a large truck fitted with flood lights, downhill the whole way, with my favorite music and a portable espresso maker.

perhaps that will put me finishing daisy-fresh around 3:00 in the afternoon. i'm not sure what to expect out of my i'll guess 15 mph average, including stops, for 14 hours...i'll probably be thankful i'm off the bike and ready to find a beer store while there's still daylight. :)
re: longest training ridecyclopathic
Aug 19, 2002 7:46 AM
about 150mi should give you an idea of what it is like. Depending on route, temperature, speed and fitness level you should experience nutritional bonk and/or electrolyte deficiency. Still 150 can be done w/o interfering much with sleep.

On side note for fit century is a bit short to expose these problems, unless route is really hilly.

I've done my first double with only double metric and 4 weeks off the bike. Stick with reasonable pace, solid foods (subs, burgers, etc) and pickles and you'd be ok.
2 Doubles in 2 weeks? Never having done one?MB1
Aug 19, 2002 8:29 AM
What can I say. The best training for a double is not a double the weekend before.

I can only shake my head and laugh. Let us know how it goes.

On the positive side I think you ought to do fine on the first one. Motivation works wonders on taking the pain out of those last 25 miles or so. I have always believed that if you do the distance regularly during a week doing it in one ride is do-able. That second one......

BTW if the first on is so flat you ought to do it fixed. Makes as much sense as two in two weeks.
this is BADcyclopathic
Aug 19, 2002 8:55 AM
fixie? o'k, I get the joke now
oreos and the doctor for motivationwonderdog
Aug 19, 2002 9:17 AM

JS Haiku Shop has many desires. He desires new bikes with shiny com-PO-nents and fancy new riding threads. however, his main motivation is the delicious combination of oreos and dr. pepper. this is where i come in. you see, in 3 weeks time, i'm riding the birmingham double with him, and i plan to have all sorts of tricks up my proverbial camelback. when he starts with the bonking and certain psychological problems from 2 Doubles in 2 weeks, that's when I pull out the bag of oreos to coax him along. couple that with the cooler of the doctor (that's dr. pepper to the uninitiated) i'll be towing in my bob, and he'll be juuuuuussssstttttt fine. yesssiiirrr!

J, it's all about zen. mind over matter.

subs, burgers, pickels (?), cheetos, oreos, dr. pepper,...JS Haiku Shop
Aug 19, 2002 9:27 AM
and mind over matter. if my arse don't mind 200 miles, it don't matter. right?

wonderdog, i would 100% not be surprised if you pulled your bob with a cooler full of dr. pepper 200 miles on your bean-green surly in fixed mode. totally would not be surprised.

i'm reading here that riding a double is more about eating and less about riding. if that's right, i can only hope cyclocross is along these same lines, more about drinking beer and less about running with a perfectly good bike on your shoulder.



re: double century riders: your longest pre-200 training ride?..outofthesaddle
Aug 19, 2002 8:54 AM
With your training profile you should have plenty of fitness to complete 200 miles. Prior to my first double which I did last year, 115 miles was my longest training ride. Although I have done several doubles since then including back to back weekends, that first 115 mile training ride remains my longest non-event ride.

It sounds like you have a solid fueling strategy for longer rides so stick with what works for you. Maintaining a consistent intake of usable calories is probably the most important aspect of riding doubles.

Finally, you are right -- 200 is a looong ride.

Good luck.
re: double century riders: your longest pre-200 training ride?..Jon Billheimer
Aug 19, 2002 10:18 AM
When I trained for a double a couple of years ago my longest training ride was 150 mi. However, a 100 mi. in the mountains is much tougher than 150 flat. Since you're doing a hilly double the week following the first one, I wouldn't time trial the flat double. You're going to need to get some recovery for the hilly one.

I can second Doug's advice about nutrition and bonking. I under ate on the first half my ride then ate some high fat goodies which didn't sit well later, for which I dearly paid!
re: double century riders: your longest pre-200 training ride?..mkbike
Aug 19, 2002 11:48 AM
It sounds like you have a good solid training base and you are getting sound advice from the others who have replied. I'm relatively new to the ultra distances, but what I can offer is that I have comfortably finished three DCs averaging about 100-120 mi./week in training. Other than some early season centuries, my longest training ride is typically no more than 60 miles. I do rest the week before the ride and I usually don't feel I'm completely recovered until more than a week after the ride.

Here are some specific pieces of advice:

A. Remember, if you are used to training solo and then you spend a fair amount of time in pacelines on your DC, you will cover more ground with less effort.

B. Just the time you spend on the saddle can be a fatiguing factor, so I try to do the ride reasonably quickly. See A., above. Also, with a well supported bike ride, the temptation to spend a lot of time in rest stops can be great. Make sure you stop enough to get plenty of food and fluids, but don't stay so long that you get stiff. If you stop six times and average 20 minutes per stop, you are adding two hours to your time out on the course.

C. I'm always restless the night before a big ride, so I try to make sure I get a good night's sleep two nights before the big day.

D. If you are used to a certain type of energy drink or food, consider carrying your own with you. Especially after you go over 100 miles, you never know how your stomach will react to stuff that you are not used to. Also, you can never tell how the ride's energy drink is mixed - it might be too weak or too strong relative to what you are used to. I stuff my jersey with pre-measured baggies of energy drink mix and just dump one in each bottle and fill with water at the stops.

Good luck and have fun!
You'll be fine...dzrider
Aug 19, 2002 12:52 PM
I did 200k, 300, and 600k rides this year. Each, in turn, was the longest organized ride I'd ever done. Ultra running prepared me for much of the mental challenge.

Doug Sloan's advice on bonking and depression is worth re-enforcing. I ask myself questions like "What's missing from my life that I have to put myself through this?" or "You're fit - what are you trying to prove?" "How can I get back to my car with the absolute minimum of attention and inconvenience to the ride organizers?" A hit of Hammer Gel and a little patience gets me to the other side of the wall. My spirit grows to meet the challenge and my resolve feels limitless.