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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2011, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Long-Distance Cycling

Any cyclists out there? I'm relatively new to cycling (since last year), and want to further the distance I can ride. Right now I do two different rides, one being 22 miles and the other being around 40-45 miles on hilly roads.

If anyone has any experience doing long distance rides, I'm curious to see what tips and training things to do in order to get your body used to a longer ride. At the moment, the longer 40-45 mile ride kinda kicks my ass: I'm pretty tired by the end of that one.

One problem I think I have is that I like to ride aggressively, which wears me out much faster. Today on my 22 mile ride my computer average was almost 18 MPH, and on flats I ride between 17-20 MPH.

Any tips or recommendations are greatly appreciated.

PowderHound and TreeNinja
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2011, 01:55 AM
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I used to do a tour here in Ohio called Pedal to the Point. It is 150 miles in 2 days, 75 miles each day with an option to go for the century (100 miles). Haven't done it in years but all the training I did was going a few more miles every other week. I too was getting pretty tired around the 40-50 mile mark but the more often you do it the easier it will get. Personally, pacing myself during the actual event was the most important thing. There were times I'd be behind someone who is going just a little slower than my comfortable speed, but having to pass a huge line of people just wore me out quicker.

Make sure you're eating and drinking enough DURING the ride as well. For the 75 mile ride I took a lunch break at a rest stop and it made all the difference in the world. All of the tours I ever did had optional food and drink stops and even just a short grab food and go really helps.

One little trick on hot days if you have bags on your bike or a pocket on the back of a jersey. Take those small apple juice containers and freeze them. Pull them out of the freezer and stick them in the bag right as you leave. After awhile it'll melt and be a nice cold healthy drink during your ride. If you're riding on a hot day, freeze or chill powerbars too, so they aren't a melted mess 20 miles into your ride. I can't speak too much for being a nutrition freak, but those were a couple things that made the day more enjoyable. Not sure about your area but around here there's quite a few tours for charity and whatnot, the 150 mile one I spoke of was for MS, but usually they have varying length routes and "rest stops" along the way. It's a lot of fun doing those and I highly suggest it, you can even draft on those windy days and make things easier on yourself.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2011, 01:24 PM
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If your trip computer has cadence measurement, keep your cadence at 80-90 ppm. If you don't have cadence, get one that does.

Setting your pedalling speed too low and trying to use raw strength to bull through the course just wears you out faster. Once you get used to the proper range, you'll find that a quicker, lighter pedalling pace keeps you fresher and helps you recover from hills more quickly. You should be able to hold a cadence of up to 120 for short times without getting out of breath. It's really more about training the muscles than anything.

Also, make sure your seat is high enough. Most people tend to have it too low if they don't specifically check. Sitting on your seat, when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke, push your heel down and you should just not quite be able to lock your knee. I did the first day or two of a long cycling trip with my seat too low and developed a significan pain under my kneecap. Adjusted the seat per someone's advice and the pain went away in a day or two.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2011, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donutz View Post
If your trip computer has cadence measurement, keep your cadence at 80-90 ppm. If you don't have cadence, get one that does.

Setting your pedalling speed too low and trying to use raw strength to bull through the course just wears you out faster.
I assume your talking about pedaling a faster speed on a lower gear(more pedal rotations) that does not cause you to push hard like it does in a higher gear? At the beginning of the season I did this a lot more often, staying mostly in 2nd gear, but as I've built up more strength I've been riding mostly in 3rd gear and muscling up hills. I get what your saying though, I think when I stuck to a less forceful ride I had a lot more endurance then I do now.

I think what I'll do is use the shorter ride as a strength trainer, and then start treating the longer ride like I would if I was touring.

I'm definitely hip to the seat thing, it's actually a pet peeve of mine. I see people all the time riding bicycles with their seat low, their knees extending half-way, and it makes we want to go over and tell them they're doing it wrong.

Quote:
Make sure you're eating and drinking enough DURING the ride as well. For the 75 mile ride I took a lunch break at a rest stop and it made all the difference in the world. All of the tours I ever did had optional food and drink stops and even just a short grab food and go really helps.
Food is a big thing! I always neglect eating very much or at all during rides, and I think a big part of the energy loss is a result of calorie loss. I need to buy a bunch of energy bars and just keep some in my bag.

PowderHound and TreeNinja

Last edited by HoboMaster; 06-25-2011 at 10:58 PM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 11:12 PM
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Well, not sure what shape you're in but generally, you don't wanna hammer all-out on every ride, especially early season. Basically, you ride moderate tempos and distances early in the season and build a base of miles, then start doing some specific training sessions like intervals uphills or on flats to increase endurance and aerobic capacity. Once you have the miles, endurance and aerobic capacity, you can make a push for the real distance and/or speeds you'd like to ride and each week. Pick one or two days to put in the fast pace killer fun rides. You can look up this stuff under the subject known as "periodization".

One other thing, as a snowboarder, my back leg's quad really tightened up over the last few seasons to the point I felt diminishing returns on the bike during summer. Sucked cuz cycling is so quad dependent. So I went on the hunt to see if a massage therapist could help and was having doubts until I found one who does something called "myofascial release". Bingo! It was painful in a good way but she really cured things in several areas and I felt immediate improvements. Without me even saying anything she said, "your left quad is so unusual, it's like a ball right in the center that I have to flatten out." So just something to consider if it fits your situation.

Good luck, happy riding man!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 12:12 PM
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I ride regularly but I've only been riding just under 2 years. I've done an MS150 (2 day ride from Houston to Austin). I've done 2 Bike around the Bays (150 miles, 2 days around Galveston Bay). The last Bike around the Bay I did had non stop rain the 2nd day. Rode in pouring rain for 5 hours. It rained so hard that it stings you. I regularly sign up for rides ranging from 50-75 miles a day. My speed is only 18-21 mph. I am by no means fast. I get passed up all the time by these fat old guys, which is kind of frustrating...LOL

The most important thing about cycling is getting the right size bike and being properly fitted for it. I had a professional fit done. I got a discount on my fit and it cost me $200, regular price is $250. They have you bring in your bike and set it up on a trainer. Then they use cameras to record your position and pedaling. Plug it into a computer and it shows where your body is out of alignment. They spend about 2 hours getting you all lined up. Once your body is in in line your legs will pump like pistons. Once my fit was complete (took 2 different sessions) I could tell a huge difference in my ability to ride further, faster, and more comfortably.

The other thing I like to tell people is to find your pedaling sweet spot. Find the right gear which will allow you to pedal at a comfortable cadence to go the speed that you want to go. For instance, I ride with a group of friends. One guy has a cadence of 85-95 and my cadence is usually 70-80. I have no problem keeping up with him because I pedal in a harder gear than he does, but to me its very comfortable. Just like snowboarding everyone's feet is different and they should find shoes that fit their feet. Cycling is no different. You know your body and your ability. You should find your own pedaling sweet spot. As you progress in your cycling this should change. This is just how I pace myself for distance rides.

You should also do short rides, where you will want to do some interval training. Mix it up with pedaling fast, using harder gears, and go all out. This helps to train all the different cycling muscles in your legs. If you have lots of hills/mountains to ride then that would be some awesome training too. I live in Houston so it's really flat. We do regularly get 15-25mph winds to ride head on into. Head wind sucks ass, going from riding 18mph to 7mph is the worst.

In terms of energy supplements, nutrition, and hydration there's a few things I like. I usually bring energy gels with me on my rides, but lately as my endurance has improved I have not needed to use them. I like Hammer Gel and Cliff Bar Gels. There's another brand called GU that's very popular. These things will give you a quick shot of energy but it's like trying to down tooth paste. For drinks, I avoid Gatorade. It has way too much sugar and just isn't really a great sports drink. I keep 2 water bottles on my bike. One is just filled with water and the other is filled with Cytomax. Cytomax is an awesome sports drink and I highly recommend it. I also drink it when I'm in lifting. Last, I usually like to bring a banana or some type of snack in bar form for when I get hungry.

Just keep riding and having fun. In no time you will be knocking off Centuries.

Last edited by Danger Mouse; 12-29-2011 at 12:15 PM.
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