is an 8 day, 1000km tour realistic?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by mistaropa, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. mistaropa

    mistaropa New Member

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    Hi all,

    I have an amazing opportunity to take part in a 1000km bike tour from Munich to Budapest this summer. My problem is, I don't know if it's realistic of me to think I can be ready for a tour of this magnitude by that time.

    While I cycled more in the past while doing triathlons, the longest ride I've ever done is only 60km, and I only picked up cycling again last summer after a few years off. Being in Canada, I've had the winter off cycling so far but am fairly active (boxing 4 times a week, running 5-8km 4 times a week) and at 32 years old, feel like I'm in relatively good shape.

    Having never cycled over 60km, let alone doing consecutive long rides each day (this tour's daily rides are 117km, 143, 93, 147, 146, 89, 121, 127) is it possible with the right training program to prepare for this trip with approx. 20 weeks to get ready for it, or would I be setting myself up for potential failure or injury?

    I really appreciate any and all input, and if anyone has any suggestions for solid programs to build up mileage, I'd appreciate it.

    Many thanks,

    Dan
     
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  2. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    If you commit to it and prepare, it's doable.

    1) You'll need a decent road bike, so don't put off getting one.
    2) A training partner will help keep you disciplined with your preparation, but at a minimum keep a training journal to document progress towards your weekly goals.
    3) Tell *everyone* you know and meet about this event that you are going to participate in. Each time you do it'll reinforce your commitment to succeeding, create a support group, and when they ask you about how the training's going it will create a sense of responsibility and accountability.
    4) keep us posted on how the training is going.
     
  3. RHR38

    RHR38 New Member

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    (never done this bike tour, but done training like that many times)

    IMHO it is possible, but you must start right now. It's a 30-35 hrs riding and round 100000 kJ's work, so 'some' base is needed that you could enjoy about it. Otherwise it's a survival trip.

    If you skip running and boxing right now, ride quite lots quality training = tempo and SST mixed w/ SFR and some threshold work, you get good legs in 20 weeks. Good that you've been active; core strenght and bone density are probably just fine. Keep doing corework 2x/week or 3x/ 2 week. Ride.
     
  4. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    It's definitely possible for a wide variety of people to prepare for such a tour starting this far out. Keep in mind you don't have to set any speed records each day.

    My one piece of advice would be to make sure you have a bike that fits you well because you're going to spend a lot of hours on it and it sounds like you're not used to that. It's really tough to find a good fitter -- even most of the best shops don't know much about it -- but it's super worthwhile.
     
  5. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Some good advice here. Also remember you'll need to get your butt in shape to handle long days on the road. It may sound comical, but if you're in constant pain from the pressure of the sadddle, or bleeding from chaffing, blisters or saddle sores, you won't want to continue.

    Make sure you have a good saddle and shorts that fit well, and use some kind of chamois lube. Then, go for progressively longer rides to "break in" your backside. Don't worry about any fancy training, just go out and ride the bike as much as possible. Build up to doing at least three days in a row at distances of at least 50% of your tour and you should be fine.

    Presume you'll be on the Danube bike path most of the way? If so, you won't be dealing with big climbs; should be easy as long as you get used to long days in the saddle. Enjoy :)
     
  6. ItsikH

    ItsikH New Member

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    These "small" things can grow huge and stop you from cycling

    All that was said here - correct. The simplest training scheme will fit - "just ride your bike". Make your rides gradually longer till you reach 150kms and more, then start doing "back to back" - 2 days in a row - which could be enough for that purpose. Train in conditions similar to your destination - not too hilly (I assume - check that out, probably so, the Danube valley is relatively flat - but needs to be verified). Also check for the expected weather, that's a factor worth considering and preparing for.
     
  7. mistaropa

    mistaropa New Member

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    this is all fantastic feedback and has helped my confidence in approaching this challenge - thanks everyone!

    pace wise, they mentioned to expect a 25km/hr pace which i think is reasonable for me given past experience, but agree with everyone here that the key will be getting my body used to being in the saddle for extended periods of time over successive days.

    i'll likely start out on an indoor trainer for now (dealing with the canadian winter until things start to warm up) which will hopefully be good enough, even if it's only for an hour or two a day four days a week. once spring comes i'll be able to get out and start doing longer distance back-to-backs on weekends.

    again, i really appreciate everyone's input. i'll be finding out this week whether the tour is a go or not for sure, so will let everyone know.

    cheers,

    dan
     
  8. drb74

    drb74 New Member

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    I had 2 months to train for a 750Km tour that spanned a week's time.

    What my peers told me to do was to get "base Km" in the training. So I aimed for for about 1,600Km of riding as training.

    During weekdays I'd take 2-3 rides of 50Km-60Km. On the weekends I'd take one or two rides of about 100Km. Some nights I wouldn't take any long distances and would only do about 30Km of hills. Over the span of that first month, I achieved about 640Km. I made my rides longer the second month which helped me reach 960Km for that one.

    In that 7 day tour, there were 3 days of 140-160Km, but I only had *one* ride of that length in the two months of training. I made sure to have it the third week before the event because the second week before was to stay more regularly trained, and the week before I only took short light rides to be limber. 2 days before the start of the tour were all about eating with taking walks instead of riding.

    When I did the tour, the cycling was the easy part. The hard part about touring (I find) is eating enough. When training, you can take days off and re-carb, but on a tour, you have to get the same calories, carbs, protein and fats in shorter periods of time. I found it hard at times. I was also riding in 100F temps which made it a hydration challenge as well.

    During training I had had some very hot rides, so I had some experience there. I'd take a gulp every 3Km and went through a water bottle every 45min or so and alternated between clean water and gatorade. When I discovered I was low on energy and we were between stops, I'd hit the gatorade harder. Gel packs and Clif prot/carb bars did the rest between meals/stops.

    You have to learn your own body though. Not everybody perspires at the same rate. I spent the first month measuring body weight before and after a ride to monitor hydration. I was also new at managing sodium and got too low once. It doesn't feel good.

    Results:
    From the training, I was maintaining 25-32KM/h speeds. But by the end of the tour, I was so pumped up that I averaged higher and was going up some hills at 48KM/h, which felt amazing!

    Anyway, that's how I did it. From a tour-n00b to a comfortable rider. :)

    WHAT WENT WRONG:
    Despite guidance from experienced peers and my best efforts at hygiene in a camping-tour setup, I wasn't able to keep bacteria levels low enough, in my shorts. I only owned 4 cycling shorts (4x$80-$120 Pearl Izumis) and had to do laundry on the go for the other 3 days. I may not have done it properly or my skin is sensitive. A week after the tour ended, I developed a boil on the inside of a butt cheek and it caused a 4 week healing process with two surgeries. I'm scared to go touring again. *gulp*
     
  9. mistaropa

    mistaropa New Member

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    drb74 - This feedback is incredible! Thanks so much for providing this level of detail on your personal experience, as it aligns very closely what I have to look forward to (or fear, depending on how you look at it :)) There are a number of elements I hadn't even considered, so again, this was a big help.

    It looks like things are falling into place and the trip will be a go. I picked up an indoor trainer over the weekend and will saddle up this week for the first time in a few months to begin ramping up my training.

    I'll be sure to check in a little while down the road to let everyone know how things are coming along.

    Once again, a big thank you to everyone for their wisdom and help!

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Use the "towel" trick.

    Wash and rinse your shorts, lay them on top of a towel and roll both the towel and shorts up. Twist the towel/shorts combo to remove nearly all the water. Hang the shorts outside to dry whenever possible. They're almost dry enough to wear when they've been through the "wringer" and because the combo of towel and shorts is pretty big it doesn't do any weird and funky things to the chamois like putting big creases in it.

    That technique works on pretty much all clothing too - but if you're limited in available clean dry towels, save them for the shorts, after that there's the socks (the two main contact points and places where you're likely to run into 'skin' issues)

    Take a two plastic zip lock bags - one for clean and one for dirty shorts. It may be that you have a chance to wash several pairs at once if a place you're staying at has suitable facilities and the clean bag is a good place to store a damp pair of shorts that have been washed but just need airing out at the end of the day.
     
  11. drb74

    drb74 New Member

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    Aw, you made my day Dan, with your gratitude. You're so very welcome! I'm available to answer any questions at any time. :)
     
  12. drb74

    drb74 New Member

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    The shorts were always dry when I wore them, I think, but maybe the air was too humid. The first 4 days were all perfectly dry clothes in ziplock freezer bags. Every next day I'd wash the shorts and dry them on a tent->tree clothes line until dry. There weren't any facilities per say to help. Nobody else in my club developed my issue and we all washed/hung our clothes the same way. I'll keep the towel idea in mind for next time although I don't know if they do any better than 4-6 clothes line time.

    Clothes prep picture:
    100_0050 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    I event anointed myself with antibacterial cream during the tour just to make sure I was protected from any skin infection. What's odd is that the boil started in deep tissue far from the surface of the skin and grew outward. It almost sounds like I had an internal bacterial issue.

    Anyway, enough of that. Let's keep Dan pumped! What happened to me won't happen to him. :)

    Dan, check out all my "RAGBRAI" sets here and look at the 10-20k people I got to party it up with for a week. :) If these people of all ages and sizes, many with little to no training can do it, so can you!

    Collection: Cycling

    Especially unicycle guy! Wow!
    100_0138 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
     
  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Given a good set of shorts and a properly fitting saddle, 'time in the saddle' is easy.

    Case in point, last year I trained January through April indoors on the trainer. No more than 1hr 30mins. May, I switched it up a little and did 2 hour rides on Saturday and 3.5 to 4 hour rides on Sunday - hard.

    In June I rode the event that I'd been training for - a 198 mile event in the mountains. 8 passes and ~20,500ft of climbing and most of that above 7,000ft.

    The moral of this story - comfy shorts and a properly fitted saddle cannot be under estimated. It's not all about seat time ;)

    My 'weapons of choice' that long event - a Specialized Toupe saddle, 143mm and Pearl Izumi P.R.O. bib shorts. Expensive, yes. Comfy... well, lets just say that after nearly 200 miles in the saddle in the high mountains of the Sierras I hadn't thought about either my shorts or saddle all day. That they weren't a problem meant they were a perfect match for me.

    ... and that saddle weighs in at ~175grams. Light. :)

    Technically, I was only 2lbs under the max weight limit for that saddle during that event :eek: and many pounds over it when I did a shorter event on those same big hills a month later. Light - but tough.

    Specialized have a 'butt-o-meter' to measure your sit bones to get a better idea what saddle width you need.

    Bike wise - you really just need something that fits for riding at 25km/hr average. Being comfy after 4 hours is way more important that having a frame that's 0.5Kg lighter. Consider double wrapping the bar tape for extra padding (a la the top guys like Tom Boonen in Paris Roubaix) or getting the Specialized gel pads to go under the tap.

    Comfy shoes. Again, I dig Specialized. Their Body Geometry shoes, even the cheaper ones like I have, are great and with the insole kit (again, measured with a widget - as are most of their Body Geometry items) I never get any numbness or hot spots in my feet. My only gripe is that I cheaped out, which meant black shoes. Black shoes riding on the edge of the Sacramento Valley in summer = toasty toes. 100F+ will do that to ya. Next time, silver or white.

    Are you looking to change your bike? If so, what's the budget.
     
  14. drb74

    drb74 New Member

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    I'm amazed by the stock saddle that came with my 2008 Giant OCR1. It was comfortable from day one and there's nothing fancy about it. I toured with it and loved it. What's the advantage of the hollow center? Moisture/heat dissipation?

    I've never thought to look at bibs. What are their advantages? I have a bit of a mushroom top stomach; middle age creeping in. Would they fit around that comfortably?
     
  15. mistaropa

    mistaropa New Member

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    appreciate the continued feedback, all!

    it's funny, because while i was picking up my indoor trainer on the weekend, i asked about shorts and saddles, and the guy said that while choosing a better model in either category may help a bit, ultimately, by day three i'll be feeling really rough either way so not to worry about it too much. this seemed counter intuitive to me so i'm glad to hear that selecting the right shorts/saddle can make a difference on a longer tour.

    regarding my bike, i picked up a second hand 2001 GT ZR 4.0 last summer and it feels like it will get the job done. though not the lightest bike, it's in great condition other than needing the usual spring tune up. i'll also need to pick up some clipless pedals. any suggestions for affordable, reliable models? are there any types that are known to be better for long tours (wasn't sure if they're the same regardless of type of racing/cycling one is doing.)

    the one issue with buying the bike second hand is that i missed the opportunity of being in a shop where i could select the best bike in terms of fit with the advice of someone who knows about this stuff.

    that said, is it worthwhile to invest in getting fitted to my GT at a shop since i'll be spending so much time on it (and need to be as comfortable/efficient as possible for the length of the tour?) i've read some reviews on a local shop here in Toronto who is highly respected and has FIST as well as Serotta certifications, just not sure if its worth the $100.

    thoughts?
     
  16. mistaropa

    mistaropa New Member

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    just looking back through this thread, saw lanierb's post again re: importance of fit and finding a good shop to do it, so that covers that question.

    any input on the other stuff in my last post would be great, but i think i'm already on my way to preparing for a successful run thanks to everyone's help.

    cheers!

    dan
     
  17. drb74

    drb74 New Member

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    I had some fitting done for free by the shop I bought my bike at, but then after a couple weeks did the research to do the rest of the fitting myself with a string + weight, measuring tape, and taking photos/movies of myself while spinning to make sure my knee-bend, back arch and arm fold were good.

    Then I had a couple rides, tweaked, rode a bit more, tweaked, and then by the end of the summer had enough knowledge about what gets sore and how fast and tweaked one last time to target those problem areas. Now it's perfect and I've written down/marked every single measurement so that I can make sure it's where it has to be like after a tune-up, professional take-apart/cleaning etc.

    I didn't experience any day-3 pain peaks. When you do all that training beforehand, and get some 2-3 day practice sessions in, I find that you get desensitized well enough to not have to worry about it anymore. During the tour I had some daily stress points that got a bit sore over time but it was nothing big and I always felt refreshed the next day. We stopped in every major city though so there was lots of opportunity to hop off and rest though, unlike the training where I would go 70mi with a few 5mi breaks to pee and get bottles refilled, or take pictures. I think on my 160Km ride I stopped for a half hour lunch. Gatorade, gels and Clif bars did their job to keep me going! Those jersey pockets were well used :).
     
  18. RHR38

    RHR38 New Member

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    When riding much, there's couple important things to remember: Do not use soap to wash your nuts & crotch. Get rid of sweaty thights after stage really quick, as sweat burns skin from your crotch area pretty fast. Use quality thights that you have used a bit already. Use Assos chamoix cream or similar from the start of the tour. If you decide to shave your legs and have not done so for a long time or not at all, do not go close to crotch/nuts area. Head of cropped hair is really sharp, can bend inwards, grow under your skin and can be REALLY painful in crotch area.

    If your other q was about pedals, go for Look Keo or Shimano as for those you get spares in every town for sure. Get them early enough to do cleat placement carefully. Poor cleat placement + lotsa km's = painful knee problems.
     
  19. leebingate

    leebingate New Member

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    Some good advice here. Also remember you'll need to get your butt in shape to handle long days on the road. It may sound comical, but if you're in constant pain from the pressure of the sadddle, or bleeding from chaffing, blisters or saddle sores, you won't want to continue.
     
  20. Blaven

    Blaven New Member

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    [lang=nl]Ik ga het ook doen en fiets nog maar 2 jaar.
    Gewoon veel fietsen en afzien op het moment zelf.
    Als het geen probleem zou zijn, dan is het ook geen uitdaging.[/lang]
     
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