Questions regarding diet / training program for charity rides


New Member
May 18, 2004
Hi all, a newbie to the forum here...looks like a good place for some excellent advice and discussion on all things biking...:D

I'm participating in 2 charity rides next month, the first one is at the beginning of the month for the American Diabetes Assoc and is a 60mi route. I am doing this one first, to prepare for the 150mi 2day (75ea day) MS Bike to the Bay at the end of June.

Last year I did the MS 150 and had several problems completing the first day and ended up not doing the second day return trip. I did complete the first day, but man was I beat and sore. I've since learned a few of my mistakes and have made changes in regards to equipment, shoes, etc...but am concerned about my training and diet plans for this years events.

I've been low-carbing for 1 1/2 yrs...dropped almost 70lbs down to ~250 currently in that time frame. I stopped low carbing last week as I know I will need carbs to complete these events not to mention just for the training. I'm 6' 3" and am looking to lose approx 20 more lbs before the end of June and eventually get down to 220 as my target goal.

I've been working out at Bally's fairly regularly over the past 1 1/2 yrs and have cranked it up a notch over the past 6 weeks...I try to work out 5 days a week w/ 1 hr of cardio (1/2 hr eliptical @ 152bpm and 1/2hr upright bike same hr) plus do 1/2 hr of weight / strength training varying upper and lower every other day with a day rest for both.

My question is, what should I be concentrating on in regards to exercise and diet? I'm trying to watch what I eat and know my rmr is around 2000 cal/ day and I'm shaving at least 900 cal during the workouts.

I've also been biking, and substituting 30mi rides for a day of cardio when the weather permits. Right now my main bike is at the shop getting upgraded, hopefully I will get it back by tomorrow to get some quality saddle time.

I guess I'm concerned as I want to finish both events w/ a decent time but don't want to bite more off than I can chew. I had a friend that was going to do the events with me, but he bailed so I'm pretty much riding solo, as well as training solo, not fun. :(
You need a mileage base to build endurance for these longer rides. I'd advise to get out of the gym and get on the road right away. Do at least 3 or 4 rides a week, slowly increasing the mileage and intensity. I'd include one longer ride each week, building up to 50 miles a couple of times before your 60 mile ride, and then going 65-75 miles twice before the MS 150.
Thanks for the reply! :)

What should I shoot for as a good steady pace? Right now I've been aiming at 17mph or so...which into the wind or up slight inclines is tough to do at times.

Last year for the MS150 I remember the ride out there during the 2nd 1/2 of the day was pretty much all into wind on open fields and really knocked the energy right out of me...I heard that typically the 2nd day return trip is all into the wind as well...:(

I assume if I have the time I can still do the gym sessions WITH the bike sessions as well? Is too much cardio per day a bad thing?

Some thoughts:

As dhk indicates, you indeed need a good mileage base. Not only for the benefit to your legs, but to toughen up the other "man-machine interface" , so that you're comfortable in the saddle for long distances. I would suggest spending a lot more time on the bike and less in the gym. You can always increase the gym work after your ride, but you can't compensate for saddle time in the gym.

I wouldn't be too focused on what your average speed is. You'll want to find a pace that is comfortable and that you feel you can sustain for the duration of your ride.

You might also (if you're not already) try to spend time in the drops, to get your body used to the additional stretch on your lower back. You can often gain 1-2 mph into a headwind by gettting low and reducing your wind resistance. The longer you can ride in the drops, the more you can reduce that feeling of "dragging a cinderblock on a chain". Start building up slowly from 30 seconds to a minute or so at a time, gradually building up til you can last 5-10 minutes. Just be careful not to strain your lower back in the process.

Oh, and make sure you're running your tires at their max pressure to get the maximum efficiency out of your pedaling.

Good luck, and have fun!
Agree with Yak's advice on almost everything. I'd skip the gym now also, in favor of road time.

Instead of worrying about speed, focus on your level of hard you're working. As you've found already, winds make a big difference in speed on the road.

On a long ride, you want to stay aerobic as much as possible. I wear an HRM on most rides, and try to keep the effort under 80-85% of maximum HR as much as possible. Without an HRM, if you're starting to breathe hard, or feel your legs start to burn or tighten up, it's time to slow down just a bit. Often going slower than your target pace during the first half of the event is recommended, to enable you to have a strong finish.....a lot more fun to do the last few miles in the big ring than it is to limp in!
Any recommendations on HR monitors out there? Are they all basically a watch replacement?

When you are saying 80-85%, do you mean of your target HR (my target is 152) or do you mean higher than that?

Yesterday I did another 20+ mile bike ride (forgot to check the computer) and felt the leg burn and bonked pretty much 2/3'rds thru the route, towards the end I got a second wind and felt alot better...those dang hills do me in fast! lol...

Another cyclist recommended the following to me, would appreciate your thoughts on these:

Drink a cup of coffee before you start your ride, supposed to jump start your lipids from the caffeine in the coffee (right now I stay away from caffeine.).

Take grapes & a banana with you opposed to energy bars...easier to digest (doesn't divert energy into digestion), quicker into your system, and less costly.

Eat a good meal the night before including a baked potato (or mashed) or two...pasta, etc.

Any thoughts on these comments? Am I getting good advice?