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How far is comfortable?

dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
I've noticed that whilst I've got a bit faster (few mpg average) as I've done more road cycling (only 4 months, 3 of those on my old commuting hybrid) the main difference is how far I can go now:

20 miles is a quick fun sprint at 17.5 mph average.
Anything up to 40 miles is now easy, no need to stop, just keep going at a decent speed (16.5 mph average).
50 miles and I'm pretty much running on empty (even with a big bowl of porridge, cereal bars every hour and plenty to drink).
60 miles and the last 10 are painful. It took an hour longer than simply doubling my 50km time would suggest. And about 4 days to recover properly!

Obviously those all depend on hilliness and a proper test would be laps of a 10 mile circuit but life's too short to do boring stuff like that!

A month ago and 40 miles was like 60 miles is now. A month before that and I completely bonked at only 30 miles. So I'm sure I'll be ready for a 100mile sportive in the spring :)

I guess I'm saying don't just measure progress by average speed :) (Unless your a TT nutter trying to shave a few seconds off your 10 miles time)

I'm also forcing my self to properly attack hills now. Rather than 'oh poo! a hill! granny ring!' I try to stay in the same gear, or just drop a couple, and increase the power. It worked today, didn't use the granny ring at all (although I have to admit there wasn't anything too steep) :)

So basically I'm happy and still loving it, even though there was frost everywhere when I set out this morning :shock:
2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid

Posts

  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 13,218
    dmch2 wrote:
    A month ago and 40 miles was like 60 miles is now. A month before that and I completely bonked at only 30 miles. So I'm sure I'll be ready for a 100mile sportive in the spring. So basically I'm happy and still loving it, even though there was frost everywhere when I set out this morning :shock:
    I've been similar - only started riding at all seriously in the Summer, prompted by an enjoyable 40-mile ride across Dartmoor on a bike which subsequently died and was replaced by a Cannondale CAAD9. I've had the twin aims of increasing my average speed and to be able to ride longer distances. Thanks to the encouragement of posters on these messageboards, once I'd done a solo 70-mile cycle, I did the South West Tour Ride, and loved every minute. Nothing fancy on the nutrition or training front, though I have rediscovered a taste for malt loaf.

    Having then pushed to raise my average for a one-hour cycle, I'm now trying to sustain that speed for longer distances. It seems to have worked for me so far (aged 46), so good luck with your plan!
  • Ho BoHo Bo Posts: 6
    On my hybrid 40 miles was fine, 50 was tiring, over 50 and I was running on empty. Although I had only done 40 plus a couple of times.

    I commute a hilly 16 miles a day and using my new road bike the hills seems a lot easier so I'm hardly breaking a sweat for that now.

    The most I've done on my new bike is 30 miles so I'm looking forward to my first 50 miler to compare properly. Will let you know then!
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    Did a flat 100 miles today. 18.2 mph average and it took 5.5 hours - but had help from clubmates to keep the speed up.

    Last 15 miles was TOUGH - especially with one big hill in it.


    But - been riding for years. Gradually getting more and more mileage. Keep at it - it gets easier.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    I'd hoped to do my first 100 miler this year (age 42). Longest so far is about 65 very hilly miles. I started well doing 200 miles one week in late spring but a few health problems kept me off the bike in July and part of Aug, so it'll have to be next year.

    It's a bit harder up here to do a really long run due to all the big hills and the later start to the training season because of the exceptional snowfall (I could still ski to the next village and back in early May). I think the biggest challenges to doing a 100 are being super comfortable on the bike (especially saddle) and nutrition.

    I must admit, I wimp out a lot and go mountain biking instead of getting on the road bike. It's less arduous and more relaxing. That said, whenever I do get the road bike out I always think I need to do it more often :-)
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    I've done a lot of driving my caterham round aviemore, great fun! Definitely looked like it would be hard work on a bicycle though! Although it's flat by Nethy Bridge isn't it?
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Caterham, nice :-) I collect old BMWs. Roads always seem flatter in a car!

    There are a few flatish bits in the valley but you can't go far without meeting some kind of hills. Most aren't a problem but the valley is hemmed in by some real stinkers such as:

    Drumochter, a mostly gentle gradient from either side but very long (highest point on the rail network btw). The cycle path is in a very poor condition in places.
    Slochd summit, pretty steep especially from the north side.
    The Lecht, a huge climb from either side. There were 10 foot high walls of snow at the roadside in spring. It's about 30 miles from Aviemore, I drive it once a week but have yet to cycle it.
    Bridge of Brown, really steep hills in and out.

    Three weeks ago I saw two guys in shorts cycling the Lecht with a 40-50 knot crosswind in driving sleet. Felt so sorry for them.

    Don't get me wrong, I like hills. I often climb Cairngorm on the bike. But there's a big difference between a century ride somewhere flat and somewhere with 1500-200 foot mountain passes. I fully intend to MTFU and do a century next year though, unless my little health issue raises it's ugly head again.

    Most of the roads up here are perfect for cycling, great scenery and little traffic. There are some routes where you're forced onto busier roads for a bit and they can be a scary. They're pretty narrow and have some very large trucks trying to squeeze past you. The A9 is out of the question, it's dangerous enough in a car.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 13,218
    unixnerd wrote:
    There are some routes where you're forced onto busier roads for a bit and they can be a scary. They're pretty narrow and have some very large trucks trying to squeeze past you.
    Sorry, off-topic, but that reminds me why I don't think I'd enjoy cycling in the Lake District, though I love the area - not enough traffic-lite roads for it to be much fun - even the back roads are in effect 'main roads' that go from one place to another. Devon is lovely because it's got so many roads that just meander like sheep, not really doing anything important. In total it's got 8,000 miles of road, apparently, which is more than all of Belgium, and a quarter of the whole of Scotland, so enough to keep me amused for a while. And a few hills as well. And it's pretty. As is Scotland - but it's a long way from Devon.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    As is Scotland - but it's a long way from Devon.

    Devon has a slightly warmer climate too :-)
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • Hi,
    I was going to post a very similar topic to this but thought I'd just add to this one as its about distance.
    I'm a recent convert to the dark side of road bikes and have steadily been increasing the distance that I cover over the last few weeks.
    The first 50+mile ride I did I ended up coasting home the last 2 miles at a snails pace as my thighs were totally done.
    The next 50+miler I managed better towards the end but still felt exhausted at the 50 mile mark.
    I started to consider weather this was a bit of a wall for me psychologically (thank god for spell check), so my last big ride I decided to not look at my distance or average at all until I got back home.
    Had a great ride out round Rutland area, got back and again felt like I'd ran out of steam and low and behold when I checked cat eye I'd done 53 miles, was hoping for about 60 but in reality I knew that I'd only just topped 50 by how I felt.
    They say in Marathon running that you hit a wall, is this also true of cycling? If so can you keep going to get through it?
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    What are you doing about nutrition before and during?
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • trailstartrailstar Posts: 114
    for me.. anything upto 60miles is fine for me. I don't feel any pain for recovery later on/next day either unless i am really pushing it. Its a nice distance as its typically 3hrs fun riding.

    From the 60-75 miles i notice my legs are aching a little bit but not bad. I will be going slower than my normal pace for this distance.

    75-100 i am starting to feel the pain. last 10 are typically in the pain cave just willing my legs to keep spinning.

    I've been riding road for around 5years now? And i felt this summer was by far my strongest. Many centuries and did more hill climbing than before.

    my second year of riding i found myself struggling from the 30-50 mile mark.. basically anything after 2hrs. Its all about getting your legs and body used to doing such extended exercise. I also really didnt understand the fuel part of it till recently.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 13,218
    Redfred237 wrote:
    I started to consider weather this was a bit of a wall for me psychologically (thank god for spell check)
    Sorry, but I can't resist, whether the weather's nice or not. The number of times I've been caught out by trusting spellcheckers to check my homophones...

    Anyway, re distances - I think that it depends on so many things - people's general fitness, the route, the weather, nutrition before & during, rests, etc. I haven't experienced a wall yet, but it probably means I just haven't pushed myself beyond my own limit. On longer rides I tend to go easy on the earlier stages so I can push later (but only I'll only push when I know I can make it home comfortably). But I know I will have to be patient pushing at the limits I'm currently at, as I'm not getting any younger.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,266 Lives Here
    At my peak I could do 100km without really suffering, and 150km was very do-able twice a week or so.

    Now anything beyond 60km is suffering....
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Well done on your continuing improvment. It's suprising how quick you can rack up your milage so keep at it. !0% extra a week over 4 weeks with a weeks easy riding in between for recovery and you'll be doing centuries no problem.

    I find a lot of long distance riding comes down to having a positive attitude and not being frightened of it. As long as you can either carry or gain access to enough food and drink for a ride you'll get through it.

    I recently rode the Tour of Britain route through Norfolk and whilst it was said it was 117miles it turned into 123 because of various factors(12 miles longer than I had done before) It wasn't a problem as I had a couple of extra gels in my pocket and my riding buddy to push me along. We even found the energy to have a sprint at the end.

    The most important thing is to enjoy your riding and to pick rides that you want to do and not ones you think you should.
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    Depends how hilly it is, especially towards the end. The 40 miler on Sunday was flattish, the 60 miler had a climb to 1500ft, down to sea level then up and down eventually getting to 1000ft and into the wind to get home.

    I think I should get the train to Norfolk/Cambridgeshire and knock out a quick 100 miler to get it out the way :)

    But more practice, more fun and I'll get there soon enough :)
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • Hals1967Hals1967 Posts: 231
    Also depends on how you're feeling.

    Did a 65 mile run a week ago and felt great, then did 55 miles on Sunday and boy was that tough. Had to get off twice up a hill I normally climb ok - well I manage to crawl up it without stopping ! (Nunburnholme Hill, E.Yorks). Felt sick, legs were killing and when I got home was completely done for. Had a good breakfast prior, in fact did everything I'd normally do. Some food on the way round etc. Just one of those days I suppose. :shock:


    1967 Engine
  • DCowlingDCowling Posts: 769
    I have peeked out at 52 mile but have done it in a reasonable time of 3hr 40min, I am on a Full sus MTB as this is all I have at the moment but hope to move onto a road / hybrid early next year. Cannot wait to try and do my first 100 but it wont be on my current bike.
    Out of interest what are all your rest frequencies, I need to stop after about every 15 - 20 mile due to the numbness in my toes
  • CrapaudCrapaud Posts: 2,483
    My top distance is 125 miles. When I did the Tour du Canada it was mostly ~100 mile days and I was never really uncomfortable.

    The secret to distance riding is to build up slowly. Audax riders will happily do 3-400 km in a day.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • AirwaveAirwave Posts: 483
    Pacing is important when you set out to do longer rides than your used to doing.Take it easiy at the start then you should have plenty left in the tank at the end.If i do a 100miles in just over 5hrs with no stops i feel shagged&the last 10miles are a battle.But i feel less tired doing 150miles at a much easier pace with a few 10min stops along the way.The latter is a much more pleasent expierence.
  • IShaggyIShaggy Posts: 301
    It's amazing how as you progress and regularly ride long distances your perception of what is 'long' becomes very skewed from the average man's perception. It makes me laugh when my non-cycling work colleagues think I'm crazy for cycling 30 miles, where 30 miles is just a nice short-ish summer evening mid-week session. There are a good few ironman triathletes on this forum who consider 112 miles to be just a warm-up for a marathon - and that's not mentioning the swim.
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