How much fitness preparation?

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How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:02 am

After about a month off the bike through Nov. and Dec. I'm now back in form (I think) and ready to take on my first decent tour. Not of epic proportions as many here have tackled but a nice little meander from home in Metung, just east of Bairnsdale, down to Melbourne via South Gippsland and Phillip Island. Stop in Melb. for a night or two and then come back on the train.
There are no time constraints so it doesn't matter if it takes me a month to cover the distance. Done quite a few one or two night short rides in the past but this is the first "big" one. Got all the camping gear and bike worked out, plenty experienced camper in kayaks and on foot but not extended cycle tours.
Just wondering how much, and what sort of physical preparation you guys put in prior to a tour? The last few weeks I've been riding between about 50 and 80K's a day but on an unladen racing bike. Also been kayaking up to five hours per session so the aerobic base is pretty good, I think.
Should I just get "touring fit" as I go or would a more tailored preparation be advised?
Also, if anyone else has ridden this approximate route, got any pointers?
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by BNA » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:29 pm

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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby rifraf » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:29 pm

Tim wrote:Should I just get "touring fit" as I go or would a more tailored preparation be advised?

This works fine :D
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:37 pm

Thanks rifraf, that's more or less as I expected.
Just jump on the bike and go. One or two loose ends to tie up next week and I'll be off.
No set plan other than sourcing water and food topups along the way.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Baalzamon » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:39 pm

Last tour I did, I met up a british cycling touring and he doesn't ride his bike at all unless he is touring. So first day is his first day on the bike.
Starts up small distance and gets bigger into 2 weeks.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:38 pm

You are doing plenty of work already. If possible, plan for shorter days and easy terrain for first week. After you've been zipping around on a road bike, it might be harder to make the mental adjustment to touring pace than the physical. So keep in mind you are on tour, make the mental slowdown, and be sure to take the time to get some photos, explore a little, and smell the flowers.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:13 pm

Thanks Ron and Baalzamon.
From home to Melbourne taking the most direct route down the Princes Hwy is only 300Km's. Traveling the long way, more or less following the coast is probably around 400Km's. I've got tons of time to get there and fully intend enjoying the ride. If I only average 20K's a day it doesn't matter, all the better.
I've been in go slow mode for a while now, gradually recovering fitness after a nasty little eye problem. Too much unprotected sun exposure over the last fifty years. All good now and I'm really looking forward to a relatively leisurely and enjoyable tour. Can't wait!
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:31 pm

Tim wrote:Traveling the long way, more or less following the coast is probably around 400Km's.

Don't forget the Holey Plains State Park (great campsite I believe) and riding the Grand Ridge Road. You could cut from Mirboo North area down to Foster and ride the South Gippsland Railtrail, then on to Inverloch, taking the coast road to Cape Paterson, then to Wonthaggi for the Bass Coast Railtrail. This leads you to Anderson from where you could go to San Remo and Phillip Island. There is a ferry from Cowes to Stony Point, but if you have time you could stop off for an exploration of the marvelously car-free French Island before heading across to the Mornington Peninsula.
Last edited by il padrone on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby rifraf » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:33 pm

Tim wrote:Thanks Ron and Baalzamon.
From home to Melbourne taking the most direct route down the Princes Hwy is only 300Km's. Traveling the long way, more or less following the coast is probably around 400Km's. I've got tons of time to get there and fully intend enjoying the ride. If I only average 20K's a day it doesn't matter, all the better.
I've been in go slow mode for a while now, gradually recovering fitness after a nasty little eye problem. Too much unprotected sun exposure over the last fifty years. All good now and I'm really looking forward to a relatively leisurely and enjoyable tour. Can't wait!

Hi Tim,
just clicked who you are :lol:
Dont forget the sunnies :!:
With what you've been doing you'd be as prepared as if you'd just finished a tour and I seriously doubt if you'll feel much fitter when you finish.
Watch yourself with the current heatwaves and drink plenty of water. Take more than you think is necessary in the water dept as you tend to drink more than
you think riding a loaded bike in the heat, even at a modest pace. Careful not to overdo it.
I tell myself this everytime but always end up doing too much to quickly.
Have a great time - enjoy!!!! :!:
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Tim, given a month I can cover 1200-1500 kms. I reckon you'll be looking to extend your route.

I meant to ask about your kayak - I'm daydreaming about getting a fishing kayak, perhaps an Ocean Prowler Ultra 4.3. What kayak do you have, and how do you use it?
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Cheesewheel » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:51 pm

Tim wrote:After about a month off the bike through Nov. and Dec. I'm now back in form (I think) and ready to take on my first decent tour. Not of epic proportions as many here have tackled but a nice little meander from home in Metung, just east of Bairnsdale, down to Melbourne via South Gippsland and Phillip Island. Stop in Melb. for a night or two and then come back on the train.
There are no time constraints so it doesn't matter if it takes me a month to cover the distance. Done quite a few one or two night short rides in the past but this is the first "big" one. Got all the camping gear and bike worked out, plenty experienced camper in kayaks and on foot but not extended cycle tours.
Just wondering how much, and what sort of physical preparation you guys put in prior to a tour? The last few weeks I've been riding between about 50 and 80K's a day but on an unladen racing bike. Also been kayaking up to five hours per session so the aerobic base is pretty good, I think.
Should I just get "touring fit" as I go or would a more tailored preparation be advised?
Also, if anyone else has ridden this approximate route, got any pointers?


Working up to it is fine - especially if you don't need to be a distance junkie. Just be a bit mindful of tension points on your body (don't worry about what or where they are specifically, they should reveal themselves soon enough :lol: ), since you don't want to bust something up so bad that you should rest it for a week or two mid-tour.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:59 pm

rifraf wrote:Dont forget the sunnies :!: ...and drink plenty of water


I'll be taking a 10 litre water bladder if I need extra water along with a couple of large plastic bidons. If necessary I might take another 10 litre bladder. 20 litres is probably overkill but I can balance up the load with 2 partly filled bladders. Don't go anywhere without the sunnies these days. 8)

The Bass Coast and Great Southern Rail Trails and ferry from Cowes were already on the loosely planned itinerary, thanks IP. A detour to French Island is a fantastic idea. I gather you can jump off the ferry at French Island before hitting the mainland. I'll have to look into it. As mentioned earlier I've got all the time in the world, up to six weeks anyway so I intend soaking up as much scenery as possible, at a fairly idle pace.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:05 pm

Tim wrote:I'll be taking a 10 litre water bladder if I need extra water along with a couple of large plastic bidons. If necessary I might take another 10 litre bladder. 20 litres is probably overkill

In Victoria, even in summer, you will not need 20 litres. Even your 10 litre bladder will very rarely be filled unless you intend heading north of the divide, or bush camping for 3-4 days in a row.

Tim wrote:A detour to French Island is a fantastic idea. I gather you can jump off the ferry at French Island before hitting the mainland.

Yes, I believe that you can do this. Check the ferry timetables.

Tim wrote:I've got all the time in the world, up to six weeks anyway so I intend soaking up as much scenery as possible, at a fairly idle pace.

With that amount of time you could very easily go on to tour the Otways down to Cape Otway, and the Shipwreck Coast all the way to Port Fairy. Bairnesdale to Melbourne via South Gippsland will not take any more than 2 weeks, even at a relaxed pace.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:42 pm

Wow, heaps of replies in rapid succession. I can't keep up. :)

RonK wrote:Tim, given a month I can cover 1200-1500 kms. I reckon you'll be looking to extend your route.

I meant to ask about your kayak - I'm daydreaming about getting a fishing kayak, perhaps an Ocean Prowler Ultra 4.3. What kayak do you have, and how do you use it?


Ron, the pace will be very leisurely with time to stop for a few days or more at the best beach (or bush) locations, maybe even a nice little location such as French Island, thanks again IP.
I have plenty of time to spare (six weeks), but I also want to get back to the Lakes (where I live) for some more kayak camping, especially once the holiday crowds have left.
My kayak is a Wilderness Systems, Tempest 170. It is a 17ft. sea kayak that is made from polypropylene (plastic) rather than fiberglass. I chose plastic as it is more durable than glass in terms of dragging it up the sand and out of sight in the scrub for stealth camping. There are only a couple of designated campsites on the entire Gippsland Lakes National Park and camping is not (strictly) permitted anywhere else. The Parkies are pretty lenient on bushwalkers and kayakers and I follow "leave no trace" principals ie. no fires or rubbish. I can carry enough gear, water and food to keep me going for up to five days. Plastic is generally heavier than fiberglass or (shudder) carbon fiber, much the same as the difference between touring and racing bikes. (I haven't seen a steel kayak yet, more's the pity :D )
I take every opportunity I can to paddle either shorter day trips, overnighters or extended tours. I highly recommend it, I love it and it is a great companion activity to cycling.
I don't bother fishing much these days, there just aren't that many around compared to when I was a kid. The poor old Lakes system has taken a hammering since us white fellas arrived. If fishing is your main priority the "sit on tops" with foot operated paddles are all the rage. If you want to tour and camp then a larger "sit in" is the go. You can still fish from them and fit rod holders, though you have to manage a hand held paddle at the same time although sea kayaks have plenty of elastic shock cord webbing on the deck so the paddle can be secured whilst you handle a rod. If you like the look of it, go for it. :D
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:52 pm

BTW, re. French Island, I forgot it's going to be mid-summer. Make sure you take:

1. Fat tyres at low pressures - sand roads can be quite soft in summer
2. RID - French Is. mossies are legendary, only place mossies have bitten me through jeans :o
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:58 pm

Cheesewheel wrote:Just be a bit mindful of tension points...


Ah yes, I already know where they are; hands, wrists, elbows, neck, back, bum, knees and ankles. Not to mention the mental sort. :D Don't get me started. I'm sounding more and more like my poor old Dad every day. :roll:
That's why I'll be taking it easy.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:11 pm

il padrone wrote: RID - French Is. mossies are legendary, only place mossies have bitten me through jeans :o


I drink Rid for breakfast. "I love the smell of Rid in the mornings". :D
East Gippsland is biting and stinging insect heaven. We live with mossies, march flies, sand flies and ticks a little further east.
Thanks for the advise on sandy roads. My bike has only 35mm tyres. Doesn't matter I'll get off and push if need be. The island is not that large and I'm dead keen on going there. Still, I have been considering wider tyres for some time now. The thing is, most of the tour will be on sealed roads so I'm not sure fitting wider tyres for one smaller section of the trip is warranted.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:17 pm

Just looked at French Is. on Google Maps. There are quite a few K's of roads there. Not as small as I imagined.
One of the four named roads is Mosquito Creek Rd. I won't forget the Rid.
I once lived at a location on the Lakes called Mosquito Point. They don't allocate names like that for no reason.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:43 pm

Tim wrote:I don't bother fishing much these days, there just aren't that many around compared to when I was a kid. The poor old Lakes system has taken a hammering since us white fellas arrived. If fishing is your main priority the "sit on tops" with foot operated paddles are all the rage. If you want to tour and camp then a larger "sit in" is the go. You can still fish from them and fit rod holders, though you have to manage a hand held paddle at the same time although sea kayaks have plenty of elastic shock cord webbing on the deck so the paddle can be secured whilst you handle a rod. If you like the look of it, go for it. :D

I did an overnight sea kayak tour across to Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay some years ago. It piqued my interest and I've been thinking about it ever since. I'm still considering a tour of Bathurst Harbour in Southwest Tasmania with the Roaring Forties kayak company based in Kettering. I had my eye on a fibreglass Necky Looksha Elite, a very classy boat with a cockpit wide enough to accommodate my backside.

But on my Xmas break at Noosa I noticed a proliferation of plastic sit-on fishing kayaks, and discovered on the web that kayak fishing is very big. It's years since I last did much fishing but some of the catches taken from kayaks here really give me the urge to go fishing again.

There are some very classy purpose-built fishing kayaks on offer now. Some, like the Ocean Kayaks Torque even have integrated electric motors, so you can troll a line and have your hands free for the strike. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 has the pedal system you mentioned and can also be operated hands free. And most of the kayaks are stable enough to launch in surf, something that I found very difficult in a sea kayak.

But the one I'm considering is the Ocean Kayaks Prowler Ultra 4.3, which is designed as an all-rounder for use in both surf, estuary and inland waterway. It has a carrying capacity of 195kg, so can carry all my camping gear and supplies for a very long trip.

Kayak fishing like this is kinda inspiring.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:04 pm

Sit-on-top kayaks are very stable and easier to get aboard. I have one (Ocean Kayak Cabo) and use it down the beach with the family. They are probably better suited to fishing than a sea kayak - stability and extra carrying capacity are the major factors, plus some have specific fishing design features.

However for general coastal paddling they are not a match for a sea kayak (which I would like to one day get for some paddling). Sit-on-tops cannot be eskimo-rolled, you go overboard then have to re-board, not always so easy. You have to reach wider to paddle, which is less efficient. Your legs are fully exposed to the conditions, be that sun, rain or cold. Extra protection is needed for this if you're out all day. They also have an internal compartment that is all one big space, not compartmentalised - not so easy to carry gear and keep it in place or accessible. Also, in a dire circumstance, a leak may render the kayak into a stone :( . They are not nearly as sleek and easy to paddle over long distances as a sea-kayak.

Just what I have learned over the past 4-5 years, but I'm no expert.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby RonK » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:18 pm

il padrone wrote:Sit-on-top kayaks are very stable and easier to get aboard. I have one (Ocean Kayak Cabo) and use it down the beach with the family. They are probably better suited to fishing than a sea kayak - stability and extra carrying capacity are the major factors, plus some have specific fishing design features.

However for general coastal paddling they are not a match for a sea kayak (which I would like to one day get for some paddling). Sit-on-tops cannot be eskimo-rolled, you go overboard then have to re-board, not always so easy. You have to reach wider to paddle, which is less efficient. Your legs are fully exposed to the conditions, be that sun, rain or cold. Extra protection is needed for this if you're out all day. They also have an internal compartment that is all one big space, not compartmentalised - not so easy to carry gear and keep it in place or accessible. Also, in a dire circumstance, a leak may render the kayak into a stone :( . They are not nearly as sleek and easy to paddle over long distances as a sea-kayak.

Just what I have learned over the past 4-5 years, but I'm no expert.

Well, according to the staff at Rosco Canoes & Kayaks, the correct number of kayaks one should have is n + 1. Sounds familiar.

The Necky Looksha Elite probably ranks as kayak porn. And there is a carbon version.
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby rifraf » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:19 am

I get the feeling those things are shark burly.
I was keen to get one when I arrived in WA as I'm close to the beach, but there were a couple of munchings that saw me change my mind.
Only the Kayaks got bitten thank goodness but I found seeing the two pieces some what disconcerting and chose to have ask for a raincheck
on my possible purchase. :shock:
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby il padrone » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:55 am

rifraf wrote:I get the feeling those things are shark burly.

No more than surfboards, surfskis or swimmers :idea:

Of course if you go taking any of these near a seal colony you're likely to be mistaken for 'FOOD' :wink:
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:24 pm

rifraf wrote: ...there were a couple of munchings...


Not half as dangerous or scary as a load of bogans in a Commadore, or rednecks in a raised Hilux with spotlights on the roof. :D
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:47 pm

rifraf wrote:I get the feeling those things are shark burly.

hehe - well, you picked WA. Of the fatal shark attacks this century, half were in WA waters.

Good fun fishing though...
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Re: How much fitness preparation?

Postby Tim » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:51 pm

Packed up and ready to go. Departing Sat am. First stop Wattle Point/Blond Bay on the edge of the lake. I'll be due for a swim by then. :D After that, who knows?
Loaded up with what feels like tons of food. Diet is going to be based mainly on oats, bran, nuts (cashews and almonds), dates, powdered milk, Sustagen, coffee and brown sugar and a few bits of fresh fruit. Plan on eating plenty in pubs, cafes and restaurants along the way. Catch and kill the rest. :D
Report back in a few weeks time. See ya''ll all later.
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