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10 day lejog unsupported. Am I ready?

Joeslattery92Joeslattery92 Posts: 6
Iam doing a 10 day unsupported lejog in two weeks time and I'm starting to get nervous I've done enough.

I've been cycling for 5 months but training only really stepped up from when my football season finished 3months ago.

I've picked a very direct route as I really just want to get from A to B. I'm really worried about Cornwall and my first 4days in particular as I haven't managed to get as much climbing in as I would of like.

In the last 3months I have done around 700 miles of training with my biggest ride being 103miles with 7,320ft of climbing. Felt OK afterwards. My longest ride on the lejog is 116miles (Warrington to Kendal). But after that all my rides are under 100 so I think if I can get to day 4 on the Warrington to Kendal I'll be ok?

Also what sort of training would you recommend in the week before?

I'm a chef so work 3days of 13hour shifts on my feet all day. Takes a bit out of me

Thanks if you can help. Joe

Posts

  • mikeneticmikenetic Posts: 486
    I wouldn't do too much at all in the week before, all you'll be building is fatigue. There will be enough of that on the ride. Some light spins to keep the legs turning, but other than that it's a bit late. Training gains come during the recovery from exertion.

    You might benefit more for making sure you're mentally prepared. That you know what your stops are, making sure you don't go out too hard, thinking about how to look after yourself. Maybe think about a simple stretch routine you can do at the end of each day to keep you ready for the next day. Also, work out how to maximise your recovery time by getting your post ride and morning routines nailed. It all gives you more time to relax and conserve energy. Enjoy it!
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I'd worry more about your route choices if you've chosen the direct route. Some of those A roads are lethal.

    Take it steady. Eat little and often as you go and you can ride all day.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Sounds very like the LEJoG I did (ahem) 21 years ago. Unsupported in 10 days with a bit of bashing along main roads to keep the route fairly direct.

    It sounds like your prep has been a bit on the light side but if you're determined and sensible I'm sure you'll make it. Just take it steady, assume you'll be spending a lot of hours in the saddle each day and try to relax. Maintaining your energy levels with a non-stop supply of food is crucial. Make sure you eat well as soon as you can each evening after finishing too - your recovery overnight depends on you replacing your energy reserves as soon as possible.

    FWIW my number one tip would be to make an early start each day and try to do more than half the distance before lunchtime. If you can do 50-60 miles before a lunch stop it's a huge psychological boost and it will help ensure you're finished for the day before it's too late. Completing the day's ride after about 6pm is really bad news IMO. You need a relaxed evening meal and rest before an early night!

    Ruth
  • bigmonkabigmonka Posts: 361
    Having just done my first 100mile sportive I would say that a major thing for you will be comfort on the bike for that amount of time. Make sure you've got decent shorts that fit and have good padding (that you've tried beforehand).
    Also make sure that your setup on the bike is right (have you had a bike fit?) and that you know how to adjust it back to that setup in case anything happens whilst out on the road.
    Good luck, it sound like a brilliant challenge!
  • buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
    I'm part of the LEJoG club too and I'd agree that physically, you are where you are and hitting massive training rides in the last week is likely to do more harm than good. As long as you pace yourself appropriately once you're out there and keep eating, you should be able to cover the distance no problem; and don't worry, Cornwall isn't as hilly as some people make out! Just keep the training light in the last week and try to start off well rested and recovered.

    There are still loads of things you can do to help you prepare though and could certainly benefit you more than a few last-minute training rides. If you're not well-organised, the time lost to faffing around can really mount up each day and on a tight-schedule like yours it can become critical; trust me, trying to navigate unfamiliar country roads in the dark is NOT fun.

    (1) Navigation - how are you doing this? If you're using a smartphone or old school paper maps, then stopping and getting them out of your pocket at every junction gets really boring, really quickly. If you're relying on electronics, have some kind of paper backup, at the least a list of towns/villages to pass through each day so that you can follow the road signs; stick it in the bottom of your bag for emergencies, weighs nothing.
    (2) Resupplying - scope out some shops and pubs along your route for each day for food and drinks, especially for when you're out in the sticks. In England you'll likely be passing them quite regularly, but up in the Highlands they can be few and far between and psychologically it's nice to have them as a target.
    (3) Kit - keep it light, anything that you can do without for two weeks ditch it; every 100g counts when you're hauling it 1000 miles. The only exception is clothing, make sure you have enough to keep warm and dry as it WILL be cold and rainy at some point up in Scotland.
    (4) Equipment - make sure your bike is serviceable and that you know how to fix things yourself; it should be a very rare occasion that something on your bike is not fixable/bodgeable by the side of the road.

    To echo some of the comments above, I'd do some research on the busier roads you'll be riding on and consider rerouting where possible. People get killed doing LEJoG by ending up on unsuitable roads and I had a few close calls myself by not taking it seriously enough.

    Having said that, just take it easy and enjoy it; it'll be something that you'll remember for the rest of your life!
  • Joeslattery92Joeslattery92 Posts: 6
    edited August 2016
    Thanks so much for all your input. Really helps me out as a beginner really.

    The A roads I can avoid down in England but when it comes to Scotland I find it difficult to find an alternative up from fort William to Inverness then finally to John O'groats.

    I've bought a garmin edge 810 and a pair of ralpha classic shorts so I really prioritised these items.

    I know the recommended eating plan for during a bike is every hour but what time scale should I be looking at for meals/food??

    Lastly what do you think the toughest thing is I can expect from my cycle?
  • BeaconRuth wrote:
    Sounds very like the LEJoG I did (ahem) 21 years ago. Unsupported in 10 days with a bit of bashing along main roads to keep the route fairly direct.

    It sounds like your prep has been a bit on the light side but if you're determined and sensible I'm sure you'll make it. Just take it steady, assume you'll be spending a lot of hours in the saddle each day and try to relax. Maintaining your energy levels with a non-stop supply of food is crucial. Make sure you eat well as soon as you can each evening after finishing too - your recovery overnight depends on you replacing your energy reserves as soon as possible.

    FWIW my number one tip would be to make an early start each day and try to do more than half the distance before lunchtime. If you can do 50-60 miles before a lunch stop it's a huge psychological boost and it will help ensure you're finished for the day before it's too late. Completing the day's ride after about 6pm is really bad news IMO. You need a relaxed evening meal and rest before an early night!

    Ruth


    Hi Ruth.

    And what was your training like in the build up? How did you feel after certain days? What was the toughest thing about your cycle?
  • bigmonkabigmonka Posts: 361
    Joe,
    As well as food, what are you doing about carrying water? I'd imagine you'd need a decent amount of it and need to regularly re-fill your bottles. That may not be too difficult in the more populated areas but once you get out in to the sticks it may be more challenging!
  • buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
    No worries!

    A Garmin is a great decision, I have the 800 and it'll make your life a hell of a lot easier.

    As you say, the A-roads in Scotland are often the only option but usually these aren't too busy (especially in the Highlands) and people generally drive more respectfully in a rural setting. Some of the busier ones in England are much worse and best avoided, although that's not the case for all A-roads obviously; I think the A30 down in Cornwall has a particularly bad reputation, but I can't say for sure as I'm not from down that way. I'd have a Google or have a look at the suspect parts of your route on StreetView and see if it's bad. Dual carriageways are a big no-no, purely because of the speed of passing traffic.

    As for food, I would just try to eat a big breakfast, lunch and dinner at the usual times each day and then snack every 30 mins or so in between to keep things ticking over. You don't need to over-think it and start shoveling down energy bars 30 mins after a massive breakfast; just be mindful that if you go 2+ hours without eating whilst consistently burning those calories, then you're going to be digging yourself into a hole. Focus on *what* you're eating as well; a fried breakfast is going to have little in the way of rapidly available energy and will take your stomach a long time to digest, likely resulting in a very sluggish morning; don't let your heart rule your head!
  • BigMonka wrote:
    Joe,
    As well as food, what are you doing about carrying water? I'd imagine you'd need a decent amount of it and need to regularly re-fill your bottles. That may not be too difficult in the more populated areas but once you get out in to the sticks it may be more challenging!

    The water situation I usually just wing it and stop when I can where suitable. Like you say England could be easier than Scotland. But I stay in Glasgow so when I set off from there I was going to attach a second bottle.
  • No worries!

    A Garmin is a great decision, I have the 800 and it'll make your life a hell of a lot easier.

    As you say, the A-roads in Scotland are often the only option but usually these aren't too busy (especially in the Highlands) and people generally drive more respectfully in a rural setting. Some of the busier ones in England are much worse and best avoided, although that's not the case for all A-roads obviously; I think the A30 down in Cornwall has a particularly bad reputation, but I can't say for sure as I'm not from down that way. I'd have a Google or have a look at the suspect parts of your route on StreetView and see if it's bad. Dual carriageways are a big no-no, purely because of the speed of passing traffic.

    As for food, I would just try to eat a big breakfast, lunch and dinner at the usual times each day and then snack every 30 mins or so in between to keep things ticking over. You don't need to over-think it and start shoveling down energy bars 30 mins after a massive breakfast; just be mindful that if you go 2+ hours without eating whilst consistently burning those calories, then you're going to be digging yourself into a hole. Focus on *what* you're eating as well; a fried breakfast is going to have little in the way of rapidly available energy and will take your stomach a long time to digest, likely resulting in a very sluggish morning; don't let your heart rule your head!

    Thanks. Really appreciate this help.
    What do you think I can expect from my body in terms of tiredness on certain days or when do you think it'll start getting used to the pressure it's being put under and start adapting.?
  • SecteurSecteur Posts: 1,971
    edited August 2016
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  • buckmulliganbuckmulligan Posts: 1,031
    I don't think the physical aspect will be an issue in the way that you think it will be. Sure, you'll be tired at the end of the long days, but as long as you keep eating and keep the pace sensible I think you'll find that 8-10 hours on the bike isn't that much worse than 3-4 in terms of fatigue. You probably won't want to get back on the bike in the mornings after the first few days, but once you've hit those first 5 miles and have the wind (and rain) in your face again, your body will wake up and you'll be motoring again. When you've got a certain distance to do in a day, you'll find a way of getting it done as long as you're fit and healthy. Just try to avoid any niggles turning into major issues that could completely stop you.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Hi Ruth.

    And what was your training like in the build up? How did you feel after certain days? What was the toughest thing about your cycle?
    I can't really remember what training I did, I'm afraid. It was that long ago! I was probably a more experienced touring cyclist then than you are, but I'd only done a couple of years of tours and regular riding.

    I was commuting to work and back a grand distance of about 6 miles a day and I did some 50-mile rides out into Middlesex from north west London (maybe 6 to 10 times), probably 50 miles in 3 hours. Also did some Audaxes, maybe two or three 160km or 200km events that season before LEJoG. No great shakes really.

    As someone above has said, you'll feel tired - perhaps very tired - but get a good night's sleep and set off again the next day and keep going. That's all you've got to do.

    I can't remember what was the toughest thing - riding day after day after day is never 'easy' but you know what you have to do and it shouldn't be a surprise that your legs hurt when you set off the next day.

    I agree with what BuckMilligan says - don't get too stressed about it. Eat whatever you fancy whenever you fancy it. Lots of ordinary food is the way to go - don't bother with any sports products because it'll cost you a fortune and be no better for you than ordinary food. Eat a proper meal at a pub or similar at lunchtime, same again in the evening. Big breakfast of whatever you fancy... just relax and enjoy it. Nice and steady is the way.

    Ruth
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