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abshipp 03-11-19 08:47 AM

Couch-To-200K in 6 Weeks
It looks like we finally are getting some good riding weather along with the extra usable daylight from the time change, so I've started to look more in to my cycling goals for this year.

I had planned on riding the GLR opening 200K from Evanston Il, and I just realized that it is in less than 6 weeks :eek:

We've had a nasty winter here in Illinois this year, and since the 1st of the year I have only 67 miles over 5 rides.

Is it even realistic to try and get ready for this 200k in such a short amount of time? Or am I setting myself up to get hurt from overtraining?

It does look pretty flat, only 2500' of elevation gain over the entire course, but I'm trying not to be too dismissive of the challenge just because it's fairly flat. It's still a long day in the saddle.

pdlamb 03-11-19 09:24 AM

Answer: it depends.

Mostly it depends on how good your residual conditioning, or conditioning from other activities (shoveling snow, perhaps?) is.

Say you'll try the brevet if you've ridden 80 miles the weekend before (a bit of a stretch, but still reasonable). If you use the 10% per week rule of thumb for extending your long ride for each week, you need to be able to ride 50 miles now. How does that compare to your fitness?

GadgetGirlIL 03-11-19 09:47 AM

Can you supplement your preparation with any indoor cycling? I didn't ride outdoors from February 3rd (a flat 100K) until a very hilly 200K in Kentucky on 2/23. My previous 200K was January 5th then no outdoor riding until February 3rd (hello Polar Vortex!). Since the weather was miserable and the roads unsafe (your area was worse in terms of setting records), I got my butt onto the stationary bike at the gym to get some conditioning on my legs for the 2 weeks prior to my 200K. I had one weekend day where I was able to do 3 @ 1 hour sessions. I ended up being fine for the 200K.

So I feel that if you can start now, you will be ready for April 20th! I'll be looking for you!

rhm 03-11-19 09:57 AM

I assume you can do it, but what do I know. Might as well try! It's never too late to give up....

ThermionicScott 03-11-19 10:04 AM

Can you talk anyone else in the area into doing one of the populaires with you ahead of time? :thumb:

GadgetGirlIL 03-11-19 11:41 AM

Originally Posted by ThermionicScott (Post 20832927)
Can you talk anyone else in the area into doing one of the populaires with you ahead of time? :thumb:

@abshipp - Mike has some nice populaires out in your area. One starts in Oregon, the other in Rochelle, although you can start the Rochelle loop at the control on Baxter Rd. I'm available the weekend of 4/6-4/7 if you wanted to ride one of them with me. I need to get out in that area (Oregon) to check out the route for 200K/300K that I'm in charge of at the beginning of May.

CliffordK 03-11-19 11:57 AM

If you're going from zilch to 200K, that could be tough.

But, if you're just talking about a long-time cyclist that took a few months off for the winter... then why not?

Start with some maybe 50 to 60 mile rides, then go up from there. A couple of longer rides a week?

Time to get that fanny broken in again. :innocent:

unterhausen 03-11-19 02:59 PM

I could do it. Anything up to a 400k is possible. It's really hard to fake it on a 600k

clasher 03-11-19 06:49 PM

Oh yeah you’d probably be able to do it, especially if you can get out for a 50k in a week or two, then a 100k in 3 or 4 weeks with some other riding between if weather permits. If you have the money a trainer and a month of trainer road would whip up you into shape pretty quick too, i never thought I’d be the type for it but it’s been really good for me.

StephenH 03-11-19 07:13 PM

People ask all the time "Can I ride a century?" And the normal response is something along the lines of "Well, if you can ride a metric century, then you can ride a century!" So with that kind of thinking, get to riding, and see how you feel 5 weeks from now. Go ride some 100k or 125k rides, if you finish and feel okay, there you go, and if you're doing a deathmarch at 50 miles, reconsider. Ride your own pace, don't worry about keeping up with somebody riding faster than you.

I am persuaded that there are athletic young people that have never ridden a bike that hop on one and ride faster and farther than I can, by the way.

antimonysarah 03-11-19 07:37 PM

A few years back, I had (unexpected) surgery in January, and was off of all exercise aside from some gentle walking until mid-February. Then on what was supposed to be my first longer ride in early March, I had a tire blow out on a potholed descent I was taking perhaps a little too fast, and went down, spraining a shoulder, so the next few weeks were indoor-riding only (where I could sit up and not use my arm).

Spoiler: I was A-OK, if slower than usual, on our hilly 100k and 200k in April. Had a blast, ignored the clock uphill and let myself be cautious on the downhills to regain my confidence there, and finished both with time to spare.

As long as you're not usually just under the wire, time-wise, you'll be fine. Take it easy and probably the only thing that might be pretty beat-up is your hindquarters, but skin heals pretty quickly.

unterhausen 03-11-19 08:40 PM

The OP didn't tell us what his experience with riding long distance is. I think it's a lot easier to do if you have experience. When I did my first 200k, it was in February. I think the longest ride I had done in a very long time was 50 miles. But I had ridden many organized centuries in the past, and it was very similar. I take it this would be the OP's first ride with RUSA, since he's not the Shipp that does have a result history

skiffrun 03-11-19 09:23 PM

Originally Posted by unterhausen (Post 20833928)
The OP didn't tell us what his experience with riding long distance is. I think it's a lot easier to do if you have experience. ... I take it this would be the OP's first ride with RUSA, since he's not the Shipp that does have a result history

Well, I am that Shipp that does have a result history, and my thoughts are:
1. None of this "try" stuff. Decide to do it! But if OP is not used to riding long distances (100+ milers), do not attempt to do at "race pace" -- slow down.

2. We don't know your age, but if OP is in his/her 20's or 30's, it will likelier be easier to do than if in his/ her 50's or 60's. I conclude that because RUSA #6176 , who is 28 years younger than me, did his first 200k back in 2010 when his previous longest ride ever was only 70 miles -- of course, he had an extra "charm" with him -- to wit, thoughts of his father, RUSA #1229 .

3. Okay, so I have some experience doing rando distances up to 600-kms. Last year I did the local, hilly 300-km pre-ride essentially solo on next to nothing except for my experience and mental determination. Write-up of that ride. Key extract follows.

I should have noted prior to this that I was decidedly not in shape to ride a 300 with any kind of panache. I actually wasn't in shape to be doing a 300, period. I had only done nine, count 'em, nine, bike rides since November 18th, the longest of which was only 104-miles. Nine rides in five months totalling only 693-miles. Um, yeah, I had no business riding a 300 km brevet.

Except that I knew the course like the back of my hand. I knew the friendly places and the tough climbs. I was completely at mental peace with what I needed to do complete the ride. It turned out I would never consult the cue sheet (even though, as insurance, I did carry a cue sheet with me).
So, my summary to the OP is this:
- decide to do it. Do it.
- But don't try to do it at the pace you might ride 30 or 40 or 70 miles. Slow down a bit.
- Stay calm and do it.

unterhausen 03-11-19 09:31 PM

I think it was 2010 where I was sick for the entire rando season. All I rode was the series events, no training otherwise. It was a bit ugly, but I did it. It has only been the last few years that I seriously trained over the winter, so I was in pretty bad shape.

dual650c 03-12-19 09:01 PM

Can you do it? Absolutely.
Why do I say that? Because I did it at 61yo after a year off the bike and I assume you are at least as (un)athletic as I was at the time. The previous year, I'd had an accident where I couldn't walk more unaided than 50 feet for a month and then spent the next 11 months as your average, everyday, basic, no-exercise couch potato. Got smacked upside the head at that point by a friend who seemingly somewhat randomly said "come out and ride with me this weekend"....without telling me it was a 200k brevet until we pulled into the start location parking lot. Um, yeah. Some friend.

Completed the ride in just over 12 hours without requiring a call for either a SAG van or an ambulance. Was it pretty? Not really. Was I sore afterward? Sure... for about 4 hours. I slept well that night though. Could I walk the next day without limping? Yepper. Would I ADVISE anyone to do it the way I did it (no prep)? Not really.

abshipp 03-13-19 09:33 AM

Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

For reference, I'm 29 years old, and have a bit of experience with long distance riding. I've done a couple of centuries, maybe half-a-dozen 100Ks, and did my first 200K late last year.

That 200K was quite a bit hillier than the one I'm considering at 4700' of punchy western Wisconsin roads, so I'm sure that has contributed a lot to my apprehension. My only experience riding that distance was really painful.

Looks like I'll try for a 50 mile ride this weekend and see how it goes from there.

@GadgetGirlIL I had kind of forgotten about permanents, that's a good suggestion. I recently joined RUSA so I should be eligible to ride them now, I'm not sure about my availability on the weekend you suggested, but lets touch base closer to that date and I will let you know!

@skiffrun I enjoyed that write up, and it was a handy reminder that the actual speed required to successfully complete a brevet is really quite low, for the 200K distance average speed needs to be only 14.8km/hr, or 9.2mph.

I bit the bullet and registered this morning!

unterhausen 03-13-19 11:12 AM

Sounds like you will probably finish fine, absent mishaps. But you might hate yourself. This is normal for me.

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