Road Pixie's Advice to the new Randonneur/Randonnueuse

Recently, Road Pixie went to the annual TCBC recognition dinner. Normally, I hate these things, but BigG was going along with other friends, so I thought it would be fun. The idea of riding such long miles turned out to be deemed a little off the wall even by bike club enthusiast standards. In fact, the number one exclamation used was something along the lines of "How can you sit on bike saddle for 250 miles without turning your nether regions into hamburger?" When I thought about the answer, I realized just how personal and multi-facited the answer really was.

So I thought I would post some of my more hard-fought discoveries with the caveat that all these apply to me and not necessarily anyone else. Let's face it, after about 10 hours in the saddle (or doing anything), everything is personal. So what works for me, might not work for you. That said, following posts will detail not only what I tend to do now, but how I arrived at what I do. Perhaps that may help others in starting themselves down the path of endless miles.

I've noticed that many tips and hints are organized by a general category (clothing, nutrition, bike fit, etc). That does work, but what I have found over the years is that those are categories of solutions instead of being categories of problems. One of the hardest things for me was to figure out what the problem actually was. On the surface, it seems so simple; cycling is a physical activity, so ride miles, get a better bike, get the bike fit, eat right all seem obvious. What I found was that the various solutions all have different impacts on the different problems and sometimes solutions are complementary and sometimes they contradict each other.

In order of importance, here are the problems that I have had to deal with as I went from riding a few miles to many, many miles at one time.
  • Head
  • Stomach/Metabolism
  • Legs and feet
  • Butt/Posterior
  • Upper body (that's waist up)

The following posts will detail the strategies that I used to address these problems. It was only after I really got them under control that I realized just how personal the combination of solutions was to get all of the problems balanced. Utlimately, if you want to ride 600+ miles on your bicycle in 70+ hours, you are not going to feel fabulous all the time. In fact, at some point on every ride, there will likely be a massive low in at least one of these areas. So understanding how to prioritize a fix is critical and developing your own personal ability to identify the problem and the most optimal fix at the time. Training for long distances, for me, was more about figuring out how to problem-solve than it was about getting in shape.

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