450 kms in a week

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Apart from friday, which was (mostly) a walking day, this has been a strong preparation week 🙂 I’m reaching a total of 450 kms in the week ! This is very close to my objective of 500 kms a week for the trip.

Sure, I’m feeling tired this evening, but nothing particular. Today I had a leisurely stroll through Paris, to the other side of town, and coming back home at random. This was a very pleasurable 40kms, which used to be the maximum I was doing before.

After the 100kms I did yesterday I felt I was able to ride several days long distances. Over the previous days I had one 80kms ride and three days of 70kms or more. I’m starting to know my way around eastern Paris quite well :p

Ok, I realize that all these distances have been done on an empty bike. When I’ll have 20 kgs of gear on top of all that, it will be a different matter. I still have a month and a half to reach this level. And before that I need the final bike plus all said gear 🙂

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Stretching

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Before_riding After_riding

 

I really like the stretching exercises I’ve found on Mike’s Bikes, so I did two quick reference cards on one image each, before and after the ride. This way I can save them on the phone and access them without being connected :p

The images are clear enough but be sure to read the detailed instructions to avoid overstretching and make the movements correctly.

Before : http://mikesbikes.com/articles/stretching-before-you-ride-pg241.htm

After : http://mikesbikes.com/articles/stretching-after-you-ride-pg240.htm

Rampup – week 3

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So, I’ve started the physical rampup for a bit more than two weeks now. Time to check where I stand.

My rampup program is pretty simple : do an average of 10kms a day on week one, then 20, 30, etc, up to 90-100 on average, and then keep this plateau. This would include one day off a week, as well as starting to train with a new bike about early march, and with the camping equipment over april.

My main objective is not really the daily average, but a weekly average of 500kms a week on the bike, so that, apart from the time where I will be visiting, I can move forward fast enough. It’s also a round number and make calculations easier 🙂 With 6500+ kms to cover on my trip, it would then take 13 weeks of biking, or 4+ months to cross the US – without any time to visit. I may have to revisit the distance though, as I ordered the adventure association route maps last week. I’ll see that when they arrive.

So, about the rampup status. I started on the 24th of february, as planned, and during the “crazy week” with one critical meeting each day. I did an average of 15kms a day during the week, with simple trips around the nearby Vincennes garden. I also did the trip around Paris on sunday, which was 40kms. So in total I did 135kms in the first week, way more than the 70 I planned. I was really exhausted on sunday evening, and was starting to question my capacities to maintain even small distances for long.

Over the second week, I was not very consistent. I did my usual small trip to work on monday, then two days with 30 kms (one going straight through Paris, one with a leisurely trip along the Marne river), then two small days with a crappy weather. I had a first real day off on my birthday, and on sunday another 30kms, doing the second video test. So a total of 125kms, similar to the first week. But I was feeling ok after the 30kms days. That was somewhat reassuring.

Now, in the middle of the third week, things are moving up again. I did two strong days with 45kms, going to the park near Sceaux, south of Paris, and one going to the park of Noisiel, east of Paris. Today I did a smaller 20-25kms going to half a dozen shops in Paris, looking for various equipments and tshirt printers. My legs were really starting to feel the pain after the long rides, but I was ok on the next morning. Tomorrow I’ll go north of Paris, to a famous sports brand mall which, strangely, is very present anywhere in France but not in Paris. I still have quite a few things to find on my packing list. I’ve let that slide during the rampup, but I can’t wait too long.

Hopefully I’ll be able to continue going up in the coming weeks. Sometime next week, when I feel I can move past 50kms regularly, I’ll go public on my facebook page with my project :p

Rampup and stretching

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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.

Workout

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Before even starting a biking program to get ready to cross many miles, I wanted to step up a daily workout. I had been doing a pretty simple one for about a month before the project of crossing the US on a bike appeared, so I only had to adapt it somehow. It seems you have to work on the core abdominals, which are necessary for good cycling, but are not built by cycling itself. They must be developed especially.

I like this workout : http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutrition/training-fitness/core

I dont have a stability ball, so I do most of the other exercises :

– 25 push-ups (ok nothing to do with abdominals :p)

– 20 “boat pose” sit ups

– 40 power bridges

– 40 scissors kicks

– 2×30 transverse planks

I do this routine 3 times, plus 90 seconds plank. That takes about 15 minutes all in all.