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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been training for a 200 mile ride over two days - basically a century each day. It's 3 weeks away and I have no clue if I'm kidding myself or not.

I've been training since February as part of an organized training series but I missed 4 weeks in a row to an illness so I lost a lot of gains.

My first ride back was two weeks ago, 64 mile ride and I was beat. I've had a few rides since then - 100 miles maybe over two weeks...not many hills.

Got a 93 mile ride tomorrow and a training century next week. I guess tomorrow will be a tell-tale sign if I'm ready or not but so many people say it's mental and wonder if I just need to push it.

Not a long time rider and over-weight 5'10" - 225 lbs.

Anyway - just looking for advice or tips or whatever. This is a big deal for me to conquer but I'm not sure if that 4 weeks I lost has blown it for me.

Thoughts?
 

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I would do your 94 mile ride at the pace you can finish comfortably. If you finish and aren't exhausted, but feel fine you are probably ready to ride at that pace for the double. If not you should slow down. Pacing is the problem most people run into assuming they have nutrition and hyrdration plans that work for them over a long distance (5 to 6 hours). Pacing is limiting as much as you can any anerobic efforts and staying at or just below the middle of your zone 2 for power or HR. Anything beyond a 6 hour training ride is really mental prep for the double. Mental is key, but it's certainly about conditioning as well.

have you tested your nutrition / hydration plan? For your weight a starting point would be taking in about 270 calories per hour probably, and that spread out through the hour. slow down the calories a little as the day wears on and it get's hot. Also for hydration assuming it's mid 80's probably 1.5 25oz bottles of water / hour. If while riding you find your gut feeling heavy, it may be your stomach shutting down from not enough blood flow to it - that comes from riding too hard, so drop the effort and slow down the calorie intake until you feel better, even take a longer rest stop if you need one and cool down. Set a timer on your bike computer to prompt you to hyrdrate/eat - don't wait till you are hungry or thirsty to eat/drink.

If it's hot take a couple advil with you incase you get a headache from the heat / sun.

Make sure you have a good taper plan and aren't trying to compensate for your off period by loading up in the last week when you should be tapering. My taper plans for long rides include riding about half the distance in the week I normally do, with a day off 2 days out, and the day prior a light spin to wake up the legs.
 

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If we knew more about the ride your going to attempt the advice would be more pointed to a recommendation.. Is the ride timed, SAG?, etc,,,. How many centuries have you ridden?

On longer-non timed rides I like to stop, put the feet up and nap for 10 minutes every couple of hours (30 miles), especially in this heat, this makes a 100 miles a fairly easy trip.. .. Everyone's fitness and endurance levels are different.. You need to figure out what works for you and not to let the task-attitude kick your butt before you get started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys for chiming in and taking the time to respond with very helpful info.

So, I did my 93 miles on Saturday (longest I've done ever...did 67 miles 33 years ago when I was 19). Anyway, the last 15 were brutal. Number one problem was a severely sore rear end. Everyone says that is just about more time in the saddle but I think I might go looking at seats. I think mine is a bit to squishy and I hear that a stiffer seat is preferable on long rides. The seat I have is a WTB Speed.

I'm sure I did not eat enough calories on this ride that took nearly 10 1/2 hours. I brought lots of food with me but didn't eat it. This is a training series that is in week 11 (training for Seattle to Portland ride BTW, July 16 - it is a fully supported ride and not a race). Anyway, we don't stop as often as I'd like to eat food so I guess I need to get used to eating while on the bike at least on these training rides. On the actual two days of the ride I can go more at my own pace and stop when I want for food. I read something somewhere that said if you get behind in calories for the ride then you can't make it up later - is that true?

I had no gas left in the tank near the end and I don't know if that's from not having eaten or not enough water. Felt like I was drinking quite a bit and I do have electrolyte mix as well that I was drinking.

This weeks training ride is a century so can't decide on how much I train this week after recovering from yesterday but being prepared for Saturday.

My fitness and endurance levels are far from ideal so I guess I'll just need to work with what I got. Yes, I can see that the mental piece is huuuuuge. I need to conquer this thing. I have another ride scheduled for August (Seattle to Vancouver).

Your help and advice is appreciated. Anything else you might have would be helpful as I try and figure this out and make it as fun and comfortable as possible.

Thanks again guys.
 

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My advice is if you are struggling to keep up with the eating, put your calories in the bottle. There are a number of options out there to choose from, I use Infinite Nutrition. Google them if you are interested, they can make a custom blend for you (no more expensive than their off the shelf) or you could try their 'Go Far' standard endurance blend. Do that with a timer on you bike computer to prompt you to drink and makes sure you take in a bottle of that an hour, plus one of just water and if you are pacing correctly Hydration / fuel issues should be fairly well resolved. If you are beat on 100 following this approach, you it's a fitness issue or you are riding to hard or both.

I do agree more time in the saddle will help your seat problem - if you are only a few weeks out from the event I wouldn't try to change a saddle though. Bibs with a more endurance oriented chamois might help though.
 

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Seattle to Portland is quite a ride to choose for your first long distance effort. Riding south on US 30 is not a ton of fun, and it makes it tough to stay in the game mentally. I honestly hated the ride. I had no idea what it would be like going into it, and after it was done, I swore I'd never do it again.

If you are prepared, and have support, it's not physically hard (there are certainly rides in the area with far more elevation for example). It's the long drudgery and poor road conditions that make it hard to want to keep going. The scenery isn't as nice as many other rides in the area either.

There are plenty of other centuries around that are good training for STP.

7 Hills of Kirkland, Flying Wheels, RedBell 100 (it was this weekend) etc... It would have been a good plan to ride those (or others) as a gauge to see where you are before you attempt a two day two hundred mile ride, one way ride that doesn't offer a lot other than to say "I did it".

I rode 180 miles over this last Saturday and Sunday. I intentionally wasn't in a hurry, and stopped and took some pictures along the way. I just rode a big loop around the metro area (mostly pre-planned) and ended up back home. It was hot, but I was never far from services, or a gas station, or someplace to grab food and water. These kinds of relaxing rides are good ways to gauge your speed, stamina, food, and water requirements. Heck, just figuring out what kind of food you should take is not easy. Some people do fine with gels, others (me included) have to eat something with some substance once an hour or more, depending on the conditions.

Also, if I'm riding more than two or three hours, I use some kind of endurance specific fuel in one of my bottles (Hammer Perpetuem in my case). I use it in concentrated form and supplement electrolyte water and whatever I can find at local drinking fountains, gas station drinks, etc... I find perpetuem really helps keep the muscle fatigue down. My legs were feeling stronger at the 75 mile point than they were at 25 miles on my long ride on Sunday.

You definitely need to sort out the food thing. Nothing will bring you to a stop quicker than bonking. I have a good friend who spent a couple of days in the hospital and a couple of months rehabbing several fractures because he didn't think he needed to eat on a long ride (hot, dry day). He kept pushing himself (he was riding with some friends) and eventually blacked out and crashed. It was not a pretty sight, and honestly, he could be dead (considering how far he was from help). It's good thing there were people with him who recognized his symptoms and knew first aid. Not eating and not drinking enough can be dangerous stuff...

As far as your seat, you certainly need to figure out what works for you, but getting used to the saddle does take time. Your body definitely needs to adapt. Also, don't overlook a good quality chamois in your shorts, and a good chamois creme, It really does help. I carry a small tube with me to supplement on really long rides.
 
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