Forum home Mountain biking forum Events, competitions and races XC and Enduro

Weight on rider or bike?

kev90kev90 Posts: 15
edited July 2009 in XC and Enduro
I am currently training for a race that has introduced me to the new territory of 6hour+ rides.

I am finding that my camelbak is resulting in excessive sweat generation on long climbs, which then becomes lower back chaffage, in addition to the weight of the pack causing me signficiant upper back / shoulder pain.

Clearly, on 6-hour+ training rides, you need to carry a lot of fluid, food and repair gear, which make a camelbak a practical choice. However, I am wondering whether it will be better on the day (which is supported) to ditch the camelbak in preference of bottles and a saddle bag.

Does anyone know whether the location of the weight (i.e. on the rider or on the bike) has any significant effect of the exertion required to climb? Logic says to me that providing you are not increasing the weight of any rotating parts, that it makes no difference if the weight is on the bike or rider.

Clearly, the additional weight of the bottles and saddle bag will make the bike feel and handle differently, but is there any disadvantage for climbing? Thanks!


  • littlebearlittlebear Posts: 92
    Camelbak should not cause back/shoulder pain or chafe if adjusted correctly. WTF are you carrying, it sounds like your taking a tool box and a barrel of water :shock:
    Try Sudo cream on the areas that are chafing before you go out! I rub it on my nipples before very long rides.

    Whats the race... Stages or laps! If its supported then you only need bare essentials you can carry in your pockets, use x2 bottles if you need to, and refill. The weight of bottles will not affect the handling of a bike really. A saddle bag wont either unless there loose!

    Pump/ Canister
    Allen key tool
    Small chain splitter... maybe

    The above will fit in a race top pockets. Tape the pump or tube to your seat post. There is not much else you need really. if your bike has a major mechanical your race is over until you reach base, regardless of the race conditions/ venue!

    Weight is weight and it all counts! rolling weight more so!

    HTH :wink:
    The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
  • kev90kev90 Posts: 15
    I am doing the Grand Raid Cristalp in Switzerland - 121km/5430m climbing point to point.

    For 6 hour+ training rides I am carrying 2.5 litres fluid in camelbak, 2 tubes, pump, multitool, shell, spare jersey (to change after big sweaty climbs), plus food, plus bottles (unless I can factor in a shop for more fluid).

    Went out to Switzerland last week to do some big climb training and was really feeling the effects of the camelbak on the long climbs (600-1200 metres in one long slog). These are 1 - 2 hours of solid climbing, so back gets saturated and the pack just adds to the discomfort of the head down climbing position on bike. Going out to the French alps this weekend for some more training, so will experiment without the camelbak.

    Current plan for the race is 2 bottles on bike, 2 tubes, multiool and power links in a saddle bag, then gels and pre-measured PSP22 baggies in Jersey for drink station mixing. Will pick up other food etc from supporter / feeding stations. Need to factor in how best to carry a shell too, as the temperature is likley to vary from 5 - 25 degrees during the race!

    Never done a race like this (or ridden these sorts of distance) before, so it's a bit of a steep learning curve. As such, your advice is greatly appreciated! So in summary, it doesn't matter where the weight is, as it still needed to be lugged up the hills!?
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    If it's any help (probably not) I got into MTBs because I wanted a quicker way to get into-and-out-of the Scots mountains. MTBing with a rucksack loaded for a day in the hills was no fun at all and I soon started putting the heaviest items on the bike. Of course the C-of-G was different but from a cycling point-of-view it was much better than carrying everything on my back.
  • kev90kev90 Posts: 15
    Thanks, appeciate your views.

    I did a short/high intensity training ride this evening with a no pack and 2 bottle /saddle bag configuration - only out for 1hr15 and only 600 metres of climbing, but felt much better. Bike still felt light and climbed well, no back pain, and signficantly less sweat generation.

    Planning on doing some very big training rides this weekend, so will carry on experimenting!

  • mhukmhuk Posts: 327
    When riding the same route recently when it was warm I did it with a camelbak and then with a water bottle on the bike. I drank less without the camelbak as I was sweating less and found it far more comfortable.

    If the weather allows I'd prefer to ride with no camelbak - tools & tube in a small saddlebag and water on the bike, plus any food etc. in jersey pockets.

    Good luck in Switzerland :) I thinking about doing the Eiger Bike Challenge next year.
  • kev90kev90 Posts: 15
    Thanks - the Eiger Bike Challenge looks really good - if it wasn't one week before the Grand Raid when I will be tapering I would be well up for it - I might look at entering it next year as something to keep training for.

  • kev90kev90 Posts: 15
    Just back from a weekend training in the French Alps - climbed over 9,000 metres over 4 days, with one big 78 mile / 4,150 metre day.

    Rode the whole four days with two bottles / saddle bag / jersey pockets for food etc. Found it to be a wholly more pleasurable experience - no signficant back pain, and much less drinking required to remain adequately hydrated. In addition to energy drinks, switched to a gels/bars fuelling strategy to save bulk which also also worked well.

    Riding in France is great as there are lots of 'Eau Potable' fonts; which basically meant I could refill bottles / mix energy drinks en-route, as per water stations on the race.

    Essentially, it would seem that my strategy for the race is sorted! Thanks to all that provided the benefit of their experiences.

  • littlebearlittlebear Posts: 92
    Sounds great Kev, Was it an organized trip by yourself or a company? Im assuming you were riding a road bike?
    The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    littlebear wrote:
    Im assuming you were riding a road bike?
    It's for MTBs ... s&id=16829 :shock:

    Kev, I hope you get a medal or something - 9000m in 4 days would finish me off =]
  • kev90kev90 Posts: 15
    I just headed out by myself for a long weekend - I have digital topo mapping (memory-map) for the French Alps, so just headed to an area I know with lots of big hills and planned my rides each day the night before according to how I was feeling, uploaded to the Garmin and headed out. The fonts are marked on the maps too which was handy!

    I did find that Memory-Map was a little over optimisitc on the vertical with the French Mapping (compared to the normally very accurate UK mapping), with it over-estimatting a lot compared to the reality. Lucky in some ways though, as my 4150m day was supposed to be 5900m according to memory-map!! Not sure I would have survived that and still been able to ride for two more days!

    With the exception of two big road climbs (Col du Granton 1000m and Col du Galibier 800m) the vast majority of my riding was offroad. Most of the climbing was rocky double-track, although I managed to hit quite of a lot sweet steep and technical single track on the decents (in fact, one run was the best 6km/800m vert of sweet bermed, flowing single track I have every done!!)

    The GR is a mountain bike race, although most of the riding for the first 75km or so is on road or firetrail. It gets a bit more technical in places from 75km on. The final climb also involves a 3km of unridable scrambling with the bike!

    check out the official site; there are some cool photos on there

Sign In or Register to comment.