I started training last week. The objective is simple : to raise myself to about 80-100kms a day, with a day off here and there (at least once a week).
I’ve been riding a bike to work for years, but that’s only about 6 kms a day (going down the slope in the morning, and going up in the evening). I also do the odd ride all around Paris, which is 35-40 kms in two hours on sunday. I did that just yesterday and filmed it, but I’m still struggling to edit it down to a few minutes.
So, I’ve been searching for a program to do this training on the web, but I only found methods to reach a century, which is 100 miles, or 160 kms, in a day. This is a ramp-up which is very irregular day to day, but goes up slowly over two months. That’s not what I’m looking for. I don’t want to break any record but be able to ride regularly a long distance.
I decided to draft my own ramp-up, that you can see on the first image. It’s very simple : each week, I will raise the daily average by 10 kms, starting from the distance I’m used to do to go to work, up to 90-100 a day. So that’s about 10 weeks to do that, two and a half months, reaching a plateau on the last few weeks.
The overall idea is to be able to cross 500 kms, or 300 miles, in one week. That would be 80 kms a day over 6 days, or 100 over 5 days. That’s the average I’ve used when calculating the time I’ll need on the overall journey.
Doing such a curve on paper is easy, now I have to see if I can do it 🙂
The next step was to find destinations to cover these distances. I’ve used google maps for that, moving a destination around to some interesting spot in or around Paris, until I had 3-4 objectives for each set of distance. I also tried to do some circles which covered the distance, in order to avoid “go there and come back on the same road” kind of stuff. Its not really easy with a large city so close, because either I have to go away from it, and destination points tend to be very far very quickly, or I have to go around or through Paris, with all the traffic.
Beyond going the distance, I also need to test camping around, making overnights, as well as small journeys. So I prepared some destinations that were 80-100 kms away, will stay there and come back. I drafted 3 and 4 days journeys, which should be the longest I’ll do before stopping at a motel or equivalent in the US. I’ll do these camping tests in april, with the longer ones at the end of the month, just before leaving.
Finally I’ve put all that on a planning for february, march and april, hoping to leave for the US early may. Here you can see february, with the week of the 17th where I started training and wrote down the actual distances I’ve covered. I did an average of 20 kms a day this week. I only got tired by the 40 kms ride around Paris on sunday. That was probably too much of a step at once.
Biking regularly for long distances will need regular stretching before and after. I’ve found these programs which seem fine :
Before the ride : http://mikesbikes.com/articles/stretching-before-you-ride-pg241.htm
And after : http://mikesbikes.com/articles/stretching-after-you-ride-pg240.htm
They are rather long, 15 minutes for the second part, but I guess it’s not much when compared to a 5 or 6 hours ride in a day ! I need to test these more and see if they bring a benefit.