With the Seyboro Cyclist annual double century ride looming (and Cyclin' Missy's first century coming up) I've decided to post some tips on how to finish an epic ride. These tips were actually collected by Jorg. (The double century takes place in four loops of decreasing length. Knowing that fact might make some of the comments easier to comprehend.) Here they are, complete with Jorg's intro:
As you know, we have quite a few riders in the club who have finished the Double Century ride. I thought this might be a good time to ask them to reveal the one thing that made the biggest difference to them. As you will see, some things are deeply psychological, while others are just a little weird.
The proof, as always, is in the pudding: All of these tips have worked for the tipper...
Neil starts us off with a not-so-subliminal-after-all message:
Plan your "BUTT CREME" hydration and nutrition by approaching each loop "BUTT CREME" as four individual rides with "BUTT CREME" recovery fuel after each in the form of solid food you are used to "BUTT CREME" consuming.
I do remember that, after I completed the double century for the first and (so far) only time, I wasn't interested in sitting down again for three days afterwards. Over 11 hours in the saddle...sheesh...
President Dave, ever the pragmatist, continues with 4 ideas:
-Drink at least one bottle every hour, even if you don't feel thirsty.
-Keep some high-energy snacks in your car for the breaks at the school.
-Change into clean, dry clothes after the second loop.
-Maintain 18 mph!!! While it may seem easy on the first loop, it will feel very difficult on looop 3.
President Dave has completed the double more than once. As far as maintaining 18 mph seeming easy, that works as long as everyone else is maintaining 18 mph too instead of 20+!
Scott's tips to finishing the double century twice:
-Most important Hydration: Start Hydrating by Wednesday three days prior to the ride. Take the water bottle to bed if you have to. Your body needs to be saturated long before the ride.
If you aren't getting up several times during the night, you aren't hydrating enough!
-This is a big one: Come to the ride with your mind set that you will finish the Double Century. It's not an easy feat so any doubt may cause you to quit.
One of the most useful things about riding that anyone ever said to me came from Scott: "You have to start by knowing that you can do it." This helped me a lot near the end of the double century when I still felt like I could complete the ride, just as long as no one expected me to go over 12 mph. That's a story for a post in itself.
-I bring 4 Sandwiches, 2 with Turkey, Cheese and Tomato and 2 Peanut Butter and Jelly. I eat a sandwich after each loop and have one for recovery when the ride is over. With those sandwiches I will wash them down with a Yoo-Hoo or a Gatorade. I do take Tums to settle my stomach as well.
Bobby first introduced me to the idea of a Yoo-hoo after a ride. It didn't sound like a good idea at the time, but he was right. That's about the best stuff to drink after a hard ride that I've ever run into.
Dave Peacefoot takes a more philosophical approach:
Pain is temporary. It will subside and it will return.
Well, there you go. I can't argue with that one. I'm not entirely certain what to do with it, but I certainly can't argue with it.
Bobby has a practical angle:
Use your gears wisely, spin on the hills and use your big chain ring on the flats. Spinning will give your legs a rest and mashing will rest your lungs and heart.
I wish I had something either clever of witty to say here. Mind you, I haven't said anything either clever or witty yet, so why should this be any different.
Mike meanders back to a ride famously shrouded in Seyboro lore:
The "Double Century" is an endurance event so you need to make preparations of what to wear; eat; drink; sunscreen; resting on breaks and that sort of thing. It's an all day event and over the years many good riders have been left in the parking lot. So..prepare, prepare and prepare and if all else fails, call Velvie for the secret weapon...Justin.
Chuck managed to complete the double one year because his son Justin cussed him and got him back on his bike again after he had decided he had enough. That's what family is for, right?
I'll go with something a little more personal, but effective for me:
-Take a shower after every loop. The breaks are long enough and changing into a fresh kit will make the whole event seem much shorter than it is.
-In between the loops, eat something real. Forget the sweet stuff - I had ham and cheese bagels from Five Star.
After I finished the double, I also didn't want anything even remotely sweet for at least a week. I was so sick of candy bars and gels and everything of the sort that I didn't even want to look at anything sweet. I definitely made some bad food choices there. Well, I'll go ahead and add my own tip. Here's what did it for me:
If it's really hot, drink and drink and drink and don't be afraid to drop ice down your jersey to cool yourself off.
Yes, that's probably the most peculiar tip of them all, but it helped me out. Of course, I'd much rather ride in the cold than in the heat. Here's my other tip:
Ride in the middle of the group.
If you take too many pulls at the front, or if your pulls are too long, you'll wear yourself out.
If you hang out at the back of the group, you'll get the yo-yo effect. When you hit a corner, the people in front won't slow down too much, but the people in the back will end up having to slow down and lot and will then burn energy trying to catch back on. I know. I've been there. Don't be that person.
Well, if you've got an epic ride coming up, good luck.
See you on the road.