Author Topic: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!  (Read 6602 times)

GuitarStv

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GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« on: June 02, 2018, 07:19:12 PM »
I've been trying to increase the distance of my weekend bike rides without dropping the speed too much this year, with the eventual goal of 160 km (100 miles) in around 5 hours.  Today I did a 130 km loop with 2200 ft of climbing on a fairly windy day in an unfamiliar area in four hours and thirty five minutes on my 25 lb steel touring bike . . . which I was pretty happy with.

It has been a slow, incremental process of dialing in each part of my bike fit.  Last year I got the reach and saddle/handlebar drop just right.  I spent a hundred and fifteen bucks and changed my saddle to a Specialized Power Arc this year (can't recommend it enough if you want to spend long periods of time in the drops but usually find that your balls go numb), which has radically improved ass/'nads soreness on long rides, and have added a behind the saddle water bottle mount so I can carry three 750 mL bottles with me (two bottles works for me in the 80-100 km range, but not more than that or I end up super dehydrated and feel hung over the next day . . . and I hate stopping to spend money on water).

I'm about 195 lbs at the moment and am running a 28 mm front and 32 mm rear tire at 75 and 80 psi respectively.  This is great for the crappy roads that we've got around here (and works OK when I get a bit lost and end up unexpectedly riding rougher gravel).

Keeping sweat out of my eyes has been a big problem in the past as well.  You start working hard going up a climb, and then when you crest the top you've got so much stinging sweat rolling into your eyes that you can't safely enjoy the descent.  I've tried an old 1980s style fuzzy sweat band, a cotton cycling cap, headscarf thingie, a sweat wicking cycling cap, even some kind of plastic gutter thing that's supposed to redirect the sweat to near your ears  . . . all of them end up dripping into my glasses/eyes after a while, since I'm leaning forward.  I've settled on a Halo II headband, which is your typical sweat wicking headband with some kind of rubber sweat stopping thing in it.  It sounded like a goofy idea when I read about it, but it works really well on a bike.

I'll usually bring three or four bananas and 10 - 15 big dates on a ride (along with some gatorade mix from powder in 2/3 of my bottles), but found an online recipe for peanut butter and chocolate oat energy bars a couple weeks back and made a batch . . . so was trying them out today.  Seems OK.
 At least it's lighter than the bananas.

lhamo

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2018, 07:42:17 PM »
Wow -- I was reading yesterday about people who do the famous Seattle to Portland ride in 1 day.  203 miles.  Not my idea of fun.  I did manage to ride 23 miles yesterday on a bike that I am learning is much too small for me.  Looking at proper touring bikes, but hard to find them in stock in XS frame sizes to try out, and the idea of sinking $1k+ on a bike I'm not sure will fit properly is scary.  Mad at REI for not having their ADV 1.1 touring model in my size -- at least there I could return it if it doesn't work out. 

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 06:55:41 AM »
Usually you can make a too small bike fit OK for you by putting a longer stem on it, dropping the handlebar position, and raising the saddle.  You might also try moving the saddle fore-aft position back a little bit.

Going a long distance on a bike is really just a matter of stubbornness.  At a moderate pace with lots of breaks, anyone can ride long distances.  If you want to ride long distances quickly, that's where things start to get uncomfortable.  :P




Solo vs Group Riding - I end up going faster when with a group, and can go about 10 - 20% further for the same level of discomfort.  (If you can do 80% of your distance on a solo ride, you'll be able to do the full distance on a group ride.)  Just make sure that you find a group that's going at a pace you can maintain . . . and if you're huffing and puffing to keep up at the back, don't take a pull on the front.  You'll just blow up and get dropped.

Cleat positioning - I had always understood that the cleat on your cycling shoe should be placed under the ball of your foot . . . somewhere between the lump of the first joint of your big toe and the lump of the first joint of your little toe.  This is the way that I set mine up for a long time.  Then I did some reading about mid-foot cleats, and started playing around with things a bit to see how it would change things.  About 1-2 cm closer to the heel from the typical position is much better for long rides.  Although the first few rides like this will feel a little odd, it ends up reducing the amount of stress on your calf muscle.  This means less cramping and soreness.  (You do have to remember to lower your saddle a bit though, because the further back cleat position will mean your feet don't reach as far down.)

Handlebars:  The age old wisdom of picking a road handlebar (measuring the width between the bony protrusions on your shoulders and then adding 2 cm) tells me that I should ride with a 45 cm wide handlebar.  That is crazy wide, and the bars that I feel most comfy on are 38 mm from hood to hood, flared outward at the drops to 40 mm.  Narrower bars are supposed to be more aerodynamic too, but the key reason I like them is less shoulder soreness.  I like a deep traditional drop on my bars because it gives very different positions when shifting around.  In the drops I'm very low, on the hoods I'm far forward, on the tops I'm very upright.  Being able to move between these positions helps to reduce discomfort more than with the compact bars I've tried.

Laserjet3051

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 12:51:04 PM »
On long (and short) road rides I run at least 100 psi. While its certainly not a plush ride, the higher pressure does afford increased efficiency. But as you mentioned, you have crappy roads, so perhaps its necessary.

I'm certainly no ultra-light fanatic, as a few grams here or there on a short to mid ride makes little difference, but on long rides such as you are targeting, the weight really adds up; a 25 lb bike is pretty heavy, do you have a lighter road bike?

I'm with you on the handlebar drops, I love transitioning between the different hand positions on long rides, makes a huge difference. Not to mention the forced aero tuck while in the drops when cruising DH at high speed.

Interesting point on cleat placement, Ive thought about it but never tried adjusting. Do you have your saddle height (and position) perfectly dialed in? Just a few mm can make gobs of difference......as I'm sure you already know. Congrats on the 2200 ft climb ride stats; impressive on a 25lb'er.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 03:28:41 PM »
On long (and short) road rides I run at least 100 psi. While its certainly not a plush ride, the higher pressure does afford increased efficiency. But as you mentioned, you have crappy roads, so perhaps its necessary.

My understanding (and you can correct me if I'm wrong on this) is that higher pressure increases efficiency only to a point.  Beyond that point, you're not gaining anything efficiency-wise but you're definitely making the ride less comfortable.  On rough roads (chipseal, hard packed gravel, and just really bad asphalt) higher pressures are actually supposed to be less efficient because you bounce over the obstacles rather than the tire deforming around them.

As mentioned, I'm running a 28 mm tire at the front, and a 32 at the rear.  I've pumped the 28 up to 95 psi, and a couple hours into the ride the buzz and vibration starts to make my hands really go numb.  Double wrapping the bars makes it a bit better, but after checking my times over a few weeks, I'm not convinced that there's much efficiency gain to be made there.  100 in a 32 mm tire would be quite uncomfortable.

I'm certainly no ultra-light fanatic, as a few grams here or there on a short to mid ride makes little difference, but on long rides such as you are targeting, the weight really adds up; a 25 lb bike is pretty heavy, do you have a lighter road bike?

That is my light bike.  25 lbs is in ready to ride condition . . . with pedals, bottle cages, saddlebag (multi-tool, quick link, tube, tire levers), and frame pump (not including the 5 lbs of liquid that 2.25 L adds of course).  I'm almost 200 lbs too . . . so don't get super excited about bike weight.  Anything I lose on the hills in a group ride I'll make up on the descents and flats.  :P

Which brings me to another point:

GEARING:
A front triple is awesome.  I've got a 30-39-50.  I might only switch into the granny ring once or twice on a long ride (usually if I misjudged a climb, and end up falling apart mid way up), but it's really nice to have.  The reason that a front triple is awesome is that you can run a 25-11 cassette in the back and have loads of tightly spaced gearing for every kind of situation.  When you go up hills slower than everyone else, and crank along the flats quicker than most you want those options.


Interesting point on cleat placement, Ive thought about it but never tried adjusting. Do you have your saddle height (and position) perfectly dialed in? Just a few mm can make gobs of difference......as I'm sure you already know.

Yep, have done plenty of playing around with my saddle adjustment.  Doing the KOPS fore-aft adjustment doesn't work for me.
I just move it as far back as possible, then start sliding it forward until I can't unweight my hands over the hoods any more.  Then it goes back a couple mm.  This tends to put me a bit behind what KOPS seems to advise, but is much more comfortable.  Height is pretty easy for me to adjust . . . which is good because I get pain over the kneecap when it's too high.  Basically the 'put the heel on the pedal and spin backwards until you're just barely able to keep your hips from rocking' test seems to place me right where I need to be.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 09:32:39 AM »
Food and Drugs Edition!

Caffeine:
Yes!

Seriously though, study after study has shown the benefit of consuming caffeine prior to participating in an endurance event.  You go farther and report less discomfort.  You do not need 10 RedBulls though (and may God have pity on your tummy if you try it).  Anything over three cups of coffee isn't really going to be beneficial, but even just a single cup of coffee is significantly beneficial.  Caffeine stays active for about three hours in your blood before gradually dropping off, so if you're doing a coffee stop it would be good to plan one at around this time.

I don't typically consume caffeine during the week unless I'll be cycling, usually just having a cup of coffee immediately before heading out on my ride.


Baking Soda:
So, it turns out that this is legitimately a performance enhancing drug (read up about it - there's real science proving it . . . unlike most claimed performance enhancing supplements).  You consume 0.2 - 0.3 g / kg of baking soda mixed with water 2 hours prior to your activity and it reduced muscle acidity . . . which prevents that burning you get from lactic acid build up.  Having read this, and being curious (no burning muscles during a ride sounds good, right) I worked out that at 88 kgs I need 4.4 - 6.6 tsp of baking soda.

So, several weeks back I tossed five teaspoons of the vile shit into a mug of cold water, stirred it, and chugged.  Well, I tried to chug.  After about 1/4 of the mug was gone my gag reflex took over and I set the mug down.  Which gave me enough time to taste how truly horrific this mixture actually is.  I steeled my mind and repeated the whole process twice . . . but just could not force any more of this creamy white, weird, salty mixture down.  This was just the beginning of my journey of discomfort however.

So, I've got a pretty tough stomach.  In my adult life I've felt queasy only a handful of times.  I've thrown up exactly three times (alcohol, food poisoning, food poisoning).  My stomach immediately felt queasy.  Then lots of burping started.  This went on for an hour or so, gradually worsening.  This whole time I'm thinking 'Well, this was probably a mistake'.  After about an hour, the rumblings in my tummy wanted out.  REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted out.  I stumbled to the washroom and UNLEASHED THE FURY.  It felt like all my internal organs had been liquefied and pressurized.  Afterwards, I'm sitting there . . . kinda dazed, still nauseous, still burping, thinking 'damn, this better not ruin my bike ride in an hour'.  Also thinking 'Fuck, I need to eat something if I'm going to go on that ride'.  Then the eruption happened again.  And again.  This was like a 45 minute procedure of worsening condition and apparent imminent death.

One hour and 45 minutes later though, everything was cool!  Burping stopped, I was able to eat some breakfast.  I didn't weigh myself, but certainly felt lighter.  The bike ride went fine (although there did have some concern that an emergency stop might be needed if the tummy rumblings returned).  Maybe the burning in my legs was less?  I was feeling so happy to not be dead that the rest of the day was kinda a happy blissful fog to be honest.  In conclusion - baking soda as performance enhancer - not entirely recommended.  Unless you're a little overweight and will be doing a lot of climbing.  :P


Beets!
Beet juice is amazing stuff for your heart.  Again, this has been pretty heavily studied.  Optimum dosing is 5-600ml juice . . . which is like 6 - 7 beets juiced.  I don't have a juicer, so will typically peel and eat about a lb of raw beets before going on a bike ride and wash it down with a bunch of water.  No tummy problems or upset (you will pee some cool colours when you make a pit stop though, so mentally prepare yourself for that).  You will also poop some interesting colours the next day . . . unless of course you did the baking soda thing and are a poopless husk.  It may be entirely in my head, but I feel like I ride better after eating the beets.  Note - always eat the beets on an empty stomach  .  .  . because beets are gross, and if you're kinda full you won't do it.



Food:
I did the plain oatmeal before a big ride thing for quite a while . . . but always ended up being hungry.  Then I tried adding peanut butter and chocolate chips to the oats, which worked a lot better.  These days I'm on to pancakes though.  I mix up a batch of buttermilk pancakes, and throw into the batter several large scoops of chia seeds.  After frying in butter, I like to top with bananas and blueberries and a healthy quantity of fake maple syrup (you can take your gross distilled tree blood somewhere else thank you very much.  Aunt Jemima and I get along just fine.)  This seems to keep me full for at least a couple hours.

Laserjet3051

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 09:44:23 AM »
I seem to be the only one running a triple crank on the road......and I don't regret it. Like you, it affords great versatility on dramatically changing inclinations. There are some ungodly steep climbs in my neck of the woods, I really dont think my legs could take that beating on a compact (double) crank. The extra weight of a triple is neglible imho.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 07:07:28 AM »
I seem to be the only one running a triple crank on the road......and I don't regret it. Like you, it affords great versatility on dramatically changing inclinations. There are some ungodly steep climbs in my neck of the woods, I really dont think my legs could take that beating on a compact (double) crank. The extra weight of a triple is neglible imho.

Yeah, I'll never understand the current fad of removing the front derailleur entirely.  It's an incredibly mechanically simple part that rarely needs maintenance or adjustment.  Weight-wise, the derailleur is like 80 grams and the extra chainring is maybe what, 70?

Miss Tash

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 09:58:43 AM »
I do some long distance rides, too, and am enjoying your pain and suffering!  If you want the baking soda benefits without the side effects try Sport Legs tablets.  There's enough online reviews that I won't reiterate them here.  Also, Assos Chamois Cream.  Expensive, but worth it.
You triple guys are a dying breed.  Compact crank with 11-32 in the back.  I can climb trees with this rig and keep up on the rollers.  It's hard to explain why I like it so much better than my old triple except that shifting is a non-issue now.  I don't have to think about it.
Have you ever demo'd a bike with different gearing? 

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 10:39:28 AM »
Yes, I've tried a 2x11 setup.  It's certainly usable . . . but I just didn't feel there was any real advantage to it.  I don't really think about what gear I'm in with a triple either - after a couple thousand kilometers with a shifting system you just tend to go into autopilot (my winter bike uses bar end shifters, and a front triple . . . again, don't think about it  - the shifting just happens).

The 1x setups are garbage though.  The gaps between gears are significant enough to be noticeable.  It's a serious downgrade unless you typically ride around crosschained with a front derailleur.  The 1x system lets you be permanently cross-chained, so is a lot more convenient for this type of rider.  :P



You did remind me though, thank you . . .


Chamois Cream:
Always on a long ride, use extra if it's raining or very hot weather!  I use it mostly on the balls/leg crease area and will put a small amount between the balls/arse area.  Anything over 80 km and I'll tend to get saddle sores from rubbing/friction/sweat without it.  Apply to your body and pull your shorts up.  If you put it on the shorts and then pull up, it feels really cold, clammy, and icky.

Slee_stack

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 02:01:12 PM »
I seem to be the only one running a triple crank on the road......and I don't regret it. Like you, it affords great versatility on dramatically changing inclinations. There are some ungodly steep climbs in my neck of the woods, I really dont think my legs could take that beating on a compact (double) crank. The extra weight of a triple is neglible imho.

Yeah, I'll never understand the current fad of removing the front derailleur entirely.  It's an incredibly mechanically simple part that rarely needs maintenance or adjustment.  Weight-wise, the derailleur is like 80 grams and the extra chainring is maybe what, 70?
Horses for courses. 

If someone will be alpine riding, you probably want as high a ratio range as possible...keep the derailleur.

If you live in less extreme elevation you may not need it.  I have a 2-up on my ride bike and a 3-up on my city bike.   I think I actually used the front derail. on my road bike a couple times in the past year....I'm not sure I've ever shifted the front on my city bike.  I do just leave the derailleurs on...but I don't really use or need them.

On dirt its a whole other story though.

I've never missed a front derailleur since removing it when I first got the bike (partially assembled).  1x11 is more than adequate for my typical XC/AM rides and with a NW front ring ....NO CHAINDROP!!!!   I mean EVER!!!   Chain drops suck big time and can be painful as hell if pushing hard on a gnarly climb.  I have a few scars to remind me of 'wonderful' front derailleurs.

Of course if you only ride pavement, gravel, and smooth dirt, its probably a non-concern.

As an aside, I got a recommendation from a friend the other day I hadn't though about.  This applies to all bikes and long rides. ...

If you are starting to lose your near vision, its a good idea to carry a cheap pair of reading glasses with you.   If you have a technical problem and need to be messing with chain pins (or any other tiny item), you will be that much more frustrated if you can't see things clearly too!
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 02:04:27 PM by Slee_stack »

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 02:29:41 PM »
I have a 2-up on my ride bike and a 3-up on my city bike.   I think I actually used the front derail. on my road bike a couple times in the past year....I'm not sure I've ever shifted the front on my city bike.

It's a serious downgrade unless you typically ride around crosschained with a front derailleur.  The 1x system lets you be permanently cross-chained, so is a lot more convenient for this type of rider.  :P

:P

But yeah.  If you don't use your front derailleur then I'm sure that not having one is a benefit.




As an aside, I got a recommendation from a friend the other day I hadn't though about.  This applies to all bikes and long rides. ...

If you are starting to lose your near vision, its a good idea to carry a cheap pair of reading glasses with you.   If you have a technical problem and need to be messing with chain pins (or any other tiny item), you will be that much more frustrated if you can't see things clearly too!

That does sound like a good idea.  I know some people will bring some of those latex gloves in a saddle bag to avoid getting their hands covered in crap too.

kenmoremmm

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2018, 01:12:38 AM »
i vote for triple in the puget sound area. my 29 mile RT commute is 1800ft of gain. i use the triple on two hills. generally crush most people except the guys on their $5k setups that are actually competitive cyclists.

dogboyslim

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 01:22:36 PM »
Have you ever done a brevet or a brevet series?  Those folks have great advice for longer rides.

I have always had a triple, and still do on my commuting/touring bike, but when I purchased my road bike a few years ago, there was no road triple to be had.  I put on a 50/34 compact gearing up front with an 11-34 in the rear (new ultegra rear mech me do that) lets me spin 80 rpms at 6ish mph and stay over 60 down to 4.5 mph.  My knees do bad things to me at slower cadence up a steep hill.

On my last road bike (destroyed in a move in 2012) I had a 28 granny and an 11x34 rear 9 speed setup with an XTR derailleur mated to road STI.  That was nice.  15 degree grade, 3.8 mph at 60 rpm.  I had moved from a very hilly area to a flat area, and when the frame was improperly packed and cracked a seat-stay, I just went without for a while, and used my touring bike.  Now that I'm doing more road riding again and there are hills again, I went for the best I could find.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2018, 06:51:54 PM »
Have you ever done a brevet or a brevet series?  Those folks have great advice for longer rides.

I've read a lot about randonneuring and brevets, it looks like a really cool thing to get into.  The ones held around here (http://www.randonneursontario.ca/sched/torsked.html) all seem to be 200 km + rides though, and I'm not yet at that level.  I was hoping that by the end of this year I'd feel confident enough to do those kinds of distances.




A couple important hydration related items not yet covered in this thread:


BOTTLE CAGES:
Cheap aluminum bottle cages are better than expensive cages.  Weight wise you're talking about a couple grams maybe, and you can bend aluminum cages to be extremely tight for rough roads.  I've been using a regular aluminum cage for a behind the saddle rear mounted bottle cage (holding a camelbak podium big chill water bottle) with no issues of my bottle launching at all.

WATER BOTTLES:
I've tried a bunch of different water bottles, and am 100% sold on the Camelback podium big chill water bottle.  It does everything that you want from a bottle.

- It's insulated, so stays cooler longer (if you freeze your second and third bottles they'll still be cool a couple hours into your ride even when it's pretty warm), and doesn't freeze solid when it's -20 and I'm cycling 40 minutes to work in the winter.
- It holds a decent amount of water (24 oz)
- It has an awesome nozzle.  There's a quick turn lock/unlock which very reliably prevents spillage of any kind, and a clever little valve that prevents drink from spitting out of an unlocked bottle in a cage when you go over a big bump.
- It's easy to clean . . . the whole nozzle comes apart and there's a wide neck on the bottle.

Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2018, 06:50:19 AM »
I've never own a touring bike but, I'm going to get one maybe this year.  Anybody have experience with a Rohloff hub?  It's an expensive option and won't fit every bike.  Long Haul Trucker for example won't fit a Rohloff.  I'm tempted to just biy the Nashbar touring bike for $699 and make sure i like touring.  I don't think my old aluminium Cannondale road bike would last long with touring weight.  I'm a really big dude and it struggles with just me.   The Nashbar and other entry level steel frames don't have disc brakes.  With me, the bike and gear we'd be 300 pounds combined.  I want disc brakes.

lhamo

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2018, 10:44:32 AM »
Bit the bullet and bought an REI Co-op Adv1.1 yesterday.  This year's model. $1299 base price, but I will get the following discounts/credit back:

$60 dividend from last year applied
$130 regular dividend
$130 double dividend special this weekend
$75 extra dividend for using new REI credit card (came in the mail yesterday morning -- great timing!)
$200 gift cards ($100 sign up bonus + $100 minimum spend bonus on the CC)
$20 eventual dividend on whatever we buy with the gift cards

So, roughly $615 toward the cost of a new bike, with a 1 year no questions asked return policy (most of the other shops have a 2 week policy, and charge you a restocking fee if you don't trade for another bike already in their shop, and I have trouble finding things in stock because I need a very small frame).  I don't think I'll be returning it -- it felt marvelous on the initial test ride.  Last year's model was AWFUL though -- not sure what they changed, other than the brakes.  But the geometry felt completely different.  Glad I hadn't tried last year's model earlier or I probably would have passed.

Will take it out today for a ride with DH and DD.


Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2018, 04:27:37 PM »
So, roughly $615 toward the cost of a new bike, with a 1 year no questions asked return policy (most of the other shops have a 2 week policy, and charge you a restocking fee if you don't trade for another bike already in their shop, and I have trouble finding things in stock because I need a very small frame).

@lhamo:  Awesome savings on a great bike.  Good job!

Be sure to take it in to REI for a tune-up (should be free) after a
month or two of riding.

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2018, 04:33:51 PM »
Great replies on this thread all around!

One bit of personal advice from a former ultracyclist (RAAM, Furnace Creek 508,
24-hour races, multiple Paris-Brest-Paris events) ...

Focus your ride in-the-moment, rather than the finish.  Interestingly, similar to FIRE
principals. If all you concentrate on is the arrival, you'll miss out on the journey.  It only
took me about 100km of riding to figure this out ... ;-)

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2018, 07:40:26 AM »
I've never own a touring bike but, I'm going to get one maybe this year.  Anybody have experience with a Rohloff hub?  It's an expensive option and won't fit every bike.  Long Haul Trucker for example won't fit a Rohloff.  I'm tempted to just biy the Nashbar touring bike for $699 and make sure i like touring.  I don't think my old aluminium Cannondale road bike would last long with touring weight.  I'm a really big dude and it struggles with just me.   The Nashbar and other entry level steel frames don't have disc brakes.  With me, the bike and gear we'd be 300 pounds combined.  I want disc brakes.

Rohloff hubs are much more expensive, have to be built into a wheel (so prevent you from having heavy high spoke count wheels for touring and lighter faster wheels for regular riding), offer less range than a derailleur, make changing a flat more difficult, and are heavier than a derailleur.  The benefits are that you can shift gears when stopped, and they don't require as much maintenance.  I looked long and hard into getting one, but in the end the benefits just don't justify the costs.

The road bike that I've got is the Nashbar steel touring bike from several years back.  The canilever brakes (once set up properly . . . which took an awful lot of fiddling around to get just right) work very well (with Kool-Stop salmon/black pads), and I'm about 200 lbs.  I've had it loaded with 80 lbs of groceries coming down some extremely steep hills and stopping/slowing (while not great) was OK.  As long as you're cautious when the weather gets bad, you should be fine.  (Very important to keep up with bake adjustments as well, as rim pads will sqeual like a banshee under hard braking when they're even a little bit misaligned.)  Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely opt for hydraulic disc brakes whenever I get a replacement for my bike for a variety of reasons (no rim wear, better wet weather braking, better modulation, less fiddling required to get them set up properly, etc.) but especially if most of your weather happens in the dry it's not essential.

As far as touring weight goes . . . It's certainly possible to tour with 80 - 100 lbs of gear, but I'd focus as hard as possible on reducing that number.  That is simply a shit ton of weight to be dragging around with you ALL THE TIME, and I can guarantee that a lot of it is stuff you don't use ALL THE TIME.  Ditch the tent and get a waterproof bivvy sack, reduce the changes of clothing you're bringing, figure out if you really need to be lugging around that camp stove, propane tank, and those pots . . . or if you can get away simply buying stuff that doesn't need to be cooked, etc.  There has been a movement towards very minimalist/light weight bikepacking that I've found myself leaning towards as I get more into cycle touring, as I never have the time to do multiple month long excursions that really demand the huge quantity of gear:


It's easier on your wheels and frame.  It's easier on your legs.  Your bike won't handle as poorly.  You'll stop easier.  Your bike is lighter and more aerodynamic, so you go farther for less effort.)

Clean Shaven

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2018, 08:33:35 AM »
The Nashbar touring bike is a decent deal. I suggest also checking out the Bikesdirect.com Motobecane touring bike. In either case, only buy that bike if you are capable of assembling it yourself and making all the needed adjustments. Local bike shops tend to not like building the mail order bikes brought in - expect to be charged a lot, cutting into the savings from buying online.

My former touring bike was an old rigid fork 26" wheel steel mountain bike, converted with street tires, drop bars, racks, fenders, etc. Worked acceptably. This could be an option for you, especially if you already have an old MTB sitting around and just want to try out touring to see if you like it.

I replaced it finally with a real touring bike several years ago - a Kona Sutra - also steel frame, but with disc brakes. Traditional touring bike like this one, or the Surly Long Haul Trucker, typically weigh more and don't ride nearly as nice as road bikes. They are built to carry heavy loads and are stiffer frames, which ride roughly without a touring load of weight. 

Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2018, 01:08:22 PM »
Thank's for all the info.  It may be better to go cheaper and spend more wrench time.  Unless I find the perfect used bike.  Actually all my bikes we're bought used and maybe a third of retail price.  They are all Cannondale, which aren't known for steel bikes.

aetheldrea

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2018, 11:02:57 AM »
Loved the story about making a baking soda volcano in your stomach. Seems like eating antacid to reduce lactic acid in your muscles would be like eating candy canes to keep your blood minty fresh, or thinking that eating eggs would increase your blood cholesterol, the body just doesnít work that way.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2018, 11:06:25 AM »
Loved the story about making a baking soda volcano in your stomach. Seems like eating antacid to reduce lactic acid in your muscles would be like eating candy canes to keep your blood minty fresh, or thinking that eating eggs would increase your blood cholesterol, the body just doesnít work that way.

I kinda agree.  There does seem to be widespread agreement that it works though:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475610/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262454/
http://www.sportsci.org/traintech/buffer/lrm.htm
http://doctoroffitness.com/resources/fitness-articles/item/q-a-using-bicarbonate-to-buffer-lactic-acid-in-athletes-2
https://cyclingtips.com/2016/06/improving-performance-with-bicarb-soda-how-it-works-and-how-to-do-it/

My favorite quote from the last article:
ďI didnít know if I was going to break a world record or s#@t my pants!Ē

Sounds about right to me.  :P

Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2018, 11:24:40 AM »
Fuji Disc Touring is high on my list.  It's a bit of a jump in price from the Nashbar and regular Fuji Touring without disc brakes.   Performance Bike will deliver for about $1,100.  Really want a touring bike that can double as a gravel bike.  There is a Seven Mudhoney on Ebay with a Rohloff for $2500 that is my size.  My Cannondale loving buddy is steering me towards the Cannondale Touring.  I've got a few months to ponder it.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 12:36:48 PM by Bateaux »

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2018, 12:33:11 PM »
I like that it has a third water bottle holder built in.  Lots of braze-ons for attachments.  Just shy of 30 lbs though . . . that is a heavy beast.  :P

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2018, 12:35:18 PM »
Fuji Disc Touring is high on my list.  It's a bit of a jump in price from the Nashbar and regular Fuji Touring without disc brakes.   Performance Bike will deliver for about $1,100.  Really want a touring bike that can double as a gravel bike.  There is a Seven Mudhoney on Ebay with a Rohloff for $2500 that is my size.

Do you have REI near you?  The higher number ADV bikes are meant for off road touring.  Even the ADV 1.1 that I got can take pretty wide tires.


Bateaux

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2018, 12:38:49 PM »
I'm in Louisiana and there are no touring bikes in any shops here.  I'll definitely have to try and fit the bike to me before purchase.  FIRE is in 2019 or 2020 I'll get a lot more use soon, but I'm not in any hurry to purchase yet.  Thanks for the input.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 01:11:00 PM by Bateaux »

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2018, 06:11:15 PM »
I had this week off, so have done a bunch of cycling.

Completed a 160 km ride on Saturday in steady rain and high winds.  It was a chilly 15 - 16 degrees C (about 59 F) the whole time.  Took me six hours (2500 ft climbing).  Everything was going well for the first two thirds, and it just went completely wrong for the last stretch.  I was starving at the end, I think because I got chilled and then ended up burning way more calories than usual just to stay warm.  My speed dropped to ridiculously slow and the wind on top of it just about broke me.  :P

Lessons learned:  Bring more food when it's cold.  Put on more clothing than you feel like you need when it's raining and windy.  Fuck wind.

Also completed two back to back 100 km rides over yesterday and today.  2100 ft of climbing (with the temperatures ranging up to 45 degrees C - 113 F with the humidex) in 3.5 hours in today's freakishly warm weather.


Which brings me to discuss a vitally important subject: SADDLE SORES.  Wet rides, long rides, very hot rides . . . these used to be a real problem for me.  Not every time, but often enough to be annoying I'd end up getting saddle sores which then fucked up my training plan by requiring several days to a week off the bike.  Knock on wood, but I think I've got 'em licked (not literally of course . . . ewww) at this point.  Saddle choice helps, getting cycling shorts with a decent chamois helps, chamois cream helps, always showering immediately after a ride helps, showering before a ride helps.  The single thing that has helped me the most though, is manscaping.  Give the ole undercarriage a (careful . . . Cannot stress 'careful' enough) buzz with your hair clippers and a #1 guard, and the problem goes away.

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2018, 08:05:24 AM »
Coincidentally, I've also got the week off and I'm riding with friends
throughout the Washington Seattle area (Everrit, Bellingham, Townsend,
Orcas Island, Vancouver).  We're also experiencing cool (15C) wet
weather.  It's quite a change from Tennessee, where last week I was
on my bike at 5:30am (25C) to beat the sunny high temps (30-33C).

Looking forward to riding around Vancouver in a couple of days hence.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2018, 06:53:31 AM »
Coincidentally, I've also got the week off and I'm riding with friends
throughout the Washington Seattle area (Everrit, Bellingham, Townsend,
Orcas Island, Vancouver).  We're also experiencing cool (15C) wet
weather.  It's quite a change from Tennessee, where last week I was
on my bike at 5:30am (25C) to beat the sunny high temps (30-33C).

Looking forward to riding around Vancouver in a couple of days hence.

Cool, wet weather is sounding kinda nice at this point.  It's stinking hit here right now, with very high humidity and little cooling down at night.  :P

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2018, 10:52:10 PM »
I'd been thinking of riding my bike to work for a while, and I finally did it yesterday, after all the inspiration I have read on this forum.  A mere 32 kilometers one way.  I had done some conditioning, doing a longer ride weekly for the last month, to prevent bum soreness and awkward questions from coworkers.  The morning ride was a pure pleasure, preceded by the morning tall glass of milk and a few strawberries.  Shortly after sunrise, temperature was about 20C, and it took me 90 minutes to get to work, including stopping for a quick text to DH.   I had a banana and coffee when I got to work and sat by my desk.  I didn't feel guilty about grabbing a doughnut from a box someone brought along, either.   The afternoon was a different story.  Temperature was 38C - dry heat and sunny.   I had plenty of water, but no food other than an orange two hours before the ride.  Everything went well for the first 16 kilometers, but things started going downhill after kilometer 17, and by the time I got home, I was in a pretty bad shape, all glucose and glycogen depleted, unable to muster any strength to sit at dinner table or keep down food until slow sips of juice gave me enough strength and appetite to eat dinner long after other family members had theirs.  The trip back took close to 2 hours, with a couple of instances of having to get off the bike, rest, and walk for a while pushing the bike along.

In the retrospect I believe my cardinal mistake was not having another banana or, for that matter, another doughnut later in the afternoon, which would help with the energy issue.   Heat contributed, but it didn't seem to be the main culprit.   Come to think of it, a long bike ride in the afternoon might be the best reason bring along some Gatorade.

I have noticed that I have no muscle soreness today.  It's a little odd, considering the amount of of exertion, but perhaps not unusual since I wasn't aiming at an all-out effort.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2018, 07:09:22 AM »
Eating is pretty important.  You'll find that when you don't eat enough it's almost like you're hitting a wall.  Everything gets miserable, and your strength disappears.  You have to remember to eat more when you're cycling to work . . . I've had that 'oh shit' moment a couple times where my hands were shaking and I was getting dizzy coming home.  Keep some food at your desk at work (raisins, craisins, dates, cereal, etc.) and grab a couple handfuls before you head home.  I tend to get much hungrier on the bike when it's cold/windy than when it's hot.

When it's very hot I have trouble eating anything on the bike (it's one of the few times I feel kinda nauseous), so on long rides will always prepare sugary gatorade type drinks to sip (although after four hours of sipping as they warm up, drinking them gets a lot less fun).  Gatorade type drinks are also good because I find that I sweat a lot - my jersey is crusty with salt when removed - and therefore drink a ton of liquid in the heat . . . if I'm just drinking water I get pretty bad muscle cramping.  If I do the sports drink thing, no muscle cramping.  You can make ghetto Gatorade by mixing some sugar, lime or lemon juice, and a couple pinches of table salt in your bottle . . . or you can just buy the powder which is also pretty cheap.

As far as muscle soreness goes, if you're cycling regularly you probably won't feel much soreness the next day.  I find it's when you have 2-3 weeks off and then do a long ride that everything hurts.  (Similar to weight training . . . do squats with a heavy barbell three or four times a week and your legs feel great.  Do them once every two weeks and you'll be in agony the following day.)

aetheldrea

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2018, 05:34:33 PM »
I'd been thinking of riding my bike to work for a while, and I finally did it yesterday, after all the inspiration I have read on this forum.  A mere 32 kilometers one way...
Awesome job commuting by bike!
We moved earlier in the year so now my ride is a little shorter than yours, about 29km, or 18 miles one way. I've been doing it 3 times a week and eat like a Conehead, consuming mass quantities.
Here's a recipe for home made hydration drink that you can adjust to your liking:
http://www.chefinresidency.com/2012/04/make-your-own-gatorade-stay-hydrated.html

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2018, 08:12:29 AM »
So, uh . . . I snapped my rear shifter cable this morning on the way to work.  :P

Fortunately I remembered seeing this handy bit of information a few years back (skip ahead to 48 seconds or so):
https://www.artscyclery.com/learningcenter/brokenshifterorcablefix.html

Basically:
- you take the derailleur cable off
- tie a knot in it to hold it in position
- thread it through so that the knot is sitting in your barrel adjuster
- push the derailleur into the position you want with your hand
- pull the cable tight and reattach it

And then you've got a three speed bike (or two speed if you're using a front double . . . or a single speed if you're doing 1x).  Not the greatest thing in the world, but it'll get you home in a pinch.


*sigh*

Looks like I'm re-doing the cables on my bike tonight.

:P

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2018, 12:35:55 PM »
Eating is pretty important.  You'll find that when you don't eat enough it's almost like you're hitting a wall.  Everything gets miserable, and your strength disappears.  You have to remember to eat more when you're cycling to work . . . I've had that 'oh shit' moment a couple times where my hands were shaking and I was getting dizzy coming home.  Keep some food at your desk at work (raisins, craisins, dates, cereal, etc.) and grab a couple handfuls before you head home.  I tend to get much hungrier on the bike when it's cold/windy than when it's hot.

This is pretty good advise and I wouldn't dispute it for most riders.  However, I'll
offer myself as a counter-example of an alternative approach.

About 4 years ago I switched to a ketogenic diet (mostly healthy fats, some protein,
and very few carbs).  After a few days of getting my body adapted to this diet, I rode
five 200K rides with friends in a fasted state -- I ate nothing and drank only water
and black coffee.  I did this 5 times at a moderate pace, probably no more than
60-70% threshold.  My friends were aware that I was doing this and monitored my
well-being during the rides.

From keto at 3 meals per day, I gradually switched to 2, then 1 (OMAD).  I did all
of my recent 100K training rides in a fasted state, and even managed to jump onto
some fast pelotons.  On my recent Seattle-Vancouver-Seattle ride mentioned
downthread, I maintained OMAD, though I ate more carbs than usual due to
dining out with friends.

None of this is to suggest you shouldn't eat frequently if you're on a normal
diet, but I thought I'd mention my experience as an alternative.

Quote
When it's very hot I have trouble eating anything on the bike (it's one of the few times I feel kinda nauseous), so on long rides will always prepare sugary gatorade type drinks to sip (although after four hours of sipping as they warm up, drinking them gets a lot less fun).  Gatorade type drinks are also good because I find that I sweat a lot - my jersey is crusty with salt when removed - and therefore drink a ton of liquid in the heat . . . if I'm just drinking water I get pretty bad muscle cramping.  If I do the sports drink thing, no muscle cramping.  You can make ghetto Gatorade by mixing some sugar, lime or lemon juice, and a couple pinches of table salt in your bottle . . . or you can just buy the powder which is also pretty cheap.

When I was still eating (i.e. non-fasted state) on the longer rides,
my preference was to keep hydration and nutrition separate.  When it's
very hot, it's sometimes difficult to consume beverages other than plain
water.  With a Camelbak, I could pack a lot of ice and keep the water
cool for many hours.  I would also consume electrolyte capsules in hot
weather to avoid hyponatremia, as I once had a friend go into a coma due
to this on a particularly difficult ride.  She recovered after being airflighted
off a mountain.

Finally, I'm not a fan of sugary drinks and have always avoided simple
sugars during training and events:

https://www.hammernutrition.com/knowledge/getting-started/2-caloric-intake/
https://www.hammernutrition.com/knowledge/endurance-news/athletes-teeth-in-trouble/

Also, since I've cut sugar out of my diet a few years ago, my dental checkups
have been much improved.  :-)

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2018, 01:20:36 PM »
Eating is pretty important.  You'll find that when you don't eat enough it's almost like you're hitting a wall.  Everything gets miserable, and your strength disappears.  You have to remember to eat more when you're cycling to work . . . I've had that 'oh shit' moment a couple times where my hands were shaking and I was getting dizzy coming home.  Keep some food at your desk at work (raisins, craisins, dates, cereal, etc.) and grab a couple handfuls before you head home.  I tend to get much hungrier on the bike when it's cold/windy than when it's hot.

This is pretty good advise and I wouldn't dispute it for most riders.  However, I'll
offer myself as a counter-example of an alternative approach.

About 4 years ago I switched to a ketogenic diet (mostly healthy fats, some protein,
and very few carbs).  After a few days of getting my body adapted to this diet, I rode
five 200K rides with friends in a fasted state -- I ate nothing and drank only water
and black coffee.  I did this 5 times at a moderate pace, probably no more than
60-70% threshold.  My friends were aware that I was doing this and monitored my
well-being during the rides.

From keto at 3 meals per day, I gradually switched to 2, then 1 (OMAD).  I did all
of my recent 100K training rides in a fasted state, and even managed to jump onto
some fast pelotons.  On my recent Seattle-Vancouver-Seattle ride mentioned
downthread, I maintained OMAD, though I ate more carbs than usual due to
dining out with friends.

None of this is to suggest you shouldn't eat frequently if you're on a normal
diet, but I thought I'd mention my experience as an alternative.

Quote
When it's very hot I have trouble eating anything on the bike (it's one of the few times I feel kinda nauseous), so on long rides will always prepare sugary gatorade type drinks to sip (although after four hours of sipping as they warm up, drinking them gets a lot less fun).  Gatorade type drinks are also good because I find that I sweat a lot - my jersey is crusty with salt when removed - and therefore drink a ton of liquid in the heat . . . if I'm just drinking water I get pretty bad muscle cramping.  If I do the sports drink thing, no muscle cramping.  You can make ghetto Gatorade by mixing some sugar, lime or lemon juice, and a couple pinches of table salt in your bottle . . . or you can just buy the powder which is also pretty cheap.

When I was still eating (i.e. non-fasted state) on the longer rides,
my preference was to keep hydration and nutrition separate.  When it's
very hot, it's sometimes difficult to consume beverages other than plain
water.  With a Camelbak, I could pack a lot of ice and keep the water
cool for many hours.  I would also consume electrolyte capsules in hot
weather to avoid hyponatremia, as I once had a friend go into a coma due
to this on a particularly difficult ride.  She recovered after being airflighted
off a mountain.

Finally, I'm not a fan of sugary drinks and have always avoided simple
sugars during training and events:

https://www.hammernutrition.com/knowledge/getting-started/2-caloric-intake/
https://www.hammernutrition.com/knowledge/endurance-news/athletes-teeth-in-trouble/

Also, since I've cut sugar out of my diet a few years ago, my dental checkups
have been much improved.  :-)

That's pretty interesting.  There's no way that I can complete a 100k+ ride in a good time without eating something right now.  How did you go about switching over to the ketogenic diet?

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2018, 02:29:57 PM »
That's pretty interesting.  There's no way that I can complete a 100k+ ride in a good time without eating something right now.  How did you go about switching over to the ketogenic diet?

The day after I finished an epic 1200K ride (around 80 hours, including sleep
breaks), I just cut carbs.  I knew I wasn't going to do the ride without carbs, but
that I'd be carb-depleted afterwards -- to quickly get into ketosis.  My plan was to
move to a keto diet anyway, but I made a snap decision after the ride because
I figured it would speed up the process.  I actually did daily blood sticks for a while
to measure my keto status for a few months, however now I don't bother.

Diet is really a separate subject and I don't want to derail your useful discussion
here, but I found it really easy to keep the weight off once I reduced my carb
intake.  Even when I was riding 20+ hours a week on a high carb diet, my
weight would fluctuate wildly.  As the runners say, "you can't outrun your fork".

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2018, 06:08:38 AM »
I've never had difficulty losing weight or issues with fluctuations of weight, and have pretty consistently kept to a 30-30-40 protein-fat-carbs diet for the past fifteen years.  I try to avoid garbage carbs most of the time though - white rice, white pasta, white bead, sugary stuff, etc.  There was a short period of a couple weeks where I tried doing a low carb diet while cutting weight for wrestling.  The weight came off just fine (as usual), but my performance was terrible in the tournament so I kinda gave up on the idea.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2018, 08:20:07 AM »
So, did a 100 km race (103 technically) last weekend with a touch over 4000 ft of climbing, and completed the course in three hours and forty minutes . . . which was a time that I was happy with.  It wasn't that hot, only about 28 C (83 F) but was very humid and on the verge of rain for the whole ride, so nothing evaporated off of me.  There was enough sweat rolling off of me that it was like being in a thunderstorm.  (It did start to pour in the last 20 minutes, which finally broke the heat a bit).  I was sweating a ridiculous amount, and ended up drinking five 750 mL bottles over the course of the ride.  Then chugged another two bottles when I stopped.  And another one on the drive home.  All without needing to pee.  :P

The first 50 km were pretty fun, and I think that I went much too hard following some pretty fast guys.  I was dropped when things got hilly at about 60 km, and then ended up riding on my own for a lengthy chunk.  Cramps set in pretty bad at around 80 km, but I was able to stretch them out enough on the bike to keep going.  By about 90 km I was in rough shape and was just barely able to find and hold someone's wheel to limp my way over the finish line.

Notes from this event:
- I have no problems keeping up with people on the flat sections.
- I go WAY faster than everyone else on the descents.
- I go much slower than everyone else on the climbs.

Anyone know if there's maybe some sort of technique thing that I should train for the climbs, or is it just the fact that I weigh too much?

(Point of pride - more than 100 riders, and I was the only one on a steel frame bike.  :P  )

Laserjet3051

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2018, 09:09:41 AM »
So, did a 100 km race (103 technically) last weekend with a touch over 4000 ft of climbing, and completed the course in three hours and forty minutes . . . which was a time that I was happy with.  It wasn't that hot, only about 28 C (83 F) but was very humid and on the verge of rain for the whole ride, so nothing evaporated off of me.  There was enough sweat rolling off of me that it was like being in a thunderstorm.  (It did start to pour in the last 20 minutes, which finally broke the heat a bit).  I was sweating a ridiculous amount, and ended up drinking five 750 mL bottles over the course of the ride.  Then chugged another two bottles when I stopped.  And another one on the drive home.  All without needing to pee.  :P

The first 50 km were pretty fun, and I think that I went much too hard following some pretty fast guys.  I was dropped when things got hilly at about 60 km, and then ended up riding on my own for a lengthy chunk.  Cramps set in pretty bad at around 80 km, but I was able to stretch them out enough on the bike to keep going.  By about 90 km I was in rough shape and was just barely able to find and hold someone's wheel to limp my way over the finish line.

Notes from this event:
- I have no problems keeping up with people on the flat sections.
- I go WAY faster than everyone else on the descents.
- I go much slower than everyone else on the climbs.

Anyone know if there's maybe some sort of technique thing that I should train for the climbs, or is it just the fact that I weigh too much?

(Point of pride - more than 100 riders, and I was the only one on a steel frame bike.  :P  )

With that total time, given 4000 ft of climbing, I thought, "wow, your descents must have been blazing fast." (4000 ft climb is a lot). With regard to long, full-day,  grueling mountain bike climbs, I usually smoke most folks on the climbs, but get left behind on the descents (not so true on road rides). Since you are probably well informed on training techniques for climbing, I'd ask how much you weigh/height. I've noticed on other folks, having to lug up 10s of pounds of adipose tissue on climbs is never an advantage. Do you have the typical biker body-type?

On long climbs, I try to continually infuse pre-hydrated liquid calories into my body continuously to prevent fatigue. Eating solid (food) calories doesnt work as well due to the time to convert to blood glucose; by then, I'm starting to bonk. Unless your eating (solid food/calories) on the bike BEFORE you get hungry.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2018, 10:00:28 AM »
So, did a 100 km race (103 technically) last weekend with a touch over 4000 ft of climbing, and completed the course in three hours and forty minutes . . . which was a time that I was happy with.  It wasn't that hot, only about 28 C (83 F) but was very humid and on the verge of rain for the whole ride, so nothing evaporated off of me.  There was enough sweat rolling off of me that it was like being in a thunderstorm.  (It did start to pour in the last 20 minutes, which finally broke the heat a bit).  I was sweating a ridiculous amount, and ended up drinking five 750 mL bottles over the course of the ride.  Then chugged another two bottles when I stopped.  And another one on the drive home.  All without needing to pee.  :P

The first 50 km were pretty fun, and I think that I went much too hard following some pretty fast guys.  I was dropped when things got hilly at about 60 km, and then ended up riding on my own for a lengthy chunk.  Cramps set in pretty bad at around 80 km, but I was able to stretch them out enough on the bike to keep going.  By about 90 km I was in rough shape and was just barely able to find and hold someone's wheel to limp my way over the finish line.

Notes from this event:
- I have no problems keeping up with people on the flat sections.
- I go WAY faster than everyone else on the descents.
- I go much slower than everyone else on the climbs.

Anyone know if there's maybe some sort of technique thing that I should train for the climbs, or is it just the fact that I weigh too much?

(Point of pride - more than 100 riders, and I was the only one on a steel frame bike.  :P  )

With that total time, given 4000 ft of climbing, I thought, "wow, your descents must have been blazing fast." (4000 ft climb is a lot). With regard to long, full-day,  grueling mountain bike climbs, I usually smoke most folks on the climbs, but get left behind on the descents (not so true on road rides). Since you are probably well informed on training techniques for climbing, I'd ask how much you weigh/height. I've noticed on other folks, having to lug up 10s of pounds of adipose tissue on climbs is never an advantage. Do you have the typical biker body-type?

It's pretty flat where I live, and all the climbing in the race was quite an eye opener to me.  My touring bike has a very wide wheel base, and it's fitted with larger tires (28 front, 32 rear).  It is incredibly stable and easy to control when descending.  Years of stretching my legs to crazy angles while teaching Taekwondo means that I can comfortably hold a very low position for extended periods of time too.  I think this combo really helps for going down hills fast.

Not really typical cyclist frame.  6', 191 lbs as of last weekend (I was 10 lbs lighter than that after the race when I got home.  :P).  In my defense, I've got a 32" waist, and do lift weights each week - it's not all fat.



On long climbs, I try to continually infuse pre-hydrated liquid calories into my body continuously to prevent fatigue. Eating solid (food) calories doesnt work as well due to the time to convert to blood glucose; by then, I'm starting to bonk. Unless your eating (solid food/calories) on the bike BEFORE you get hungry.

I was able to choke down a small amount of home made energy bar at the 50 km mark, but yeah . . . eating solid food wasn't really working for me.

robartsd

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2018, 11:05:22 AM »
It's pretty flat where I live, and all the climbing in the race was quite an eye opener to me.  My touring bike has a very wide wheel base, and it's fitted with larger tires (28 front, 32 rear).  It is incredibly stable and easy to control when descending.  Years of stretching my legs to crazy angles while teaching Taekwondo means that I can comfortably hold a very low position for extended periods of time too.  I think this combo really helps for going down hills fast.
I live in a flat area too and am much less fit, so climbs are not my friend on a bike either. I have no problem with short climbs where I can carry in momentum and sprint to the top. For longer hills, I just crawl up in a low gear (I avoid these except once or twice a year).

I think if I were intending to train for climbing, I'd look for a hill that takes me at least 10 minutes to climb and ride several reps on it every week. If there's no feasible hill for regular training (the closest one for me is about an hour's ride away in a direction I don't go frequently), you could always ride a bike with added resistance (perhaps a direct drive hub motor e-bike in regenerative braking mode), use an indoor resistance trainer, or seek out headwinds to fight on a regular basis.

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2018, 01:06:10 PM »
Cramps set in pretty bad at around 80 km, but I was able to stretch them out enough on the bike to keep going.

Were you taking any electrolytes?  They can help, especially in hot weather.

Quote
Anyone know if there's maybe some sort of technique thing that I should train for the climbs, or is it just the fact that I weigh too much?

Hill repeats at threshold can help.  I would sometimes train twice a week on a long climb
at 85-90% threshold, about 7 minutes uphill and 2 minutes downhill to recover.  Repeats
would be 5-7 times, depending on how I felt.  I was pretty much wasted after this effort.

Ultimately the primary factor for how fast you climb is determined by your power-to-weight
ratio.  It's a simple scalar metric and your output can be measured by a power meter on
the bike.  This is how I trained about 10 years ago.

One mistake I see new racers make is they put too much effort into the early part
of the climb.  Generally it's best to save your maximum effort toward the end.  Think
of it like unrolling a carpet.

Aside from that, one trick in a race is to position yourself near the lead of the peloton
as your approach a hill (assuming it's not too long).  Allow the riders to slowly pass you
during the climb, but hang onto the group -- if at all possible -- until you reach the top.  This
will allow you to descend with whichever group you're in.

As you've noticed, hanging with the peloton on the flat roads in generally pretty easy.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2018, 01:36:16 PM »
Cramps set in pretty bad at around 80 km, but I was able to stretch them out enough on the bike to keep going.

Were you taking any electrolytes?  They can help, especially in hot weather.

During the race I drank a bottle of Gatorade, three bottles of water mixed with Nuun tablets (they were doing some kind of sponsor thing), and one bottle of regular water.  It seemed like an awful lot of electrolytes to me, but I was also sweating like a pig (I'll normally only do three bottles over 100 km, even on a very hot day).  :P




Aside from that, one trick in a race is to position yourself near the lead of the peloton
as your approach a hill (assuming it's not too long).  Allow the riders to slowly pass you
during the climb, but hang onto the group -- if at all possible -- until you reach the top.  This
will allow you to descend with whichever group you're in.

This may have been where it all went wrong.  I blew a lot of effort trying to stay at the same pace as others on the earlier climbs, and then didn't have enough left to keep up on the later climbs.  In retrospect, I blew a lot of energy doing things that I probably shouldn't have.  It was my first time doing an actual race, and it was quite a different feel than just a fast group ride.

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2018, 11:52:08 AM »
Hey, somehow missed this thread. Some really good info in here. From your first post you mentioned you cycled 130k in just over 4.5 hours on a 25lb bike. Thatís very impressive if you donít mind me saying so.

I owned three bikes all bought before I found the ways of the Mustache. I sold one earlier this year but am now also selling the other two as I increase my investment in the FIRE approach. I wanted to replace them with a single bike. I was looking at a steel light weight tourer i.e. around the 24-25lb mark rather than 30lb plus. I was thinking that steel, good tyre clearance, ability to fit mudguards and bike packing stuff if needed, was about as sensible a choice for a single do it all Mustachian bike.

What was putting me off was the weight. I like to add some sprint intervals in my rides and feared this wouldnít be enjoyable on a bike of this weight, but seeing your time above I guess itís all about the legs! Should I quit worrying here, buy the bike and get training or is there a better option for a single, do it all Mustachian bike? I.e. something aluminium with a carbon fork. Would be grateful for anyoneís thoughts.

Rubic

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #46 on: July 20, 2018, 12:29:01 PM »
What was putting me off was the weight. I like to add some sprint intervals in my rides and feared this wouldnít be enjoyable on a bike of this weight, but seeing your time above I guess itís all about the legs! Should I quit worrying here, buy the bike and get training or is there a better option for a single, do it all Mustachian bike? I.e. something aluminium with a carbon fork. Would be grateful for anyoneís thoughts.

Unless you're racing at the top levels, I wouldn't let the bike weight deter your
your choice of bicycle.  I've kept up with racers on a 1973 steel frame Nishiki (and
won the award for heaviest bike). I've completed the Assault on Mt. Mitchell in
6h09m on a touring bike.  I was a strong rider, but not at an elite level.

I don't understand why riders who could afford to lose 10-15 pounds often
opt to shave grams off their bike weight.  <- Comment not directed to anyone
here on this thread.

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2018, 01:00:34 PM »
Hi Rubic. Yes I agree, Iím fairly slim so donít fall into that category, Iím no weight weenie and am not interested in buying a carbon bike. However itís more the feeling/handling of the bike where Iím coming from. I donít want the bike to feel too sluggish but again I guess if my fitness levels are right, that shouldnít be an issue even on a 25lb bike. Geometry is probably more important here than the weight.

GuitarStv

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2018, 01:10:55 PM »
Hey, somehow missed this thread. Some really good info in here. From your first post you mentioned you cycled 130k in just over 4.5 hours on a 25lb bike. Thatís very impressive if you donít mind me saying so.

I owned three bikes all bought before I found the ways of the Mustache. I sold one earlier this year but am now also selling the other two as I increase my investment in the FIRE approach. I wanted to replace them with a single bike. I was looking at a steel light weight tourer i.e. around the 24-25lb mark rather than 30lb plus. I was thinking that steel, good tyre clearance, ability to fit mudguards and bike packing stuff if needed, was about as sensible a choice for a single do it all Mustachian bike.

What was putting me off was the weight. I like to add some sprint intervals in my rides and feared this wouldnít be enjoyable on a bike of this weight, but seeing your time above I guess itís all about the legs! Should I quit worrying here, buy the bike and get training or is there a better option for a single, do it all Mustachian bike? I.e. something aluminium with a carbon fork. Would be grateful for anyoneís thoughts.

A touring bike is pretty good for a do it all bike.  It can go fast, carry a heavy load, fit fenders, fit big or small tires.  I've found that being comfortable on a bike makes me faster.  That's why I've ended up with a 32 rear tire.

The way I look at it, I'm 195 lbs.  My cycling shoes, helmet, gloves, and clothes probably add another 5 lbs.  I carry at least 5 lbs of water and snacks.  The difference between a 25 lb bike and a 15 lb bike isn't really going to be too significant . . . around 4% difference in weight at most.  (If you weigh 100 lbs and live in the mountains, this reasoning may not apply to you.)

You get used to the handling of whatever bike you're riding, and you're right . . . it's mostly dependent upon geometry (although you can make a bike twitchier by fitting a shorter stem and narrower width bars to it).  Quick handling isn't all great though.  Slow handling is a huge benefit when descending quickly, when you're in bad weather, or when you're loaded up and carrying heavy stuff.

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Re: GuitarStv's long bike ride tips!
« Reply #49 on: July 20, 2018, 01:16:42 PM »
Thanks for the reply. I get a really good fit on the steel bike and I love the ride quality. I think these two points combined with the versatility makes it my favourite choice I think. Always good to hear other peopleís opinions.