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Buttons are not toys
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I am planning to do double century at the end of the month. Already been 200-300 miles a week with at least two centuries under my belt. Going for 120-130 this weekend. I am hoping to finish in 12-13 hours. Any advice on pace, food, liquids.... I have heard the last 40 is a death march....Tell me it's not so...

Thanks!
 

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may or may not work -
hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
electrolytes
eat often - things you know/ familiar with. try not to eat anything you haven't consumed on a longerish ride before.
stretch good when you get off of the bike
don't stop for too long during rest stops
if your stomach tolerates, try a small/half dose of advil as directed (i find this to be money)
pace against heart rate monitor. i find that as long as I keep fueling, I can ride almost indefinitely if i keep it under 150 bpm.
make sure bike is in good mechanical order
have fun.

j
 

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I just finished my first double century. Some folks on this board were very helpful in lending me advice. What double are you planning on doing? I would definitely talk to those who have done the double you are attempting.

Here's my 2 cents:

-Practice eating continually, like for 15 hours (thats how long it took my slow arse to do it). Perhaps a football-basketball-xgames food marathon is in order. Just kidding, but seriously you get my point. Eat eat eat, eat all day long, eat when you're not hungry because towards the end of the race bonking is much more likely.

-Always carry more water than you need and trust your gut. At the first checkpoint on my Solvang Double the water was contaminated but I kept drinking anyways because I didn't want to dehydrate. Instead of getting a little deydrated I ended up getting extremely sick and almost dropped out at checkpoint #2 just 80 miles into the race. Keep in mind this was a cool day and I had already downed over 120oz of water--plenty mind you for just 80 miles. The whole rest of the race I carried an extra 50-60oz with me just in case another checkpoint had bad water. I had a 100oz bladder + 2 22oz polar bottles. If you run into this problem, keep a few bucks on you and stop at a liquor store. Do not put salt tablets into your water, bad water = bad water and unless you have iodine pills you will get sick.

-Vary up your food as much as possible. Cliff bars are only so good after the 6th hour. It keeps things interesting. However, don't eat too much junk. A little candy is fine to mix it up but plan on bonking unless you are eating nutritious complex carb-loaded foods every 2 hours.

-Get a decent headlight and taillight. Everyone on the course had little crappy $2 commuter lights. I guess it depends on how much you value your life--riding in the dark, exhausted after 12 hours of riding? I thought I would have finished sooner and not needed a light, and perhaps you're a lot faster of a rider than me and the days are longer now than they were in March, but its better to be safe than sorry!

-Go to Staples and buy a box of those little metal clips. You can take two of them and pin your route sheet to your front cables. Voila, no need to stop and pull your route sheet out of your backpack every 5 miles when a turn come up. This alone probably saved me a half an hour.

-Lastly and most important: EFI. I met a great guy on the race who had the right mind set. EFI stands for Every F'in Inch. NO matter what, you WILL finish, even if you have to WALK. If you have to crawl the last 10 miles, you WILL crawl it and finish. Is walking easier than pedaling? Is crawling easier than pedaling? No, so pedal some more. Failure is not an option.

I did this double alone, having never ridden or driven more than 10-15 miles of the course or the surrounding areas, I had no idea where in the state of California I was half the time, and this was my first double so you can imagine how intimidating it was. But failure was not an option! I will never forget those 15 hours on the bike. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
 

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monkeyman said:
Greetings,

I am planning to do double century at the end of the month. Already been 200-300 miles a week with at least two centuries under my belt. Going for 120-130 this weekend. I am hoping to finish in 12-13 hours. Any advice on pace, food, liquids.... I have heard the last 40 is a death march....Tell me it's not so...

Thanks!
Don't forget the Chamois Butter.

Use the first 150 miles or so as prep for the last 50.

No reason for the last 40 to be a death march unless you shot your wad on the first 160.

In the first few miles find someone old, slow and experienced to ride with. Stay with them.

Eat lots.

Bring good lights and get an early start.

Have fun.
 

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No Crybabies
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thoughts

Pacing -- ride so that you are never breathing hard, almost as if you could close your mouth and breathe through your nose. Don't get into pacelines that are over your head, especially on climbs. Don't get into mini "races" with others. Go at your own pace. If you paceline, take short pulls, like 30 seconds at a time. Don't feel like you have to show off how strong you are. I've seen it a thousand times, someone takes 10 minute pulls, then fades off or quits.

Nutrition -- consume around 250 carb calories per hour. Drink around 24-32 ounces of water per hour, depending on you, how hard you ride, and the weather. Get plenty of salt. Salt is essential both for food/water absorption and to for muscle activity. Too much water in relation to too little salt can be deadly. http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/salt.html If something is not working for you, like a certain sports drink, then stop using it and try something else.

I like to use a cheap Timex watch with a countdown timer, set to alarm every 10 minutes, to remind me to drink.

Gearing -- take lower gears than you think you may need, especially if there are big climbs. Low gears save your legs on long rides, and allow you to keep going up hills while you may be bonking.

Take little bites. Break up the ride into small parts. Think about just getting to the next food stop. Later in the ride, think about just getting up this hill, and postpone thinking about the rest of the ride until you do.

At some point in the ride, you probably will feel like crap and want to quit. You will seriouslly question why you ever did this, and will vow to never do it again. I have thought that about a hundred times. However, no matter how badly you feel, it will get better. It's amazing how you can bounce back from rock bottom, feel better, and then be glad you rode through it and finished. Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.

Be careful. Especially in big groups, there will be some who lack focus or have bad skills. You don't want them taking you out. Don't overlap wheels. Don't feel like you have to draft 2" off someone.

Don't linger too long at rest stops. Stay just long enough to get everything you need, then it the road. If you can grab a banana and eat it on the road, you'll save several minutes. All those minutes add up at the end of the day. This is how I have made up huge time over faster riders. Do stay long enough to get the essentials, though. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish with your time saved.
 

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The comments on hydration, eating and pacing are spot-on.

To emphasize... pacing... You might be tempted early-on to crank-up the speed. Heed Fixed's advice on this issue. If you're riding with people whose pace is a little hot for you, let them go. The cumulative fatigue of those early efforts will come back to haunt you late in the ride. If you stay within your sustainable aerobic level of effort, as described by Fixed, you will avoid that problem.

A slightly alternative thought on food. Eating enough matters, as has been said. Many folks like and get by on various energy bars, goos, etc. I'm a little different. In a double century, or more, I find that I like a more substantive bit to eat between 100-125 miles. It might be a non-jumbo burger and fries, or pasta, or whatever. A meal, but not a huge meal. For me, that sort of food settles well and seems to catch me up on the caloric deficit I've been running by nibbling bars, fruit & such along the way. Such a meal doesn't settle well for everyone, but it's an option to bear in mind if you find yourself wearing down at the 100-125 mile range.

Lastly, much of finishing such a ride is mental. Dwelling on having yet another 90 miles to go when you're tired and in low spirits can be very demoralizing. Have nice, easy short-term goals in mind. The rest stop just 10 miles away. The town or turn just 5 miles away. For me, I figure that I can ride 5 or 10 miles no matter HOW tired I am. Bite-size goals always seem to help, particularly when the day starts to stretch out.

Have a great ride.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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These guys have given you seriously good advice. Some novice mistakes I have learned in the last couple of years.

  • If I'm not having fun, I am probably low on calories.
  • I never need chamois lube on rides shorter than, say 200K, but longer than that it's important. Put it on from the start.
  • Don't try to replace all the calories you are burning; you can't. If you try, you will end up bloated.
  • Stay on top of electrolytes. People use endurolytes. I have had luck with a mix of salt and salt substitute.
  • If I'm riding a geared bike, I will limit myself to something like a 65-70 inch gear for the first 50 miles. That ensures I don't try to go out too hard.
  • Add protein to your diet, or you can burn muscle
  • You might want a bigger bag than usual, so you can carry enough stuff, but that depends on how available things will be on the ride
Remember, you will either be able to tell yourself, "heck, I've done this before," or "hey I'm on a new personal best."

Personally, I would not aim for a specific time on my first of any distance other than keeping in front of time cutoffs if any.

Oh, and post a ride report.
 

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Buttons are not toys
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow! Great stuff. Now I am really firedup. Thanks for all the great advice. This is good stuff even you don't go 200. I live in Southwest MI so we should be okay for day light. The goal is to be on the road by 5:30am and finish in the evening. We'll start in the dark but it'll be light by 6:00am. Right now it's just 2-3 of us going. We'll be riding local roads and I have a tentative route planned. We know all the stores and gas stations. I just got a new Felt Z1 full carbon so equipment won't be a problem. Pacing could be interesting. I'll be riding with a CAT 3 racer who is a republican and I'm a democrat. At least we'll have plenty to talk about. Thanks again and I'll be sure to post a report when we're done. Going to be blast!
 

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I always carry some aspirin and Tums on long rides. Aspirin keeps the aches to a minimum, and Tums are a great source of potassium. Symptoms of low potassium are cramps and muscle weakness.
 

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All great advice. I especially agree with continually taking calories and water on- you won't gain weight. Also, for longer rides I like the Chamois Butt'r "singles". I'll add some to my chamois about 100 miles in to refresh it to keep any chafing at bay. Also, practice looking around, changing your head position as neck stiffness often creeps in on long rides. Stand up for 30 secs every 15 mins.
 

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"A cold coca cola at mile 160 fixes everything."


(I've done 14 doubles).....

Coca-Cola, V8, and bananas, can take you as far as you ever want to go.
 
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