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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am new to this forum and road riding in general. However I have been mt biking for several years now. Last year I picked up a road bike and have become quite confortable riding it. I live near the Pocono Region of Pa and I am accustomed to long, steep climbs as well as some moderate distance riding up to 65 miles.

I would like to do a double century this year; from Pennsylvania to Delaware. I am looking for any advice, tips, etc on how to prepare for such a ride. I would like to condition myself to tackle this ride in one day. Aside from the obvious, I need to rack up some more miles. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Honestly you could learn a bunch by searching different threads on this site. Search whatever you are curious about...nutrition, saddles, position, lights, tires...there is a ton of stuff here. A lot of what you find will point you to other references...just follow the links away. Look up Randonneurs and Brevet or ultracycling for all sorts of links to longer riding advice.
 

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No Crybabies
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link

Here is some useful info: http://www.ultracycling.com/training/prep_for_double_centuries.html

If you can ride a century comfortably, a double is doable. Just be more cafeful with pacing, water, nutrition, and make sure you are rested before.

Aerobars help, not so much for speed, but to relax and take the pressure off your hands.

Don't do all long slow training rides. Some faster rides, maybe even road races, will make doubles easier.

Most importantly, figure out what works before the double. What food, water, sodium, saddle, all that stuff. Use your century training rides as tests for all these things.
 

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After trying all sorts of training plans I have found that doing a 225 mile training ride a couple of weeks before your double century is great prep.
 

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Fixed said:
If you can ride a century comfortably, a double is doable. Just be more careful with pacing, water, nutrition, and make sure you are rested before.
...
Most importantly, figure out what works before the double. What food, water, sodium, saddle, all that stuff. Use your century training rides as tests for all these things.
As you & others have said, the miles are the foundation, but Fixed's comments get to the details that can make or break a long ride. A shortage of calories, water or sleep will grind you to a stop. A saddle or shorts that are chafing you raw will too. It's not that hard to be fit enough to do a double, but it's quite easy to mess up on hydration, food, and bike contact points. Good luck. It's a fun goal to work for and achieve.
 

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Riding towards Delmarva.
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I'll spew out some bullet points that have stuck with me, I've done around ten doubles in California...

It sucks for everyone after 140 miles. Know this before you start. It just does. Knowing this makes it easier to prepare for mentally. You know it's going to suck, embrace this and move on.

Spare butt butt'r. I take the single-use packet and reapply after 100 miles.

Do not drink water. Have calories in your drink.

Coke, V8, and bananas can carry a person pretty damn far.

Carry something to keep warm. I'm always surprised at how quickly you get cold, even in the summer, when the sun goes down and you've been riding all day.

Real food rocks.

Whatever light you choose, make sure you have a backup. I use a NR MiNewt but also carry a Petzl Tikka Plus headlamp, and TWO rear blinkers.

You don't have to ride 180 to train. Ride 100 as much as you can. 110, 120, hard 100s. This year will be my fourth (cross fingers) CA Triple Crown, and our Saturday training rides are 100 miles as hilly as we can make them. We've all decided that riding 160 is counterproductive. Instead, we ride to work each day and then go for one hard 100 every Saturday.

A handlebar bag is a good thing.

A clip-on seat post rack with a simple web/net and stuff sack is a good thing.

Reflective tape on things that move (cranks, wheels, ankles) is a good thing. You can order Nathan reflective tape on-line of almost any color.

Reflective tape on/around a helmet is a good thing.

A Bell Metro helmet is a GREAT thing. The back has a nice little accessory strap for a Blackburn MARS light. I've cut the straps off my Petzl headlamp and used bulk velcro from Dome Hepot to position the headlamp on the front of the helmet where it permanently lives.

Stopping is good. Stopping to eat real food is even better. Heavy jersey pockets really, really SUCKS after half a day. Two weeks ago I rode Devil Mountain Double and carried a Clif bar with me for emergency bonks. I still had it with me at the finish. It was the only food that I carried, so all my nutrition came at the aid stations and off the bike. My point? Heavy jersey pockets gets really, really annoying. I would much rather stop at a store, or fill up stuff sack/seatpost rack listed above, for unsupported rides. In the winter I bake a loaf of bread from Trader Joes and take half of it on our winter 130 mile rides.

Did I mention Coke? That stuff is magic.

Glasses with removeable lenses.

Anyway......doubles are great. Just remember the first thing I listed at the top.
 

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Last year I made doing a double one of my goals. So in November I did a 150 mile ride in 10hrs total time. After that day I knew a double was doable. I did a double in March. This was my first double and I did it in 11:30 hrs with 7500 feet of climbing. Since November I did a couple more 150 mile rides and a bunch of 100 mile rides. About 2 weeks before the double. I stepped up on the carbs. A little extra rice, potatoes and pasta. I put on about 3lbs. I wanted to make sure my tank was topped off. I ate a lot of fruit and vegetables too. Your body needs the potassium, magnanese and other minerals. And the week before the ride I got a lot of rest. I wouldn't do any hard training rides 10 days before the ride. Just maybe a couple of easy 60-70 milers.
 

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Century rides are good practice. The most important thing I learned from century rides was, I learned how my body works, when and how to feed it. For example I did a couple centurys using Gel packs along with other food, but I found that once I ate a gel pack, I needed another to counter the sugar drop. (I suspect it had to do with the high GI). I usually had to take another within 25 - 20 minutes, and it became very predicatable. When I started to feel like crap, I simply threw another log on the fire. However I found this up & down thing annoying and found eating cliff bars more to my liking in the centurys I did after that. . . . That just me. I think once you get over 80 miles it's mind over matter. I also did a number of 150's. It was my experience that I start feeling like crap at about 80 miles, and this is the best that I will feel, I simply have to maintain this level of feeling like crap, without feel worse if that makes sense. It's when the ride stops being fun.

The thing is once you bonk it's over. Drink before you get thirsty, and eat before you get hungry.
 

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I don't think century rides are enough training unless you want to suffer a LOT during a double. I'd say 150 miles at a minimum at least once a couple of weeks before the Double. Better yet back to back 200K rides on a weekend.

Really truly though, doing a 225 mile easy training ride is going to make the Double feel so much nicer. Think about what it means to say, "You mean we are done already?" at 200 miles.

Another good prep would be to do a full Brevet Series.
 

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Game on, b*tches!
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Well. If you don't have the time to do that (I didn't when I did 177-close enough atmo) just make sure you ride. Lots. Do a century or 2 and even longer in the months before. Eat. Lots(during the ride). And make sure it's stuff you're familiar with and doesn't bother you. The week before, take it easy and rest, but still ride. Doen't go out too hard and if you can (I know that areas is quite hilly) gear down in case you get to a spot where you're really suffering. And most of all, have fun.
 

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Non non normal
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In my opinion,

If you can do a really hilly 100 miles and ride a total of over 225 miles in the same week, you can do a fairly flat double with no problem. You will probably still suffer because of not being used to being on the bike for that long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the advice thus far. Nutrition and pre ride prep are a few of the things I was most curious about. Considering the general route I have in mind; the hardest terrain will be in the first half of the ride, then the elevation drops and the route gets flatter. From a mental stand point I am hoping this would be an ideal situation for me and my fellow riders. I am going to ride the first 100 miles of the route at least once. Most of my other training with be within the Pocono region of Pa. As I think of more specific questions I will search and post (if need be :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I did my first century today. The first 80 were fairly easy kinda like Curb Destroyer said:

CurbDestroyer said:
It was my experience that I start feeling like crap at about 80 miles, and this is the best that I will feel, I simply have to maintain this level of feeling like crap, without feel worse if that makes sense. It's when the ride stops being fun.
The ride consisted of me riding to a group ride, doing the group ride, then ride home. The first 50 miles of my day were a mix of Climbing /Downhill and Flat. Mile 50 to 80 was mostly flat with some minor climbing. From mile 80 to 90 the climbs started to increase again. From 90 to 105 the climbs were intense for me considering the distance I had already done. The last 15 miles were on roads I ride frequently and ususally have no problem doing. Today was a different story. I was very suprised that my legs did fine (as far as cramping) until the last climb, which was during the last 5 miles.

Today was a huge accomplishment for me and I feel pretty good aside from some light soreness in my upper thigh. I think I need to improve my times before I consider a double century.

Today's Stats:
Saddle Time 7h 44m
Start to Finsh Time 6:40am - 3:45pm (9 hours 5 minutes)
Average speed 13.7 (was 15-16 before the last 20 miles)
To and From Ascent: 2174 ft
Group Ride Ascent: 337 ft
 

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Riding towards Delmarva.
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All you really need to monitor is "off the bike time". That is the key to a double. Go for a long ride, ANY long ride. Start your watch's stopwatch and compare to your bike computer's ride time.

Our goal is usually less than one hour "off the bike time" for a century, preferably closer to thirty minutes.

On a double, it's very, very hard to get less than one hour "off the bike" time. I think I've done it once in 14 doubles. Usually around 90 minutes.

What ends up happening, in terms of strategy; make all stops quick until lunch. Then try as hard as you can to make lunch quick as well, something around 15 minutes. Then, if you really NEED to stop long, you DO, but you do it in miles 100 and beyond. This strategy worked well for the 110 degree Davis Double last weekend; we made quick stops until lunch, then stopped and cooled down at lunch, then after lunch, due to the extreme conditions, all bets were off and we had to stop numerous times due to the extreme heat.

To make a long story short......on the doubles we plan quick stops until lunch, then a quick lunch, then you just go with it after that....

...and the way you "prepare" for this, you monitor your "off the bike time" in training.

We never monitor avg. speed, in fact I specifically use a computer that does not have average speed. If you average 17 or 18, what does it matter if you take eight, 15 minute breaks?

Off the bike time is everything. It's the difference between two hours in the dark and four.

Good luck, and you can do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the advice and vote of confidence.

There were 2 break that really killed my overall time, and neither were necessary. The first was when I was trying to connect with group. I killed nearly 30 minute waiting and waiting. The next break that was really long, was at the end of the group ride, which was just pass the half way point of my ride. I was BS'ing with people and before I knew it 45 miuntes had gone by, doh.

Aside from these 2 time killing breaks the only necessay breaks I took were 5 minutes here and there. And for the most part they were only because I ran out of fluids and was pacing myself until I got to a store to get more fuel.

In previous rides I have learned to take breaks on the bike. I would reduce my pace eat, drink and stretch (the best I can without unclipping). I am not sure if this is the best thing to do, but it has worked on my shorter rides (50 miles).
 
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