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Poll, define "Long Ride"(46 posts)

Poll, define "Long Ride"MB1
Nov 18, 2002 7:05 AM
I had lots of time this weekend to think about what exactly a "Long Ride" is. I only got more unsure.

Is a long ride;
A given distance (we probably all agree that 200 miles is a long ride and 10 miles isn't) what is that distance?

A percentage of your weekly/monthly/yearly miles? (50% of your weekly miles, 10 percent of your monthly miles, 1% of your yearly miles?)

A distance that is not repeatable the next day?

Weather/conditions related? (Our Friday 135 miler in good weather was a lot easier on us than Saturdays 50 miler in cold rain).

What do you think? And how many long rides have you done this year?
long enough to bonk if you're not careful nmtrekkie1
Nov 18, 2002 7:12 AM
By my Standards I had 4 "long" rides. By your standards, I toured around town.Scot_Gore
Nov 18, 2002 7:19 AM
Ride 1 & 2: MS150 75 miles Saturday, 84 miles Sunday
Ride 3: Eighty mile solo the weekend before Oberstar 100 first century
Ride 4: Oberstar 100, my first Century.

Before the daylight and warmth left us here in the northland I rode 20 miles every weekday. Saturday I would do a fast 25 and Sunday, a different ride every week in the 40-60 range. I considered that routine for me.

You have a completely different yard stick than me, and that's OK.

LOL, yes. I've had two long rides myself.Kristin
Nov 18, 2002 8:11 AM
1) 77 miles
2) 66 mile solo

Scot, you ride 7 days a week? How do you keep that routine up without burning out?
It's never felt like something I'd burn out on.Scot_Gore
Nov 18, 2002 8:20 AM
I set a goal on 1/1/2002 to ride every day . I rode rollers in the winter and started a daily short ride every day before (and often to) work.

I had no mileage requirement, just ride every day.

I shower everyday and so far havn't burned out on bathing.
I eat everyday and lord knows it shows.

It's become (still becoming to a degree) just something I do in a day.

I breathe all the time andBrooks
Nov 18, 2002 9:09 AM
it is sure getting annoying! LOL! Riding, just something you do as part of the everyday routine. That's great.
Nov 18, 2002 7:30 AM
When I was an ultramarathon racer, a long ride was a double century.

Now that I'm a "jest plain" racer, a long ride is what we did Saturday: 4 hours, 82 miles, a lot of climbing and some frisky attacks despite it being November. That was after an hour workout in the gym. Sunday I did a 3-hour open space / cyclocross ride to recover, and if anything it felt LONGER :)
Definition from a competitive training perspectiveTrekFurthur
Nov 18, 2002 7:32 AM
A ride length in excess of 1.5 hours is considered a stressor on the systems one is training for competition. Of course, it may not FEEL like a long ride psychologically, but it is physically. The rule of thumb for figuring ride length for competitive training is the length of your longest race, thus higher cat's do longer long rides.

Then there are randonneurs . . .
Anything I ride with you.......Len J
Nov 18, 2002 7:39 AM
is a damn long ride.

A Normal "Long ride" weekend is one where I do 4 to 5 hours on Saturday followed by 3 on Sunday. These tend to abverage in the 18.5 to 20mph range.

But then there is the occasional weekend with you & Miss M......125 mile ride on Saturday followed by 60 or so on Sunday.

Then there was the Tour De Montes, 3 days 300 miles with 20,000 ft of climbing.

Prior to the accident I probably did 30 or so "Long Ride" weekends.

Just be happy Miss M liked you so she took it easy.MB1
Nov 18, 2002 8:06 AM
Otherwise we would have done something long! ;-)

Maybe next year....
:-) nmLen J
Nov 18, 2002 8:07 AM
A "special" ridems
Nov 18, 2002 7:39 AM
In my book a "long ride" is one that requires special planning and involves more than my beginning a ride from my driveway and returning home several hours later. My usual rides from home are twice per week commutes to work during daylight savings time (29 miles roundtrip), usual weekend rides of 30-40 miles and occasional weekend rides of 60-70 miles. My "long" rides this year:

1. Mountains of Misery century (103 miles -- I bonked at 101.5 miles -- I not only walked part of the last 1.5 miles, I almost crawled it).

2. Mojave by Moonlight century (almost exactly 100 miles)

3. Etape du Tour (84 miles -- with three Cat 1 climbs and one Cat 2 climb)

4. Hanover, Pa., Century (106 miles -- I missed a turn and had to backtrack)

5. Civil War Century (101 miles)

6. Skyline Drive (beginning at Front Royal -- 106 miles).
Those are some nice rides.MB1
Nov 18, 2002 8:02 AM
You must live around here somewhere. How did you decide to do the Mojave by Moonlite (one of my favorite rides of all time) and did you run your lights?
Mojave by Moonlightms
Nov 18, 2002 8:31 AM
I live in Owings Mills, Maryland, which is northwest of Baltimore. The Mojave by Moonlight was the result of several serendipitous events -- I had just bought a traveling case for my bike in antipation of my trip to France for the Etape, I had to go to California, Doug Sloan had posed a link for California cycling events in response to some else's post, I checked Doug's link and saw that the Mojave by Moonlight was the day before I had to be in California, I could not resist the temptation to extend my trip and do a nighttime century in a desert. I did run my lights on the ride, but the night was bright enough that I probably could have done the ride with a tail light only. My NightRider Blowtorch was so bright that I got a lot of ribbing from other riders. I agree with you -- the Mojave by Moonlight is one of my favorite rides too.
What is the point of the Mojave by moonlight century ?PeterRider
Nov 18, 2002 1:06 PM
I do centuries for only one reason : the sightseeing aspect. So the point number one is I want a nice landscape. And the best century I've done was by far the Grizzly century near Yosemite (well, I've done only 6 centuries :) ). What would be the point if I don't see anything because it's night ??

Also, a practical question: is it not dangerous ? (cars). I met already once with a car, was not the winner, and would like not to meet again with any.

Don't forget it is the high desert in the summertime.MB1
Nov 18, 2002 2:08 PM
With a full moon you can see for miles and the sky is great. I did it one year in a tank top the whole way. Untill the last few years most riders didn't even bother with a headlight. You usually make the turn into the boonies just at dark and won't see much traffic until the last 10 miles or so.

There are basically only 4 turns (all rights as I recall) so it is pretty hard to get lost. Then there is the line of blinkies streatching on for miles in front of you.

A really great ride and a very unusual cycling experience. Perhaps only Death Valley by Moonlight is a better night ride.
Fun . . .ms
Nov 18, 2002 2:08 PM
The Mojave by Moonlight Century is run when there is a full moon. Thus, it is not completely dark on the ride. Riding in the relative dark is a different experience than riding in daylight. There is a feeling of distance and spaciousness that one does not get during daylight. From the top on the (only) climb on the ride, one can see the lights at least 20 miles distant. Also, I doubt that one could ride (at least comfortably) in the Mojave desert on a summer day.

The ride is not dangerous. Everyone has lights and there is very little traffic on the roads. Planet Ultra did a great job of supporting the ride. If you want to see pictures of last year's ride, go to I do not see the ride on the Planet Ultra schedule for 2003. It would be a shame if the ride were not held. If the ride is held and you are nearby (my recollection is that you are in Southern California), you should try it.
Several years worth of MbMDMoore
Nov 18, 2002 11:08 PM
I've ridden MbM at least 5 times over the last several years. I didn't do it in 2002. For the last few years it has seemed that the ride has gotten smaller and smaller. The first year I did it (95?) it seemed like there were maybe 150 riders. In 2001, I doubt there were more than 50. It's my second favorite century, after the Ride Around the Bear. MbM has incredible scenery - and you can see far more of it than you might expect. I'll never forget seeing the full moon rise directly over the road ahead at the top of the "Slash-X" climb. Of course, there was another year when the moon didn't rise until I was at mile 98. You needed lights that year!

There's always a tailwind for the first 30 miles, from Victorville to Barstow. One year a couple of clubmates and I averaged over 27 mph for the first 30 miles. Typically, about the time you'd be turning back into the wind at Barstow the wind dies out. From there on in it's usually pretty calm. And in mid-summer, it's a pleasant, cool ride in the middle of the Southern California heat.
For me, it keeps changing.Allez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 7:47 AM
The more years I ride, the more my endurance builds, the less daunting a given distance seems. I remember the first time I rode 50k -- note that that's kilometers, not miles. I had only been riding a few weeks and was preparing for my first metric century, and I thought I was hot stuff to be able to pedal a bike 31-odd miles. Now I routinely ride 2/3 that distance or more as my garden-variety, every-day-after-work rides. On weekends I do 40-50 miles easily, can repeat this distance on successive days, so that no longer seems all that long, either.

You're right about weather making a difference. The longest rides I've ever done were centuries that actually came out to about 105 miles. They were during high summer and they were, for me, LONG rides. The last organized ride I did was 66 miles on a windy, overcast day and the last five miles were just no fun at all.

Anyway, to sort of answer your question ... I currently think of my weekend 50-miles as my "long" rides, but only in the sense that they are the longest ones I routinely do. If the criteria is, "How long must a ride be before it really begins to push your limits?" then I would say 80 to 100 miles.

But that's this year. Next year, the figures will be higher.
re: Poll, define "Long Ride"netso
Nov 18, 2002 7:55 AM
Normal ride - 30-50 miles Done every week. However, I am in Florida therefore this usually is above 60 degrees.
Long ride - 50-200 miles I have done two 100 milers, and one double century this year.
16 miles my daily ride.
However, when it is below 60 degrees 30 miles is a long ride.
Now that is just plain mean.MB1
Nov 18, 2002 8:12 AM
We probably won't see 60 degrees for 4 months and you just had to rub it in. I actually like cooler weather now that I have the clothes and experience to deal with it. I look forward to snow days and snow rides.

Maybe we will bring our bikes down to Florida and you can show us some routes.
Now that is just plain mean.netso
Nov 18, 2002 8:28 AM
Today is freezing (42 degrees). It rarely gets this cold in Florida. Brrrr. Central Florida has some great riding areas, even some hills like Sugarloaf etc. I ride year around unless its lightning!
Where in Central Florida are you?scary slow
Nov 18, 2002 10:22 AM
I live here in Orlando. Speaking of long rides, did you do the Horrible 100 yesterday. I was planning on it, but with 25 mph wind, rain, and 50 degree weather I opted to stay inside and rent movies.
Where in Central Florida are you?netso
Nov 18, 2002 11:09 AM
I'm in Tampa. I ride a lot around Mt. Dora, Clermont. When I want hills I ride around San Antonio. I like to ride around Inverness (Withlacoochee Trail). I am sure you are familiar with all these places, particularly Sugarloaf.
I was supposed to do the Horrible, but rain & wind stopped me.
re: Poll, define "Long Ride"pmf1
Nov 18, 2002 8:10 AM
And how many long rides have you done this year?

Not as many as you, but no one here has, right?
From a newbievindicator
Nov 18, 2002 8:11 AM
A long ride to me is anything over 30-35 miles. In practical terms, it's one I can't do during the week and still get to work on time. It's also one that I can't/won't/shouldn't do two days in a row on the weekend, at least from a training perspective (in other words, maybe I COULD do it two days in a row, but to allow proper recovery I'd do a shorter and slower ride on Sunday, preferably a tandem ride with my wife).

Right now, I'm trying to do 40-50 on Saturday as my long ride. When time permits only 25-30, I'll go ahead and do another 25-30 on Sunday, so I'd say that's the cutoff for me.

Right now, long rides are 40-60% of my weekly mileage, and since I've gotten in shape to do them, I've done one almost every weekend.

Long enough to give you pause as you consider it. (nm)onespeed
Nov 18, 2002 8:16 AM
re:Long enough that I have to carry food and cosider pace. nmdzrider
Nov 18, 2002 8:17 AM
It's defined by whether or not I have to ask permission...biknben
Nov 18, 2002 8:24 AM
If I have to check with the misses first it's getting long.

Another way to define it is whether or not I have to stop for fluids. I can go 50-60 miles without stopping.
With saddle - 100miles. Without - 4 miles top. nmWinona Rider
Nov 18, 2002 8:29 AM
Funny StoryScot_Gore
Nov 18, 2002 8:47 AM
I ride on an MS150 team. On our MS150 you check your bike in and it gets hauled to the start point via semi truck and checked into an outdoor bike locker. Riders take a bus.

One of our riders this year, in order to be sure his seat stayed dry, pulled his seat tube and saddle and brought it on the bus with him. He forgot it on the bus. The bus returned 200 miles to it's gargage with his saddle as it's only passenger.

So, he starts the ride with no seat, looking at 150 miles of standing.....ugh!!!

In the first 15 miles he comes across a boy scout troop doing the ride as a troop outing. What's the boy scout motto: "Be Prepared" The troop is carrying a spare saddle and seat tube. They lend it to him and save is poor arse.
re: Poll, define "Long Ride"Grabnmcbutt
Nov 18, 2002 8:45 AM
I generally consider anything nearing 100 miles as a long ride. But if I go by the definition of "a distance not repeatable the next day then 100 miles does not qualify.

I've done a number of Quad century rides (100 miles a day for for days). The 3rd day is the worst.

If I go by that definition I would say 150 plus would be a long ride. I've done a couple 24 hour rides and gotten to the 275 mile point once and 250 once. Those were long rides. I not only needed a day off but a few days off just to get my digestive system back on track.

I would say a long ride is one that I feel the affects of for atlest 2 days after the ride. Which for me would be 150 plus.
Nov 18, 2002 8:51 AM
because I can do identical rides and have totally different experiences with speed/time, endurance, general well being
depends on the number of beers the night before (nm)scruffyduncan
Nov 18, 2002 9:05 AM
I stopped keeping track.....DINOSAUR
Nov 18, 2002 8:51 AM
Funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago. I mounted my Vetta RT-88 wireless on my second bike, as I had ordered a second mounting unit a couple of months ago and never used it. I was almost home on a ride and went to click on the time function and the computer display head went flying off of my bike and hit the pavement splitting in half. I went back and retrieved it and found everything but the battery. I found another battery, stealing one out of an old Cateye, and super glued it back together with the aid of electrical tape. Next day I went for a ride again and it stopped working and the only function that worked was the clock. I learned to ride that day without the use of a computer. It changed the way I ride. Now I just go out the door and don't have anything really planned. I usually just set the clock function so I don't have to wear a watch. I kind of plan things as I go along. I hit my miles goal (5K) for the year early last month and the season is over as it's hard to keep a consistant schedule because of the weather.

I shoot for a yearly goal for miles but after that it's just go out and have fun...

Sticking to a schedule tends to burn me out and makes cycling a grind, instead of fun, which it should be.

Maybe this is what happens when you are old and slow, but I'm still out there....having fun....I keep my computer to keep track of maintenance and that's about it...

Also when I stopped keeping a schedule my milage increased as I don't feel obligated to stick to a routine...

But this is a part that comes with retirement, as time doesn't mean a sticking thing, life is all about having fun.....
I still keep track, but only after the fact.Allez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 9:18 AM
I hear what you're saying, Dino. I used to go to semi-extreme lengths to make sure a ride's distance came out to whatever I deemed was "correct" for that day. For example if I was almost back home and looked at the computer and realized the distance would come out to 48.6 miles, I'd do a short out-and-back leg down some side road to get the distance to come out "right," i.e. an even 50 miles. I also became rather obsessive about maintaining an average speed that was at least as fast as my season average, and preferably equal to or faster than whatever I'd done the day before.

You can guess the result, 'cause it's just as you said: you get burned out, you turn a pleasurable activity into a grind, you find what should be fun has become a chore.

So this year I said to hell with all that silly sh!t and decided to just go out and ride, and not worry about the numbers until sometime after the fact. I leave the house with some specific route or distance in mind, but I'm not a slave to either (one day I left intending to do about 50 miles and ended up doing 80, much of it in the rain, on some roads I'd never explored before). When I get back to the house I look at the computer and go, "Oh, so THAT'S how far I rode, and how fast. Okay."

Full disclosure: I do enter these numbers into a log in my PDA, and I do frequently run the report function to see how many miles I'm racking up, what the average distance is, the average speed. But whatever numbers come out are fine with me; I no longer feel guilty or inadequate if a given ride is a little short or a little slow.

BTW, I'm freshly 50, and ride purely for fun and fitness (both physical and mental).
The Race Across America is a long ride ...Humma Hah
Nov 18, 2002 8:54 AM
... and so I have NEVER done a long ride.

I used to think I was pretty hot stuff getting past 100 miles, but that's pretty ordinary. My PR of 152 miles I did by tagging along behind a couple of roadies who were riding uncharacteristically slowly ;-). I've got ambitions to do 200 one day.

But the solo record holder for RAAM, near as I can tell, must have done something like a quad century a day for eight and a half days!

We're ALL wimps!
Like you said, it dependsTig
Nov 18, 2002 9:14 AM
Factors like the overall weather, WIND, climbing, and bike type (SS vs fixed vs touring steel road vs stiff painful racing) can make any ride feel longer or shorter. I rarely ride more than 65 miles these days, since my races are usually no more than 50-60 miles. I'll ride a century or two each year with plans for more this next year.

Another factor is intensity. I can easily ride a century solo at a smart pace, yet if I hang with the cat 2's I'll be smoked by 50 miles. Riding solo or in a small group is always more pleasant, and my favorite way to ride long distance. So, for me anything longer than 65 miles is considered a "long ride".

Riding my fixed gear for 50 miles in a moderate and steady paced group at 19-21 MPH yesterday wasn't difficult, but my legs were still really sore at the end. Nothing like a fixte to "add miles" to a ride!
I'l tell you about a long ride...dirtbag
Nov 18, 2002 9:16 AM
...The drive out to Moab with our FS rigs in the back of the truck, that was a long ride! 1400 miles and my buddy Shemp had a bad case of the farts most of the way.

Should'a made him ride in back with the bikes is what I shoulda' done!
Sounds tough, how long did it take to recover? nmMB1
Nov 18, 2002 9:32 AM
Double flating twice and a blow out is a very long ride! nmJuanmoretime
Nov 18, 2002 9:59 AM
LongRidersAndy M-S
Nov 18, 2002 10:09 AM
For me, a long ride is 50+ miles. By that measure, I did eight long rides this year--a couple of solo training rides for the AIDSRide, and then six successive days that ranged from ~65 miles (the last and shortest day) to ~120 miles (the second or third day).

Long rides can be a lot of fun--there's nothing like hitting mile 86 or so and realizing that the serious climbing is about to start...
LongRidersRob Sal
Nov 18, 2002 11:15 AM
My idea of a long ride has come down a bit from about 5 years ago. Then, I used to call anything over 200 miles a long ride and anything less than 120 miles was a waste of good weather! Looking at my cycling diary from 93-95 I regularly rode 184 milers as a warm up to my 'pb rides', my pb being 336 miles in a day (then exactly a week after that I did a 232 miler) I regularly managed 20 rides over 100miles a year (with 4-5 being 200+miles).

Then a couple of years ago I got a life/girlfriend and my mileage plummeted with a seasons best of 86 miles. My idea of cycling changed and I was quite content to cycle 30miles to the beach, sit on the beach for 2 or 3 hours reading a newspaper, eating an icecream etc and riding 30 miles back home again. It suddenly dawned on me that riding such distances was actually quite hard when you are not in the mental zone I was at 22 years old.

This year, my seasons best is 214 miles. And I admit that I am really proud of myself as it was the first ride of more than 150 miles for 4 years and I am 20 pounds heavier too!

So anyway, now I call anything over 100 miles a long ride
Years ago: 30 miles.....Now: 100+PaulCL
Nov 18, 2002 11:40 AM
Amazing how time flies.

A few years ago, I would throw the bike on the back of the car and drive out into the country so I could do a "long" 30-35 mile ride. Now, I just hop on the bike and ride the 20 miles out to where that ride started, ride it, and come home without feeling overyly taxed.

This last year, I did four centuries - including a PR of 4:35ish on a flat, tailwind-aided, spring day. I did numerous 70-80 milers alone. Over the summer, my family visited a friends farm down in Maysville, KY (Home of Rosemary and George Clooney - the towns only claim to fame) numerous times. My wife would drive, I would ride. My varying routes were from 65 to 85 miles. Five years ago I would never consider riding that far alone. Never.

For 2003, I'm going to do at least ten centuries. Why?? Because I will have more time. My entire family goes to church on Sundays lasting until noon. Dad (AKA: Me, Pops, the house-heathen) gets up and rides. So I'll have 5 or 6 hours every Sunday to ride.

Years ago: 30 miles.....Now: 100+Allez Rouge
Nov 18, 2002 12:25 PM
A few years ago, I would throw the bike on the back of the car and drive out into the country so I could do a "long" 30-35 mile ride. Now, I just hop on the bike and ride the 20 miles out to where that ride started, ride it, and come home without feeling overyly taxed.

That's me! That's me EXACTLY! Some years ago, when I built up my ride distances to the point I wanted to ride somewhere other than the roads near my house, I bought a trunk rack so I could haul the bike out to the "good" roads. I think I used the rack about three or four times before I simply started riding out there as part of the loop.

My goals for 2003 are very similar to yours. I want to do a century-distance ride roughly every other week, and bump my weekly average up from ~150 miles to more like 200.
Depends on who's defining "long ride".look271
Nov 19, 2002 7:19 AM
For m it would be 3+ hrs. My wife? Anything over 2 hrs.(Meaning I'm gone that long). How many this year? Lucky number 13!