Author Topic: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day  (Read 4087 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2021, 06:38:00 am »
One thing in your post sticks out that’s concerning if it’s not a typo, you wrote that you undershot your training goal of averaging 100 miles a week.
I wondered about that as well but decided not to ask.  Since you brought it up, I will say it isn't much mileage for training for the kind of trip he is talking about, where he will need to hit the road doing long mile every day starting the first day and every day even in the mountains.  It sounds more like just normal recreational just for fun level riding or commuting.  That said it could suffice if it is higher intensity training miles, but that isn't necessarily the best substitute for long hours in the saddle.

I always figured that you could train for riding a century by riding 100 mile weeks, but it was a stretch.  Training to ride 40 centuries in a row is a very different proposition, but his other training hopefully is more and better in the upcoming weeks.

The mention of hoping to lose weight leading up to the trip is one other thing I'll comment on.  You say you are overall in good shape, so I assume you aren't obese.  At this point I'd suggest not dieting to lose weight.  Rely on eating sensibly and shedding pounds by burning calories if you do want to drop a few pounds, but don't short yourself on fuel.  Unless you are overweight by much you may actually have trouble maintaining weight at that daily mileage.  For some eating enough can become a chore on a trip like that.  This probably isn't the time to be trying to lose weight.  You probably will lose a bit more than you should without trying.

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 337
  • Touring for over 50 years and still learning
Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2021, 10:57:01 am »
You body will burn fat in the beginning, but once it figures out the 100 miles a day is the new normal it will begin to conserve the fat and start to shed muscle, most likely upper body muscle first. A cubic inch of muscle weighs twice as much as a cubic inch of fat and it takes twice the calories to maintain the muscle versus the fat.

I prefer to be packing a few extra pounds to start a major endeavor, no more that 10, rather than start lean and have to give up muscle right away.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline dan_t

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2021, 03:59:48 pm »
Thanks for all the comments. Yeah, I've only been doing 100 a week and sometimes less. That's said, I usually do all of it in one day, so I'm regularly doing high mileage rides.

I've given a lot of thought to the wind. I have an app called Predict Wind that seems to work pretty well. If it's looking like I'll have headwinds, I'll get out early to beat the afternoon wind, stop if it gets too bad, and do laundry, sleep, etc. If it's looking like I'll have tailwinds, I'll do 160+ miles. I'm also riding a recumbent, which helps. Sound like a plan?

I'm a little worried about the Cascades. I'm planning to do 70-80 miles each day through there and making up the mileage other days. I rode Hurricane Ridge a few years ago which has about the same elevation gain of Washington Pass but in half the distance. I hadn't ridden much that summer, but I made it ok. Being on a recumbent complicates things because they don't climb as well.

I've been thinking about back up plans. I can cut 500-600 off the trip by riding home to Maryland (via rail trails) rather than to Maine. Or my boss would probably be ok with me taking a few more days, especially if I take a break and work for a while.

I'm mainly doing the tour for the physical challenge, to see some new states and regions, and for solitude.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2021, 04:31:37 pm »
You only cross the Cascades once. The other mountain passes are not part of that range. And again, if you’re planning 70-80 miles in those areas I think that would put you part of the way up some of the passes in areas with no services, but I could be wrong. Check the mileages between towns along the way.

Offline ray b

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2021, 09:59:44 pm »
I'm mainly doing the tour for the physical challenge, to see some new states and regions, and for solitude.
You body will burn fat in the beginning, but once it figures out the 100 miles a day is the new normal it will begin to conserve the fat and start to shed muscle, most likely upper body muscle first. A cubic inch of muscle weighs twice as much as a cubic inch of fat and it takes twice the calories to maintain the muscle versus the fat..
Sounds like you are tiding with good goals in mind. If you are out for solitude then 100 mile days a not unreasonable.

 HikeBikeCook brings up it good point. Although the biochemistry is quite complex and depends on muscle fiber type, vascularity, neuromuscular training, and other personal factors, the concept that it takes a few days for the muscles and body to add enzymes and aerobic power and improve recovery times Is important.

The excitement and last minute rush to get on tour usually results in long first days. It is tough to pull in the reins and finish days while still feeling relatively good. Patience the first 3 days is critical..  As HikeBikeCook points out it takes 7 to 10 days of training for the body to adapt to a sudden change in physical activity.

I recall one of my favorite tours was one in which I started only a couple weeks into recovery from a broken rib in a training crash. By week 2 I felt stronger than i had in years
(Not recommending you break a rib to start your tour, but you get the concept.)
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline dan_t

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2021, 09:09:49 pm »
Thanks for all of the advice. It's helpful to anticipate all of these issues.

I did a fairly hilly 75 mile ride on Saturday, and on Sunday, I did a 50 mile ride that included ten repeats up a 4% grade until I hit 3000 ft, so like a pass through the Cascades. Both days were fully loaded, the latter with some rain. I felt great. I'll have to scale it up 50% on the tour, but it doesn't seem like a problem.

Offline zzzz

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2021, 08:49:51 am »
Best of luck on your trip. I'm sure you will have a great time.

FWIW: You've brought up Washington Pass a couple of times. I rode it on the second day when I rode the Sierra Cascasdes route. It was in the middle of a 120 mile day (Concrete to Twisp). The climb is moderately difficult at worst. There was one fairly steep pitch by the dam and (it's actually two passes) it's a little mentally tough to go down the big downhill and then have to earn all that elevation again, but overwhelmingly it's just a steady grind for a bunch of miles.

If I was to list the 25 hardest days I've had on a bike tour, that day would not make the list.

Offline dan_t

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2021, 12:12:49 am »
Hi everyone, just a report back. I did the Northern Tier in 48 days -- 43 days of riding and five days off. I had planned on 40 days of riding and three days off, so not way different than my original plan. My overall average was about 100 miles a day.

I had planned to do 100 miles a day every day through Washington and western Montana, but that turned out to be too much. I could only do one mountain pass a day, and the days that I did do 100 miles out west, it was really tough. I was on a loaded recumbent that climbs pretty slowly. And until North Dakota, every road is chip seal, which slowed me down quite a bit.

It was also super hot. I avoided the worst of the NW heat wave, but it was mid-to-high 90s all the way through Washington, Idaho, and Montana. At least in Montana, that's quite a bit hotter than usual. I had to take off three days in Great Falls to avoid 100+ temps in some remote areas of eastern Montana.

For the ~3000 miles after Great Falls, it was fine. I worked something out with my boss so I could work a little along the way, which made my end date a little more flexible. I did 100-135 most days from Great Falls to Bar Harbor, unless there was heavy rain or I met up with friends/family.

I'll say that doing the trip in 48 days was only possible because I took a recumbent (a well-used second-hand Bacchetta). I didn't have any issues with saddle sores or hand, neck, or back pain. The recumbent is a bit slower (especially climbing), but I was able to do 14 hour days and never really needed any recovery time. I just rode slow and steady all day.

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. Washington and western Montana really felt like a reality check, and I look back at my original itinerary with some humility. But 100 a day on the Northern Tier is possible! And I really enjoyed it!

« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 08:46:38 am by dan_t »

Offline zzzz

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2021, 06:10:39 am »
Hi Dan:

Glad you posted the recap, I wondered how it was going for you.

And congratulations on the big ride. I look back on each of my trips as extraordinary experiences that were among the very best chapters in my life. I suspect you will too.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2021, 09:44:30 am »
Congratulations! I’m glad to hear that you had a great time!

Offline John Nettles

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2021, 10:14:43 am »
Glad you made it; the conditions this year were sort of tough compared to normal. 

Out of curiosity, since your original question is not an uncommon one (is 100 miles per day unreasonable), would you do this tour again like this or would you change something?  Things you regret and were glad about? 

Tailwinds, John

Offline dan_t

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2021, 11:17:43 am »
Glad you made it; the conditions this year were sort of tough compared to normal. 

Out of curiosity, since your original question is not an uncommon one (is 100 miles per day unreasonable), would you do this tour again like this or would you change something?  Things you regret and were glad about? 

Tailwinds, John

I think I'd mostly do things the same. 100 miles a day on average. Fewer in the west. Unless I did two passes a day in Washington, there had to be some 40 mile days. Then I did high mileage days where it was flatter. The route is pretty far north, so there is enough light to do 14-15 hour days.

I'm glad I took a recumbent. It's a little slower, but it's no problem to sit on it 14 hours a day. It's also better for checking out the vistas. On my road bike, I spend a lot of time looking down at the ground.

Maybe I'd take a somewhat faster recumbent, maybe something that climbs better. But there is often a trade off between climbing speed and speed on flats.

I had some tire trouble. Washington and Montana chip seal tore up my rear tire pretty quickly. I wouldn't get something super heavy, but I ended up needing something more durable than the Panaracer Pasela Tourguard that I started with.

And I'll try to build in some time for unexpected setbacks on my next tour. I didn't expect the heat wave, and I couldn't ride through it. Fortunately I was able to work during those days off and push back my end date.

Offline j1of1

Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2021, 10:40:53 am »
I wonder what happened....