My First Tour- Help- Training

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by Claire06, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. Claire06

    Claire06 New Member

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    I will be heading out on my first tour ever in 10 weeks! I am excited, but nervous as well. I want to make sure I am physically up for the challenge of a month of self contained touring.
    At the moment I commute to school, and am comfortable riding 30 miles a day in secession. But I am not carrying a lot of weight.
    Does anyone have any tips as to how I can go from this base level to build up to cycling 50 miles a day and carrying 35-40 pounds of gear? (uphill…eak!)
    (I am a woman in her early twenties and about 5’6, 135 pounds if it makes any difference)
    Hearing from people who have been there before would help me figure out how best to train and go along way to alleviate my nerves!
    Thanks, Claire
     
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  2. BigCurt

    BigCurt New Member

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    Have you seen this site Claire.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/
     
  3. EmmCeeBee

    EmmCeeBee New Member

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    There's only three reasons you have to worry about training for a tour:
    1) You're a couch potato who'd never contemplate a tour;
    2) You're going on a tour with other people who are much more fit than you;
    3) You're tackling a route with too little time so you can't afford to take it easy for the first week (say, trying to ride 1000 miles in 2 weeks).

    The first 4 or 5 days of a tour are tough for anybody -- sore muscles, aching shoulders, numb hands/feet/butt. Then you get in the groove, the pain fades away, you hit your stride, and you are de facto "trained".

    The fact that you ride daily, and 30 miles at that, means you're almost there. Of course if you want to start on Day One in peak shape, you can set up a training regimen into the mountains with 40 lbs of weight. But you might as well save that for the first week of the tour.

    Just be aware that the first few days will be tough (this is true no matter what shape you're in!). And since this is your first tour, don't overlook proper eating and drinking -- force yourself if necessary. I think this is the most underestimated factor on your first tour, no matter how much you've prepared. If you run out of calories or water, no amount of fitness can make up for that.

    -- Mark
     
  4. lugger

    lugger New Member

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    Thirty miles a day is already great training. Take comfort in that. Also, If you can add extra weight during your commute and ride a bit slower, without exhausting yourself for the day, I think that will be even better training. And it will help you become familiar with riding with extra weight. And hit some extra hills with that weight on your home commute! You will be glad later.

    If you have not done much riding with extra weight, make sure you start riding in an easier gear than usual (downshift before you stop so it will be easier to start and get your balance).

    I took a 25 lb/11.3kg bag of sand. I wrapped it excessively in duct tape (two layers plus more at top and bottom), trying to keep the original shape of the bag. Now it should be durable and it fits nicely on my rear rack. I will strap it on and ride with the extra weight. Also, I will put about 5 lbs/2.2kg of weight in my handlebar bag. I think that will help me prepare for touring. Maybe later I will add more weight to the back and put the weight in panniers to get the real feel.

    What do people think of training with extra weight?
     
  5. blackbird05

    blackbird05 New Member

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    Hey Claire, I was in your position exactly a year ago (early 20's female, on her first bike tour), and I can understand your anxiety. You've done an excellent thing in joining these forums - the people here are a gold resource when it comes to getting good advice. Other than that, I have 2 things to add to everyone else's advice:
    1) Your level of training is higher than mine was at the start of my tour. If you're not planning on pushing fo a high goal, you'll easily get fit on tour. I'm linking to a very similar thread I posted in a year ago, which'll give you some tips.

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/showthread.php?p=1618565#post1618565


    2) I can't stress this enough: find a weekend when you can ride all day, at a low speed and moderate distance, fully packed. Camp overnight if that's what you plan to do on your tour. You'll get an idea of what equipment is missing from your packing list. More importantly, you'll get a feel for a couple of situations you'll encounter on the road, such as the huge drop in energy/mood when you bonk (use up your energy stores), or the feeling of sameness when you're biking in unchanging scenery. It's good to be able to recognize the signs of low energy and work to prevent them during a ride by snacking/stopping for a break. Expecially important if you're travelling alone, since you need to be able to trust feelings. You'll also find out whether "sameness" on a ride is a problem for you. I enjoyed the zen quality of it, but my riding partner needed music (earphone in ONE ear) to keep herself motivated to ride at speed.

    Good luck Claire, you'll be fine and damn, am I ever jealous of the experience you're about to have!!
     
  6. philso

    philso New Member

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    1 - sounds like you're already in good enough shape.

    2 - m c b (sorry, but i'm just plain too lazy to type all those extra letters) is spot on. a few aches and pains for the first few days are par for the course. if you can do a couple of long all-day rides with most of your gear for a couple of weekends a bit before your tour, you can take the aches and pains earlier and then take a nice hot soak when you get home.

    3 - luggers advice about training with weights is excellent. i've considered it before just about every long tour i've take in the last 30+ years. just never got around to doing it.

    the low down - having the jitters before your first-ever big tour is normal. ride a bit longer than you have been with at least most of your gear if you want/can. also, take another good look at your gear and see if you really NEED it all. reducing what you bring is another great way to "get in shape".

    here's another great forum: http://www.bikeforums.net/

    relax and have a great tour!
     
  7. philso

    philso New Member

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    hello, me again.


    i was just thinking that if you could post some specifics about where you're headed, what you're riding, and what you're bringing, we could offer some advice. training and being "in shape" is not the be all and end all of having an enjoyable tour.

    you can also look through the many other "equipment advice" threads. it's amazing how many things veteran tourers can disagree about.
    ;)
     
  8. Claire06

    Claire06 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice!
    I really want to train a bit beforehand as my touring partner will just have come back from three months of loaded cycling around Australia a few weeks before we leave. Talk about a training and fitness disparity!
    While I don’t have any delusions of grandeur of keeping up with him, I just want to put in a respectable showing and do what I can now, training wise, to bridge the gap a little bit.
    But he is very encouraging, and HE will be carrying the tent! :)

    But training wise, now I feel like I have some strategies and place to start!
    I'm going to try to put some extra weight on for my cycle tomorrow and see how it goes from there. I've been inspired..... hopefully that feeling won't be gone come 7:00 when my alarm goes off tomorrow morning....
    I have a feeling that hulling needless weight up hills is as much a mental feat, as a physical one....
     
  9. zacu1

    zacu1 New Member

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    Sounds like I'm going to be starting my tour right around the same time you are! It's my first as well, so I'm feeling the same anxiety. A hyper busy schedule has sapped my free time, so commuting to work and weekend rides are all I have time for. I started in pretty good shape, so I'm not worried. Sounds to me like touring is as much about the mind as it is the body, and so long as your mind is set and you're willing to give your body some time to catch up, nothing can stop you from touching both oceans.

    After all the anxiety of planning a tour while juggling all the rest of life's responsibilites, the tour itself should be an epic release. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

    Anyway, I'm (mostly) riding the Transamerica east-to-west starting in mid-may. Hope to see you on the road.

    -Zach
     
  10. blackbird05

    blackbird05 New Member

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    Hey Zach, welcome aboard:) You're right, it IS "an epic release". After juggling deadlines and responsibilitiesfor so long, it's such a relief to be able to settle into a healthy attitude of "what happens, happens", having no one's expectations to fulfil but your own.
    Have a great time!!
     
  11. frogger

    frogger New Member

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    I think everyone has already given excellent advice. Especially in terms of keeping hydrated and eating to keep up the energy levels.

    My only experience to add is that of someone who attempted their first tour as a fatty :cool:. I would not worry so much if you commute already that distance. It is just the added weight and getting used to going all day long.. or not (depending on tour pace).

    I was only commuting about 10km per day for 3 months prior to my first tour and I was 70lbs overweight when I did it and was able to still do 80 - 120km days depending on the view along the way. I found my biggest challenge to being in the saddle for such long periods was not my fitness level but being used to supporting myself on the bars for 8 hours at a time. I used a mountain bike with very limited hand positions which made it a bit of a rough experience.

    So my key thing I guess would be to suggest make sure you have a nice leather (brooks maybe) saddle and that the bike is setup for you as best as possible so you will stay comfortable. It took 2 months for me to get the feeling back in my pinkies after that tour but it was so worth it....
     
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