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I'm a pretty decent cat 5... Did my first century (105 mi) ride today, and..wow. It was a lot of fun, kind of wanted to test the water how fit I am on the bike and also wanted to do it for the fun. I usually ride about 200+/- miles a week, the longest ride before today was a 71mi solo a loooong time ago. I've been doing some of faster 50 mile rides (avg. 20-22mph) with more experienced cat 2 riders, so I had -some- confidence in my fitness.

Anywho, I found out my range is around 84 miles and after that it was pretty tough. Joints started to hurt, wind felt like it was blowing harder, bike felt heavy, felt like I sucked and my family doesn't love me anymore etc. Basically I dragged myself back, although at times I could still find energy from all the food I took, did surges but they didn't last long. Averaged about 16-17 mph for the ride...way too many hills and crazy wind!

Besides riding long-er, are there other effective ways in training for endurance? I'm guessing being able to do intervals effectively one needs miles for that. How many miles a week would I need to do in order to complete a century ride with good effort from start to end?

Just out of curiosity, we know pros race long-staged races...150, 160+ miles...how do they train for that? Are their training rides longer than their races? Do they do century rides on regular basis? Thanks!
 

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Hank,
A big part of longer rides is nutrition and hydration- you need a plan and then stick to the plan- food every hour and powder electrolytes that you know from experience your body can handle easily- they are not all alike. Camelback not bottles (no team car) and planned portions of the food and drink in the camelback. its a learning curve and you will pick it up quickly- then go do a couple of doubles where the going gets truley weird!
Cheers,
Bill
 

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I have always thought that if you want to go hard the last hour you need to go easy the first hour.

Plus it does take some practice to figure out your nutrition and hydration needs.
 

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What I have found is that the 60 mile mark (give or take depending on intensity) is about the limit of what I can do without thinking much of nutrition. Longer than that, I need to think about eating, and based on past mistakes, need to remember to eat more, earlier. Otherwise, come the 70-80 mile mark, I run out of steam. And eating for me means real food, PB&J or something. Goo won't do it for me for longer rides.
 

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Yeah, you gotta eat and drink to ride long. You also need to:
Vary your riding position frequently
Get off the bike a few times but don't stay off it long
Stretch on the bike

You may want to:
Mount bigger, more comfortable tires
Ride with somebody who talks about as much as you do
Do the first hour slowly
Grease your butt more than you usually do.
Carry a few more items.
 

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kmac said:
What I have found is that the 60 mile mark (give or take depending on intensity) is about the limit of what I can do without thinking much of nutrition. Longer than that, I need to think about eating, and based on past mistakes, need to remember to eat more, earlier. Otherwise, come the 70-80 mile mark, I run out of steam. And eating for me means real food, PB&J or something. Goo won't do it for me for longer rides.

Same for me. Last year I id one ride of 120 miles and the last 40 were pretty painful due to lack of food intake. 20 minutes after the ride I had a sandwich and a cup of coffee and was fine. A ride the next day was normal with no physiological issues.
 

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simplyhankk said:
Does this also mean having a large meal before the ride can help?
Only if you keep it down. I'd have my big meal late in the afternoon, the day before the ride.

RUSA has a handbook on long distance riding that has lots of good advice from veteran endurance riders. Worth joining the organization.
 

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simplyhankk said:
Does this also mean having a large meal before the ride can help?
you'd probably feel worse with a large meal sitting in your stomach.
 

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Consistent hydration and food are key. Any century I do I take one bottle of water and one of Cyto, Heed, something like that. if the ride is supported, bring another one or two packets of the stuff and refill at the aid stations. If no support, use a camelbak for water and two bottles of cyto, etc. I also find that one or two Hammer e-caps every hour do absolute wonders. Nibble on a bar every half hour- don't fill up, but just enough to keep your stomach happy. Don't overeat before the ride either. Once you start to feel weak or fatigued, you're hosed- it's near impossible to catch up.
 

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AkbarnJeff said:
Consistent hydration and food are key. .... Once you start to feel weak or fatigued, you're hosed- it's near impossible to catch up.
Exactly. It's been said, you don't eat/drink for then, you eat/drink for further up the road.
 

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simplyhankk said:
Does this also mean having a large meal before the ride can help?
For me, I like to eat a couple of bowls of cereal before doing a ride. That, plus some gu and NUUNs can get me through the 60-70 mile I mentioned above. I don't think I could eat more than that and still feel good riding. I think I'd be too full. I need to try to remember to have a PB&J or some other real food starting at the first or second rest stop (for a supported century).
 

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As a former randonneur I agree with the general comments about drinking enough water and taking in enough calories. RUSA is a good resource for very long rides. I'd add a couple things.

First, calories & water are a bit different in how we take them in & need them. Water is generally easier to keep up with, even if it can require some conscious drinking to do so. Calories, on the other hand, can be hard to keep up with (at least it is for me). Even eating as steadily as I can, I essentially find that I can't eat enough on-the-bike nibbles/bars/etc. to get me through a ride of 180-200 miles, or more.

Basically, I'll start a long ride with a good meal, and a good meal the night before, with the hope of having my (glycogen) tanks full. For a ride of 100 miles, maybe even 130 miles, the on-bike calorie intake can offset or slow the depletion of my initial calorie reserves by enough that I can get through the ride fine. Not so on longer rides - for me anyway... I need to stop and get a good "meal-like" amount of food - even if quickly or eaten on the bike for rides that are much longer than 150 miles. This feels like it refuels me enough to keep going with continued on-bike nibbling. The real trick is to stop before the tank runs dry. That's a really, really [email protected] feeling.

The one other resource to regulate is anaerobic effort... a corollary to MB1's start easy to end easy rule. So long as your efforts are fairly aerobic, you can ride a very long way with enough calories & water. However, we all have a finite amount of hard, thigh-burning anaerobic effort we can make in a given time without taking a rest. Minimize any unnecessary thigh-burning anaerobic efforts throughout a very long ride and you won't find your legs calling out at some point "That's all she's GOT, Cap'n, she can't go any faster!" at a speed much lower than it usually happens.
 

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For me, staying aerobic is one of the hardest things to do on long rides/organized endurance events. I easily get sucked into trying to hang with the fast guys, go anaerobic, then blow up at mile 80 or so. It creeps up on you, then you're stuck at 13mph and it feels like a 22mph effort. It's severe enough that I can't recover that day. Proper hydration and nutrition can't help me at that point.

I've completed a double century once, and failed at it twice, failure was alway due to my inability to remain aerobic.

I've started doing my long solo training rides on my mountian bike that doesn't have a computer, it keeps me from chasing mph's...

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
fdghsrtws said:
I easily get sucked into trying to hang with the fast guys, go anaerobic, then blow up at mile 80 or so. It creeps up on you, then you're stuck at 13mph and it feels like a 22mph effort.

That's exactly how I felt like. The wind and hills seemed a lot tougher after 80 miles and beyond, thinking about this ride is just dragging. Along with food intake and all of the helpful comments from you guys, I think riding more is about the only thing to help to increase endurance. Doing solo long rides also might help since there's no one else to shield the wind.



How about pro's? Their races are 150+ miles. How do they train for that? Not that I'll be doing that anytime soon or at all, I'm just really curious. Seeing Cavendish and Boonen having that type of power to sprint after that many miles of hills really amazes me.
 

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I'm certainly no pro, but I'm working on intervals and LT to increase my speed, not so much distance without intensity. The fast guys/pros can generate big power (at least compared to me) without going anaerobic, I can't.

As PdxMark said, if you hydrate and take in enough nutrients, your aerobic engine can theoretically go on forever...you could have done 150 miles that day if you stayed aerobic.

If you're blowing up, you need slow down and stay aerobic, or train your body to go faster. Intervals and LT workouts will raise that efficiency, and they'll allow your body to recover from anaerobic efforts faster within races. I personally don't think adding aerobic miles will help much if you're hitting the wall...you want to raise the ceiling of your fitness.

Check this site:

http://www.ultracycling.com/training/centuries2.html
 
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