Author Topic: Training  (Read 2103 times)

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Offline kac

Training
« on: January 14, 2010, 12:16:10 pm »
how should an inexperienced rider train for a cross-country tour? ANY advice or experiences would be appreciated. am looking for info on how long before ride one should be training, how many miles to strive for realistically, etc.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Training
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2010, 02:39:50 pm »
For starters, read this:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/getinshape.cfm

If you have sufficient extra time for the trip (perhaps a few weeks longer than otherwise), you can train en route. (This won't work, of course, if your riding with a group.) So that would mean that you don't need any real "training", at least not of your muscles. Without such training, however, you must expect a certain level of discomfort--of your leg muscles, your butt, your arms, your lower back and your neck. These are all things you can work through with sufficient time, either before the ride or duriing it.

You should, however, ride your bike sufficiently to make sure that it fits well and does not aggrevate any of your joints, that it has the right gearing, and that your butt and your saddle are well suited for each other. You should also ride enough with your equipment to make sure that it is all well suited for training.

You might also want to ride enough to learn how to handle a wide variety of conditions, such as cracks in the road, crossing railroad tracks, minimizing the risk of being hit by a car from behind, the side or the front, riding in the rain, handling slick conditions, handling loose dirt and rocks, looking back without swerving, standing while pedaling. These skills can be learned fairly quickly, but it takes a bit longer to make them second nature.

You also want to spend enough time learning how your bike works and how to repair simple problems. You certainly want to know how to deal with a cut tire, flat tube, broken spoke, dropped chain, broken chain, broken cable, cable out of adjustment, derailleur adjustment, etc. And you want to know regular maintenace such as cleaning and lubing your chain, replacing your chain, replacing a tire, fixing a flat and replacing a broken spoke.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 02:41:59 pm by John Nelson »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Training
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2010, 03:47:48 pm »
how should an inexperienced rider train for a cross-country tour? ANY advice or experiences would be appreciated. am looking for info on how long before ride one should be training, how many miles to strive for realistically, etc.
Train if you want.  It is always good to be in shape but...

As long as your bottom is used to the saddle and you aren't in a huge hurry you are golden.  My approach is to ride or run as much as I feel like leading up to a tour.  Then I just ride as many miles as I am comfortable with each day on the tour.  It doesn't take long to get in shape while on the tour.  The key is to never do enough miles that you are real sore the next day.  You can build the mileage pretty quickly if you start out taking it easy.

My two partners on the TA had almost no miles in and did fine.  We just took it easy the first 10 days to two weeks.

Last Spring I did a 10 day tour with pretty much zero miles in for the year.  I didn't have much trouble averaging 80 miles a day.  I was in fairly good shape from running and that helped some I guess.  My point is that if you are in generally good or even fair shape and are at least a bit used to your saddle you will be fine.

BTW when I do ride while not on tour I never ride my touring bike or carry a load.

That said do be sure that you are OK with the panniers and a load on at least a test ride.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 03:49:43 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline trout

Re: Training
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2010, 07:06:16 pm »
I always say that nothing beats time in the saddle. You don't want to be miserable!
I never obsess about it. It works for me to be in regular riding shape, I don't really do anything special, just my routine 75 - 90 miles per week.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Training
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2010, 09:10:55 pm »
I agree with previous writer.  I ride several times per week when the weather permits (around here that's about March-November), probably average 50-120 miles/week.  When a tour comes up, I just pack and go.  No special training is needed.     
May the wind be at your back!

Offline alfonso

Re: Training
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2010, 08:30:43 pm »
The only thing I'd add to these responses is that in your regular rides it's helpful to look for hills and ride up them - at your own pace. Steeper/longer the better.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Training
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2010, 06:50:33 am »
how should an inexperienced rider train for a cross-country tour? ANY advice or experiences would be appreciated. am looking for info on how long before ride one should be training, how many miles to strive for realistically, etc.

Rhetorical, don't take it personally: If you don't know how to ride long distances, how "realistic" is your cross-country ride?

I strongly disagree with the idea that preparing for a cross-country ride is not totally obsessive. Getting ready to sit in a saddle for many hours is just a small part of your physical and metal preparations. You've got to learn how to ride in all kinds of weather and terrains, fix your bike, improvise, cope with your mates, and feed the engine. 
Join a riding club, push yourself harder than you want to so you know how it feels, lose 10-15% of your present body mass, participate in your local charity centuries, go on a supported one- or two-week tour, and know when to take it easy or quit without giving up.

Be very afraid.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline staehpj1

Re: Training
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2010, 08:39:07 am »
Rhetorical, don't take it personally: If you don't know how to ride long distances, how "realistic" is your cross-country ride?

Snip....

Be very afraid.

I'd have to say pretty realistic.  Of the folks I on the Trans America a large percentage just decided to go and did it.  Many would not have called themselves cyclists before the tour.  Quite a few trained as they went if you can call that training.  What most had in common was that they were stubborn goal oriented people, were generally fairly fit, and were experienced in other outdoor activities.  I would think based on the folks that I know who successfully did a NT, TA, or ST that those qualities were way more important than how much they trained.

As far as the be "afraid comment".  I have to say there isn't much to be afraid of on an XC tour. On tour, go out and ride however many miles you feel like each day and don't push yourself past your comfort zone.  Pretty soon it is just the normal daily grind.

Obviously it is best to have some mileage in, but real training is not required.  So yeah get some mileage in.  It will help especially for the first 10 days to 2 weeks, but after a couple weeks you will be in the groove even if you weren't at the start.

Remember it is a vacation not a competitive event, so no need to train hard unless you just want to for it's own sake.  The exception is if you are trying to do a fast crossing.  In that case train like crazy.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 08:41:41 am by staehpj1 »

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Training
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2010, 09:23:06 pm »
The only thing I'd add to these responses is that in your regular rides it's helpful to look for hills and ride up them - at your own pace. Steeper/longer the better.

Great advice!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.