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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I'm new to the community, and spent a lot of time yesterday reading threads relevant to my case. I was really impressed by the quality of advice and care that posters got and was hoping for some help for myself.

I'm planning a 1400 mile 2-week trip from Poland to Rome in September. A little over a century a day, probably throwing in a rest day somewhere. My question is what folks would advise on staying injury-free, both in the training, and on the trip itself.

I've drawn up a training programme with a 'rest' week every fourth week. On a weekly basis I have two intensity training days, one long ride and two intermediate rides, and I've started following the advice to make time for extra-slow riding to help recover from particularly intense trainings.

I've also read a lot of the advice on how to train, eat and drink for centuries and double centuries, so my question really relates to the added complication of day-after-day riding.

My background info is: 45, male, only twice done a century but was fine the next day both times, need to lose about 20 lbs as part of the training, and have been on a 5-2 fasting diet up til now, but just came off it so I can up my mileage.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can advise, or point me in the right direction.
 

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Spin. Use lower gears. When you feel like you could go faster and/or pedal harder, don't.

I don't mean totally baby it but it's easy to get caught up in having a good day and decided to go for it but that'll catch up with your sooner or later.

I've only done what you're talking about for 8 days, never two weeks, and maybe I just got lucky but you adapt pretty well after a while. I could barely pedal on day 4 or 5 (from going to hard days before) but by the end felt amazing despite not taking any rest days.

that should be a great trip from Poland to Rome. Hope you have a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You just reminded me of the best advice I heard for running your first marathon: "Start slow, and then, gradually, peter out."

Thanks for the advice - I was struggling over whether it would be better keeping days short and resting longer, or keeping days longer in order to keep intensity down, so that helps my decision - longer days it is. Last year I did five days of 50-60 miles, and, like you, felt stronger at the end than at the beginning. The pace was gentle. 100 miles a day is, I'm guessing, a very different beast ...

And Duriel says 'stretch'. I used to stretch religiously, and sometimes too vigourously, but it's something will build back into my routine - thanks for the reminder!
 

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You just reminded me of the best advice I heard for running your first marathon: "Start slow, and then, gradually, peter out."

Thanks for the advice - I was struggling over whether it would be better keeping days short and resting longer, or keeping days longer in order to keep intensity down, so that helps my decision - longer days it is. Last year I did five days of 50-60 miles, and, like you, felt stronger at the end than at the beginning. The pace was gentle. 100 miles a day is, I'm guessing, a very different beast ...

And Duriel says 'stretch'. I used to stretch religiously, and sometimes too vigourously, but it's something will build back into my routine - thanks for the reminder!
yeah, not that I'm an expert but I think longer days going slower is the wise move as long as you don't cheat yourself on sleep. Some of my worst ever 'days after' have been after only 30 mile but intense race pace rides were as an easy century doesn't effect the next day much at all. The wild card and challenge here is hills and wind. Taking it easy is fine and dandy until that results in going 3 mph up a hill then it's just to darn boring and slow to not give it some extra effort.

I forgot perhaps the most important thing. Eat and drink a lot. (that shouldn't be a problem going through Italy)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hills will be a problem; someone's gone and put some Alps all the way across the way in to Italy. Where I live is flat, flat and flat, except where it's flatter, so, for training, that's the challenge - fortunately I live next to the river escarpment so I have some of the only, if mild, relief for miles around. So, one day of hill intervals and one day of hell-for-leather spinning class is the plan for training.

Eating shouldn't be a problem, you're right, and I plan to make a big bag of self-mixed electrolytes and various sugars, in order to make up some proper rehydration along the way.

I'm curious if anyone has experience of crossing the Alps; I'm looking to skirt them as much as possible by getting to the coastal road in Slovenia and going round from there - the wimp's way, but I'm guessing that half the route will class as 'very hilly' - maybe that's a question for a new thread ...
 

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Easy does it or else you're likely going to suffer from overuse related injuries putting on that much mileage day after day. I say this as someone who once rode several hard centuries weekends in a row. I got tendinitis in one of my knees pretty bad. I over trained, over did it on the centuries, developed a bad pedal stroke, and eventually had to sit out for a month to get to a place where my knee didn't hurt while riding (which allowed me to fix my pedal stroke.)

Sent from my HTC One M9 using Tapatalk
 

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50/34 Chainset up front and an
11-32 Cassette in the back.

Or even bigger cassette but not smaller. Cadence.
74mm inner BCD road triples take rings down to 24T, and the mountain triples on many touring bikes can go to 22. 24x25 is smaller than 34x32, and 24x32 is much, much smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, that's a bit like a foreign language to me, but I'll look it up and see what it would mean for my bike, and get back. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll be honest that I have no race experience at all, and the kinds of speeds people mention on this thread are way out of my league: today I did 110km at 26kmh (my bike's all metric and I haven't worked it out in real money), and that was a good chug for me, but it was sustainable and still left me with lots in the tank at the end. That said, if I tried to up my speed by 10% I think I'd need days to recover.

The plan is sort of to train like I was going to race, and then ride the two weeks easy. I don't mind spending ten hours in the saddle if I have to (although I know that's no mean feat in itself).

One of my training objectives is to be able to ride to Berlin in 2 days (440 km) a month before - I figure if I can do that (it's pretty flat) it will stand me in good stead. For the main trip, I think I need to be able to do about 200km a day on flat terrain if I'm to allow for the Alps taking their toll and having to settle for less distance for 5 or 6 days: hitting the 100-mile mark every day is not the goal so much as Rome itself. It will be interesting to see how the next weeks go ...
 

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Wow, that's a bit like a foreign language to me, but I'll look it up and see what it would mean for my bike, and get back. Thanks!
Basically you want the smallest rings in the front that you can and the biggest gears in the back that you can. I won't argue against three rings in the front so one of them can be super small.

Mountains are no joke, you will want to spin your legs as easy as possible.
 

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I'll be honest that I have no race experience at all, and the kinds of speeds people mention on this thread are way out of my league: today I did 110km at 26kmh (my bike's all metric and I haven't worked it out in real money), and that was a good chug for me, but it was sustainable and still left me with lots in the tank at the end. That said, if I tried to up my speed by 10% I think I'd need days to recover.

The plan is sort of to train like I was going to race, and then ride the two weeks easy. I don't mind spending ten hours in the saddle if I have to (although I know that's no mean feat in itself).

One of my training objectives is to be able to ride to Berlin in 2 days (440 km) a month before - I figure if I can do that (it's pretty flat) it will stand me in good stead. For the main trip, I think I need to be able to do about 200km a day on flat terrain if I'm to allow for the Alps taking their toll and having to settle for less distance for 5 or 6 days: hitting the 100-mile mark every day is not the goal so much as Rome itself. It will be interesting to see how the next weeks go ...
Most everyone posting on this site either races or trains and does group rides as a racer would.

It sounds like you are talking about loaded touring though. When I first responded I assumed you were talking about un-loaded pleasure riding (not racks carrying clothing and stuff).

That's a different animal. Granted racer types would be in the type of shape to do touring just fine but they wouldn't be talking the same way with regard to speed and gear choice if they were talking loaded touring. In other words ignore the speeds you read on this site for purpose of loaded touring.

Another important thing for a trip like you have planned is use chamois cream, don't wear bibs a second time without a wash and practice very good hygiene. A saddle sore in the middle of a trip like that would suck pretty bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There you go - i didn't mention a really important piece of basic information, there'll be two of us camping our way to Rome, carrying about 20 kilos each. Sorry - I'm a beginner at discussing these things!

Also, when I said 'on this thread' I meant 'on this forum'. I'll definitely be ignoring those speeds, as I'll be going at my buddy's pace or my own, both of which are not in the same league. And thanks for the tip on hygiene - I'll be sure to do everything you say there.

Regarding gear ratios, though, am I right that I'd need at least as low gears as you, MMsRepBike and Drew mention?
 

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Regarding gear ratios, though, am I right that I'd need at least as low gears as you, MMsRepBike and Drew mention?
I think so, yes. Either a compact or triple crank and the biggest cassette you can.

Don't be afraid to wipe your sit region with rubbing alcohol frequently when off the bike. Keep the bacteria, yeast and fungus from building up in that area. If you happen to get a small patch of abraded skin or a pimple or something in the area the skin baddies will move right in.
 

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There you go - i didn't mention a really important piece of basic information, there'll be two of us camping our way to Rome, carrying about 20 kilos each.

Regarding gear ratios, though, am I right that I'd need at least as low gears as you, MMsRepBike and Drew mention?
Lower. As a 40-something guy I was thinking more along the lines of credit card touring where you weren't dragging an extra 1/3 person up mountains.

You want a triple crank for touring; ex 48-36-24. That will allow a low gear like 34x48 which you can't have with a compact crank.

You'll also want a touring bike which can carry that load reasonably, and comes with such a crank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The bike I have is a touring bike with a triple crank. I've counted the teeth and my lowest gear ratio is 32 back 28 front while the highest is 11x28.

As for weight, last year I carried 20 kg in rear panniers going to Berlin, but I was also 10kg heavier myself (I'm aiming to drop another 10 kg), so I'm confident that the bike can handle the load on a good road surface.

I'm getting the message that I need to avoid exhausting my leg muscles, so that's really helpful. If I have to invest any further, it sounds like a bigger cassette or a smaller small crank would be worth it for the hills. Any recommendation on which is preferable? If it's just a question of doing the math to find what gives me the best ratio, I can do that, but if there are other technical practicalities to consider I'd be really glad of advice.

Can't believe how much I'm learning, thanks!
 

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Your gears sound fine. A 28 as a smallest ring up front is very small. A 32 as the biggest on the back wheels is very big. All good. That should handle just about any mountain.
 

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There you go - i didn't mention a really important piece of basic information, there'll be two of us camping our way to Rome, carrying about 20 kilos each. Sorry - I'm a beginner at discussing these things!

Also, when I said 'on this thread' I meant 'on this forum'. I'll definitely be ignoring those speeds, as I'll be going at my buddy's pace or my own, both of which are not in the same league. And thanks for the tip on hygiene - I'll be sure to do everything you say there.

Regarding gear ratios, though, am I right that I'd need at least as low gears as you, MMsRepBike and Drew mention?
Don't underestimate the time you need to pitch the tent, take it down etc. each day. It'll easily shorten you day with a hour. More if you prepare your own dinner.

I don't know which route you're taking, but the Alps probably aren't the only hilly region. I've never crossed the Appennines on a bike, but people who have done it tell me some of the hills there are tough.

If you go from Berlin to Rome, there's a fair chance you'll encounter a 1400 mile headwind. Last year I did a six day trip to the south of France (6 x 175 kms) and the hard part was not the hills but the wind. Hills are fair animals in a way that a headwind isn't.

For the rest ... position, position, position and saddle, saddle, saddle. Even the slightest imperfection will be magnified on your trip. I've never had saddle sores or even significant discomfort on my racebike before, but on that trip to France ... It wasn't funny.

Physically, it shouldn't be a problem if you stick to the advice given here and eat properly. Which isn't always as easy as it sounds. If it's hot for example, I always lose my appetite.
 
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