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Lessons from distance ride(3 posts)

Lessons from distance rideEager Beagle
Sep 9, 2002 1:31 AM
I did a double (metric) yesterday - turned out to be just over 135 miles of hilly terrain and rough roads. I get lots of miles in on my bikes, commuting every day and riding at the weekends, but this was much further than my usual training rides. It was was fairly brutal. Here's what I learned.

1) Put fenders on the bike if there is any chance it might rain - it rained for the first 2 or so hours yesterday. That meant that I got soaked from head to toe, and covered in a generous coating of horse sh1t (being in South UK). Not nice. Even when it stopped - we were riding through blobked drains, floods etc all morning. All the hardened brevit guys had them pretty much down to the ground, and had shoe covers, and were a lot drier/more comfortable as a result.

2) This about flipping your stem/raising your bars. I ride most of my "normal" rides - fairly fast, usually 50 or less miles - on the hoods, and rarely in the drops - usually only down hill in a tuck. Only long hard rides, it really is nice to be able to sit far more upright from time to time. I notived that the average drop from saddle to bars on the hard distance guys' bikes was about 1-2", and they changed from hoods to drops far more. Mine was about 4" - too much - my wrists/elbows/back felt it.

3) Think about your gearing. I bottomed at 39/25. I got round. Normally I wouldn'd ever feel the need for a lower gear, but at the 125 mile point up another steep hill, I noticed that the tripple guys were spinning up past me as I pumped out the saddle. By the end, I don't think I had the leg strength left to tackle another 15 mins of standing cranking. The equipment of choice among the hard corps was a triple set-up, which I think would be essentail for hauling up all the kit you would need for, say, a 200 that goes into the night (everone has heavy rechargeable lights, plus all the other clothing, food etc to carry).

4. Frame and tyres. Out of 30 bikes, there was one Airborne Ti, my Al, and the rest were steel. With good reason - it was a best up. On top of that, I rode Rubino Pros 25 rear, 23 front at about 100 Ibs. I certainly rolled better than most of the other people, by the rest of the group on 28 tredded tyres had a much more comfortable ride, and I didn't see anyone else nearly wiping out on a) a mud-covered inspection cover on a bend, or b) a spin-out on a wet shiny cover in the middle of the road on a steep climb.

5. Think about what you are eating/drinking. I am not a big fan of anything of the than water/juice on rides. Howerver, yesterday was hot (after the rain stopped) and I started to get a bit of cramp past the 100 mile mark. It only went away when I downed some isotonic re-hydrate - shortage of salts I suppose.

6. Always take the opportunity to fill your water up - you never know when the sun is going to break through at the start of a long climb and you start tripling you previous use rate.

7. On the plus side, Zinc and Aloe nappy rash cream works brilliantly as a rash/soreness preventer "downstairs". I doesed up before I left, and took a little in a film container in my pocket just in case, and was hassle free all day.

8. Lastly, if you starting to feel tired, DO NOT focus on the two maniacs who are doing the even on full touring rigs FIXED WHEEL! How they climbed those 25+ rigs at about 3 rpm I have no idea.
re: Lessons from distance ridescruffyduncan
Sep 9, 2002 1:41 AM
I did one of those events early in the year, you feel a little superior on your lightweight fancy racer at the start, but those ctc audax guys just keep grinding out the miles at a pretty good pace. I definitely felt like the hare in the tortoise and the hair story by the end of 200+ km. On the one I did there was a guy who completed it on a brompton with flat pedals!!
Yeah, it's trickyEager Beagle
Sep 9, 2002 5:00 AM
I found that you kept having to brake (horror) even on the downhills. If you try to ride with the group, they are not that fast downhill anyway, with all those tyres/fixies, and if you are on your own, you have to keep slowing down to read the routecard, for fear (as I did twice) that you fly past a turn and are 2 miles away downhill before you realise your mistake - long climb back.

All in all, it's a classic case of not riding at your natural pace, with all the extra weariness that creates. Much easier if you have a similar machine to the group, and a knowledge of the area (a lot of the guys on mine were West Kent CTC guys who knew the route).

Good thing to have done though.