348 mile ride

steve_kay Posts: 197
edited January 2014 in Road beginners
Hi. I'm new on the forum and relatively new to cycling so I'd appreciate any help I can get really. I'm planning on riding from North Devon to the Lake District over the course of 3 days in August. It's a total of 348 miles (that's via motorways so I expect to add a fair few extra miles on going via A roads etc) and hope to split the mileage up evenly over the 3 days. My fitness is good at the moment (I'm in the Royal Marines) however my cycling fitness could do with some improving if I'm to be able to complete the ride. I currently have a 2014 Cube Agree GTC SL and plan to use this for the journey. Anyway, what I'd like to ask from the more experienced members is what sort of training should I be doing for this sort of distance, what's the best way to plan my route and is my bike suitable? Any suggestions and comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance



  • JayKosta
    JayKosta Posts: 635
    The biggest challenge is to find a saddle that is comfortable for consecutive long days.
    And be sure you have adequate gearing for any hills ... I don't know the area of your ride.
    I recommend using some sort of antiseptic liquid daily (morning and evening) on the bits of skin likely to be irritated by the saddle. And start from day 1 of the journey!

    For training, you need long hours at moderate speed to build long-duration cycling endurance.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • My 2 cents:

    For now you should be just getting out as much as you can to build cycle fitness and technique and then in June starting to make sure you do some long 100 mile rides (so that you know you can do a single day distance) and also doing a couple of medium rides one day after another (so you know what it feels like to be riding one day after another). If it's not a race then that should be ok. Assuming that they go ok then the main issue with long rides day after day is not ignoring your nutrition.

    For route planning, there are numerous pages on LeJog which have cycle routes going from your neck of the woods up North. Failing that, have a look at Strava and see where the popular segments are as that often indicates a good place to start. After that, plot a route in bikehike.co.uk or similar so you've got a map with elevations on it and plan your stops.

    Bike looks great - no problems. As above, make yourself comfortable and have a look into decent shorts and chamois cream.
    Neil Pryde Bura SL
    Cannondale CAAD8
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    3 pairs of bib shorts (unless you can wash/dry overnight), one of them decent, and the other two even better.
    Do not be tempted to buy cheap ones!
    Endura FS260 Pro's are good value IMO.

    Oh and don't forget the chamois cream ;-)
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    In my head if I were doing this I'd aim for a higher mileage on the first day while your motivation and strength are high as opposed to three equal splits. Maybe around 150 miles, then possibly 75 miles as a sort of rest day, then 125 to finish. Maybe that would work, I don't know.

    You should also consider the weather, wind direction etc.
  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Thanks for the replies everyone. It's much appreciated. I think time on the bike seems to be the general consensus with regards to long distance training. Obviously a decent set of clothing and comfortable saddle seem to be essential as well. Planning the route is going to be my next thing to do. Any suggestions?
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Route planning - one of the best places to start is with Google Maps - set to walking (don't set it to cycling as that will try and take you around the houses).

    That will give you a rough idea. You need to then look at the route in detail and make sure it's not taking you through non-cycleable paths etc.

    It's how I plan many of my rides.

    As mentioned, you're following a LEJOG sort of route - plenty of options there.
  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Yeah i did notice that a lot of LEJOG routes go in that sort of direction. It may be easier to follow a tried and tested route
  • Baby Trek
    Baby Trek Posts: 118
    In my first year of bike ownership my husband challenged me to ride to the lake district from Derbyshire in 2 days - so 160 miles and the Pennines to cross. When we were training we would choose somewhere 100 miles away and cycle there and then get the train back - did a few of those in the lead up and it did help a lot.
    Get some good hill training in too!
  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Thanks baby trek. I went out for a 30 mile ride yesterday around North Devon. My gps said I'd climbed 1200 ft in total. I think the problem with where I'm training is that there's so many severe hills that by the time I complete 40 miles, my legs are shot. I could do with a route that I could get some serious miles in the saddle
  • pilot_pete
    pilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    If you can't find flatter terrain to train on don't worry. 40 miles in the hills is equivalent to around 70 miles on flat terrain in my experience. If you just keep building up mileage and strength on your hilly routes you will be plenty strong enough to go miles on the flat.

    I'm lucky that I live at the edge of the Peak District so have hills out the door to the east and the flat Cheshire Plain out the door to the west. What I noticed last year was that I concentrated on time trialling and did miles and miles and miles of fairly flat riding and got pretty quick at it, but my hill climbing ability suffered considerably!

    If you come up through Cheshire and fancy a bit of company for 50 miles or so give me a shout. If I am around I'll join you for a bit, or can at least offer enroute support if you have a problem. :wink:

    PP (ex-grunt!)
  • velohutts
    velohutts Posts: 288
    If you want a flattish route , try the A377 down to Exeter and back , or train back , depending how your legs are ! Good luck with the ride.
    Enigma Esprit Di2 - Go tI ! Summer !
  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Cheers Pete. I may take you up on that offer actually. It's looking at being in the second week of August. Yeah I was just worried about not having enough time on the bike with only doing 30 or 40 miles. The only flatish route round here is a vary fast A road and not something I'd be prepared to ride on. I have got a turbo trainer but I don't want to be too reliant on it as there's no substitute for time on the bike. I think I may try and ride the first third of my actual route
  • pilot_pete
    pilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    No problem Steve,

    I work a variable roster so won't know August availability until mid July, but by all means drop me a PM closer to the time.


  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Thanks Velohutts. Yeah I was going to go down to exeter via the A377 yesterday but by the time I'd finished work, it would have been dark by the time I got there. I ended up going through Barnstaple and down to crediton via the B3266. It's an extremely hilly route.
  • velohutts
    velohutts Posts: 288
    The joy's of the area , it's quite a popular training route for getting miles in, an early start , get to the imperial in Exeter for a refuel , then back on the flat or off towards either winkleigh or south molton to put some height on it.
    Alternatively for a flat 30 ish , out and back to bideford through fremington , instow.
    Good luck with the training , it's a fantastic area to cycle in.
    Enigma Esprit Di2 - Go tI ! Summer !
  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Yeah I went through south molton yesterday and it's certainly got a few severe hills in around and the area. My mrs lives in bideford so I use the tarka trail there and back about 4 times a week. The tarka isn't as smooth as it looks in places, as I'm sure you're aware
  • sub55
    sub55 Posts: 1,025
    for training purposes miles are irrelevant . think in terms of time, if you only have one hour ride as hard as you can if you have 6 hours, slow up a bit but always finish absolutely in bits.
    constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly
  • On Google Earth (the main PC programme not online or on a phone) there is a feature that plots a path.

    If you plot a path following your route and save it you can get a distance and elevation profile. You can see details for every inch of the journey.

    I find this very useful when plotting rides as you can see where hills are and terrain. Lots of people don't know about this feature but we used it to plot the C2C

    If you use your mouse on the elevation profile you can get the distance of that point including its gradient etc too.

    You must make sure you plot along the roads however. Right click when plotting to undo a plot if you go wrong.

    Google earth ... The measurement button... Plot / measure path...save...right click it in the menu at the side to access elevation profile with distance etc.
  • steve_kay
    steve_kay Posts: 197
    Thanks very much for that. That's going to be extremely useful.