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Biting off more than I can chew!

13ADL1X13ADL1X Posts: 151
edited October 2009 in Health, fitness & training

I've just been asked to do a charity bike ride next June its going to involve trying to cycle from Leeds to Liverpool and back over 3 days using the canal path. I understand its about 250 miles.

I normally ride in short fast bursts. 25 miles is probably the most I can cover on a day out.

Just wondering how best to prepare myself?
What the route is like?
The trail is long and my legs are burning but I can't stop smiling.


  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    You've got plenty of time, so start bulding up to longer rides, 250 miles over three days is just over 80 miles per day. Which is 8 hours at 10mph, which shouldn't be too hard to maintain.

    So start doing longer slightly slower ride to improve your endurance. Stick to the short bursts in the week, then add longer weekend rides. Try to build up to two 80-100 mile rides at the weekend.
  • 13ADL1X13ADL1X Posts: 151
    I'm also leaving work to go on paternity leave soon.
    When I return I'm gonna be commuting to work - although its only 3-4 miles a day. Every little helps I suppose.

    Am I better sticking something thin tyres on my mountain bike and training on the road? As I can't imagine the canal path is going to be that varied in terms of gradient!
    The trail is long and my legs are burning but I can't stop smiling.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Go the long way to work, 10 miles should only take you about 40-45 mins and will help bring your fitness along if you really blast it.

    For the mtb, put some large volume slicks on, towpaths vary massively but large volume slicks seem to play pretty well over all of it. I like the Tioga skidrow-factory FS100 in a 2.1"
  • 13ADL1X13ADL1X Posts: 151
    Right then - let the hard slog commence.

    It may also be done in fancy dress - just to up the ante! I'm thinking no dog suits or huge hot costumes - maybe a Spiderman costume.
    The trail is long and my legs are burning but I can't stop smiling.
  • RickyGRickyG Posts: 58
    Hi There,

    I rode from Liverpool to Leeds along the canal towpath in one day last summer so hopefully might be able to give some useful advice.

    In terms of tyre choice I’d say semi-slicks if it’s not raining, slicks if it’s bone dry or something that’s quite high rolling with a bit of grip (maybe Maxxis Ignitor for example) if it’s wet. I was on semi slicks and it p***ed it down all day and a few of us came off as a lot of the towpath is grass with a thin mud rut to ride in and if you lose concentration and a wheel strays out of the rut then it’s hard to catch in the wet.

    If it’s been raining recently there will probably be a few sections of mud as well but nothing to worry about.

    I clocked exactly 130miles from end to end once you have to divert around the tunnels so 87miles a day is do-able. Be prepared for some slow going though. Around Blackburn and about 10miles either side of Skipton is very slow going, unless they’ve resurfaced it this year! There’s quite a lot of grass and mud on the surface.

    In terms of training I agree with Ride_whenever completely. I did one or two shorter rides in the week (~30miles) and gradually built up to 100miles at the weekend and that seemed to work a treat as I never felt in trouble fitness-wise.

    Hope that helps, enjoy!
    Strava name: Richard Gawthorpe
  • 13ADL1X13ADL1X Posts: 151
    Thanks Ricky G,

    Thats some good insider knowledge. Apart from the ground surface whats the general ride like? Any steep bits or is it like most canal paths - pancake flat?

    It's bizarre as I had been thinking about doing a big charity ride for a while then all of a sudden my work colleagues are like - "lets cycle to Liverpool and back for charity"(MacMillan Cancer Support by the way).

    30 miles isn't a short ride for me! Thats my problem though - just need to get in the saddle I suppose. Grinding it out to work over winter should help my base fitness then come spring I can start ramping it up.
    The trail is long and my legs are burning but I can't stop smiling.
  • RickyGRickyG Posts: 58
    You do have to climb a small hill when you go along the roads at the long tunnel but apart from that there's minimal climbing to speak of. You can get to the top of all the locks with a quick effort out of the saddle and if there's just one you can probably freewheel up if you build up a bit of speed at the bottom.

    The best part is getting to the top plateau then you know every lock is downhill all the way home! :lol:
    Strava name: Richard Gawthorpe
  • bigmartbigmart Posts: 87
    and get a comfy saddle, one that fits you properly if you haven't already

    thats what gets me on longer rides, numb bum
  • CraigXXLCraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    RickyG comments are spot on. I've done most parts of it but not all at once. You shouldn't need anything more than semi slicks. As you can imagine most of it is exposed and if you get a headwind it can become a slog.
  • 13ADL1X13ADL1X Posts: 151
    I'm actually quite looking forward to it.

    I have recently been slipping away from my biking - numerous reasons: work, upcoming birth of first child, shedload of decorating to prepare for baby etc. So hopefully this should help spur me back into the saddle.

    Cheers guys. I'll let you now how things are going.
    The trail is long and my legs are burning but I can't stop smiling.
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