Saturday, March 10, 2012

Preparing for Long Distance Rides

Dolomiti
They say a good rule of thumb when working up to a long distance ride, is to ride in a week the number of miles you plan to do in a day. This morning I looked at my wall calendar (which now resembles a numerology chart) and realised that I've ridden around 200 miles over the past week, Saturday to Friday, distributed over the seven days as 16-60-0-0-24-40-60. 

Today I feel all right. A little beat up, but no more than usual. Still, I am not convinced that doing this milage over the course of multiple days means that I can ride even 100 miles in one go. After a 60 mile day I am depleted to the point that in the end I cannot imagine being in the saddle a second longer. 

And I take too many breaks. For instance, yesterday's milage was divided into: 8 easy miles alone/ break/ 20 hilly miles with a fast partner/ lunch break/ 24 hilly miles with a fast partner/ break/ 8 easy miles alone. Is it even fair to call that a 60 mile ride? The longest I've done so far in a group without breaks has been a measly 35 miles. 

I don't like the idea of "training," and prefer to think of these rides as preparation. I never want to get to the point where I hate being on the bike and have to force myself to ride. What I like about the past week is that I've managed to not only put in 200 miles, but to feel good about it. What I don't like, is the limit I am sensing: After 60 miles I just don't feel that those remaining 40 are in me.

How do you prepare for long distance rides? Is it normal to feel a daily milage ceiling past which you can't seem to advance? 

54 comments:

  1. Whenever I do a charity ride between 60-100 miles, usually on the lower end of that range I ride 25-30 miles every other day for a few weeks and thats it. I always did my rides fixed because it was the no bike I owned.

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  2. I think pushing past the ceiling is a good way to help crush it... it is probably largely mental.. even a few easy miles past your "wall" could be helpful. The first time I rode 80+ miles in a day, I was amazed.

    I've also tried the "back-to-backs" of two high mile days in a row, which is only about 75% enjoyable, but I think it helped show me that I could ride the total miles for the one-day event in two (good for mind), and after a few days of rest and easier riding, I know this approach makes me feel stronger overall (good for body).

    I hope you are eating lots on the bike. I find that frequent snacking helps high mileage feel better. People will tell you all kinds of crazy things to eat or not eat, but you need to make your own decision (I can only eat high-sugar, low nutritional value foods or else i get sluggish/ill, but my husband loves nothing more than a buttered croissant with ham and maybe even cheese 1/2 way through a 70+ mile ride -- but a simple banana might cripple him).

    On longer/harder rides, I find that long breaks (10+ minutes) don't do me any favors, especially after I'm already feeling tired, so maybe give some thought to how long those breaks are and how you feel when you get back on the bike after each one? Sometimes I prefer rolling-breaks -- coast a little, eat a snack, breathe deeply -- as opposed to getting off the bike.

    Good Luck!

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    1. I've done longer rides before, including 100 miles, but at much slower speeds. The riding I am doing now just feels like an entirely different category, like starting from scratch.

      I think that for some people at least, eating while riding strenuously is a skill that has to be learned. For the longest time I couldn't eat during or right after a ride without wanting to puke, but now I can do it. It also helps having experimented with different foods and determined which I can eat and not.

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    2. I agree with the idea of taking shorter breaks, even though it's something I'm horrible at. (I'm working on it, 'cause I want to do a 200k randonee and I won't have time to stop so much.)

      When you take a long break, your muscles cool down. When you get back on the bike, you have to start from scratch at warming up, and it's tiring and slow at first. I often stretch whenever I stop, it seems to help.

      Especially near the end of a long day, it's tempting to take long breaks, but you really want to get back on the bike as soon as you can just to keep your momentum.

      When I'm really flagging, the two things that seem to help the most are coffee and eating something with lots of sugar, especially cookies. Those cheap wafer cookies (that are layers of crisp airy cookie sandwiched with shortening and sugar) have worked for me near the end of long days, when I thought I just couldn't ride anymore. They're kinda gross really, but they taste fantastic when I'm close to bonking.

      I also find that near the end of long days I get cold much easier, so it helps to keep layers in my bag.

      As always, of course, YMMV.

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  3. O do what you're doing, except that I rarely do fast group rides. About 150 miles a week, mixed long and short distances, a few good hills.... Seventy milers are easy for me, and although I haven't done a century for about a year they have always been doable and enjoyable. There is a wall at around 60 miles, but you get past it quickly. Just slow down a bit at that point and keep going, and you will generally enjoy it.

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  4. You do take "too many" breaks to build up endurance strength this late in the game, but there will be plenty of rest stops on the Hell ride.

    Realize this is the only serious week+ of training you've done in a while and haven't built up to it gradually. I have to say this again because you brought it up: had you done this week earlier in the year and did light maintenance with occasional harder rides knocking out a 60+ miler at this point wouldn't be problem. Pyramiding, if you like.

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    1. I did 100-150 miles each the previous 2 weeks, but I get what you're saying.

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    2. Also, I am really not in a mentality where everything I do right now is for the Hell's Gate event. If I can do it, it will be a nice surprise, if not then not. But I want to continue building up to longer rides and join the people I am riding with on some of the more interesting trips they take. So I am thinking more about the long run and not in terms of killing myself just to do okay in Death Valley.

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    3. Good plan, plenty to explore later in the year.

      For discussion's sake, say you trained early and knocked out the DV ride; that much riding and effort before April could have killed your enthusiasm for summer rides. It's all good.

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  5. For my century last year I built up to the point where 50mi ride as easy for me to do... then did a couple 65 mile rides. Then I just did it! I picked a route which allowed me bail out if needed and just kept peddling.

    Of course i am a slow rider... my century took over 11 hours - so maybe that is why it was 'easy'.

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  6. All training experts worth their salt (make sure you're taking care of electrolyte replacement) will tell you it's not time on the bike that's important, it's the time off the bike.

    In other words, rest is where the that all-important adaptation occurs. This will be different for everyone, but you need to figure out what that is for you. Balance stress with recuperation.

    When I was at the top of my randonneuring game, I rarely rode two days in a row, other than on events. By careful mixing of LSD (long slow distance) with fast-paced group rides, I was able to ride 250 mile days at a decent pace.

    I agree with others that you should keep ride pauses short (say, 15 mins at most), though it's OK to put in two rides in a day.

    Also, nutrition and hydration is the key to comfortable long-distance riding and will be a personal thing. I've found that liquid nutrition between light solid food works for me. Once one gets into defecit though (bonk) it's hard to come back.

    The other thing, besides training and fuelling, that has a great effect on performance is bike fit. Comfort = endurance.

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    1. I don't think bonking is what's happening to me, as I am eating lots now. It sounds like the pace I am going is too fast for me to sustain at those distances. I will try to go on a long ride alone this week at an easy pace and see what happens.

      15 minutes tops for breaks, good to know.

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  7. I think you're doing well. Just expecting a lot in too little time maybe. Jim Duncan

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  8. The ceiling you are feeling is to a certain extent your body hitting the big red shut down bottom when it realizes that your energy requirements are not being met by energy intake/fast access stored energy (glycogen). I get really weak after a while if I don't eat enough while biking, I did some dieting once and trained at the same time and I could really notice that I was weaker then.

    Think of how kids work, they run around for some time, then they get tired and cranky and want to be carried etc. Give them some food and off they go again in a while. Adults work the same way, we are just more used to keeping up appearances. Keep eating a bit of for instance marzipan, drink some water and get some salt and you can keep going for longer because your body have high concenrations of both fat and sugar to break down for energy.
    Another issue is of course if you push yourself to the levels where you get lactic acid buildup (your cells are not getting enough oxygen). The only ways to deal with that is to train or be honest and tell people around you to slow down, they will have to slown down in a few minutes anyhow, and for longer, if they keep pushing you past what your body can currently handle (you won't improve as fast this way though)

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    1. I agree completely with Johan's point about food.

      If you're doing 200 mile weeks, then you've got the conditioning you need to ride long distances. As long as you keep a reasonably moderate pace on your long ride, then lactic acid buildup and general muscle exhaustion shouldn't be an issue.

      Your feeling of abject depletion after a 60-mile ride points to a depletion of blood sugar. After about 50 km, cycling is all about mental discipline and nutrition. Next time you're totally exhausted after 60 miles, try taking a 30 minute break and having a big carb-heavy snack and drinking a bunch of water. I'd bet you'll be able to get back on your bike and ride another 40 miles.

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    2. I have to agree with the longer break with a full snack. The longest trips I've done have all been thanks to sitting at cafes for an hour break with apple pies or a full lunch. With a good break I can put in an extra hour or two of effort.

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    3. The more I think about, the more it seems the advice regarding no breaks is meant for timed, competitive long distance events. The people I ride with certainly take lunch, coffee and photo breaks when they go on social long-distance rides.

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  9. I have a real love/hate relationship with long miles. I've done 50-60 a few times but never a century. And usually I enjoy 25 miles the best, at a roughly 16 mph average pace - or about 90 minutes. I do feel at a certain point that the miles are for bragging rights, and/or they start to feel like forced effort rather than something I really want to keep doing. Four hours on the bike (60 miles or so) is a point at which, even if I can physically continue, I simply don't want to. It's like any other activity I really enjoy; it's great but "enough already." Also, do heed the advice of experienced long distance and performance riders regarding nutrition on the bike. It doesn't always mean you should literally eat while you are pedaling, but you must eat (stop for 5 minutes and shove a bar down or a few figs, prunes, or dates). The dreaded "bonk" is real and is easily prevented with some simple timing and planning.

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    1. That is my penchant, too -- short rides but ridden hard; I find I get bored after no more than 2 hours o the bike. To ride slower, I have to ride with someone else -- even hardcore roadies I have ridden with have told me to slow down. But I want to start riding, slower with a partner to increase the distances -- I am always amazed at how slow we start out, and how much I enjoy the slow rides and at how fresh I feel.

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    2. Forgot to add the inevitable reminesence: years ago, as a Foreign Service family teenager living in Nairobi, I'd take fast, hard 50 - 60 mile (3-4 hour) rides throughout the beautiful countryside NW of Nairobi, out toward the Rift at 5 to 7 K feet under the equatorial sun, on my drop-bar, half stepped Raleigh Sprite (or worse), wearing the usual cords and t shirt. This was in Eddy's heyday, very early '70s. It never occurred to me to bring food or water and I never stopped. I remember how during the last few miles I'd see white spots on the road before my front wheel and have to get off and push at the slightest hill. Youth kept me alive. Can't do that now, 40 years later.

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  10. What specifically makes you want to stop riding at 60 miles? Hunger, tired legs, tired back or neck, out of breath, etc?

    Is it possible to target those distinct challenges? Seems like you already are riding enough miles.

    My back is my challenge. Conveniently I find that cross training more and riding only a moderate amount gives me the balanced fitness and strength needed to endure a very long ride. The point is that targeted preparation is sometimes a better solution. Besides miles for the sake of miles may start to feel like a chore.

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    1. At this point it's purely legs and energy. If I rode alone at a slower pace I could probably do the longer miles. But then I'd be slower : )

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  11. Firstly,awesome job on your weekly mileage!

    I never actually "trail" for longer rides. My spinal injuries being what they are-sporadic in giving me issues-a strict training regimen can almost never happen. My longest ride to dat is just over a half century,done when I intended to ride a bit less,and I just kept going on,LOL! I'll do a century sometime this year (my first ever),injuries permitting,but I may "ride lots" (Eddy Merx quote) in preperation of that one.

    The Disabled Cyclist

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    1. Good luck with the century, "ride lots" sounds like solid advice!

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  12. we use to hit the ceiling at 130 km and later at 160 km. Take a rest at the ceiling: dont advance more just ride the km at the celing again and again and then do some intervals at other weekdays. Thereby you will also prevent to go down in speed which will happen when you go up in distance.

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  13. That's 200 miles in mostly cool weather. You plain burn more calories, work harder, get more tired in the cold. And the cold makes a deep bone-tired feeling. 200 miles is just a lot. It's also 200 miles in which you've had a lot of new experience to digest.

    For 3 or 4 days before the trip West no riding at all. The week before that 100 would be enough and no more than 150. You're well prepared.

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  14. Be sure and eat energy food while riding longer distances; Cliff Bars or such. Bonking (running out of energy) is not something you want to experience. It is the worst feeling ever.

    Eat a couple bananas too while riding to replace electrolytes. Drink some fruit juice with vitamin C to help your muscles with recovery.

    Long breaks when doing distance rides is very bad as your muscles cool down then and this makes for great chance of injury. Best to keep rest breaks very short, as short as needed to do what is needed and then get back on the bike. If you do a long rest break you can try doing 50 jumping jacks before getting back on the bike to warm up your muscles. In longer rides the long rest breaks will hurt you more. Years back I did a double century and the worst part of the ride was always after taking a long break (the group I was riding it with wanted to always take too long of breaks).

    Be sure to stretch good -after- the ride is over. Not always good to stretch before or during riding as this can pull your muscles.

    Be sure and warm up with gentle mobility movement exercises before you start riding, and maybe even before getting back on the bike after long breaks. Here is a good example of a excellent warm-up/mobility exercise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLH5-3g4KQg&feature=related)

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    1. What constitutes a long vs short break, time-wise?

      Bananas work well for me on rides, as does juice and food that is "soft" or jello-like. The chewy/crunchy type of energy bars want to come back up.

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  15. Oh yes and one other thing. Eat a big carb meal the night before the big ride. Your muscles need to get packed with energy for long rides. Spaghetti is the traditional thing for this.

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    1. I thought the "carbo loading" thing has been refuted and even cycling coaches no longer believe in it?

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    2. Correct, "carbo-loading" is out-moded thinking. We have to eat well regularly to operate optimally. Best to eat modestly the night before an event, so we're not bloated or having to stop too often to "relieve" ourselves.

      As for how long to stop, keep it down to the bare minimum: Basically, fill your bottles and grab portable food ASAP while at a checkpoint, then get back on your bike and go. That should take about five minutes, max. (Note, never call them, think of them, or use the checkpoints as "rest stops." You can rest when you're dead, or certainly not before the finish line.) Make "beware of the chair" your mantra.

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    3. "Out moded thinking" Once again, nice turn of phrase Chris. Every body processes fuel differently and it worked/works for multiple generations of racers/endurance cyclists and there are valid reasons to not do it if you want to micro-analyze the ride. That said, this kind of language only minimizes what has been proven at the expense of your viewpoint.

      Again, nice going.

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  16. Still works for me. The pro diet is radically different but pasta is still part of it. Racers now have instant-delivery on the bike wrapped bars and gels, so carbing up the night before isn't necessary.

    Some events advertise a pre-ride dinner of pasta. Bottom line, it doesn't weigh you down unnecessarily on an endurance ride and seems to deepen reserves.

    Long vs. short breaks: it's too long if you can't warm up after it. Otherwise, do what you feel like doing.

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    1. (carb loading right now...)

      btw carb loading does not mean all you eat is pasta. eat it in conjunction with the usual suspects.

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  17. I remember when I rode my first Century which was in 1988. I was 32 years old and I had a Fiorelli Bicycle which was made out of falk steel tubing. It weighed 24 pounds which back in 1988 was fairly light weight. Anyway I had worked up to 40 miles which I thought was a long ride. I decided to try 60 miles which I did however around mile 52 my legs blew up. They literally felt like I was getting stung by bees. Of course I was not however I kept slapping my legs because to me that is what was happening. I got dropped on the ride so I went from 22 miles per hour down to about 13 miles per hour. I could not go any faster which was a real blow to my ego. The next week I did another 60 mile ride and a week before the Century I rode 75 miles without incident. I always found fig newton fig bars to be a good energy choice. I hated the taste of Powerbars which tasted like chocolate chalk and the other energy replacement bars seem to be high priced candy bars. The food they would give you on Centuries were always high in sugar which really put me off whenever riding longer distances however the fig newtons to me were easily digestible and actually something I enjoyed to eat. I have not been on any long distance rides in the past 10 years however maybe I will do a couple this year.

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  18. Are you hydrating and eating enough as you ride? You should be drinking about 24 oz. of water an hour and for exercise over two hours you need food; carbohydrates and proteins. Take a look a Hammer Nutrition. I used their products for a 100 mile kayak race and for training. I continue to use them for any centuries I do.

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  19. Hi! First, thank you for your most informative blog! I got a few items (such as a carradice saddlebag) based on your review, and I am thankful for your advice!

    I am a randonneur, doing 100 + km at a time on a frequent basis. I use a fixie for all rides, and the trick for me is both keeping the motivation by entertaining the pleasure of riding as well as gradual preparation.

    During Winters here in Montreal, Quebec, I ride about 15km a day for work or lite shopping. As the snow and ice disappear from the roads towards Spring, I extend gradually my promenades, pushing a little every time. I mostly ride alone, and will be content to pedal several hours non-stop, as long as it is fun.

    In my experience, the toughest rides are those in which I pushed myself beyond the simple feeling of the ride being agreeable. I can train hard, or very hard, as long as it remains fun. If it is no fun, I see no point in training or riding; often, I'll just wander.

    My rides are of various distances; 100, 200, 300, 400 and 600 km. In our areas, there are some rides planned by some local organizations, like 100 or 200km distances. I will often get there by bicycle, and come back the same way, adding up to 200 more km to the planned ride.

    At some point, the distance is no longer important.

    Las year, I did Paris-Brest-Paris on my fixie, and the most challenging part was a wet, too thin cycling short, that made me miserable, I continued the ride even though I was in pain, simply because I had given myself the challenge to complete it. Yet, I also gave myself the permission of abandoning at any time, without guilt. Simply accepting this possibility made me free from taking the decision, and I stopped thinking about it.

    Then, all that I was left with was the road, my bicycle, me, and the pedaling.

    Hope this helps,

    Carl

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  20. In são paulo, with heavy traffic and several hills, the rides that we do during all week to go to work is the best sort of preparation for long rides, like audax.

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  21. Boy, lot's of advice here. Most of it sounds worthwhile and some of it seems almost like we should be paying for it. My won't.

    It sounds like you have the miles in to gut it out if you need to on just about any ride you're likely to get lured into doing. If it was me I'd just be thinking that it's probably a good idea to string the miles together a little more, and maybe most importantly, ride with the kind of people you're going to be riding with "on the day". It's more fun to be able to get up to speed and run with the cool kids than find yourself on your own little "Ride of Tears", wheezing snot and staring at your own dirty front hub. Gutting it out sucks(unless you are being documented by some kind of camera crew of course, then convention requires you find a way to appear as miserable as possible, you may just have to crash if you find your ride going too well. Again, practice helps).

    I am absolutely the slowest guy my speed in the entire world when I ride alone. It relates to your last post about hills, If you wanna get to town from my house you have 4 routes to choose from. 3 of them have hills that even my "Boy Racer" friends love to bitch about, and the fourth takes you 5 miles out of the way and still ends up sending you up one of the real stinkers from one of the others. When I'm by myself I really have to put on the hair shirt and make myself grind it out. With others I find it so much easier to stay on the gas, sometimes I even find myself taking off from the group and waiting, wheezing and shaking, at the top when the Wednesday Night Ride goes by my house (Since it's "My" hill, ya' know, and what if my kids are watching? If I can look tough enough, they might believe all the bullshit stories from "back in the day" for another year or so).

    I'm always a little puzzled when people start talking about foods they can or cannot tolerate while operating a bicycle. Crap I wouldn't put in a pocket normally goes directly into the hopper as rapidly as I can get my mitts on it. I personally ride as much for the additional food I get to stuff in as for the exercise and "wind in my hairs" jazz. If I got to the feed zone and they were dispensing whole roasted turkeys I think I would just pee my pants with joy. I don't care, candy bars, individual bags of Frito's with a pint of canned chili spooned on top, granola(bars, loose, jelled) anything on a stick... I remember one M.S. ride where someone unloaded CASES of Emu jerky on the organizers. The gluttons danced into the wee hours, I assure you.

    Today while grunting up the the hill behind my house("The Western approach" as I call it), I realized someone had thrown out at least 5 unopened packages of various cookies in some fit of remorse on their way back from town. The absolute ONLY thing that kept me from flat-spotting a Kenda and shoving them all down my jersey(XXL,Long), was the strong scent of someone Else's shame and self loathing clinging to the little bundles of crispy goodness. An hour and a half later when I got home I had a bowl of soup and an orange and wasn't tempted by the Oreo's in the drawer in the least. BUT, If the coyotes and skunks don't get em' and they're still there tomorrow, who knows?

    Spindizzy

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    1. I just read your comment out loud, it was so good. You deserve those cookies.

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    2. Spindizzy is a literary genius and I feel guilty that his talent is wasted here!

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  22. When you're doing these fast rides, are you drafting? Are you decently good at it, and comfortable? I ask, because drafting is surely helpful for weaker riders. I have certainly done my share, and I've also been the draftee (bolt upright on a cargo bike into a headwind, trailing a string of tired boy scouts so we can make the ferry on time).

    I've never done a century at "full speed" the whole way. The first (I was 13) began with a long paceline going as fast as we could, with people dropping off as they could no longer take it, and continuing at a much reduced pace (I think I did 30 miles, not quite sure, probably over 95% of it was drafting at 20+mph, but flat -- this was Florida). Around mile 70 my toe clip broke, and I discovered that I could barely keep my foot on the pedal. This was good-old-days -- no food carried, drinking from water hoses where we saw them, and buying dextrose-heavy candy at convenience stores (Smarties!). Learned to love Gatorade at mile 40 when the sag van drove by.

    A couple of years ago, I did a 62.5 mile day on the cargo bike, one of those Massbike fun rides (I did the 50, but rode the bike there and back). I didn't really knock myself out, except near the end when I realized that I was going to be late to a party if I didn't hustle. Spent the rest of the day afterwards on my feet, grilling, was a little tired, but basically okay. I do 50 mile weeks, week after week, a little more in the summer, but rarely more than 90.

    How sure are you that these guys are going to set an ass-kicking pace?

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    1. "I have certainly done my share, and I've also been the draftee (bolt upright on a cargo bike into a headwind, trailing a string of tired boy scouts so we can make the ferry on time)." Great image- made me smile.

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  23. I need a destination other than my starting point to keep my spirits up on rides passing a certain pain threshold. Once fatigue makes itself felt, it's all about getting to where I'll sleep as efficiently as possible. Circuitous or indirect routes get jettisoned. 40 miles into a planned 120-miler, if I'm hurting I'll turn around and call it 80, "wasting" the last 40 covering the same ground, and generally berating myself.

    But if turning around isn't an option, as on a multi-day trek to a distant point, I will tough it out usually surprise myself with great bursts of joyous energy late in the day. For this reason all my most rewarding long rides have used rail or air for either the outbound or return leg. Psychology beats physiology here.

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  24. Wowsers! What a lot of advise - some good, some bad, all obviously works for whoever posted it!

    As a randonneur I always try to ride the first 100 km without breaking a sweat. Obviously impossible, but it get me in the right frame of mind for riding long distances. I also try to ride teh last two hours at the same pace as the first two. I find both these strategies help to regulate the effort needed to ride 200 or more kms successfully. No going out hard and blowing up to limp home. And as my friend Ray has said - rest is an incredibly important part of training.

    The best reference I have found for this is a book called Base Building for Cyclists.

    As for eating - whatever you can stomache will work. I have friends who swear by parogies. I swear AT them, but can eat apples and peaches all day long. I also find that a can of Coke, two chocolate bars and half a Clif builder bar will get me through the last two hours of a ride very successfully.

    Good luck in your up-coming California adventures. Lee

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  25. That looks like a challenging 100 miles. 8000 ft of elevation. Your bike does not looking particularly light, so make sure you are really up to the challenge. Personally I would like to have more preparation time to build up confidence. What is the predicted temperature variance on this route? That should also be a consideration in your training. Hope you are able to give it a go, and complete the ride with a smile at the end.

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  26. The daily mileage ceiling is simple the highest mileage that you've done in a day. You may feel as if you can't do more than 60 miles right now, but you can, and 80 or 100 miles will come. You have to basically just go out and do it. You probably won't enjoy riding the last 20 miles, so you shouldn't expect to. Afterwards though, you will feel great that you've done it. After time, 60 miles will feel like your regular weekend distance, and you'll be looking forward to the longer rides.

    You've done the preparation. You can do the 100 miles. Smile as long as you can, push through the end, and finish with grimace if you can't manage a smile.

    Be careful though. This kind of thing gets addictive. I rode my first 100 in 2006, and a year later, I'd taken it a little further, finishing Paris-Brest-Paris (1200km).

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  27. Hi Velouria. Although I've never done a 100 mile ride my advice would be to not overthink it. I base this on when I acted as a support mechanic for a night-time charity bike ride last year. The weather was cold and wet and the people taking part cycled 60 miles. I spoke to a lot of people and asked them what training they did - rode around the park, not done any, cycled to work for a couple of weeks - were all common answers. People completed the ride on mountain bikes (it was an on-road event) and one amazing young woman finished on a MTB stuck in one gear for the last 30 miles.Enjoy it I'd say, and try not to worry.
    I once read a book by an amazing bloke called Mike Stroud, a doctor specialising in how humans respond to extreme environments. He's done some ultra-marathons and recommended taking increasingly hotter baths in the run up to am event in a hot climate, to get the body conditioned.
    All the best.

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  28. Love it. GRJ lecturing the auteur of our preeminent endurance events on endurance prep.

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    1. "Auteur...preeminent" God, I didn't think Truffaut were still alive.

      auteur: an artist (as a musician or writer) whose style and practice are distinctive.

      Thought it was just riding a bike. I'll be sure to give this artist his due in the future.

      Yeah, I'm aware of The New Groupthink and think it's relevant for supported events or areas where there are places to relieve.

      Will the auteur admit to carb loading when he was not-so-pre-eminent?

      Anyway, I'm sure the new diet means you don't have to take a dump during a 300k. Look, just go in your pants like a triathlete.

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  29. BTW, my experience mirrors X0-1's advice. Before my 300k last month, went out for a big plate of noodles and was caught scrambling (climbing a fence, actually) for a portajohn.

    In addition to newer sports science data (read up), the early start times for our events (4 am starts for longer brevets) make it difficult to relieve one's self of a big, carby pre-ride dinner, especially if one is on a coffee-related biological clock.

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  30. Peppy (the amazing Cycling "crotchless bibs" Peppy)March 12, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    The world is my litterbox.

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  31. forgive the tardy-ness of the reply-
    I'd suggest you change whatever is hanging you up about long rides and make the length secondary to some other challenge- for example, as it sounds like you're in metro Boston, I'd do the Harvard loop asap- the hard part is not the length, which is about 65 miles from Cambridge/ Somerville and is instead the hills at the half-way point- getting up into Harvard proper at about 32 miles- it is a glorious ride out and you'll find the length incidental to the hill -
    you'll also find if you do it a week later, it gets much easier- both the hill and the length.
    S_man

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  32. MelissatheRagamuffinMarch 15, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I don't know - the most I've ever done is a measily 35 miles too. I was supposed to do a 100 miler last September, but got hit by a car in July. Since then I just can't ride like I used to.

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