Author Topic: TransAm with no training?  (Read 11728 times)

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Offline mr998

TransAm with no training?
« on: April 16, 2005, 12:19:37 am »
My plan is to train on the way. Has anyone done this before?

I only have a month until I need to leave, which is packed with finals and schoolwork. How doable is starting small and working up to longer miles?

In general I am in good shape. I am 28, don't have an ounce of fat, don't smoke, eat well, and excersice 2-3times/week running or lifting weights. I don't have alot of bike experience though. I grew up biking (but no long trips) and ran 3 marathons 3 years ago.

This trip across the US is a dream of mine and the only thing that worries me is not having done the suggested workout.

Is this crazy?

Offline DaveB

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2005, 05:22:55 am »
Your major problem is likely to be with the your tush since you haven't built up the tolerance for several hours a day, day after day in the saddle.  

Offline judyrans

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2005, 06:47:01 am »
Can you use your bicycle to commute to class?

Read the on-line version of John S. Allen's [/code]Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally and Safely to learn how to ride in traffic,
Code: [Select] . Although you'll have hundreds of miles on quiet roads, you will have to do some riding on busy traffic-filled streets.

Your fanny will be far more annoyed with you than your legs. Test some lubricating creams for your fanny.

You can buy them at a bike shop, where they are usually more expensive
Code: [Select] , or Assos Chamois Cream (used by a famous bicycle racer), or you can try the infant care department at a grocery or drug store. Desitin is good for a single day ride when you can wash your shorts in really hot soapy water. You can't get rid of the @#$ stuff on a trip where hand washing of shorts in luke warm soapy water is common. I like Balmex
Code: [Select] , but probably any of the diaper creams will do. Another popular choice is Bag Balm.
Code: [Select] or more seriously:
Code: [Select] . It's found in drug stores, farm stores, pet stores, hardware stores, feed stores, and tack shops all across the country.

You might test the chosen brand ahead of time. You wouldn't want to find out that you are allergic to some ingredient and add that insult to an already sore fanny.

Be sure to wash your fanny with soap and hot water after riding, and put on clean shorts every day. Otherwise the salt from sweat will rub you raw.

Start VERY slowly since your are not in good condition!

Have a great trip!

Offline mr998

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2005, 10:39:46 pm »
Thanks for your messages. I really appreciate the advice.

I can't actually use my bike to commute to class because I live in NYC and it is just not practical. Plus I don't have a bike yet, which I am working on. Once I get it, I will do my best to train some and get my body used to it.

Thanks alot again,

Offline sunfisher

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2005, 01:20:07 am »
If you're willing to consider it, a recumbent ought to be easier on your
body as you become accustomed to riding several hours each day.
Besides the bottom, the back, neck, arms, and wrists often need some
time to acclimate to the new duty cycle.  On a 'bent, none of that's an
issue, although there are other compromises involved with the genre.  
Typically mentioned are climbing, varying differences in handling, and

I've heard (but not experienced first-hand) that some people have had
good success with loading up a Rans Rocket (modestly priced for a
recumbent).  A google on that plus Tour might turn up some more
informative links.

Offline Dan_E_Boye

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2005, 02:27:10 am »
I think a recumbent is the way to go.  I've been on a Rans Rocket for a year now.  I'm planning on doing the Trans Am next year and I decided to get a long wheel base instead of using the Rocket.  I decided on a Burley because they have some in a decent price range, and because I live in Eugene where they are made so parts are easy to get for me.  I bought the Burley so recently it's still in the shop getting tweaked for me.  I test rode a few different LWB Burleys and the ride is a lot smoother than on a SWB.  'Bents are much easier on your bum but you still get sore after several hours.  Fortunately you can get off for a while and walk it off pretty well.  One drawback with the Rans seat is that it is a sponge covered with cloth.  When it gets wet it stays wet for a long time so even after it stops raining you will get a wet butt for a day or two.  A Rans Rocket is not a bad bike for a first recumbent, but I'm sure looking forward to touring on my Burley.  I went with the Canto model.  It is convertible between SWB and LWB (although they call it medium wheel base).  I don't plan to convert it.  I got it for the disc brakes and the raised crank.  The raised crank means my legs are straighter when I'm climbing and that is more efficient.  The disc brakes are because I'm a big guy and going downhill with gear I want good stopping power, and if the rim bends a little the brakes won't rub.  

So anyway, for the sake of comfort a recumbent is the way to go in my opinion.  The sitting position makes more sense.

Offline 1cycleguy

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2005, 04:37:25 am »
You are young and sound as if you are in good condition so you should be able to adapt fairly well. That being said I must suggest that you plan your trip so that you can take some time after you get your bike to really get to know how it handles, and discover in flaws it, or your travel gear may have. I would also suggest that you find the time to take a weekend shake down tour to sort out if you have too much gear or not enough. Before my first trip I took the train about 80 miles north (at the time we were allowed to hand our bikes into the baggage car unboxed and fully assembled). On the trip south I found I was very overloaded which changed the way the bike handled, and that a pannier had a leaky seam, and that a smaller freestanding tent was a better choice than one that required stakes.

Once I set out on my first trip I discovered that despite being 15 lbs lighter there were things that I did not have a use for, and found a post office to ship those things to a neighbor to hold until I got home.

Michael Hanson
To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action till the goal is reached. The key is action.

Michael Hanson
To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action till the goal is reached. The key is action.

Offline mr998

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2005, 04:48:48 pm »
Thank you everyone for your great reponses. I really appreciate it. I will try to do a small weekend trip if I can, to work out the kinks.

As for gear - I am getting set on a Bianchi Axis cyclecross with a BOB trailer. I appreciate the suggestion about a recumbent, but I guess I am a traditionalist.


Offline RussellSeaton

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2005, 10:04:39 pm »
Sure you can ride across the country with minimal training if you are in decent shape to start.  I rode 4000 miles in the summer of 1992 with about 40 miles of riding the touring bike with loaded panniers.  Loaded with milk jugs with water.  BUT, I had ridden many thousands of miles in previous years.  Bicycling was not a new activity for me.  I'm not sure I would advocate your plan to someone who was new to cycling and had only ridden short rides.  But you probably won't die.

Offline scott.laughlin

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2005, 03:30:10 am »
Just do it.  Take some bag balm and talcum powder along to relieve the saddle sores.  One guy I knew took a half-pint along.  

Just do whatever it takes to get on the road.


Offline brad

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2005, 06:48:02 am »
As always i refer to the ancients for their advice.

Suffering leads to wisdom - Socrates

Go for it. It will be demanding, trying, etc but all the same even if you were a cyclist. I would just plan to take it easy the first month; after that your body will have entered the "adaption" phase of the workout and be relatively adjusted to the endeavor.

Go for it.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener

Offline wanderingwheel

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2005, 07:12:55 pm »
I wouldn't be concerned about fitness so much as bike fit and familiarity.  Take it easy the first few days and lsten to your body.  If something is complaining (besides your leg muscles) don't be afraid to take out your allen key and fiddle with your position.


Offline mr998

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2005, 10:05:55 pm »
Thanks all for the great advice.

Offline jeek

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2005, 11:45:54 pm »
Max, should be a good plan if you have the discipline to start slowly, increase your mileage incrementally, and not push through pain during an endorphine high.

Not enough has been written on this page about the importance of your bike fit. No amount of pre-training will prevent the potential injuries due to a bad fit, injuries that can end your trip early. Small mal-adjustments are greatly magnified by the thousands of repetitions of riding.

When you get your bike, get a good neutral fit at a bike shop. This is far from the optimal venue to obtain this sophisticated procedure but it may be all you need for many miles or more (the alternative is a specialized sports med pro, often a PT, who does nothing but bike fitting/training. He analyses your stroke, bio-mechanical traits, and your bike. Riders with hard-to-solve- injuries and other riding obsessives often consult with them).

Get pedals with float (side to side free rotation) to avoid problems from a locked-in foot position.

Learn what you can about making fit adjustments just in case you end up out in the boonies with persistent and increasing knee or back pain. Remember that adjustment in saddle height, for-aft position, rotation, stem height, handlebar rotation, etc should be in millimeters and fractions of a degree of rotation. SMALL. Then give your body time to show improvement.

I hope you do well out there. Should be one of your life benchmarks.

Offline Luca

TransAm with no training?
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2005, 05:54:27 am »
wanderingwheel has summed up my sentiments exactly. By your
description, you maintain a high level of fitness; even if it isn't up to
the rigors of long hours in the saddle, then you, at least, have the
option of moderating your efforts. It's not a race so you can set a pace
that accommodates your conditioning.

The unknown variable in this equation is the suitability of your
equipment and setup. What is a minor discomfort at kilometer 5 can
develop into excruciating pain by the 150 mark. Problems of fit, do not
always manifest themselves on short rides -- that seat you love so well
for rambling about the city may transform itself into an instrument of
torture a few days into your trip.  And, when in the saddle day after
day, there is no time to recover.

I've known casual cyclists, in exceptional health, who couldn't finish
three day charity rides for their sore knees or aching butts. As others
have urged: listen to your body. If there are chronic problems of fit or
comfort, address them. I recommend a trial: embark on a 2 or three
day trip prior to the TransAm; this should indicate possible problems
and solutions. If this is impossible, grab a trainer, decrease its
resistance level and, for consecutive days, spend several hours in the

Enjoy your trip. ;-)