I can use some advice from long distance cyclists

I have a goal of riding a century within next 3-4 weeks. I usually cycle few times a week, 4-5 rides that are 31ish, some 40 ish miles. Plus some extra commuting to work. To prep for century, i went on a few rides that are 60- 65 miles range, plus some shorter rides. So for last 4 weeks I'm over 638 miles with about 159 weekly average. This past weekend i rode over 157mi combined (65ish+41ish+51ish). That's more than i normally would do 3 days in a row. So kind of feeling a bit of saddle discomfort, even on 31 mile ride today. It has me a bit worried, tbh. So the questions i have for experienced cyclists:
-Could it be done in that short training period? There are days when i feel i will be just fine, but other times I'm not sure if I'm in for a ride i can't complete yet. Normally, i feel that i should have no problems doubling my distance, but maybe that confidence is overstated?
-So should i attempt 80-90 mile ride this week to see where i am? But the soreness for the actual century shortly after makes me wonder. Opinions, please?
Thanks in advance

Replies

  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    Take a few days off before the event so you go into it as fresh as possible.

    How did you do energy wise towards the end of your 65 mile ride?

    I'd say you can go the distance tomorrow based on your weekly and monthly mileage, if you don't bonk, get terrible saddle sores, or have some kind of problem like that.
  • icemom011
    icemom011 Posts: 996 Member
    Take a few days off before the event so you go into it as fresh as possible.

    How did you do energy wise towards the end of your 65 mile ride?

    I'd say you can go the distance tomorrow based on your weekly and monthly mileage, if you don't bonk, get terrible saddle sores, or have some kind of problem like that.

    Ah, thank you! I kind of figured to take a couple of days off beforehand, so i will definitely do that. After 65 i felt great, i felt like i could have gone longer. I didn't bring enough food, so that convinced me to call it and go home. The 50 on the third day didn't feel good. I was hungry, had no food on me, and I don't like to stop when I ride ( stop only for traffic lights, draw bridges, water refill, but no breaks). Was happy to hit a red light just to catch a break that day. And today wasn't do good either.
    So you don't suppose i should do 80-90 mile ride this week? Just to try it out? Give myself a rest time instead, and maybe just do shorter rides?
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    There's a saying that when you get to really long rides, it's really an eating contest. Meaning maintaining your energy levels to the finish.

    If you're able to do an ~80 mile ride, within your schedule and being recovered enough, that's a good idea. I think you can cover the distance, but you'll feel more confident about finishing the century knowing you've done most of it at a time. (Really long distances aren't my thing, but the rule I've heard it's you can do your weekly mileage in a day, you'll be sore when it's done though.) It'll also bring any fit issues to light, but I think if there was a real problem you'd already know it.

    Getting back on the bike after a couple big days is hard,. You're already rocking it. Not that you should get complacent. 🙂

    Are you doing it solo? With friends?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,863 Member
    edited August 2020
    Long rides need a combination of enough comfort / avoidance of really bad discomfort, fuel, hydration and determination.

    You need to let yourself recover from your saddle soreness, don't start off a big ride sore. Don't keep riding while sore (I ended up at the Doctors a couple of months ago from pushing through increasing discomfort which turned into actual damage...).
    Look after your backside while riding, hills help a lot with some limited standing cycling on the way up and taking your weight through the pedals on the way down. If you need a break during the ride take a break.
    Obviously saddle and overall bike fit make a big difference but don't do a big ride on a new set up.
    I do a couple of centuries most years but personally I've never been able to do several long consecutive days in the saddle but others do incredibly long rides and long back to back rides.

    Also have a think about the entire week before your planned attempt. Extra miles and time in the saddle in that week are doing very little for your fitness but can be very detrimental to your form on the day (form is a combination of fitness and absence of fatigue). Being fresh on the day of the attempt makes far more difference than getting in more miles. You probably want to start ensuring your glycogen is well stocked by making sure you have plenty of carbs in your diet (and no calorie deficit) for a few days rather than the very old fashioned "pasta party" the night before. As you know from your post in the cycling challenge thread your comments about how you can manage with no / little fuel on 40 / 60 mile rides did concern me. I can do the same but that doesn't extend to 80 and 100 miles.

    Personally I wanted to do a good 80 mile ride before I did my first century more for confidence than anything else but also to check my fuelling and hydration strategy. On a previous intended 60 mile ride I felt really strong and added in an unplanned and unfuelled extra 20 miles and bonked really badly, luckily quite close to home, but it was still a pretty awful experience. On a century I have a very regimented fuelling strategy based on what works for me and taking lessons from failed experiments - when I've relied on feelings of thirst and energy levels is when I've gone wrong. You can feel fine right up to the point you suddenly feel awful and your performance falls off a cliff.
    I felt great up to 80% of a 200km ride experimenting with an all liquid fuelling regime and set a really good pace but then struggled just to finish even after an extended break.

    Yes you probably can jump up from 65 to 100 if discomfort is the only issue.
    Yes you could very usefully do an 80 but make that the highlight of your week and not just extra volume on top (prep for it, recover from it). Junk miles at this point aren't very beneficial, you have put in the volume to build your endurance.
  • icemom011
    icemom011 Posts: 996 Member
    edited August 2020
    @NorthCascades I'm going solo. I usually ride solo, so nothing new to me. I'm aware of benefits (keeping my own place, ability to rest and refuel when needed) and cons ( no drafting, or support otherwise). Thank you for your input, i appreciate your advice.

    @sijomial I'm definitely planning to have plenty, and some extra - just in case food. Gels usually work, i like them , plus they have electrolytes and minerals that i will be loosing fast in this crazy heat. And definitely real food, protein bars, maybe some gummy candy, nuts and raisins work well for me. I will try to avoid snacks that will melt from the heat. I'm still figuring it out, and will try it during the 80mi ride. I was going to ride today in the morning before work, but going to take your advice and rest my backside another day or two and then do 80. Hopefully it will be better by Friday. I can't imagine starting out in pain, i don't think it will end well. Thanks!
  • icemom011
    icemom011 Posts: 996 Member
    edited August 2020
    sijomial wrote: »
    Long rides need a combination of enough comfort / avoidance of really bad discomfort, fuel, hydration and determination.

    You need to let yourself recover from your saddle soreness, don't start off a big ride sore. Don't keep riding while sore (I ended up at the Doctors a couple of months ago from pushing through increasing discomfort which turned into actual damage...).
    Look after your backside while riding, hills help a lot with some limited standing cycling on the way up and taking your weight through the pedals on the way down. If you need a break during the ride take a break.
    Obviously saddle and overall bike fit make a big difference but don't do a big ride on a new set up.
    I do a couple of centuries most years but personally I've never been able to do several long consecutive days in the saddle but others do incredibly long rides and long back to back rides.

    Also have a think about the entire week before your planned attempt. Extra miles and time in the saddle in that week are doing very little for your fitness but can be very detrimental to your form on the day (form is a combination of fitness and absence of fatigue). Being fresh on the day of the attempt makes far more difference than getting in more miles. You probably want to start ensuring your glycogen is well stocked by making sure you have plenty of carbs in your diet (and no calorie deficit) for a few days rather than the very old fashioned "pasta party" the night before. As you know from your post in the cycling challenge thread your comments about how you can manage with no / little fuel on 40 / 60 mile rides did concern me. I can do the same but that doesn't extend to 80 and 100 miles.

    Personally I wanted to do a good 80 mile ride before I did my first century more for confidence than anything else but also to check my fuelling and hydration strategy. On a previous intended 60 mile ride I felt really strong and added in an unplanned and unfuelled extra 20 miles and bonked really badly, luckily quite close to home, but it was still a pretty awful experience. On a century I have a very regimented fuelling strategy based on what works for me and taking lessons from failed experiments - when I've relied on feelings of thirst and energy levels is when I've gone wrong. You can feel fine right up to the point you suddenly feel awful and your performance falls off a cliff.
    I felt great up to 80% of a 200km ride experimenting with an all liquid fuelling regime and set a really good pace but then struggled just to finish even after an extended break.

    Yes you probably can jump up from 65 to 100 if discomfort is the only issue.
    Yes you could very usefully do an 80 but make that the highlight of your week and not just extra volume on top (prep for it, recover from it). Junk miles at this point aren't very beneficial, you have put in the volume to build your endurance.

    @sijomial Do you mind me asking, how do you do your long rides, centuries? Do you sign up for events, go solo, or with friends? How do you prep for it specifically? And congrats on a professional bike fit! I have one shop in town that has good reputation for it, at least in the past. It's a bit pricey, was $250 a while ago, could have gone up. I'm definitely with you not doing it before my ride as it's too short of a time in case it doesn't work to really test it out.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,863 Member
    icemom011 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Long rides need a combination of enough comfort / avoidance of really bad discomfort, fuel, hydration and determination.

    You need to let yourself recover from your saddle soreness, don't start off a big ride sore. Don't keep riding while sore (I ended up at the Doctors a couple of months ago from pushing through increasing discomfort which turned into actual damage...).
    Look after your backside while riding, hills help a lot with some limited standing cycling on the way up and taking your weight through the pedals on the way down. If you need a break during the ride take a break.
    Obviously saddle and overall bike fit make a big difference but don't do a big ride on a new set up.
    I do a couple of centuries most years but personally I've never been able to do several long consecutive days in the saddle but others do incredibly long rides and long back to back rides.

    Also have a think about the entire week before your planned attempt. Extra miles and time in the saddle in that week are doing very little for your fitness but can be very detrimental to your form on the day (form is a combination of fitness and absence of fatigue). Being fresh on the day of the attempt makes far more difference than getting in more miles. You probably want to start ensuring your glycogen is well stocked by making sure you have plenty of carbs in your diet (and no calorie deficit) for a few days rather than the very old fashioned "pasta party" the night before. As you know from your post in the cycling challenge thread your comments about how you can manage with no / little fuel on 40 / 60 mile rides did concern me. I can do the same but that doesn't extend to 80 and 100 miles.

    Personally I wanted to do a good 80 mile ride before I did my first century more for confidence than anything else but also to check my fuelling and hydration strategy. On a previous intended 60 mile ride I felt really strong and added in an unplanned and unfuelled extra 20 miles and bonked really badly, luckily quite close to home, but it was still a pretty awful experience. On a century I have a very regimented fuelling strategy based on what works for me and taking lessons from failed experiments - when I've relied on feelings of thirst and energy levels is when I've gone wrong. You can feel fine right up to the point you suddenly feel awful and your performance falls off a cliff.
    I felt great up to 80% of a 200km ride experimenting with an all liquid fuelling regime and set a really good pace but then struggled just to finish even after an extended break.

    Yes you probably can jump up from 65 to 100 if discomfort is the only issue.
    Yes you could very usefully do an 80 but make that the highlight of your week and not just extra volume on top (prep for it, recover from it). Junk miles at this point aren't very beneficial, you have put in the volume to build your endurance.

    @sijomial Do you mind me asking, how do you do your long rides, centuries? Do you sign up for events, go solo, or with friends? How do you prep for it specifically? And congrats on a professional bike fit! I have one shop in town that has good reputation for it, at least in the past. It's a bit pricey, was $250 a while ago, could have gone up. I'm definitely with you not doing it before my ride as it's too short of a time in case it doesn't work to really test it out.

    First couple were local and solo but mostly since then they have been organised rides.

    Some Audax events which are a brilliant way to try new routes in unfamiliar areas (these really are as @NorthCascades describes - an eating contest held in beautiful countryside).
    Some well organised charity rides. It's nice to have some support or at least refuelling stops when you aren't in a familiar place far from home.
    One closed roads century (should have been two more this year but the events were cancelled due to COVID).

    Mostly I do them solo, sometimes do longer rides with a friend but I'm not keen on group riding.

    If I want to lose weight before a big ride I can tolerate about 5 or 6 weeks of a moderate deficit while ramping up the volume and intensity of my riding. I maintain a decent base fitness all year so in the weeks running up to the date my rough training pattern is two moderate rides, one long ride of increasing distance and one hill session a week. But if I notice symptoms of over-training I'll modify accordingly.
    I will return to maintenance calories a week before the ride and also taper down the volume and especially intensity of my rides in the week leading up to the event with intention of being completely fresh on the day.

    How I ride on the day depends on the course and what specific goals I'm targetting. Often organised events feature signature climbs which dictate pacing saving energy for extreme hills. My last event I wanted to set a fast time (for me!) and knew the first 40 miles suited my strengths and so I pushed really hard for the first 2hrs.

    I'll ramp up my carbs for a few days before the ride and have a big bowl of cereal an hour before the start and will be consuming a lot of carbs while riding in the forms of sports drink mix but also malt loaf and cereal/protein bars eaten on a time schedule.
  • icemom011
    icemom011 Posts: 996 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    icemom011 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    Long rides need a combination of enough comfort / avoidance of really bad discomfort, fuel, hydration and determination.

    You need to let yourself recover from your saddle soreness, don't start off a big ride sore. Don't keep riding while sore (I ended up at the Doctors a couple of months ago from pushing through increasing discomfort which turned into actual damage...).
    Look after your backside while riding, hills help a lot with some limited standing cycling on the way up and taking your weight through the pedals on the way down. If you need a break during the ride take a break.
    Obviously saddle and overall bike fit make a big difference but don't do a big ride on a new set up.
    I do a couple of centuries most years but personally I've never been able to do several long consecutive days in the saddle but others do incredibly long rides and long back to back rides.

    Also have a think about the entire week before your planned attempt. Extra miles and time in the saddle in that week are doing very little for your fitness but can be very detrimental to your form on the day (form is a combination of fitness and absence of fatigue). Being fresh on the day of the attempt makes far more difference than getting in more miles. You probably want to start ensuring your glycogen is well stocked by making sure you have plenty of carbs in your diet (and no calorie deficit) for a few days rather than the very old fashioned "pasta party" the night before. As you know from your post in the cycling challenge thread your comments about how you can manage with no / little fuel on 40 / 60 mile rides did concern me. I can do the same but that doesn't extend to 80 and 100 miles.

    Personally I wanted to do a good 80 mile ride before I did my first century more for confidence than anything else but also to check my fuelling and hydration strategy. On a previous intended 60 mile ride I felt really strong and added in an unplanned and unfuelled extra 20 miles and bonked really badly, luckily quite close to home, but it was still a pretty awful experience. On a century I have a very regimented fuelling strategy based on what works for me and taking lessons from failed experiments - when I've relied on feelings of thirst and energy levels is when I've gone wrong. You can feel fine right up to the point you suddenly feel awful and your performance falls off a cliff.
    I felt great up to 80% of a 200km ride experimenting with an all liquid fuelling regime and set a really good pace but then struggled just to finish even after an extended break.

    Yes you probably can jump up from 65 to 100 if discomfort is the only issue.
    Yes you could very usefully do an 80 but make that the highlight of your week and not just extra volume on top (prep for it, recover from it). Junk miles at this point aren't very beneficial, you have put in the volume to build your endurance.

    @sijomial Do you mind me asking, how do you do your long rides, centuries? Do you sign up for events, go solo, or with friends? How do you prep for it specifically? And congrats on a professional bike fit! I have one shop in town that has good reputation for it, at least in the past. It's a bit pricey, was $250 a while ago, could have gone up. I'm definitely with you not doing it before my ride as it's too short of a time in case it doesn't work to really test it out.

    First couple were local and solo but mostly since then they have been organised rides.

    Some Audax events which are a brilliant way to try new routes in unfamiliar areas (these really are as @NorthCascades describes - an eating contest held in beautiful countryside).
    Some well organised charity rides. It's nice to have some support or at least refuelling stops when you aren't in a familiar place far from home.
    One closed roads century (should have been two more this year but the events were cancelled due to COVID).

    Mostly I do them solo, sometimes do longer rides with a friend but I'm not keen on group riding.

    If I want to lose weight before a big ride I can tolerate about 5 or 6 weeks of a moderate deficit while ramping up the volume and intensity of my riding. I maintain a decent base fitness all year so in the weeks running up to the date my rough training pattern is two moderate rides, one long ride of increasing distance and one hill session a week. But if I notice symptoms of over-training I'll modify accordingly.
    I will return to maintenance calories a week before the ride and also taper down the volume and especially intensity of my rides in the week leading up to the event with intention of being completely fresh on the day.

    How I ride on the day depends on the course and what specific goals I'm targetting. Often organised events feature signature climbs which dictate pacing saving energy for extreme hills. My last event I wanted to set a fast time (for me!) and knew the first 40 miles suited my strengths and so I pushed really hard for the first 2hrs.

    I'll ramp up my carbs for a few days before the ride and have a big bowl of cereal an hour before the start and will be consuming a lot of carbs while riding in the forms of sports drink mix but also malt loaf and cereal/protein bars eaten on a time schedule.

    Thank you!
  • canthony3505
    canthony3505 Posts: 35 Member
    you've been given sound advice. to second what others have suggested, start eating early and don't want until you feel hungry, and drink plenty. you can easily dig yourself into a hold that you can't get out of.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    Carb up. 😁
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,837 Member
    Besides excellent advice already, I'll add a gotcha that seems to hit if I don't focus on it.

    Form as I get tired.

    Eating soon enough and frequently enough can help.
    Staying hydrated enough can help.

    But then I just plain get tired usually, unless I've really really gotten used to doing near that distance.

    And when form breaks downs, usually efficiency is worse and any bad affects will get worse, faster.
    Like starting to get more hunched over, or sliding off sweet spot on saddle - both start putting more pressure on hands as weight shifted forward.
    Cadence going much lower than I would normally do, which means I just will be pushing harder using fewer muscles, just making them get tired even faster.

    I get better and better practice at that on shorter 2.5-3 hr rides where refueling would be useful but I don't, causing same tiredness near very end I can focus with form on.

    Hopefully you got to practice with what foods will rest well.
    Organized events can have some tasty looking items on the table, or others are partaking and commenting about how great for them - but if you haven't tested or don't know for sure - don't risk it.

    Now, one time I did risk some cantaloupe at a stop and never seen it served before, and of course never tested on my own long ride before, and thought great idea I like it. It was fine and the energy shot and B vitamins was incredible. Actually made more energetic than I should have been for fuel left, and regretted going too fast about 20 miles down the road.