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75miles twice in a day - 5 months - ??

shiniqashiniqa Posts: 4
edited January 2015 in Road beginners
Hi - I've set myself a challenge to cycle Margate-London-Margate in a day in mid-June. I've been off my bike for a year pretty much, and have got a bit out of shape since quitting smoking 18 months ago. The furthest I've cycled ever is 20ish miles, twice. This will be a charity/sponsored ride I've thought up myself - does it seem feasible? (I can't seem to get a straight answer!). I don't want to let myself or the charity down if it's unrealistic, but I'm well up for the challenge.
The route is mainly flat, & I plan a couple of hours rest at the London end before starting back.

I've now got a turbo trainer (the Volare Mag one on sale in Halfords), so will do some long weekend sessions on that when weather's bad (starting today!). During the week is tricky as I lodge away from home and my bikes, but I can use a PAYG gym or join one (should I just use bikes, or other cardio / weight kit? I'd like to up my fitness and strength generally, as well as being ride-ready), and look at moving one bike to my lodgings if I can sort out storage.

I've got Tom Danielson's 'Core Advantage' on my Kindle, as my back used to play up after longish rides. Also about to fit single-sided SPD pedals to the bike and get used to them - guess I'll go for some 'pull up' cleats for the ride.

So - does it seem do-able, and what's the advice other than getting plenty of rides in? Any other books or programmes you'd recommend to help me build up and prepare? Thanks!

Posts

  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    The only thing that will stop you is you.

    Focus on long steady efforts on the bike. You're looking to build endurance above anything else. If you have specific weaknesses like your back, then it won't do any harm to build stability. But that should also come from riding and, for this challenge, I don't think that there's any substitute for hours in the saddle. On the day itself, you will want to pace yourself. I'd question whether a two-hour break there is the best thing - 4 half hour breaks would be much better.

    BTW - the turbo will be fine for getting some of your initial fitness back but personally I begin to struggle with boredom after an hour. Besides that, the artificially stable position means you also get uncomfortable a lot quicker than you will on the bike outside.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Thanks - so the first reaction isn't 'don't do it!', good!
    The middle break is more of a cosmetic thing - I'm styling it as a 'commute' challenge, so feel I should be at work a little while if only as a photo opp to get sponsorship in. But it's not necessary, so will take advice on breaks - is that a lactic acid thing, if the break's too long?
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    shiniqa wrote:
    Thanks - so the first reaction isn't 'don't do it!', good!
    The middle break is more of a cosmetic thing - I'm styling it as a 'commute' challenge, so feel I should be at work a little while if only as a photo opp to get sponsorship in. But it's not necessary, so will take advice on breaks - is that a lactic acid thing, if the break's too long?

    Personally, I'd find it hard to get going again - you'll tend to stiffen up. The perfect break length is enough time to feed properly, rest a little bit, stretch out and then get going again - you might even want to do a few more even shorter breaks. If you have the chance to change a bit of kit "in the office" that can help you to feel fresh. The key thing though now is just to start building up your ride time. Use any doubts you have now to motivate you so that, on the day, you know you will do it. And once you get to do some longer training rides, experiment with stopping time. Great challenge though - good luck: you'll feel amazing when you've completed it!
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Just riding your bike a lot will get you most of the way there. Through training runs of increasing distance and duration, you will learn to pace yourself and refuel. Make sure your bike is set up right and you feel comfortable on it.
  • A single long break is not the way to go.

    My team mates and i are planning a long one this summer. Starting in North Hampshire and riding to Brighton and back in a day. A total of 165 miles. The planning includes 2 x 30 minute snack stops with a 45-60 minute lunch stop. The route includes a couple of places for a splash and dash (grabbing drinks and the other type!) with a maximum of 5 minutes stopping. This obviously means a decent average speed over the distance, possible due to teaming up and sharing the load.

    If you are on your own then it will obviously be harder, so the planning is going to be important. But it is a definate DO IT from me.

    Further down the training plan i would advise riding the 75 miles one way at least. This will allow you to research where the efforts are and potential feeding zones. Obviously if you are riding an out and back route then you could use the same pit stop both ways.

    Good luck with the challenge.
  • fatsmokerfatsmoker Posts: 638
    If you're not with your bike during the week you'll find it hard to get the miles in. Could you get a cheap runaround to keep at your lodgings? Getting on your nice bike at the weekends will then feel even better.
  • Brilliant info and advice - thanks!
    Ok, so will schedule the London turnaround to be a lot shorter (30-45 mins), and as it's my work I can leave change kit, spare stuff and lunch there the day before. I'll also look at stopping places along the route for quickies or other 30 min places.
    Had a couple of offers from mates to join me part way / one way and am totally up for that (to keep sane and safe!).
    Yes - I have my heavier old road bike which is set up for town riding, and I'll stick that in the secure storage at work if there's no space with my landlady. Plenty of nice rides out of North London once the evenings lighten up!
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,787
    It will be a great thing to do. As others have said, miles in the legs is the most important thing. As the days stretch out a bit, I would be aiming for a couple of short (20 mile plus and building up) rides in the week and gradually build up the weekend miles towards your target.

    I think I would try and break up the challenge ride into 5 or six 25-30 mile chunks with a short cake, coffee and stretch stop between them - are you planning on doing it with any support?
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • You might want to jump on your bike and see how many miles you can do comfortably now.

    I am a novice, trying to build up to my first 100 mile ride since last September, with a partly enforced break of 6 weeks up to the New Year, which has set me back a bit. I got up to 75 miles in November and was absolutely shattered at the end of that. What I have learned is that I tend to assume 'x' miles is doable. Half way round a planned ride I'm tempted to tack on a few more miles to what will already be my longest ride to date. "Its just 10 more miles?" Fortunately, on each occasion I have erred on the side of common sense, and as I am dragging myself through the last 10 miles of the existing route ask myself how I would have felt if I had done 10 more miles before reaching that point. A horrible thought.

    My point (eventually) is that you don't know what you can do comfortably until you try it. You may surprise yourself at how many miles you can cover with ease, but you equally may not get as far as you expected. Also, you might also need to factor in recovery into your timetable. If you are testing your limits you might want to rest the day before and after it, so if weekends are the only time you can ride its worth considering.

    The very best of luck with it
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    A couple of thoughts:

    1. You are entirely limited by what you believe you can do. I've been through some tough experiences in the last 4 years (entirely unrelated to cycling) which have shown me I can do far far more than ever i thought was possible. I believe part of special forces training is to push people to this point to teach them this lesson. I've also understood from a psychologist that you can't "know" this until you have done it (so you might need to take my word for it :wink: )

    2. Entirely unrelated but maybe helpful: take a look at some if the marathon training schemes that are out there. You might use this to translate you goal distance into a training plan. In round numbers you are doing 6x the marathon distance but by bike so, at the point the marathon training programme is saying 10 miles, you might want to be doing 60 miles. This might also be utter borlicks but it might at least give you some targets to be aiming for. I'd suggest you might want to have got to a century (or close) before the big day. Having a big distance under your belt will give you some confidence on the day itself (to point 1). As I've said before (and I've done some reasonably big challenges) - try to use your doubts BEFORE the event to motivate you so that you have NO DOUBTS on the day.

    All the best
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    I apologise now if this seems blunt, but really all you are doing is riding a bike 150 miles. You're not racing that distance so the fitness effort doesn't have to be fantastic, what you have to do is get you're body used to spending lots of time in the saddle.
    Your going to feel pain and discomfort, the more time you spend in the saddle before the event the more your body will be accustomed to it. I would highly recommend riding more than just weekends, make your commutes as long as possible.
    I used to use a gym who let me use the spin bikes when no classes were on, I just used to take my tablet and do sufferfest videos when I worked away from home. I also used a place in Central London called Cycle Beat, good for 45 minute intense interval training. As good as these other methods are they don't give you what you need, time on your bike fully adapting to spending the day in your riding position.
    With regards to cleats, don't make any changes just before the ride. Make changes well before hand so you know exactly what is comfortable and what works for you.
    The core works out seem sensible but weight training is probably not really going to help much.
    Learn about refuelling the body and get used to working at a pace to finish the event. If you have a heart rate monitor get used to very long Z2 rides with the aim of fuelling the body on the move and finishing the set distance for each ride (including turbo sessions)
    Beginners tend to ride at two fast a pace for their ability so tend to tire relatively quickly (20 miles or so). You need to find a pace and effort level that allows you to keep going and going.

    Good luck with the training. Hopefully some of the audaxers will be along to offer some more training advice.
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 19,106
    All this is really about is time on the bike, a little determination will get you through, if just depends if you want to get through , or smash it - one involves a lot more training
  • Excellent advice above.

    I would add the emphasis of cycling within your comfort zone. If you can do this, you will not only manage to do it, but do it in a way that will not put you off doing it or something like it again.

    My wife, never having ridden a road bike, started training on the 1st Nov 2013 for the April 2014 Mallorca 312 with its 14 hour time limit. She did it and enjoyed it. How? Steady rides, building up distance gradually, and adding in time to recover from blocks of training.

    It is possible, very possible, but please train enough that it is not an ordeal. We all want you to carry on riding afterwards! This is just the introduction for you! :)
  • Personally, I'd find it hard to get going again - you'll tend to stiffen up. The perfect break length is enough time to feed properly, rest a little bit, stretch out and then get going again -

    That was my first thought on reading this. I'd rather do 150 miles than 2 x 75 miles. I've made the mistake before of thinking a good long rest is the best way to go and started out on the second leg having gotten cold and then trying to warm up again on legs which are already tired is a nightmare. Plus 150 mile ride sounds way more impressive than two 75 milers ;)

    So looking at 150 miles I would plan frequent stops but try to keep them to 10 minutes or less.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Personally, I'd find it hard to get going again - you'll tend to stiffen up. The perfect break length is enough time to feed properly, rest a little bit, stretch out and then get going again -

    That was my first thought on reading this. I'd rather do 150 miles than 2 x 75 miles. I've made the mistake before of thinking a good long rest is the best way to go and started out on the second leg having gotten cold and then trying to warm up again on legs which are already tired is a nightmare. Plus 150 mile ride sounds way more impressive than two 75 milers ;)

    So looking at 150 miles I would plan frequent stops but try to keep them to 10 minutes or less.
    Agreed. The longer the stop the harder it is to get going again.
  • Schoie81Schoie81 Posts: 749
    I'm planning a similar big challenge this year, a 125mile trip - not so big a deal on a road bike, but we're doing it on mountain bikes ( a) to make it a bit more of a challenge and b) because I came up with the idea before I owned a road bike, so still want to do it).

    Anyway, as others have said, the mental part is a big factor, if you think you can't do it, it'll be a struggle, if you tell yourself you can do it, it'll be easier. I'm looking at it that its not a race, its just a long time sat on a bike. In the summer you've got plenty of daylight hours so you don't even have to worry about riding in the dark (if that bothers you). We're planning quick 'pit-stops' of 5-10 mins every 20miles or so to start off with, probably dropping to every 15miles or so towards the end for toilet stops, fill up water bottles etc... with just one longer (sub 1hour) stop for some lunch just over half way.

    Good luck and keep us posted with how the training is going and how it goes on the day!

    Make sure if they day you're doing it is fixed, that in preparing for it you ride in all weathers. If you only ride when its nice in the next 5months, and then you wake up on the day to wind and rain, you're going to find it hard work!!
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • I too have a similar challenge planned, namely the C2C which would be 130 miles - and hilly ones at that. However the biggest challenge with that is not the riding, you just get on and suffer - it's actually getting ourselves and bikes to the start line and back home after that's the sticking point.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    I too have a similar challenge planned, namely the C2C which would be 130 miles - and hilly ones at that. However the biggest challenge with that is not the riding, you just get on and suffer - it's actually getting ourselves and bikes to the start line and back home after that's the sticking point.

    2 vans. Load everything in to Van 1. Drive to the end drop off van 2.

    Drive to start

    Cycle.

    Load Van 2, drive back to van 1.

    Go home.

    (the drop off would be on the day before)
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Yeah agree with Mark, I've got a 205 mile ride later in the year to do. I already ride fairly long distances so thats not too much of a concern, the logistics are a nightmare though. I've done quite a few of these events and the non circular ones do make the logistics a bit of a pain.
    Fortunately for the OP his seems to be a round robin route.
    In terms of stops, I personally don't like to stop too often, when I do stop anything over 10 minutes makes climbing back on the bike more painful. But its horses for courses, lots of guys like to stop more often. We ride in a group so tend to have agreed our stops in advance.
    Also for the OP it would be worth planning on his backup system. Are you having a van/car go ahead of you to prepare feed zones? Are you mechanically minded and can do simple fixes on the go? Or is the plan to be self sufficient? If it is supported, do you have spare wheels? Someone else can fix your punctures - if you get a puncture, whip the wheel off and then put the new one, then the driver / mechanic can get busy fixing the puncture while your off on your way. It may be cooler at the start of the ride and later in the evening so you will want to ensure you have clothing that you can easily whip off - bib shorts with leg / knee warmers, short sleeve base layer, short sleeve jersey with arm warmers, gillet etc. This is nice and easy layers to strip off during a short stop. Have a light weight waterproof jacket just incase.
  • TjgoodhewTjgoodhew Posts: 628
    I grew up in Kent and have cycled a few routes around the areas between London and Medway and then down the coast as far as Whitstable.

    I would def suggest a couple of trials to find the best route. Coming out through South London can be horrible in terms of traffic and constantly having to stop and start wont help with your rhythm especially on your way out with 75 miles already on your legs.

    Once you get outside of the M25 some of the roads are perfect for riding but there can be some nasty short sharp hills around the downs. From Medway onwards its flat as anything
    Cannondale Caad8
    Canyon Aeroad 8.0

    http://www.strava.com/athletes/goodhewt
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