Long Distance Ride training


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  1. #1

    Long Distance Ride training

    So, I 've scoured the internet looking for some tips on training for a long distance ride. I have found a bunch of "stuff" but it is good to hear from people who can talk back.

    My local club asked me to do a ride they are calling the "Gritty's Triple". Basically, we ride from the Gritty's in Freeport to the Gritty's in Portland, to the Gritty's in Auburn, finishing at the Freeport location. It is a 75 miler to raise funds for one of the guys to do the Cancervive (http://www.cancervive.ca) ride. Check the link...it's pretty fascinating.


    So far, the longest distance I have ridden is 50 miles. Not sure how to prep for the last 25. Nutrition/ hydration is a concern as is pacing. I have been riding steady for the past 4 months. Basically, I am not sure where to go from here.

    Any advice would be helpful. The ride isn't a race, it's more a "challenge".

  2. #2
    50 to 75 physically shouldn't be that big of a deal (less maybe little extra soreness to your backside when you finally get out of the saddle ) as long as nutritionally you're ready for it. My local cycling club has about 20 members riding in The Flatest Century Ever ride in SE Mass and RI next weekend, and as such the regular group rides that the club has been doing have been increasing in their mileage over the last few months. My cycle club is very active with plenty of e-mail and facebook and club blog updates happening almost daily, and the number one tip when long distance endurance rides are being discussed is nutrition and hydration (pre-ride, during the ride, and post ride), since unless the last portion of the ride has some "Tour De France mountain top finish style" endings to it, physically you should be ready for it (as long as you still have enough "gas in the tank")

    For myself personally my regular rides are in the 30 to 40 mile range, and i've become quite used to the demands that rides of those lengths place on my body from a hydration and nutritional standpoint. What I've found when I plan on going for a longer ride (50 miler, metric century, etc) is that I need to force myself to increase the amount of both fluids and nutrtional supplements (My personal favorite is Hammer Brand Gel Packs) over what I would usually take in over those 1st 30 to 40 miles. It took a few times for me to have significant "bonks" out past that 40 mile mark, for me to realize that I needed to "fuel" myself more, at an earlier point in my ride to enable myself to go the extra miles/hour(s) in the seat without any significant changes in my performance in the saddle.

    For example, one of the usual group rides I do is a 35 mile loop that ends up typically at about an 18mph average. In those roughly 2 hours in the saddle, I'd typcially take in 1 to 2 24oz bottles (depending on how hot/cool it is outside) of a protein/carb based sports drink (I personally like a product called Generation UCAN - it works very well for my body) and then at about 2/3rds of the way into the ride, shortly before there's a 1.25 mile climb with a 7% average grade, I'd take in a Hammer Gel Packet, and that overall combo would keep me feeling good for the entire ride. If i'm riding say 50 or beyond, what i've learned that I need to do to keep my body going is that in that same say 1st 2 hours, I need to be drinking between 2 to 3 bottles of my same sports drink and take in a Gel packet about every 12 to 15 miles to enbale me to maintain the energy levels and avoid the dreaded "bonk" I then maintain that liquid + gel pack intake ratio all the way to the end of my ride, every now and then if it's really warm and humid out do have to increase my fluid intake over that rate. I've also learned that for a long ride (4+ hours for me) that if I don't feel atleast some need to pee by the 1/2 way point of the ride that I need to increase my fluid intake rate, and if I've managed everything correctly, at the end of the ride I'm feeling an equal need/want to eat something, drink something AND find the bathroom!

    It took me bonking a few times to realize just how close my "usual" hydration and nutrition intake was getting me to the "bonk zone" and learn where my bodies typical endurance limit was. Now that I know where my "bonk threshhold" is, I can truely say that physically there isn't a heck of a lot of difference between a 50 mile ride and a 75 mile ride.

    So just experiment a bit with different types of sports drinks and nutrional supplements before hand so you'll reach mile 75 feeling good!
    Last edited by drjeff; Aug 30, 2012 at 3:03 PM.
    '07--08 season: 51 Days, '08-'09 season: 55 Days, '09-'10 season: 41 Days, '10-'11 season: 49 days, '11-'12 season: 40 Days '12-'13 season: 57 days, '13-'14 season, 60 days '14-'15 season 60 days, '15-'16 season 52 days, '16-'17 season: 50 days, '17-'18 season 52 days, '07-'18 seasons: 567 Days

  3. #3
    You're already there. If you can already ride 50 miles, a one day ride of 75 will be no problem. Ease into the day, spin more and mash less than you normally might, and keep your MPH down slightly compared to normal. Eat and drink more than you normally might. Take an extra break or two. You'll have no problem going 75 unless 50 was a real hardship. Enjoy!
    TheSnowWay.com "Skiing is not a sport, it is a way of life." - Otto Schniebs

  4. #4
    Thanks for all the tips.

    Been out quite a bit lately. Did 55 on Monday. I went through 2 - 24 oz water bottles no problem. My average mile was down significantly (from 18.5 to 15.5) but I made it. I was hoping to hit 60. Last night on the club ride, I tried adding a GU packet to my routine. The original ride was scheduled for a 22 miler so I added 10 before hand. When I met up with the group, I downed the GU and carried on. The upside was, rather than being an average speed of 18, this ride was a hammer-fest. (almost beyond my ability) They were upwards of 25 mph for most of the time. I figured it would be my interval workout for the next couple of days.

    If you are interested, here is a link to the back-story behind the ride we are doing next weekend:


  5. #5
    So, the ride has come and gone. 76 miles total with an average pace of 3:33/ mile. Pretty average for me but pace it out over 76 and it seemed like a decent first effort.

    The ride was gorgeous, the route took us along the coast through Portland, up through central Maine, and back to Gritty's Brew Pub in Freeport for beer and burgers. I was in the top 1/3 of the riders. (which is either sad or impressive depending on perspective) The first 15 guys ran as a pack and they were just unstoppable fast. They finished 45 min ahead of our group (which was the second group in)

    I ended the ride feeling like I could have done a little more, but I was glad I didn't have to.

    I nailed the hydration and nutrition: tons of water Saturday, a bunch throughout the day Sunday, 2 GU packs along the ride, 2 bananas, and some PB&J they were giving out at the rest stops. Oddly enough, on my ride tonight, I went through 25 oz of water in the first hour when on Sunday it took me forever to finish my first water bottle. I probably needed to drink more throughout the day today. Tonights ride was good but slow and my legs were a bit sore.

    This ride has helped me realize that, just as Riverc0il said I would, I think I want to upgrade the wheels. The mavics that are on there now are probably fine but it seems like I should be able to roll easier and coast longer...I feel like they are not as stiff as they should be. (or, I could get more out of something a little more stiff) Since I am at the point where putting 2k miles on a year will hopefully be standard, the wheel upgrade might be the first thing to make sense/ help benefit my riding.

    Well...that and getting less fat.

  6. #6
    3:33/mile would be almost 17 MPH, pretty good for a first distance ride! Unless you were in a pace line, then not so good.

    Good job on the nutrition and hydration. That is where I got creamed when I did my first century ride. That and trying to solo the entire thing without sucking any wheels.

    Not sure where I suggested a wheel upgrade? Maybe it was a different thread. Regardless, wheels are usually a great way to upgrade a cheap bike. Though, I have to ask, why are you coasting so much that you need to coast longer? Keep that cadence up and you won't slow down. As they say: Cheap, Light, Strong, pick two.

    Wish I was in shape for some distance riding now that fall is here. Work has really ground me down after several weeks of 12-14 hour days, six days a week. Did a ride for the first time in almost four weeks yesterday and it was pathetic.
    TheSnowWay.com "Skiing is not a sport, it is a way of life." - Otto Schniebs

  7. #7
    Thanks. No pace line...I pretty much rode the whole thing solo. (I had a group of 3 others but we were spaced out after the second rest stop)

    The wheel upgrade was in a prior thread about buying my first road ride. The coasting only comes into play when going down hill. Usually I am just spinning away but I feel like I lose a lot of momentum on the descent. Also feel similarly on the climb. It is possible that is just the way it is and I am currently running Mavic CXP22's on my Tarmac. Seem soft. Again...could just be that's the way they should feel.

    I hear you about the crazy hours. In the summer, 12 hour days are ok because there is still light either before you start or slightly after. Now...not so much.

  8. #8
    congrats on completing it, sounds like a fun ride

  9. #9
    train your brain and your body will follow.

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