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Knackered after first 50 miler - where did I go wrong?

guttertrashguttertrash Posts: 147
edited September 2010 in Road beginners
I did my first 50 miler last weekend, well 51.5 miles to be precise, and the last 5 or six miles I felt like death, so I just want to know where I went wrong so I know what to do next time. I did the route in just a bit under 4 hours, not including stoppage time.

Been gradually building up, my previous furthest distance was 44 miles, but this was about 7 weeks ago, then I had an accident which took me off the bike for a couple of weeks. Been building again, and got to 39 miles before I attempted the 50 last week.

Can't remember what I ate the night before, but I started the day with just a bowl of porridge. Took two 750 ml bottles of water (with a bit of Robinsons Orange added), and a couple of Eccles cakes to eat on the way round.

The route was 51.5 miles with approx 4,820 feet of ascent according to my Garmin 305.

Was the jump from 39 to 50 too much? Was it the amount of climbing involved? SportsTracks said the 44% of the route was ascent. Did I eat the wrong things before leaving, or during the ride?

Want to try another long ride in the near future, but don't want to feel exhausted like this time.

Advice appreciated :)
Ribble New Sportive
Specialized Pitch Pro
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  • Sounds to me like you did nothing wrong, your body was just telling you those extra miles were taking their toll.

    Two weeks off a bike is a long time in cycling terms and when you did get back you went from 39 miles to 51.

    Keep at it and see how you feel after doing the loop on a regular basis, you will get better.
  • pbt150pbt150 Posts: 314
    Maybe not nough food? Make sure the Robinsons has actually got sugar in it, most varieties don't. Or get some energy powder like PSP22, see if it makes a difference.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Your body probably just ran out of fuel - a rough guide is 1g carbs for evey kilo bodyweight for every hour of riding - I would doubt some weak squash and two eccles cakes contains more than 150 g carbs whereas you probably needed twice that. Typically, your body only contains enough 'fuel' for about an hour of riding, thereafter you need to keep topping it up otherwise you'll run out - leaving it until you're hungry or thirsty is too late - better to take a swig / snack every 20 minutes.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    Slow down a bit, you possibly went to fast for the first 30-40miles and suffered towards the end.
  • Nope nothing wrong if that's the first time. In fact it's a very decent time for the a first 50 miler with that amount of climbing. Once your body and mind get used to 50's, it'll be a breeze.

    It's mostly a psychological barrier rather then a physical you need to keep breaking. You can be too intense with the mileage and the average speed and this and that....just cycle the distance at an easy pace a few times, then try a speedier test...you'll soon find that 50 miles is a doodle.

    I usually do 40-45 miles on a Sunday morning. Just after Easter I started training again (due to a broken arm - non bike related). 40 miles were a killer and I'd dramatically get home exhausted! Now, same route, much quicker I get home, shower and then straight to the supermarket without even the need for food or isotonic drinks to recover!

    Keep at it, enjoy it without worrying. The real next big test is 100 miles and that's when it starts to get hard :wink:
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • id say u need to slow down a tiny bit, but goin from 37 to 51 miles isnt to bad, i done a 50 mil solo ride and then a week later i went out and done a 70m ride lol (solo)
    best bike: raleigh avanti U6 carbon comp
    10m tt pb:23:42.
    25m tt pb: 1h 2min( only done 2)
  • Sounds like I am on the right track at least. I wasn't sure if the amount of ascent was alot or not considering the distance.

    Anyway, will try having a bit more in the way of energy food next time, and see how I fare.

    Thanks for the responses.
    Ribble New Sportive
    Specialized Pitch Pro
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667
    I'd agree with the lack of food. If you're going out on a bike for 4 hours then you need to top up your energy. Energy bars or anything with carbs and sugar in are good. Nibble them on your descents.
  • TMRTMR Posts: 3,986
    I don't think you have eaten any where near enough. I did 60 miles at the end of August and ate tons more than that. I was still hungry at the end!

    In addition to breakfast, munch on something before the start. Two Eccles cakes isn't enough, even though they are very nice! :wink:
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    On the descents I'm too busy trying to be aerodynamic to eat. So I tend to stop every hour and hop off the bike to drink and eat. Should I learn/practice doing this whilst riding on gentle descents? Or are the 5 minute breaks helping me to do longer distances with less problem than I expected?
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • TMRTMR Posts: 3,986
    You need to learn to eat on the move mate, an hour is possibly too long between feeds if you aren't eating enough when you do stop.

    The next time you go out for a ride, take a couple of Tracker bars (or similar ) with you. Eat it in stages, so try chewing a third or so at a time. It feels awkward at first, but once you're comfortable with it, you'll find your energy levels should be more consistent.
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    Guess I need one of those cycling tops with pockets on the back then! Does anyone sell one that doesn't look like I'm pretending to be a tour de France competitor covered with adverts?
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • Your body is probably adapting too. When I did my first 50 I had enough food and liquid but near the end, about 3 miles to go, my thighs started cramping. Done loads more 50+ and 100's and not once cramped, I think its to do with the body getting used to the extra effort. I'm sure your next 50 will be a breeze.
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • i,d say nearly 1500m of climb had something to do with feeling knackered at the end of the ride, its well past flat to rolling terrain,perhaps you should have done a flatter route for a first 50 miler,sounds like you had enough food and drink for 50 miles but instead of two bottles of water i,d have took one of water and one of a sports drink.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    dmch2 wrote:
    Guess I need one of those cycling tops with pockets on the back then! Does anyone sell one that doesn't look like I'm pretending to be a tour de France competitor covered with adverts?
    There are lots of plain tops readily available - any decent bike shop (and Evans too) will have a wide range. What's wrong with looking like you mean it anyway? :)
  • kettrinboy wrote:
    i,d say nearly 1500m of climb had something to do with feeling knackered at the end of the ride, its well past flat to rolling terrain,perhaps you should have done a flatter route for a first 50 miler,sounds like you had enough food and drink for 50 miles but instead of two bottles of water i,d have took one of water and one of a sports drink.

    It was much hillier than I expected to be honest, but then I really don't have an idea of what you would class as a flat ride over that kind of distance.
    Ribble New Sportive
    Specialized Pitch Pro
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,471 Lives Here
    What did you do wrong?

    You could still walk into the house?


    Didn't ride hard enough!! :wink:



    Sounds pretty normal to me. No worries.
  • I usually eat a bit from a bar / pack of nuts / gel / cake / sarny about every 10-15 mins.

    But it depends on your fitness - some people are better at taking energy from their stored fat (that takes time to build up such fitness) and others like me, prefer to eat really regularly.

    You'll find a banana will hit your bloodstream in about 25 minutes; gels a bit quicker. The more fat in the food the longer it takes to give you a boost.

    And you need to take regular sips from your bottles to help you digest the food as well as keep you hydrated.

    Also, as previous posters point out, psychology plays a massive part here...
  • TMRTMR Posts: 3,986
    dmch2 wrote:
    Guess I need one of those cycling tops with pockets on the back then! Does anyone sell one that doesn't look like I'm pretending to be a tour de France competitor covered with adverts?

    Yes, loads of places do. Evans should have some plain ones, or the Gore brand is good. You have loads of options! I think I saw someone suggesting Wiggle further up, so do look there, or even eBay - lots of bargains to be had! :wink:
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    I'm breaking myself into the world of dressing like a cyclist gently.

    Plus my wife nearly had a fit when she saw I'd spend 200 quid on top of the bike for shorts, shoes, pump, bottle cages, computer, spare inner tube and a few other bits and bobs. Telling her I got the pedals for free didn't seem to help somehow. If I spend another chunk of money on a top and a jacket she'll really go mental!

    Maybe for Christmas as in-laws will understand buying me clothes (even if they're cycling specific) rather than my usual requests for books or car related things (tyres and an oil pressure gauge this year!)

    Luckily I've got some base layers and panelled jackets from rowing. The following look like good value for a basic top that she won't laugh at me for wearing! (unless anyone thinks otherwise)

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/oakley/side-plate-short-sleeve-jersey-ec023334
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/scott/entry-2009-short-sleeve-jersey-ec019875

    Thanks! :)
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • petemadocpetemadoc Posts: 2,667

    The route was 51.5 miles with approx 4,820 feet of ascent according to my Garmin 305.

    Are you sure this is correct? 4820 feet?

    I cycled 51 miles around the mountains of Snowdonia this morning up two mountains with the usual ups and downs too. My gps thingy said I'd done just over 3000 feet of climbing. Snowdon itself is 3560 above sea level, that would mean that in just 50 miles you'd climbed the equivalent of thje height of snowdon plus another 1260 feet. That just doesn't sound right. the whole route would have to be uphill.

    Sorry to be questioning you and if the 4820 figure is correct then that is definitely the reason why the last few miles were hard.
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    The problem with clothing is that you need to try it on. saving a few quid by buying online is soon wasted if you have to pay postage to send it back.

    TBH I just looked at the evans ones from the cheapest up until I saw some that looked OK. If I wear it out (because it's cheap and not very good) then I have an excuse to persuade the mrs to let me get some more expensive / better made stuff.

    Sounds like I need to find the nearest Aldi though...
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • PeteMadoc wrote:

    The route was 51.5 miles with approx 4,820 feet of ascent according to my Garmin 305.

    Are you sure this is correct? 4820 feet?

    [...] That just doesn't sound right. the whole route would have to be uphill.
    The places with the biggest mountains don't necessarily have the most road climbing - here in Devon I struggle to plan interesting routes of 50 miles with much less than 4000ft of ascent/descent - and today did 53 miles with 4,400ft, despite getting no higher than 830ft above sea level.
  • Definitely there, or thereabouts. When I checked the route afterwards on ridewithgps it estimated it to be about 4,550 feet, but the one I stated came from my Garmin 305. At least it makes me feel a bit better than it was a 'tough' 50 miles :)
    Ribble New Sportive
    Specialized Pitch Pro
  • Even here in Northants in which the terrain is flat to rolling if you do a 50 mile ride around the more lumpy areas of the county you can do 3-3500 ft of climb, all the short 50-100m climbs of which there are many add up over the miles.
  • PeteMadoc wrote:
    Are you sure this is correct? 4820 feet?

    I cycled 51 miles around the mountains of Snowdonia this morning up two mountains with the usual ups and downs too. My gps thingy said I'd done just over 3000 feet of climbing. Snowdon itself is 3560 above sea level, that would mean that in just 50 miles you'd climbed the equivalent of thje height of snowdon plus another 1260 feet. That just doesn't sound right. the whole route would have to be uphill.

    Sorry to be questioning you and if the 4820 figure is correct then that is definitely the reason why the last few miles were hard.

    A shortish 40 miler I normally do is over 2800ft on the GPS and that isn't even in a hill or mountain area. The ups and downs are accumulative and can be deceptive.
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    The body's an odd thing. A few weeks ago I felt totally knackered after doing around 25 miles. A few days afterwards I covered over 90 miles and felt like I could cycle on all day.
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • ChrisSAChrisSA Posts: 455
    Sports Direct (purveyor of chav clothes extraordinaire) sell Karrimor bike kit cheaply. I got a s/s cycling jersey for £8, albeit dayglo orange. 4 pockets at the back.
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    ChrisSA wrote:
    Sports Direct (purveyor of chav clothes extraordinaire) sell Karrimor bike kit cheaply. I got a s/s cycling jersey for £8, albeit dayglo orange. 4 pockets at the back.

    Some big reductions there! But only in odd sizes :(
    Not that I'm calling you oddly sized! :)
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • duglissdugliss Posts: 235
    Try to look in a sportsdirect store, they have stuff that`s not available online. You might find the cycling top in a black or blue if you`re lucky
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