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What are your best tips for long rides?
#1
So what are your longest rides like? And what are your best tips for those long endurance rides?
I did 91 miles last week, and by the end, each hill kept getting harder and harder. But the worst part was that my shoulders ached terribly (probably from the weight training workouts I did 2 days before haha) but some of that might have been from taking my road bike to the gravel trails. Maybe I should have lowered my tire pressure a bit? I was riding tubeless 25s at 72PSI (I'm a lightweight).

Anyway - I would love your tips for endurance rides.
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#2
Good job on completing such a long ride, Amanda! Was this your longest ride ever?

Your achy shoulders could have been caused by riding your road bike on gravel trails, especially considering the 25c tires. If your frame fits wider tires, I think it's worth considering going with 28c or 30c instead.

I ride a gravel bike with 35mm tires and while I am a bit slower on paved roads (2-3 km/h on average), I feel a lot more comfortable.

My longest ride ever was a 300km audax with 4,500m of elevation gain and I was shattered by the end of it. But I loved it.

But, I'd say the three most important things to keep in mind to make such long rides enjoyable are:

- Have a proper bike fit.
- Have a good nutrition and hydration plan in place and stick with it (!!!).
- Have some form of entertainment, such as music, a podcast, or a friend to ride along with and chat.

Whenever I do a long ride and I check these three boxes, I always have a good day by the end of it. Smile
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#3
Lots of electrolytes, b vitamins, and blended carbs.

Stay oxygenated and pace yourself.

Keeping your fuel topped off is always going to be the biggest factor (other than carrying tools for mishaps).
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#4
@Amanda_W There are a lot of variables and missing information related to your query. You stated length of ride, some hilly terrain, some (all?) gravel surface, using a road bike on gravel (not a problem I do it all the time on 25mm tires at 100psi), and that you had been working out with weights 2 days prior to your ride (generally not an issue).

There is nothing wrong with tips given already, but I know (and @Dusan , @GirishH , et al.) I can provide indepth advice from experience having done long (75 to 100 miles) and longer distances than your recent ride. You are welcome to PM me as I tend to be longer winded than most and I like to cover a topic as completely as possible in one shot.

I will say this unless you have done a serious ride (not sightseeing or with frequent stops) of over ~4hrs before it is hard to equate that with doing a couples hours or less than 50 miles or so (as you probably now know). Mind and body are at a different level altogether, and even with experience at shorter times and distances the same experirnce does not pertain as much as one might think once you have your butt in the saddle for half a day or longer.
If you have ever done a long nonstop (except for quick fuel/restroom stops) drive in a car you know the difference; especially if the route is without much environment change. I am talking about the difference between a 3-5hr drive and 10-20hr or more drive (I routinely drive +20hrs nonstop, carrying my own food, extra fuel, and means for urination while driving). They are 2 different beasts altogether and your body and mind need to be prepared in an entirely different way. Even most truckers do not what I do; nor do I believe they are supposed to for safety reasons.
I regularly do 4-5 hour rides covering 40 to 50 miles and a little more, but that includes a couple extended hydration/stretching breaks (for me about 5 munutes each) and a prolonged relaxation break (30-60 minutes) for resting, eating, hiking/sightseeing, etc.
Those rides, although a good preparatory start for mind and body conditioning, are nothing like doing a true 50 miler (only the water and stretching breaks if even that); and that is nothing like doing 1.5 to twice the distance in the same manner; although it goes a lot further regarding the preparation and conditioning required for the longer rides. As a solo rider, and without anything relating to entertainment/distraction (no riding buddy, no music, etc.) I have honed the skills needed to face the mental trials of being on the road and essentially (if I have my way) being sequestered from civilization. Night riding takes that up to the next level since you really only have the pavement or dirt right in front of you for any visual stimulation. Even a short night ride can be mentally taxing on those unprepared for it aside from the extra inherent danger involved.

That was me being "succinct"!
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#5
Congratulations, Amanda, on that long ride. And, thanks for bringing a smile on my face with Jesper's "succint" response..:-)

I used to commute 10-12 miles every day, but the weekend long rides (50-100+ miles) would still get me. It would take me a day or two to start feeling normal.

I like Dusan's #3. My long rides were about enjoying the journey. For example, I rode from Boston to the tip of Cape Cod, which was some 120+ miles. I made it a fun day by conversing with fellow riders, and to explore the rural parts of MA. On one such ride, I was officially the last rider, but more importantly I finished it. That day, I had started at 6:30 AM and finished at at 6:30 pm. Not a great timing but I enjoyed the journey..

When I started bikepacking, the first few days would still be "getting-used" days. So, I would use my padded cycling shorts and take other precautions. My body and saddle would still be asking for TLC. After that first week, daily long-distances would become the norm, and pain and exhaustion would become things of the past.

Like some know, I am a very non-traditional when it comes to cycling/running. My first long distance bike was a borrowed bike that was smaller for my 6-feet height. And, I'd continue my 16- hours intermittent fasting even on some of the long rides. I ride a fat bike and never reduce or add air. More difficult a ride is, I believe it's better for my body/health..:-)

My suggestion for any long ride is go with an open mind and embrace the joys, pains as they are part of the journey. Evevry ride makes you stronger and better..
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