Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

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Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby kibnedyo » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:27 pm

Greetings or is that Dear Dorothy,

I have been training (?) for the Rainforest ride in under 2 weeks and had though i was progressing quite well but today am a little worried.

Today I did heavy hills circuit plus misjudged the wind so ended with a 40 klm ride into a reasonable headwind. Trip was solo for 78klms averaging a shade over 25.5klms with the last 5 klms comfortable in the 25-30klm range only on the small cog but I feel pretty tired immediately following the trip. I hand plenty of fluids 750ml before start, 2 x electrolyte drink bottles and 1.5 bottles plain water by stopping to fill up on the way. Food included a sandwich consumed at a quick break off the bike. Today was much warmer so I drank much more than last week which was only 1.5l total.

Last weeks group ride of similar distance (72klm) averaging 28kmh seemed much easier and had me feeling much more confident of making 140klms even with a big hill climb near the start. A flat course ride 2 weeks earlier on beach road for 80klms also seemed like a doddle averaging 24kmh even amongst traffic lights etc again solo. I had been feeling quite confident till today.

Typically training I have been averaging 140-150klm+ per week for the last 12 weeks on the road bike and have added hills and other variations +/or often including a longer trip of around 70-80klms week time permitting in the last 4 weeks. In that time average speed has increased from around 23kmh to 25.5 kmh on solo runs including hills. By hills I count the trips that require more climbing than coasting. I'm no pro, but at 46yo am pleased with maintaining an average of over 25kmh on trips including parts of the recent worlds road course near Buninyong including the climb out of Buninyong. But as said earlier, I am feeling the drain of the ride today although after an hour and another 750ml h20 feel I could get out on the bike again if I had too.

Up till now work and family committments have dented my training time, but have nagged enough to financial officer to be able to get a trainer so can make use of times I need to be home to be able to increase saddle time/distance. Alas the slush fund is temporarily emptied gearing up after purchasing the road bike 3 months ago. The RR will the the first of a series of 100+ klm rides I hope to do in the lead up to the RTB in 2010.

I guess you can see the dilemma as I have yet to tackle a distance over 100klms. I do not plan to attack the RR as hard as todays ride as I have approached it as a social event and will probably be happy planning low expectations to maintiain around 20kmh average (yes likely 7+ hours in the saddle, knowing me if feeling ok the average will be higher), but have I taken on too big a target? Do I cut and run with my tail between my legs, or are there tricks/advice out there to survive my first big ride for a long long time. Will it be as simple as breaking it into 3 or 4 legs with at least one longer 60 min break in between?

I guess it is a fear that the initial climb out of Apollo Bay (approx 500m vertical height) will take too much out of me near the days start.
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by BNA » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:25 am

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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby drubie » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:25 am

If you can do 70km you can do 100 - especially if the event is catered and you plan to stop. I reckon a few 20 minute breaks rather than 60 might be better though.
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby Missy24 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:41 am

You'll be fine... I assume that your doing the 140km, did I read that?

Stay hydrated, rest when you need to and use the rest stops, from memory of looking at the course, there are two climbs and the rest is primarily flat.

You gotta try it... if you don't try it you wont know.

About knowing when you've had enough... On Sunday that just went I was at the Kelly Country Classics, mentally I was good but physically I had no strength left in me to go above 25km per hour... Pulled out at 125km, knowing that I physically could not go another 5 hours in the saddle. Its hard to admit that you've had enough and need to stop... but its either admit it or go home in an ambulance and take a lot longer to recover.
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby kibnedyo » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Thanks Missy,

I think it's the thought of the 5-6% climb for the better part of 10klms near the start that is playing on my mind. I'll take the advice from Drubie and keep breaks a shorter but at most of the water stops. I've mapped out a drink/carbo/isotonic strategy for the day, but have allowed for a stinking hot day too. After Sunday's ride, despite drinking plenty I forced down another bottle and felt good enough afterwards to go riding again about an hour later, so it was probably a momentary energy drain.

Almost did the Kelly Country too, but had other committments involving our beautiful daughter and inter-country cultural day involving groups from most of the countries international adoptions to Austraila. I'm kinda lucky to have more than one fun event to choose from. The social butterfly had a great day partying too. Give her a bowl of sugar (in any form) and music to dance too and She's there!

Yes, I've signed up for the 140klm ride.
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby KenGS » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:09 pm

Missy conveniently forgot to mention the 200km hills ride she did the Tuesday before the Kelly Classic as the primary reason for her exhaustion.

From the perspective of a 48yo who did my first climb of Donna Buang a few weeks back (6% for 18km) my advice is to forget average speeds and go with whatever speed feels comfortable and most importantly sustainable. I just got into the lowest gear and trundled up at about 70rpm or less.
From the training you say you have been doing you will be fine. Just be patient and don't blow up on the first climb.
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby kibnedyo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:23 pm

Yes I remember reading that somewhere. Since she got the new bike, it's been hard to get her off.

Kinda undersand it too. I'm getting that way already planning 100+klm rides after the Rainforest.

Apart from that first hill, i'm looking forward to the rest of the ride. Beautiful scenery.
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby steveoc » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:21 am

You sound like you are doing great.

Sounds like its the first 10km of climbing that is getting to your head at the moment, and that's understandable. But hey - how exciting !! Ill bet you feel fitter and younger now than you might have been at 40.

I found these tools very useful for preparing for rides that include climbing sections, works well if you like the scientific approach and playing with numbers :

http://bikecalculator.com/wattsMetric.html
http://bikecalculator.com/tripMetric.html

The first link allows you to calculate your average power output over a course. Do this on the flats for a while, so you can get an idea of what 200 Watts vs 300 Watts 'feels' like .. and you can then sort of calibrate your efforts, and have confidence in how long you can sustain that output without wearing yourself down. If you know you can average 200 Watts over an hour without tiring .. then use that as your baseline.

The second link allows you to examine an upcoming course by splitting it into sections (like 10km of 6% climb, 20km of 1% downhill with a 5km/h headwind ....etc). Plug in the power output you expect to maintain over each section, and it will tell you how long it will take to get through that section, and how much energy you will burn through to get there. Average speed is just a derived value, so don't worry about chasing the speedometer, try and stick to riding by effort instead.

Now you will have some hard numbers to plan your big ride. You might say in this case - OK, Im going to just concentrate on maintaining a consistent effort of around 200 Watts over that first 10km climb at 6%, which should get me to the top of them within 50-60 minutes. Dont even look at the speedo, dont look up the hill too much .. just find a good wheel to follow, keep your eye on the clock and carefully meter out your efforts to last over an hour. Vary your pedal stroke to use different muscles, and give other muscles a break. Before you know it, the hill will be over.

When you hit that point, eat 600 Cal (2400KJ) worth of food to replace what you burnt on the climb (or whatever the calculations say you should have burnt up), drink up, and then settle into a pace to conquer the next section. Its not really a big daunting 140km ride you are doing - its a series of smaller courses that you are stringing together.

For the next section, you might plan that as a 'recovery' section - put out maybe 150 Watts for the next half an hour, before hitting the next section where you want to push the pace harder.

You can even package your food up to match the waypoints on the ride - if you know in advance what the energy consumption is likely to be, you can package that many grams of carbs to be eaten at that waypoint to balance it.

In your training as well, take good note of your water consumption and weight losses over known sections ... calculate your sweat rate accordingly, and then plan your drinking in advance.

Another thing you can do with really bad climbs is to make notes on the hill in ultra shorthand, write them on a little self-adhesive label, and stick them on your stem and handlebars. You can 'recon' any potentially killer sections in google earth, or perhaps a youtube vid .. and encode the climb in terms of turns or other landmarks. Gives you something to gauge your progress up the hill, and let you know that it will soon be over.

Get yourself a good rest day leading up to the ride .. do nothing at all, eat like a pig, read a book, sleep in, be lazy. Then a good light spin session the day before the event to loosen up and feel confident. A little bit of fear is a good thing though, so soak it up.

Sounds like a great ride - hope you kick a** champ. Let us all know how it goes, and what worked for you when you get it under your belt.

And don't forget to stop occasionally and take some photos !!
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby steveoc » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:27 am

One more thing : Mike Cotty's Sportive Survival Guides :

Part 1 - Climbing .. brilliant !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRFNKhNhhJQ
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Re: Have I done enough for my first big ride in 20 years?

Postby kibnedyo » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:11 am

Ill bet you feel fitter and younger now than you might have been at 40.


Make that abut 38. I used to run up to 100klm a week for many years till the knees wore out. It's a hereditary thing on my Father's side. Pain induced inactivity and weight ballooned. Cycling doesn't affect the joint much at all, but at some point I'll probably beep as I go through airport security.

Adopting a little girl from Korea last year provided the catalyst to get off my butt after some time procrastinating over anxiety caused by an unwelcome altercation with a truck 20 years ago. Three months in I've lost 7+ kgs without changing diet much. Fitness must have improved too as average for a hills course has lept by nearly 5kph over 30+klms. Much of the improvement has been within the last month. The only down side(?) is it gives me incentive to tackle longer and more difficult rides and to join groups rides around town.

The bike has been brilliant and living in Ballarat provides great places to ride away from heavy traffic. Like running I find it great stress relief, plus the added fitness allow me to enjoy an energetic and intelligent 2yo.

Funny thing about the calculators; My own dead reckoning is very close to the calculated total time using the calculator. What is of benefit though is a section by section estimate allowing me to work to a plan during the ride. I've added this link to my biking favourites. There are a couple of sections that are longer than two bidons worth so I now plan to take the camel bak with water as reserve to the sports drinks in the cages. This is where the calculator has been handy.

Apart from allowing the first climb to intimidate, I am looking forward to the rest of the ride.


Thanks for all the encouragement.
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