Author Topic: Audaxability  (Read 3880 times)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2020, 12:36:38 pm »

 Nearly every time I interact with a medical professional, they tell me to get more exercise, very rarely do they ask what exercise I am already getting first. It's becoming a bit of a joke now. Even at the lightest I've been in recent years, my BMI was 31.8. That was in my first year of audaxing, when I lost 15kg in about 10 months.


They always recommend generic exercise as a form of weight loss. It never really worked like that for me. I recall finishing the Raid Pyrenees 2 kg heavier than when I started, despite cycling 6-7 hours a day on very hilly terrain.
Audax hasn't helped lose pounds at all, if anything, I would be heavier as a result of overeating after and snacking during.

I find that lots of cycling can lead to weight loss, simply because exercise turns off my appetite and I eat less.  Unfortunately, this isn't conducive to endurance riding, where I have to eat by numbers in spite of not really wanting to.  Sometimes this goes horribly wrong.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2020, 12:45:49 pm »
depends what you mean by "long distance"
to some people that's tcr to others it's another 200 for rrty
quite different things

uh well that was kind of the point... list all the things that help and then think about how the relative importance changes as distance varies.
everything we do is long distance by normal standards.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2020, 01:02:16 pm »
I take the view that if you are that much overweight, so on the BMI 30 line or over, then you should get thoroughly checked before doing things like LEL.
I don't think you can have such high body fat and be completely healthy, from the cardiovascular point of view... in other words we are not bears or sea lions who can thrive with large amounts of body fat.
If you don't get thoroughly checked, then you are taking some serious risks, by doing very long distance stuff

Yep, I am checked regularly, including bloods every 6 months. Don't worry on that one. Every doctor I've seen doesn't quite understand how I can be as fit as I am, when I'm as fat as I am.

J

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

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #53 on: April 27, 2020, 01:08:15 pm »
I’ve long thought that a rider needs most (but not necessarily all) of five things for success in brevets. In no particular order, they are:
- Ability (naturally talented folk can easily ride fast enough to finish in time, despite losing time to incidents or faffing. Other folk, not so much)
- Fitness (training on the bike or otherwise to make the most of your natural talents, lack of illness)
- Preparation/ experience (understanding the demands of the event on machine and rider, including understanding the route)
- Determination (deciding to finish ‘come what may’ and actually following through in a pinch is worth a lot)
- Luck (at crucial points of the ride, including assistance by fellow riders, weather and so on)

Having all five makes finishing even tough brevets look trivial. Lacking one or even two of the five doesn’t really stop a rider finishing a brevet and often makes for a better story afterwards. Lacking three or more is almost certainly a DNF.

Yes I like this a lot as a “dashboard”. 

Got me thinking how much each element contributes to my audax rides. 

Id say determination is the biggest factor in establishing if I will finish an event or not....eg on The Flatlands last year my fitness and preparation were poor, resulting in me leaving Great Dunmow using the run in (dont ask!). 

By the time I realised I was heading NW and not NE Id punctured and did so again on my “catch up” ride before reaching the 1st control with about 5 mins to spare. 

So fitness, prep and luck were in short supply but I wasnt for giving up (PBP was a very effective motivator as are calendar events to a lesser extent). 

I contrast that with the days when Im feeling in fine fettle and nothing is especially wrong, but  I know that my heart just isnt it that day. 

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2020, 03:11:45 pm »
The paradox is that if I was less fit, I'd be better at long distance.
The problem is that I tend to go too hard, so I typically pay a heavy price on long brevets.

Day one of the BCM I averaged 27-28 km/h moving speed, day two was more like 20... just spent, with no energy. I've tried many times to ride slower at the start, but inevitably I get carried away and end up in the fast peloton, rolling out at 32-35 km/h for the first hour or two...
I guess that's what I enjoy to do and should probably give up on anything longer than a 200 or an easy 300.
You paced yourself incorrectly for your level of fitness. If you were less fit you would probably do the same. That is down to experience/preparation - number 3 on the now definitive list.


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... I still finished in the top 25%... despite sleeping 7 hours and riding like a snail after Aberhafesp...

The point is that if I was less fit, I'd probably not get involved with the fast guys at the front, would be able to pace myself better and enjoy the second part more... There is no mad rush for speed other than at the very front.

Whenever I've been involved in events with a distinct lack of speed at the front, I've been able to pace myself a lot better. National 400 2017, looking at Strava I averaged 26 km/h up to Aberystwith (or whatever the spelling is) and 27.5 after... so much better pacing.
A large part of that is in the head.
Knowing you can't hold the fast pace at the front and backing off to set your own pace at what you can do the distance in.

There is also knowing what you can do at your current fitness level and on the terrain.

If you are fit enough to do the distance then pacing is a mental issue not a fitness one.

This is particularly evident when you spend a period of time considerably less fit than you used to be.

I know I can hold 30k on a flattish course if I train for it, I know I can do a 300 at 25kmh if I'm trained for it, but last year I was nowhere near that because I wasn't training for speed.
Now I'm trying to come back from injury, was bucked after riding 70km at 25kmh on a flattish route and had left most of the climbs for the last leg.
Not letting the "but these hills are easy ones" in to my thoughts helped, but I know they're not easy ones when unfit.

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Re: Audaxability
« Reply #55 on: April 27, 2020, 11:54:46 pm »
Finally, something I've learned the hardway, and something we perhaps don't mention to newbies enough: eating. Exerting for long periods of time, at high output levels is a challenge for the gut, and it's something we typically leave out of our training plans. You go for the training ride, then come home and have dinner. You don't tend to do it the other way round. I'm trying to work out how to fix this, my digestive system just seems to shut down when I start to really push, making it hard to put out any power. Fortunately I do have several ten's of thousands of kcal of energy stores to draw upon, but it's not a comfortable experience.
J
Having suffered from digestive trauma during long rides in the past I've experimented with loading my saddlebag with enough food to see me through a ride without having to resort to chance offerings from petrol stations and convenience stores. For sure there's the initial weight penalty of carrying all that fodder, but I think this is outweighed by being able to eat little and often something that appeals to your taste.  Last year I rode a 600 fuelled on a loaf of sliced bread made up into sandwiches with a selection of my favourite fillings, supplemented by a large bag of peanuts and managed to finish the ride with a few sandwiches to spare.
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

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #56 on: April 28, 2020, 08:14:45 am »
A large part of that is in the head.
Knowing you can't hold the fast pace at the front and backing off to set your own pace at what you can do the distance in.

There is also knowing what you can do at your current fitness level and on the terrain.


Yeah, my head is not thinking straight... if there is a breakaway, I need to be there, even just so that I get to the control first and don't need to queue...  ;D

I always finished all brevets, so it's not a case of DNF, but obviously puts me off doing any more long ones...

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #57 on: April 28, 2020, 08:27:11 am »
I hope everyone is aware that BMI is a highly flawed measure, in my opinion so highly flawed as to be next to useless. The only reason it continues to be used is that it is easy to determine, and the medical profession seem to prefer measures that are easy rather than meaningful (they aren't alone in this). There are a number of better measures of body composition around, but require rather more equipment/calculation to determine so aren't used extensively. So please take all BMI values with a handful of salt.

Yes, of course...
Within reason... if you plot the data for Anthony Joshua, you get a BMI of 27.5... but it's also true there aren't many people who are built like a heavyweight boxer and even among heavyweight boxers, those with a BMI > 30 are overweight.
In lower divisions, you will find that they are all well within a BMI of 25... Floyd Mayweather was 22.7.

So, even the notion that a very muscular build results in high BMI is somewhat false.

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #58 on: April 28, 2020, 09:06:14 am »
At 6’6” Joshua is abnormally tall. At that extreme bmi really needs to adjusted down slightly, so even if of normal musculature it would be expected to be slightly higher. For people that are abnormally short it needs to be adjusted up. It is a good fit on average for people of non extreme height.


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vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2020, 09:43:20 am »
depends what you mean by "long distance"
to some people that's tcr to others it's another 200 for rrty
quite different things

uh well that was kind of the point... list all the things that help and then think about how the relative importance changes as distance varies.
everything we do is long distance by normal standards.

it's more complicated than that
to a club rider, 50 miles / 100km isn't a long way it's an afternoons ride
but plenty of riders of this sort have never ridden > 300km
the most common cycling challenge that normal people do is the LE JoG which is 1400km over several days

so non-audax people (never mind the tcr lot) ride distances

the factors that affect success on long rides also vary by distance

200km (on an easy event, not a AAA monster) can be ridden by almost anyone with enough determination.  Slow people might be out of time.  The bottom might hurt.  But you will make it
300km I've know more than one club rider do the first half easily but then really get into trouble in the last 50km because of bad pacing
400km sleep is a problem more than pacing
600km is easier than 400km because there is a sleep opportunity.  Provided you are brisk.  Being brisk means don't waste time at controls
1000km is usually a sleep / eat battle. 
1200km I've only done PBP at this distance and it's been different every time.  Difficult to say what the real problem is. 
1400km Only done LEL and again, went differently each time

if I was to make a list of the 3 factors I'd say determination, pacing and not wasting time at controls (or stopped or faffing)
At low distances determination is most important
Then as the distance increases it's pacing
Then as it gets longer still it's not wasting time

At even longer distances avoiding sleep debt seems like a good idea
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #60 on: April 28, 2020, 09:55:59 am »

400km sleep is a problem more than pacing


400 is a funny distance, because it splits the field between those who are back at bed time and those who need a sleep stop or have to carry on through the night.
Typically, organisers cater for the latter. I was a bit annoyed when last year at Brevet Cymru Mark said the final control was only going to open at 6 AM... I was planning to be there around midnight and with an overnight temperature around the freezing point, I was left with no (sensible) option, other than DNS.
I could have got a room somewhere ($$$) or slept in the smallest car on the market, but to be honest cycling 400 km is long enough, without having to suffer even after that.

It seems to be a common occurrence among organisers to plan events looking at the back of the field... same for sending riders on dual carriageways, with no sensible alternatives, because it's going to be at night... how about me and the others who are there at 5 PM?
This is particularly evident in 400 events, because of such split

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #61 on: April 28, 2020, 10:32:12 am »

400km sleep is a problem more than pacing

I could have got a room somewhere ($$$) or slept in the smallest car on the market, but to be honest cycling ... for sending riders on dual carriageways, with no sensible alternatives, because it's going to be at night... how about me and the others who are there at 5 PM?

Overcoming these sorts of problems is usually done with planning ahead, such as figuring out accommodation at the end ahead of time or a better route for the time of day on tricky roads
You can't "blame" the organiser for designing the event to follow a particular cadence and then it not working for you

Sorry if that sounds a bit grumpy but it's just the nature of how events are
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #62 on: April 28, 2020, 10:38:27 am »

400km sleep is a problem more than pacing


400 is a funny distance, because it splits the field between those who are back at bed time and those who need a sleep stop or have to carry on through the night.
Typically, organisers cater for the latter. I was a bit annoyed when last year at Brevet Cymru Mark said the final control was only going to open at 6 AM... I was planning to be there around midnight and with an overnight temperature around the freezing point, I was left with no (sensible) option, other than DNS.
I could have got a room somewhere ($$$) or slept in the smallest car on the market, but to be honest cycling 400 km is long enough, without having to suffer even after that.
There was the option to get a receipt from the 24 hour garage around the corner and post it through the door of the community centre with the Brevet Card which is what we did (not at midnight though, more like 5:00 AM) and this was made clear before the start.

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #63 on: April 28, 2020, 10:39:01 am »
In my experience the key is, if you want to finish you will finish.  Pretty much.


At even longer distances avoiding sleep debt seems like a good idea


The longest event I have ridden is the 2500km version of Calais-Brindisi.  The distance was increased to give a minimum of 200k per day (now computed as an overall speed). 
200k a day isn't too bad, although I had to deal with a brand-new, untested routesheet, an Alp and other steep bits, and a falling-off muscle injury which took a couple of days to mend.  But I ended up in Brindisi as planned, wondering what to do next.

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #64 on: April 28, 2020, 10:41:39 am »

400km sleep is a problem more than pacing

I could have got a room somewhere ($$$) or slept in the smallest car on the market, but to be honest cycling ... for sending riders on dual carriageways, with no sensible alternatives, because it's going to be at night... how about me and the others who are there at 5 PM?

Overcoming these sorts of problems is usually done with planning ahead, such as figuring out accommodation at the end ahead of time or a better route for the time of day on tricky roads
You can't "blame" the organiser for designing the event to follow a particular cadence and then it not working for you

Sorry if that sounds a bit grumpy but it's just the nature of how events are

I think the event route should suit both faster and slower riders, therefore dual carriageways and busy A roads should be avoided regardless of the time of the day.
In my event, I have deliberately avoided all main roads, although riders at the back could probably use a couple of them safely... it's their call, the official route crosses them but don't go onto them.

As for the accommodation at the end... well, that's an extra cost that wasn't planned. The assumption was that the final control would open at the time it should open (10 PM or so), it's only a couple of weeks before the event that we were notified of the late opening. Anyway, it's a minor rant just to prove my point that in a 400 typically slower riders are given priority when planning and the others will have to make do.

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: Audaxability
« Reply #65 on: April 28, 2020, 10:55:54 am »
The organiser's handbook says:

Quote
In considering the timing of your event, remember that Audax UK events may be ridden by riders of widely varying abilities. Particularly with long events this means that riders will be riding the same section of the route at varying times.

Your route should not disadvantage either faster or slower riders (e.g. through forcing slower riders to negotiate heavy traffic which a faster rider would avoid or limiting control options). If in doubt plan for the slowest riders – they are invariably the ones who require the most support.

It does seem a reasonable assumption that faster riders will be more confident/experienced and able to adapt to difficult conditions, although this won't apply to every fast rider.
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #66 on: April 28, 2020, 10:57:12 am »
When I organised I tried to design routes around the average rider so main roads overnight and lanes in daylight for a rider that would be in the 20-24hr window for a 400.

Of course a couple of people would get round in 16hrs and complain about gnarly lanes in the dark, to which my response was ride a bit slower.

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #67 on: April 28, 2020, 11:03:29 am »


It does seem a reasonable assumption that faster riders will be more confident/experienced and able to adapt to difficult conditions, although this won't apply to every fast rider.

Dunno, hitting the 3 lane roundabout at Jct. 16 on the M4, having to take the third exit was not thought out that carefully, for those getting there around 5 PM... I tell ya...
I am sure those who got there after 7 PM had an easier time, trying to avoid getting killed!


Re: Audaxability
« Reply #68 on: April 28, 2020, 11:16:31 am »

400km sleep is a problem more than pacing

I could have got a room somewhere ($$$) or slept in the smallest car on the market, but to be honest cycling ... for sending riders on dual carriageways, with no sensible alternatives, because it's going to be at night... how about me and the others who are there at 5 PM?

Overcoming these sorts of problems is usually done with planning ahead, such as figuring out accommodation at the end ahead of time or a better route for the time of day on tricky roads
You can't "blame" the organiser for designing the event to follow a particular cadence and then it not working for you

Sorry if that sounds a bit grumpy but it's just the nature of how events are

I think the event route should suit both faster and slower riders, therefore dual carriageways and busy A roads should be avoided regardless of the time of the day.
In my event, I have deliberately avoided all main roads, although riders at the back could probably use a couple of them safely... it's their call, the official route crosses them but don't go onto them.

As for the accommodation at the end... well, that's an extra cost that wasn't planned. The assumption was that the final control would open at the time it should open (10 PM or so), it's only a couple of weeks before the event that we were notified of the late opening. Anyway, it's a minor rant just to prove my point that in a 400 typically slower riders are given priority when planning and the others will have to make do.
I'm a little concerned about the concept of tiding 400km, and then driving anywhere before sleeping.
The reason why the finish control isn't open is because Mark is still busy at the previous control
You could post your card through the door, even without proof of time  it would prove you were there within time limits.
Faster riders can slow down, but slower riders cannot speed up, so it makes sense to bias organisation towards them.
Although I agree you shouldn't be forced onto dual carriageways .
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #69 on: April 28, 2020, 11:23:30 am »


It does seem a reasonable assumption that faster riders will be more confident/experienced and able to adapt to difficult conditions, although this won't apply to every fast rider.

Dunno, hitting the 3 lane roundabout at Jct. 16 on the M4, having to take the third exit was not thought out that carefully, for those getting there around 5 PM... I tell ya...
I am sure those who got there after 7 PM had an easier time, trying to avoid getting killed!
Or you could have crossed the road,  gone one exit anti clockwise on the pavement and avoided the roundabout altogether as I did when I got there at 19.30
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #70 on: April 28, 2020, 11:27:45 am »
Quality post by @LWaB above.
I could have got a room somewhere ($$$) or slept in the smallest car on the market, but to be honest cycling ... for sending riders on dual carriageways, with no sensible alternatives, because it's going to be at night... how about me and the others who are there at 5 PM?

As for the accommodation at the end... well, that's an extra cost that wasn't planned. The assumption was that the final control would open at the time it should open (10 PM or so), it's only a couple of weeks before the event that we were notified of the late opening. Anyway, it's a minor rant just to prove my point that in a 400 typically slower riders are given priority when planning and the others will have to make do.
On the Brevet Cymru 360 days ago, Mark (with Ritchie in support iirc) ran Llangattock at 350k. This offered just the same sleeping facilities as one could expect at Bulwark - I'm making the assumption that that's what you had planned to do: kip at the finish till morning (?before driving). The need to give tlc to all at Llangattock combined with balance of allocation of volunteer labour resources precluded opening Bulwark earlier. Previous years I have just ridden through to midnight (and used the CC letter box) but last year it was an easy call for me: warm up, feed and then get my head down for several hours in Llangattock and ride into the sunrise (just as bloody cold as at midnight though). End result: 404km completed by about 6am and rested enough to make my way home. @Jon B has pointed out that there was a 'receipt and post through letter-box' option offered by Mark for those who didn't want to hang around. I can only presume that the length of time you record you take for a 400 is important . . . . . . to you, enough for you to decide to DNS rather planning to sleep on the comfy mats at Llangattock.

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #71 on: April 28, 2020, 12:03:52 pm »
@Jon B has pointed out that there was a 'receipt and post through letter-box' option offered by Mark for those who didn't want to hang around. I can only presume that the length of time you record you take for a 400 is important . . . . . . to you, enough for you to decide to DNS rather planning to sleep on the comfy mats at Llangattock.

No, can't care less what the stamps says, the issue is once I post my brevet card at 12 AM... what am I supposed to do? Sleep in my microscopic car while it's -2 outside? Drive home after 18 hours on the bike? Neither option was particularly appealing or safe...

I could have slept at the previous control and set off at 4 AM or so (at -2 degrees and with screaming legs), but I couldn't be bothered with that either.
I seem to recall enquiring about it and Mark said there were mattresses but no blankets...  :'(

I guess one could conclude that I lack in perseverance or something mentioned above...  ::-)

You'll be pleased to know I've decided to call it a day on 400 or longer brevets

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #72 on: April 28, 2020, 12:20:04 pm »
@Jon B has pointed out that there was a 'receipt and post through letter-box' option offered by Mark for those who didn't want to hang around. I can only presume that the length of time you record you take for a 400 is important . . . . . . to you, enough for you to decide to DNS rather planning to sleep on the comfy mats at Llangattock.

No, can't care less what the stamps says, the issue is once I post my brevet card at 12 AM... what am I supposed to do? Sleep in my microscopic car while it's -2 outside? Drive home after 18 hours on the bike? Neither option was particularly appealing or safe...

I could have slept at the previous control and set off at 4 AM or so (at -2 degrees and with screaming legs), but I couldn't be bothered with that either.
I seem to recall enquiring about it and Mark said there were mattresses but no blankets...  :'(

I guess one could conclude that I lack in perseverance or something mentioned above...  ::-)

You'll be pleased to know I've decided to call it a day on 400 or longer brevets

Another potential solution would have been to grab an hour's kip at Llangattock, post your brevet card through the letterbox at Bulwark and ECE home, rounding it up to a nice 600km. Which, if you listen to common wisdom, is easier than a 400km anyway!  :thumbsup: ;D

S2L

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #73 on: April 28, 2020, 12:22:58 pm »


Another potential solution would have been to grab an hour's kip at Llangattock, post your brevet card through the letterbox at Bulwark and ECE home, rounding it up to a nice 600km. Which, if you listen to common wisdom, is easier than a 400km anyway!  :thumbsup: ;D

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Re: Audaxability
« Reply #74 on: April 28, 2020, 01:04:35 pm »
Ive long believed that the very fastest riders have a tendency to favour 400km DIYs over calendar events as a quick rider can batter round in daylight in a way that many others just cant. 

Pretty much any audax event (but especially those 400k upwards) will force organisers to make tricky decisions and trade offs.

Most will tend to try and find a sweet spot for the majority but when faced with an issue where its full value riders v. fast riders (eg determining a start time to dovetail with ferry crossings) the former will be given priority for obvious reasons.

Thats why organising or helping at an event is such a good idea, appreciating audax events from a slightly different perspective definitely improves ones audaxability  :thumbsup: as it will provide a more ready answer to the question “Why did the organiser do *that*?” that Im sure we all experience from time to time when riding an event.