Author Topic: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km  (Read 3044 times)

Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« on: January 30, 2020, 10:52:26 pm »
Hi,

I have been audaxing regularly for nearly three years doing mainly 200km and 300km rides.

I have tried some rides longer than this and found them very tough. I managed to finish Brevet Cymru within the time limit last year but failed on 500 and 600 events.

My goal for this year is to complete an SR series and I am hoping for some advice on managing rides above 300km.

Part of my problem is fuelling my rides. I have not really had any strategy on what and when to eat and feel that this had caused me issues on longer rides. I am hoping that some members can share what works for them. Do you plan your food intake in advance?, if yes do you rely on what is available at controls or carry food with you? - how do you fuel during the small hours of the night?

Any other tips for what riders have found useful when stepping up distances will be gratefully received.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 11:03:35 pm »
I have done two > 300 rides so far, a 400 and a 600. The 400 was by far the hardest and you can read about it here https://calumonwheels.com/2019/12/08/the-daft-story-of-my-hardest-ride/amp/

For the 400 I had 'help' for the first 200 km and then was on my own. For the 600 it was pretty much 100% solo. It depends on your temperament but obviously if you have a team you can work with you can make the >300s much easier.

I don't really plan fuelling in the UK - I tend to plan on stopping at a co op around 60 km in and getting a load more top up snacks. I broadly prefer to have an off the bike break approximately every 130 km which seems to be working for me so far. But my tummy can do odd things. On the 600 I found I couldn't really eat solids at around 280. This was worrying as I know without eating you're going to blow up big style. Thankfully it subsided an hour later.

For me the big stumbling blocks were psychological - in Belgium I basically had no choice but to ride on, if I'd happened across a train or a hotel I'd have 100% stopped. But with that experience behind me it's given me strength to go further.
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hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2020, 11:19:28 pm »
It's a long time since I've ridden.
I always had some of my favoured foods in the bag, for when I needed to eat.
I bought some food at every control but did not always eat it there. Sometimes  it was bag food. Sometimes it was food that HAD to be eaten at the control. Sometimes I ate bag food whilst queuing at a control.
Sometimes I'd eat food in a queue and present the wrapper with money at the till.

Different foods work for different people on rides.
Food that suit early in a ride don't necessarily suit later.

We're all different.

Fatty foods suit some people but didn't suit me. They are almost always best avoided immediately before a climb.

You'll have to find out what works for YOU on shorter rides and repeat. Don't postpone eating till you're desperate and suffering, even if others are continuing their ride.

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2020, 11:28:11 pm »
A little and often works for me.  A smallish meal every 60-100k, and drink enough as you pedal.  For tougher events I'm more careful what I eat.  Baked beans on toast for the hardest ones.

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 11:46:53 pm »
How did you fail on the longer rides, were you truly incapacitated or did you just feel that you'd had enough and there was an available escape route, or did you finish but out of time? 

In terms of fuelling I used to experience trauma and nausea on long rides and lost my appetite despite the fact that I clearly needed to take on calories.  If this is the case the best advice I can give is to ride within your limits, don't push too hard and accept that finishing the ride is a great achievement, no matter if it's within the time limit or not.   

Last year I accompanied a friend on a DIY 600 that he was riding as part of an SR series.  As I was literally "only there for the ride" and knew we were heading off into some remote regions I decided to take all the food I would need for the ride in my saddlebag.  A whole loaf of bread made up into sandwiches with various high fat fillings, along with a big bag of peanuts and it worked just fine!  Being able to grab a sandwich whenever hunger beckoned worked a treat despite the initial weight in my bag.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2020, 12:21:21 am »
The brevet Cymru is not an easy 400. If you can finish this, even if it was tough you should be able to finish a 600 if you dont chose one of the tougher ones.

I generally fuel with a mix of normal meals supplemented by coke, chocolate and crisps.

I think sleeping at about 350km helps, after this I slow down, earlier than this and it is tough to make the next control in time.
   Eddington  87 miles

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2020, 05:04:20 am »
I do better if I stop and eat at controls.  There are many who can grab and eat on the go; that just gives me indigestion and then nausea, then I don't feel like eating - so run out of energy.  For stages longer than 60km (3 hours) I often add a quick snack stop.  That works for me.

I've a list of favourite foods, which I've built up over time, which are generally available.  Pretty much every little shop and service station will have crisps, milkshakes and sandwiches, Twix, and pork pies or sausage rolls.  So I think about these as I'm heading to the stop, then buy what I'm thinking about.  Then it seems more palatable.  Similarly if it is one of those ubiquitous Costa coffee stops, then I think about a cheese and ham panini....

If you can ride 300km you can physically finish a 600km, the only things that will stop you are the head and the gut.   Above helps me with both.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 170 (metric) 520 (furlongs)  112 (nautical miles)

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2020, 06:33:39 am »
Funny, I'm the opposite. Stopping for meals results in a massive slowdown for over an hour afterwards. Cant do beans on toast without getting stomach issues. Sushi packs work wonders.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2020, 08:20:41 am »
carb loading is quite important for me, two days of high* carbs before the ride gives a good "base" to work from. i can't eat big meals when i'm riding, the food just sits in the stomach giving indigestion problems. small snacks every hour on a bike and easily digestible food at controls. i have my garmin reminders set up prompting to drink every 20min and eat every hour.

* i don't count, but somewhere around 10g per kg of body weight per day

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2020, 08:31:47 am »
I have done two > 300 rides so far, a 400 and a 600. The 400 was by far the hardest and you can read about it here https://calumonwheels.com/2019/12/08/the-daft-story-of-my-hardest-ride/amp/

For me the big stumbling blocks were psychological - in Belgium I basically had no choice but to ride on, if I'd happened across a train or a hotel I'd have 100% stopped. But with that experience behind me it's given me strength to go further.

That's a great blog, thanks.

In my Audax career todate I have done 20x100km brevets, 35x150, 42x200 and 1x300. Its got to be psychological! I have a library of excuses & reasons but I am eliminating them one by one, here all ride distances cost the same, (which is mostly just the brevet card and BRM homologation cost, very few are "supported" in any way),  so once I crack the longer distance I am going to save heaps in ride fees. My 300 (310) was very flat therefore with the expected wind but wasn't so bad,  15h55, quite pleased with myself except I was curled up in the 24 hour truck stop / service station (final control) toilet for about an hour afterwards being sick, the staff would come in every 5 minutes to see if I was still alive, they brought my bike inside to keep it safe, after a hour I crawled next door to the caravan park where my tent was pitched and I was surprised in the morning that I was still alive, great experience though. This year is the year of SR.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2020, 09:06:53 am »
I always planned for a 20-minute break every 50k and a 1-hour meal break every 100 during the day. Approximately, of course. On longer rides I'd have pizza for dinner and save a chunk for breakfast: not many restaurants open at 3 am.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
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Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2020, 10:07:42 am »
Don't dash off too fast Rainbow Dash! I always have a better ride if I've ridden in slow-ish to the start, ECE'd or not, as a gentle warm-up. Think tortoise, not hare; start at the back of the field, and don't get sucked into anything competitive; you might pass a lot of the speedy riders later on! [Yes, I know for some it's always a race!] But look at the way the pro teams shelter the GC riders and sprinters, and burn out their domestiques - don't emulate the latter!

That said, at some point on the silly longer rides, I know I'm going to have a Mega Bad Patch, so accept that I need to ease off a bit, have an extra snack stop, go for comfort food [ice cream, chocolate, beer, crisps, Ginsters etc, depending on the season and what's available]. I find crystallised root ginger good for stomach issues and marzipan is good energy-dense food to carry in the bar-bag. Little and often, with meals alternating sweet and savoury, so I don't get bored with just shovelling the calories in.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2020, 10:23:51 am »
I find crystallised root ginger good for stomach issues and marzipan is good energy-dense food to carry in the bar-bag.

You've been looking in my bar-bag. Seeberger ginger is good, if it's available in Borisland.  I also carry mini-salami to supply a bit of salt, fat & protein occasionally. It makes a welcome change from sweet stuff, but it also tastes marvellous when eaten with a bit of ginger.

What I never carry is nuts: when you bite them they break into lots of small pieces that are easy to inhale & choke on.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2020, 10:27:31 am »
Listen to Tomsk - he knows his stuff!
I'm one of those guilty of NOT following his sage advice - forever dashing off at a pace that would be fine for 100k - but will punish you badly on a 300 or 400k. I always think "Oh, I'll just slow down later", but it just doesn't work like that.
Tomsk led a helpers ride for the Asparagus & Strawberries 400k last year. With his sensible pace setting it was the most enjoyable "long" ride I've done (which may, or may not, have had something to do with the company and stops variously for cake, curry and beer).
Turn, turn, turn again
Turn, turn to the rain
And the wind

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2020, 10:51:42 am »
The only things that will stop you are the head and the gut. 

I fully agree with this. Once I sorted out these issues, longer distances became very manageable.

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2020, 10:54:23 am »
Listen to Tomsk - he knows his stuff!
I'm one of those guilty of NOT following his sage advice - forever dashing off at a pace that would be fine for 100k - but will punish you badly on a 300 or 400k. I always think "Oh, I'll just slow down later", but it just doesn't work like that.
Tomsk led a helpers ride for the Asparagus & Strawberries 400k last year. With his sensible pace setting it was the most enjoyable "long" ride I've done (which may, or may not, have had something to do with the company and stops variously for cake, curry and beer).

Recovery from early over-enthusiasm is possible on longer events.  From experience I can tell you it's more difficult part-way through a hilly 300, if you're riding fixed-wheel.  But it still can be done.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2020, 12:02:52 pm »
If you can ride 300km you can physically finish a 600km, the only things that will stop you are the head and the gut.   Above helps me with both.

I can do a 200 without eating. It is neither pleasant, nor an experience I would recommend. (Nor was it intentional). But that is simply not sustainable when you start talking about real distance. Something I've really struggled to learn is to eat. When I do long rides by digestive system shuts down and just doesn't want anything beyond water. On the TCR I got to the end of the start parcours and found a gas station, i sat staring at a muffin for over 45 mins trying to persuade my stomach to accept the food. I was in a bad way with the heat by that stage. I thought I'd drunk enough, but in hindsight I'm not so sure.

I have found that generally M&M's and coke can always be poured in. The former are less useful when it's 43°C...

i have my garmin reminders set up prompting to drink every 20min and eat every hour.

Now that is a feature I'd love my wahoo to have...

Don't dash off too fast Rainbow Dash! I always have a better ride if I've ridden in slow-ish to the start, ECE'd or not, as a gentle warm-up. Think tortoise, not hare; start at the back of the field, and don't get sucked into anything competitive; you might pass a lot of the speedy riders later on! [Yes, I know for some it's always a race!] But look at the way the pro teams shelter the GC riders and sprinters, and burn out their domestiques - don't emulate the latter!

It has become accepted within RNL, that I am Lantern Rouge. Everyone else is just so much faster than me. But at the start if I can get into the middle of a group, I can usually get a few km in at a 50%+ faster speed than I do on my own. I know I will fall out the back at some point, usually on a hard 90° turn where I just don't have the sprint necessary to get back on. Tho my Amsterdam attitude to junctions, and traffic lights has lead to me jumping 16 other riders in a single junction... (oops). Riding in a group, esp in strong winds, can be really effective at energy savings, if the group is going at a speed that doesn't require you to burn too many matches.

I find on longer rides it also helps to have a good awareness of what the weather forecast is going to be. This helps a lot with the gauging when to use your limited reserves. If you know it's going to be 200k into the wind, then turn for 200k of tail wind, you know that you can put a lot into that first 200k, eat a good meal, then enjoy the wind home. But if it's going to be the other way round, you know not to give it too much on the first bit, so you have the reserves necessary for the headwind slog.

Some people like to recommend breaking up a ride in their head into multiple short sections "I just need to do 60km to CP1" "Now I need to do 70k to cp2" etc... But I find that the last 20km of any ride is a slog, and doing this just means I have 4 last 20km's on the ride, rather than 1...

TLDR: Drink more water, don't forget to eat.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2020, 12:18:21 pm »
My other learning is that part of the reason I find the ride dragging on a bit is having to ride at night and be frit of potholes in the road. It is definitely worth investing in your seeing lights on longer rides, they don't necessarilly have to cost a fortune but they can really make a big difference. In my 600 I had to stop for my mid-ride snooze earlier than I planned because my lights weren't good enough to let me confidently barrel along at night time on country lanes.
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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2020, 12:25:04 pm »
My other learning is that part of the reason I find the ride dragging on a bit is having to ride at night and be frit of potholes in the road. It is definitely worth investing in your seeing lights on longer rides, they don't necessarilly have to cost a fortune but they can really make a big difference. In my 600 I had to stop for my mid-ride snooze earlier than I planned because my lights weren't good enough to let me confidently barrel along at night time on country lanes.

I have noticed that I have a total ambivalence towards night riding vs day riding, yet many riders I talk to say things about wanting to limit night riding, or not enjoying it etc... I wonder if this is partly related to the fact that since day 1 I've had an edulux II on the front of my bike.

On RatN most nights by 1am the only dot moving was mine.

Some of the best rides I've had have been at night. On xmas day this year, I was riding up the Rhine towards Mainz, there were no street lights, no other vehicles, just me, the road, the river, and the stars. For the first time all day the clouds had cleared and I had a clear view of the stars. Orion to my right, Cassiopeia to my left. I rode along looking up as much as looking at the road. My podcast app randomly added the 13 minutes to the moon soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, and the juxtaposition of music, location, and sky was just stunning. One of the best rides I've done in recent months.

J
--
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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2020, 12:27:59 pm »
Yes that would probably help. When I did the ride to Bonn much of that was motor vehicle free paved cycling which would have been fine any time of day.

Looks like the Edulux II will be on the long-term shopping list when/if I also get the dyno saved up for... All Points North isn't until May so not desperately needed yet but it'd be nice to have.
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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2020, 12:32:50 pm »
Yes that would probably help. When I did the ride to Bonn much of that was motor vehicle free paved cycling which would have been fine any time of day.

Looks like the Edulux II will be on the long-term shopping list when/if I also get the dyno saved up for... All Points North isn't until May so not desperately needed yet but it'd be nice to have.

You have RatN before that don't forget. The leg along the north coast benefits from good lighting. Through the dunes I added my head light, cos it was quite windy. If I'd done Limburg by night, I'd have worn the head light then too.

J
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http://b.42q.eu/

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2020, 12:36:56 pm »
Ah I've pulled out from RATN, doing London Wales London with some new audaxers instead.
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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2020, 12:39:34 pm »
Ah I've pulled out from RATN, doing London Wales London with some new audaxers instead.

Oh. So we won't meet in Amerongen then. Doh. Sorry to hear that.

Good luck with LWL and APN.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2020, 12:40:30 pm »
It's all personal. I found the best thing was not getting over zealous at the start with everyone else which is often hard to do and go a touch slower then you would on a 2 or 300. Minimise the faff at controls and never stop for more than 45mins unless sleeping; your metabolism changes after about 45minutes to repair mode. Don't over eat at controls but have nibbles for on the bike; for me nutty flapjack or malt loaf - if you have it in a jersey pocket and have a waterproof over the top you can actually toast it...
Eat what your body tells you; it can sometimes take a while to decide that when you are in a 24hr garage at 3am looking at shelves of food. I'm a veggie off the bike, on an audax if I want a pork pie I eat a pork pie.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Stepping up to distances greater than 300km
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2020, 12:54:33 pm »
Ah I've pulled out from RATN, doing London Wales London with some new audaxers instead.

Oh. So we won't meet in Amerongen then. Doh. Sorry to hear that.

Good luck with LWL and APN.

J
Might see you in the TCR though! I am angling for a Roubaix control spot as I know you like cobbles so much  ;D
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