Author Topic: Shock and Awe  (Read 15187 times)

rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Shock and Awe
« on: May 21, 2008, 08:20:23 pm »
I am shocked by the sheer distances involved, the ups and downs (both geographical and biochemical), and am in awe of the absolute heroes who have just completed these phenomenal distances.

(I've just read the entire Bryan Chapman Thread.  Well done every one of you.)

I've done 300k in Audax.  Total.  That was 3 x 100k.  Spread over the last 9 months.  Each one leaves my knees, lungs and quads just totally wasted.  I'm usually in the last 10% to finish.  How on Earth do I make the leap to the next size up?  Or should I just chalk it down as something that I've left too late in life to attempt?  (I'm 41, you know...)

The three I've done have all been on a Recumbent.  (HP Velotechnic Grasshopper).  Should I switch to a conventional bike?  Or go the other way and resort to three wheels? (Windcheetah - on which I did LeJOG in 10 days in 2002.  So I must have been capable of better things back then.)
Be Naughty; save Santa a trip

gonzo

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 08:22:02 pm »
Do more miles, more often and at an intensity that doesn't leave you breathless.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 08:30:27 pm »
Tea.  It's all about the tea  :)

Oh - and don't tell anyone, but those SON hubs are actually very small Heinzmann motors and we keep our batteries out of sight in the Carradice bags...

Seriously, it's a combination of doing lots of miles, getting really comfortable with yourself on the bike, knowing what kit works and doesn't work for you and being massively bloody minded about it all.

Mainly, it's the bloody mindedness.  What gets me through bonkers rides is taking the attitude that the only way I'm not going to finish the ride is if I'm dead, dying or on fire.

Cup of tea?
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 08:34:02 pm »
Cup of tea?

That's no good. All this talk of tea has put me off my wine (for about 15 mins...) The kettle is on.

PS It's also about flapjacks.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 08:36:26 pm »
Being in the last 10% doesn't matter.  I'm always in the last 10%, however far I ride.  I am just Not Fast (Perhaps I could be, if I did actual training, but that isn't going to happen any time in the foreseeable either.)

Lots of miles, getting the bike to fit right, learning how your body/metabolism work (I run on sugar and caffeine supplemented with enormous quantities of Real Food whenever available). 

Do you do any daily/nearly-daily riding at all?  (e.g. commuting)  I don't have time to do long-distance that much (once or sometimes twice a month I'll get 100k or more in), but I do >60mi/week commuting & generally transporting myself about. 

And Charlotte is absolutely bang on about the bloody-mindedness.  Although I am not quite as bloody-minded as she is ;)

alan

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 08:39:21 pm »
Only 41....that's almost peadiatric :)

I'm very nearly 56 & I too have done a few 100km audaxes & contemplating the next step up to 150 then 200km so I don't think you have left it too late at all;
additionally I want to try doing the 40 mile Pie Run on fixed in about 7 weeks which is also a significant challenge for me.
There are those on this forum who subscribe to the JFDI philosophy which appeals to the stubborn side of my character
Don't let your age physc. you out.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 08:41:08 pm »
Being in the last 10% doesn't matter.  I'm always in the last 10%, however far I ride. 

I'm very rarely outside the last 1...

Maladict

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2008, 08:41:30 pm »
Cutting down time at controls.  e.g. I I was 20 mins at Bronllys compared to twice as long for others whose RRs I read.  Multiply that by several controls.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008, 08:47:14 pm »
It's a progression.

I am 48.

Seven years ago, I was smoking two packs of fags a day, and was 5Kg overweight. It had been 25 years since I last touched a bike.

Six years ago, I stopped smoking and put on another 20Kg in weight. I tried to cycle 10km and almost died.

Five years ago, I rode my first 100km of the New Age.

Three years ago, I rode my first randonnee. Later than season, I rode my first 300. I'd lost all the post-quit weight gain.

Last year I got my first SR. In December I chalked up my first 12 month set of RRTY.

Progress continues slowly this year. I'm now a non-smoker of six years, and back at the weight I was before I quit.

I generally finish randonnees "mid-field", not that it matters much.

Progress continues...

rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008, 08:52:14 pm »
Thanks for all your suggestions.

As a "first day of the rest of my life" moment, I'm going to turn off the computer, put the winter lights back on my commuting bike (normally 8 miles per day) to do a few extra miles now.

Then get back into the boat tomorrow evening and doing a few miles on the river.

Here goes....
Be Naughty; save Santa a trip

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 08:52:51 pm »
Cutting down time at controls.  e.g. I I was 20 mins at Bronllys compared to twice as long for others whose RRs I read.  Multiply that by several controls.


Plan all the things you wish to do in advance and set out to do them as quickly as possible so you don't waste time on the road. make a mental list like
Toilet
Eat
Stamp card
Drink
Refill water bottles
Put on/take off clothes
Refold route sheet
Sort out lights
Apply sunscreen/midge repellant

Never leave any control with a basic need (food, drink, loo, clothing) unmet.

At 41, you are younger than average for Audax UK, baby!

border-rider

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 09:00:14 pm »
It's all about miles.

Miles are easy when you do loads of them.  Just ride the bike.  A lot.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 09:01:12 pm »
JFDI will get you to 200k with relatively no problems if you have reasonable fitness.  If you're rowing, it can be quite handy (this has been my main form of winter training...).

The trick from there is to do enough 200s to get comfortable with thinking about the longer stuff.  I did 6-7 before tackling 300 and then took the SR series from there in relatively short order.  This year we took a similar approach to getting Jasmine to the same level.

There have been some good points to ponder from others, but I would add that 100s tend not to be designed for speed.  They have lots of controls and this costs a lot of time in faffing around.  My first 100 took ~8 hours, but the 200 a week later was only a couple more due to the more straightforward route and greater distance between controls.

The other piece of advice is that it's all about looking after yourself.  If your arse hurts, try a new saddle and or cream and experiment with the adjustments until it doesn't.  Learn to recognise when you need to eat and deal with it as soon as the bonk catches up with you.  Plodding on when empty is a sure way to fail.  Fettling the bike is also a big part of it.  We've been focussing on tandem riding this year and I've spent a lot of time checking components and making minor changes.  Even trivial things like sorting the tyre pressures religiously before long rides all go to help.

Happy cycling.

AC
'Accumulating kilometres in the roughest road conditions'...

frere yacker

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 09:03:33 pm »
There's no juju that turns people into randonneurs.  Get on a bike, pedal. That's it.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2008, 09:58:23 pm »
My first randonnée was a 300.
I went on to complete an SR series within 12 months, early the following season.

Listen to your body.
Good luck!

annie

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2008, 10:05:12 pm »
You are not too old.  I am 40, started cycling last year, did 1 x 100k last year, a couple of 100k rides this year, plus lots of social rides and a reliability ride.  Did 2 x 200's, what made it happen for me was the support of others on this forum, the likes of Fidgetbuzz, ChrisS, Maladict. Charlotte, Liz, Teethgrinder and Andrij.

Sort out your nutrition and off bike time, get out and just do it and be proud of your achievements.  I never thought I would ride a 200 but there you go.  Next step is to do a couple more 200's and then a 300.

Never say never.

Enjoy.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2008, 10:21:35 pm »
Should I switch to a conventional bike? 

A fixed wheel is always the easiest option.*
Just get the miles in. Go out as much as you can. You just get used to it and a 10 mile ride which used to be a long way becomes the next section of a roide, then just a dash down the road.


Quote
You are not too old.  I am 40, started cycling last year,

Bugger!
I'm only 33. S'pose I'll have to keep going then.
Ho hum.

*Har har har har :demon:

*Look at the records and statistics.

Hummers

  • It is all about the taste.
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2008, 08:24:58 am »
I think the average age for male PBP riders was 46.9 so you have some way to go yet young 'un.  ;)

H ;)

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2008, 08:29:14 am »
I started audaxing at the age of 39, did my first SR Series and LEL in that year. Ride lots. It really is as simple as that.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2008, 08:40:19 am »
Clearly, age is your main obstacle. You'll find it easier when you are older... ;)

I've been playing with audax rides for about 18 months. The first one was an absolute ordeal. I got back with about 2 minutes to spare shaking with exhaustion. The control's rhubarb crumble and custard sorted that out.

Since then I've done quite a few 100k rides, the last two of which I have completed with more than an hour to spare. I've done three 200s and have been on the wire with all of them. They have also left me a physical wreck for longer than I think is reasonable and of course the logistics of getting somewhere that much earlier in the morning tends to cut out public transport, especially at weekends, or requiring the arranging of an overnighter somewhere. I have no current plans to do any more 200s although that's not to say I've ruled them out all together.

I have noticed that I can cope better with long (>60 miles) rides without worrying nearly so much about nutrition. I did a 100 mile ride in early Jan which involved about 8h 15m in the saddle and about 40 minutes stopped, carrying on happily on a couple of marmite sandwiches and a geobar.

But yes, these people who can cycle twice the length of Wales without, apparently, batting an eyelid are certifiably superhuman.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2008, 09:19:40 am »
But yes, these people who can cycle twice the length of Wales without, apparently, batting an eyelid are certifiably superhuman.

I think you meant to say
Quote
But yes, these people who can cycle twice the length of Wales without, apparently, batting an eyelid are certifiable.

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2008, 09:23:34 am »
Profit or planet?

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
  • Known in the real world as Dave
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2008, 09:24:42 am »
I started Audaxing last season with my first few 100k rides. Prior to that I had spent the last 2/3 years as a commuter, 7 miles each way, 7 days a week. I am also an ex smoker and was 16 stone when I first strated commuting to work by bike.

At first the step up to 100k felt tough, I did the Watership Down which was fairly hilly and the Faccombe Haul which was very hilly. Then to top that off I did my first 200k (New Forest excursion). That went really well but appeared to break something in my knee. A weekend of touring in South Devon the following week just finished it off and I was then off the bike for the rest of the summer while the knee recovered. I began to doubt whether I would ever achieve any ride longer than 200k.

This Season I started with 100k rides in December and January and did my first 200k of the year in March (with only a bit of knee pain that went after I rested a bit). I then did a few more 100k rides, but rode to the start where I could to make them up to 150 or 170k. I did my first 300k on 26th April this year and it was the best audax I have done - definitely the most fun.

I have a 400k planned for 21st June.

I do all my "training" as part of my commute. I now do a much longer ride to/from work - around 22k each way and try to get the time to do more if the weather is good.

Next season the plan is for a full SR including the Bryan Chapman (2004 not scenic!). One of the things I have discovered is that I seem to find a distance more achievable the more excited I am about the ride. I have ridden 300k rides that were much easier than 200k rides and 100k rides that were tougher than 200ks. Its all in your mind, you just have to learn how to manipulate yourself into the right mental state.

I am very excited about the BC, especially thanks to all the ride reports and pics on here.
Owner of a languishing Langster

Fidgetbuzz

  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2008, 12:25:14 pm »
Just really repeating what others have said -- but I have  looked up my progress at Audax rides.

I started from a Nil cycling base in 2003 aged 61 -- although I had done 5 marathons 20 years earlier in 3.10 to 3.30 times.

Points record 2003 - NIL - but I did 5 100s - and used to find it tough after 80kms.
2004 - 9 points -- 4 x 100, 3x 200 and 1 x 300
2005 16 points -- 3 x100, 5 x 200 and 2x 300.
2006 14 points 1 x100, 4x 200 2 x 300.

Now aged 65

2007 - 50 points.  Highlight PBP and qualifiers - so first 400 , 2x 600 , and the 1200.
Also an AAA award for climbing.

Current target - another RRTY, 50 points again and 8000 miles in the calendar year.

So it depends on your motivation and desire -- long distances can be done if you have an endurance mentality and physique -- but you also need the desire to achieve a self imposed target.

2003 -- I had never even heard of PBP  -- 2007 I rode it successfully.

At 40 odd - you have years ahead of you if you have the available time and want to ride long distances

Rog
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!

Re: Shock and Awe
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2008, 01:31:41 pm »

Now aged 65

2007 - 50 points.  Highlight PBP and qualifiers - so first 400 , 2x 600 , and the 1200.
Also an AAA award for climbing.


Inspiring. There's hope for me yet.