Long distance - how old is too old?

Discussion in 'Time Trial, Long Distance and Endurance' started by r04DiE, 20 Mar 2017.

  1. r04DiE

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    Hello long distance-ers,

    The older I get (I'm not that old), the more I want to do something long distance. I don't think I've (edit: I'll) ever had (edit: have) what it takes to do something like the TCR, but I have been thinking of something a little shorter, maybe the Calais - Brindisi.

    I'm 47, I do about 200km a week by commuting 3 days. Is this all a pipe dream? You can be honest.

    I realise that I'll have to put some kind of proper training plan in place and I'm fine with that.

    Looking forward to hearing your views :smile:
    Last edited: 29 Aug 2017
  2. PMarkey

    PMarkey Über Member

    I rode the Wild Atlantic Way 2100 Audax last year at 56 (only managed 1996km of it mind) and I'm planning on riding the Emerald Isle 3000 next year if it gets of the ground and I will be 58 so I can see no problems for you at 47 ^_^ Have a look at Audax UK for hints and tips and maybe consider a few Audax rides building up to the longer rides as preparation for the big ride ?

    classic33, r04DiE and cubey like this.
  3. Ajax Bay

    Ajax Bay Veteran

    East Devon
    If you're doing 6 x 33km ride weekly, you can go and do a 100km audax straight away, and probably a steady 200km. Lots of opportunities wherever you live - see @PMarkey AudaxUK link. On the basis of that experience, then see what might be next. I think planning and doing an end-to-end (either LEJOG or JOGLE) is plenty long and you can make it as hard or easy as you like. Some maniacs I rode with on the Brevet Cymru 400 were planning a 5 day trip (gang of four). Ten days is probably more sensible: start at 9am and finish in good time. Allow yourself 1500+km and plan a civilised (ie off trunk roads and minimal English A roads) route. And do it solo or with an accomplice or two of similar standard/philosophy. An end-to-end is also very easy to present to others, including those whose acquiescence will make 'permissions' forthcoming (YMMV), and if you have a favourite charity, then you have the option (or not) to raise some money for it.
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  4. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    I rode Calais-Brindisi in 98 (which would have made me—counts on fingers—45). In fact I was the first to ride the new, extended route. Later that year Simon, the organiser, along with two well-known cyclists, both in their 60s, also rode it.

    At 200k per day min it's quite doable, but you would be wise to get some solid miles in the saddle beforehand.
    PMarkey and r04DiE like this.
  5. I know people well into their 60's who do the Audax thing. If anything, they find it easier to do, simply because they don't have to fit any training / the events around family commitments / a job. As long as you train for endurance mileage, and learn how to pace yourself, and fuel yourself, and ( importantly) recover properly, there's no reason to fret about age, unless you're advised not to by a qualified medical practitioner.
    r04DiE, Donger and raleighnut like this.
  6. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Atop a Ti
    There are people on this forum that are in their 70's who do 200k's and more on a regular basis, at a good speed too.
    Myself and my regular riding buddies are all in our 50's or getting close to that. We all regularly do long distance rides of over 100 miles most weekends, and for some of us, that's on top of a weekly cycle commute.
    At 47 years old you have plenty of mileage in your legs. You just have to build up to it.
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2017
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  7. OP

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    Hello Paul and thank you for that, its really encouraging. I'll definitely check out the Audax UK site and I will certainly need to do some big rides in preparation. The longest ride I've ever done is 170 odd km, though that was through the night which made it all the more exhausting straight on top of a week's work. I think I could do a 200, so long as I paced myself correctly - I have trouble doing that!

    More good news from you, @Ajax Bay, and it is much appreciated. Yes, I can do 100km easily, I did about 135 yesterday as a matter of fact, covering it in about five an a half hours. I like your idea of LEJOG / JOGLE, but what I'd really like ultimately is to do something like the Calais-Brindisi, just to see the geography and to get me out of my comfort zone, what with language barriers and being alone, unsupported and fending for myself. That sais, I'd consider doing it with a partner, if I could find one whos pace I could match. I feel like I need a challenge, I really want to go on a proper adventure. Maybe I'll do the LEJOG / JOGLE first. Also, I do have a charity that I could do it for, so that would be good.

    Thank you, Ian, that's excellent news and congrats to you. The idea of people doing it in their 60s is great - I love it :smile:

    So now a couple of questions for all of you. As I mentioned before, I have trouble pacing myself (I always end up pushing myself) and I'd be really interested in what sorts of speeds are maintained. I supose that I'd need to get used to really gearing things down and just tapping the miles out with minimal effort. Also, mountains. I have never climbed a mountain on a bike (well, only virtually once) and where I live is pretty flat. How do I work out what sort of gearing I need, for instance? How do I train for mountains?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions but thank you so far for your help and insights!
  8. OP

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    Thanks, Ian, that's really encouraging :smile:
    ianrauk likes this.
  9. OP

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    Thanks, I'll be taking your advice, I need to learn how to ride long distances and how to pace / fuel myself, and also to recover! I'm in good health generally so I've got that going for me. I like a drink but I packed the fags in three years ago, so that's all good.
  10. From my personal perspective, I find that a heart rate monitor, and / or Power meters, are quite useful. If you can beg borrow or otherwise acquire a power meter set up, that's a good start. Determine your Functional Threshold Power ( FTP ), then look at any one of the available 'power zone / heart rate' charts, available easily on the web. Aim to train in 'zone 2' based on your personal FTP and circumstances. If you use some sort of tracking app, you will see from the recordings, the sort of pace / speeds you need to be aiming at, in order to maintain 'zone 2', which is where I would personally be aiming my efforts, for the majority of a 200+Km ride. Make sure any training rides include a bit of 'terrain', not just distance, as I find hills can really put a fly in the proverbial ointment, as far as judging my feeding / fuelling/ timing / pace are concerned. FTP can ( and should ) get higher, as you get more into condition, for distances, and your fitness levels / muscle endurance/ stamina improve. So don't forget to recheck your FTP every now and again.
    r04DiE likes this.
  11. OP

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    OK, thank you and that's interesting - I have my own HRM and a smart trainer that can estimate power. I did my FTP recently and its a little lower than I'd hoped for, but its a start. Do you think that I could do my training rides on the turbo or in real life? I have Trainer Road at the moment and I'm pretty sure that I could devise a suitable training plan on there. First I will finish the training that I've started but I'll defo move onto the training that you have suggested, so thanks for that :smile:
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2017
  12. Welsh wheels

    Welsh wheels Lycra king

    South Wales
    I think you'd be fine if you prepared for it. Some of the best cyclists I know, who are far better than me, are in their fifties.
    classic33 and r04DiE like this.
  13. Age, I don't think is an issue. From my personal perspective (older than you) distance riding is essentially easy. You just have to be prepared to be able to tolerate mild discomfort and weariness and some pain for longish periods, and then do the same for a bit longer, then do it again. That's mainly a mental exercise.

    Of course, if you want to do that at more than a snail's pace then you might have to possess some innate talent and/or do some training. Neither of those is my department.
    classic33, raleighnut and r04DiE like this.
  14. Personally speaking, I wouldn't rely too heavily on the Turbo, for training purposes, it's fine to use it for supplimentary training, but the majority of the training would be best done on actual roads. There's an effect called 'tissue jiggle' which isn't as much of an issue on shorter rides, but can be much more of a problem on distance rides, it's hard to replicate that on a turbo, and conditioning out the tissue jiggle, by riding on real roads, can be beneficial, more regarding recovery, than the actual ride. There are numerous other subtleties of road training as well, that you can't easily replicate on a turbo, that add up to bigger effects, the longer the ride becomes (unplanned / unforeseen variable wind / weather conditions/ variability of surfaces / unplanned stop starts / unplanned hill starts ) to name but a few.
    r04DiE likes this.
  15. OP

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    Ha! So I see why you're the Kilometre nibbler now ;) OK, I agree with you and that's sort of what I was expecting to hear.
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