From couch to century in 50 days?

I need some help with a strategy to increase my fitness. I’m coming off a lazy-arse winter hiatus, and I am the most unfit I’ve ever been. My goal is to ride 100km a day, on two consecutive days, as part of a bike tour in the first week in December. Speed isn’t important, my goal is to improve endurance and stamina for touring.

So what I need is some suggestions for a fitness strategy /plan. Please keep in mind that I like riding is because its simple, easy to be in the moment. So for me, a simple plan is much more likely to be successful. I need help with the basics!

  1. Should I ride every day, and just slowly increase the distance? Or is alternating between one big day, and then a rest/recovery day better to allow muscles to rebuild?

  2. I’ve always been a poor hill climber. Where is the closest long hill for training near Melbourne?

  3. Its only a matter of time before I get lost. Anyone recommend a good map of Melbourne and 100 km surrounds that I could carry (old school folding style) and where to get it? The Melway is bloody heavy.

  4. I ride fixed now, but have free on the flop. Whenever I switch, I find smooth spinning difficult, especially on climbs. I’ve got bad at throwing past the 12 o’clock ‘dead spot’ and kind of ‘stop’ pedalling there, making for a very jerky spin. The ride in December will be on a geared roadie (my first one), but until I pay it off, training is on the fixed/SS. Should I ride free to improve my spin/climb technique?

  5. Cross training? I wish I could run, but my body says no. The pool is close by. I know swimming is one of the few exercises that strengthens and lengthens muscles at the same time.

  6. I have rollers, they are almost new. So if you think they could help…

After my first ‘training’ ride today (1.5 hours) my first step has been to dig out my old mtb Speedo from the bottom of the parts bin. Planing to configure and install tomorrow, I need some ‘baseline’ distance.

break down your training into weeks. follow this pattern:

easy week
medium week
hard week
recovery week.

build distance accordingly.

have a recovery week before your event.

so, you have nearly 7 weeks. make this current week your first easy week, and work from there.

keep the gearing small.

if you have a big day, the next day don’t do too much.

don’t waste your time cross training. running is ok for core strength, but you need hours on the bike.

rollers will help when it’s raining. old rule says that 1hr on the rollers = 1 and 1/2 hours on the road.

that is all from me.

Watch your diet.

And Big M’s rule.

Good plan - keep the intensity down and you can ride for ages. Riding long distances is only a problem if you’re impatient :slight_smile:

Build up your distance during the week, hard day/easy day, or even hard day/rest day (rest is good - that’s when your muscles repair themselves - no rest = no repair = no adaptation), and do a long ride on the weekend when you can take all day if you like. Make these rides long and slow - just enjoy the scenery and be in the moment. No need to race, don’t worry about how far you’ve gone, just roll. Oh, and EAT. Nibble on real food (not gels/gu blergh!) all day while you’re riding so you get used to eating on the move. Also, rule of thumb is eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty - one bidon every 1.5-2hrs, more if it’s hotter.

Wear knicks, use chamois cream, make sure you don’t get really sore shoulders, hands, neck etc. after 5 hours on the road - if so, adjust your bike fit (handlebars up!). Bad bike fit will cut your ride short even worse than poor fitness.

As for cross-training, keep it simple - just ride. Rule of specificity and all that. Stretching after a ride is good. Self-massage is good.

Maps? Use to plan a route beforehand. I often scribble some “trail notes” on a piece of paper to help me out on the road (e.g. left on blah, right on blah). Preparing beforehand means you can plan regular stops along the way for food, water etc. you can go past train stations to give yourself bailout points, you can make it follow bike paths if you don’t want to deal with traffic. Of course if you’ve got an iPhone (or a riding buddy with one :wink:) you can even take bikely/googlemaps with you - very handy when you realise your trail notes aren’t up to scratch!

Having said all that, it’s largely a mental game too. If you can’t wait to get to the finish and just want to get it over with and hate every minute of it then it’ll be hard no matter how fit you are.

On the other hand, if you just enjoy riding and don’t suffer from attachment to goals then your mind and body won’t be in conflict and you may find that the finish line will come too soon.

That’s my 2c.

Good luck and write back to let us know how you go!

afton street, essendon west is a decent hill. it’s not particularly long but it’s steep enough. hit it a few times and feel that lactic acid.

I always enjoyed Kew Boulevard for some ups and downs.

I find riding fixed equates to much like what xBrendanx said about the 1.5x rule on rollers. Doing the Brissie to Gold Coast 100km on gears last weekend was a cinch compared to doing it fixed at Werewolves a few months back. Any distance fixed multiplies considerably compared to riding a geared roadie. Only difference then is dealing with extra time in the saddle… get cream!

Personally, I find my limit on a fixed gear a lot faster than what I do on my roadie. So I only need to be traveling at around 30km/h to feel the burn versus 40km/h+ on the roadie.

whats the route of this tour

if its flat, you can probably do it without any training

100km on the flat you can easily do before lunch

Get on your bike and dont stop pealing until you reach 100.

keep plugging away the 7 week plan in lance armstrong program book is quite good i am using this for the great bike ride in perth i am trageting the 104 km i did the 53 last yr

Thanks all, especially xBBx and angry, all good tips, and simple.

Alexb the longest days are also the hilliest days, the biggest hill is 13km long up Lavers Hill, while cutting across the Otway Ranges and into Apollo Bay. Its the Great Vic Bike Ride, also the Great Ocean Road. My first tour, but I’m sure not my last.

Will be sure to post my progress.

Park the car,let the tyres down and just ride daily everywhere.
I havent been on a BV ride in years, but they do cater for ALL fitness and skill levels.
We (any former ‘Gumbies’ on here?) used to have a two pint minimum at EVERY pub along the route and still made it in time for dinner. ahh jeez i’m getting all misty…

god, i thought i smelt bicycle victoria.

it does have a particular stench doesn’t it…

True BV sometimes stinks, but I’m still a member. Most lobby groups loose power to weight when they get big. Still, its good that they’re big.

Sure the GVBR is not very punk rock, but I’m already benefiting from a fitness goal. And if that goal includes 9 days riding, surf beaches and beer gardens, bring on the Summer stinkin’ porta-loos.

Its my first bike tour, but won’t be my last. Rack and panniers are at the ready due to generous exchange for beer, thanks Tally.

Today, 33 kms out to Hurstbridge, a sore date and a radox bath. Lessons: bike setup needs work, and need to strengthen core to minimise protesting lower back.

flop-sweat and smuggness.

the cone of smugness?

i should probably note that i too am a member so i aint dissing anybody…

wanting to know how it went/how its going?

hows the progress?

Training didn’t really go to plan. I took delivery of my first geared roadie only two weeks before the tour, so most of my last minute training was done fixed/SS.

The ride was great. I missed the first few days (and all the rain) due to some family stuff, so my first ride day was 100kms, Port Fairy to Port Campbell. Even with a steady head wind, my first century was a blast. Riding past the coast and cliffs, the Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs, and with 5000 others was awesome. Rode in a cooperating group of 3 for the first time for about an hour, rotating the front.

Was sore at the end, but went for a recovery swim in the ocean that night which helped (and better than the porta-loo showers).

The next day was 97kms to Apollo Bay, with two big hills 18kms and 13kms long. It was hot, and hard, but again awesome, and I successfully completed it. Touring specific granny gearing was a big help to climb my still unfit ass up the hills, and one bloke offered me $1000 to swap bikes with him at the bottom of the first hill. Highlights included getting two hand-ups of lollies on the second hill (by a roving/riding support mechanic), coming across the Smoothy Peddler for a cold fresh juice at the top, and then bombing the hill into Apollo Bay at the end.

I dropped a belt hole after those first two days.

All the days riding after that was decreasing in distance, so seemed like a walk in the park. The next best bit was when they closed the Great Ocean Road in both directions between Skenes Creek (just north of Apollo Bay) and Lorne. Riding along with only the sounds of the waves, the (first light tail) wind and the hum of bike tires was like living in a beautiful utopian dream. I hammered it, utilising the whole road for my first attempt at ‘racing lines’, with a big stupid grin on my face the whole time.

I can now wholeheartedly encourage all to incorporate iced coffee Big M and ginger beer into any hydration strategy. I’m now planning both my first self supported tour and contemplating the 3 Peaks Challenge 230km ride. Thanks again to all that provided training advice, it really helped with the training that I did do.

Good stuff!

I think you’ve inspired me to do so mini-tours this christmas holidays. All fixed though. Now where’s that bigger rear cog