Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
aide555
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Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby aide555 » 6 Nov 2009, 12:36pm

Hi all,
I’m planning my very first distance ride next June and I’ve set my heart on Berwick to Derby on NCR68 (staying at B&B’s). As it’s my first tour I’m a little concerned how fit I need to be. I want to do the complete route in seven days (50 miles per day). I’m 38 I have done a few 40 mile days (none back to back) and felt fine the day after my only concern is I’ll feel like death after seven days. By the way I’m riding a year old Dawes Galaxy (I adore that bike!!). So please if you have any general “training” advice or if you’ve done the route and have a comment/advice about it please let me know. Thanks in advance

vorsprung
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby vorsprung » 6 Nov 2009, 2:27pm

If you can already ride 40 miles a day then a tour with 50 miles a day is no problem
Before June try and do some 60 or 70 mile rides. Maybe enter a local 100km audax ( see http://www.audax.uk.net/cal/index.htm )
You might find it easier to average 60 miles a day and have a rest day

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby Barrenfluffit » 6 Nov 2009, 2:36pm

People normally carry more weight when they go touring and that impacts the effort required. The key element is recovery time; how long does it take for your body to feel normal again. If you can ride the equivalent distance+load three days per week without it aching in the morning then your probably quite capable. Other suggestions; build in a rest day midweek, look at bail options on the route if it is too much.

Many people seem to tolerate discomfort for less training time!

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 6 Nov 2009, 3:04pm

None of the Pennine Cycleway is too hard. Buxton-Colne is probably the most strenuous bit. Once you're past there you'll be ok except if the wind is against you in the northern sections (past Kendal) - if that turns out to be the case I'd be tempted to get the train from Kendal to Berwick and go the other way back, B&B bookings permitting!

I did it in seven days and I'm not especially fit. What 40-mile rides have you done?
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mellamopaul
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby mellamopaul » 6 Nov 2009, 4:40pm

Hey, me too. I'm thinking of doing that road next Summer as a warm-up for some ultra-long rides the year after. I'm planning on camping and covering the whole distance in a week and I'm 46. The first couple of days might be tough but I find that it gets easier after that. Might see you on the road maybe. PS: I've heard that it's slightly easier doing the route south to north because of prevailing winds but I can't believe it makes a huge difference.
Paul

Edvardus
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby Edvardus » 6 Nov 2009, 4:51pm

I think you'll be fine. I usually find that unless you're competing against a constant strong headwind or doing a lot of climbing, it doesn't take much to keep up a decent days mileage. I think it's important to warm-up properly, which you can do en route by adopting a more leisurely pace at first. Then, if you're not too bothered about sight-seeing, you can keep up a comfortable rythm all day with fewer stops along the way. I did Sunderland to Aberdeen in 7.5 days in June and I'm 65. My first days cycling was about 67 miles which was pretty easy-going (as you'll find out between Berwick and the Tyne) and prior to that I'd had a long absence from the saddle. I was also using my "lead-sled" of a hybrid instead of my Super Galaxy, with full camping gear as well. I seem to recall the great Eddie Mercx saying that the best training for cycling was "cycling, cycling and cycling" and from my own experience, that's not far short of the mark. So getting in some regular runs before the "main event" would be a good idea. It's not just the cardio-vascular thing either; you need to ensure that your knee joints, hand position and bum are all comfortable. You may well be a basically fit person, but factor-in any one of those three areas and if it isn't just right it can completely spoil a trip. Your regular runs should allow you to discover if anything needs to be corrected. When you've got it all right, you'll experience that utter joy as you head off, confident in the knowledge that NO WAY will you "feel like death" after seven days. Enjoy!
Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count. - Albert Einstein

boink
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby boink » 6 Nov 2009, 7:59pm

Yes. You'll be absolutely fine. Just make sure you eat and drink regularly. A nice big bowl of porridge an hour before take off makes a BIG
difference, and Mick F's recommended kellogs neutrigrains (blueberry) are great for snacking en route to proper pit/cake/tea stops.

thirdcrank
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Nov 2009, 8:17pm

In addition to the sound advice above, I'd just say don't worry. The best way to avoid worrying is to be confident that it's within your capabilities. I've personally no doubt you can do it but you are lacking that bit of confidence. Between now and then, make sure you get some slightly longer rides in, building up to something like 10 miles above whatever you expect your daily mileage to be. I've said again and again on here so much of this can be in your own head. When you are actually riding, if you begin to have doubts your legs will start sending "Are we there yet?" messages to your brain. If you know from experience that 50, 60. 70 miles or whatever is within your capabilities, you will be able to relax and enjoy the ride.

PH
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby PH » 6 Nov 2009, 8:51pm

I did a Derby to Berwick ride based on this route in March, over 5 days. I drastically underestimated it, I've done a few of the Sustrans route and an E2E and a fair bit of other touring and still found this tough. Ok the time of year and the sleet and hail for the first two days didn't help, even so I wouldn't call it an easy ride. There's plenty I'd choose before this as a first tour, the Coast and Castles looks good, The Lon Las Cymru is a great ride with a few challanges still easier than the PCW.
If your heart is set on it I'm sure you'll do it, I just think you'd find it more enjoyable with a couple of easier tours first.
A few photo's from my trip;
http://www.derbyctc.org.uk/pictures/PCW/

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 6 Nov 2009, 11:34pm

Interesting. For me the Pennine Cycleway wasn't any tougher than Lon Las Cymru - if anything LLC was tougher. For want of a better metric, I had to get off and push on one hill on LLC, none on the Pennine Cycleway.

But what I would say is that they are the two best cycle holidays I've ever had!
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rapidfire72
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby rapidfire72 » 7 Nov 2009, 12:51am

I've done part of the Pennine Cycleway from Settle to Berwick and found the only rough part was Wark Forest, super ride. I'm doing it again, next year in June. But i'm going to do it from Derby to Haltwistle, then to Newcastle upon Tyne along the Hadrian's Cycleway and then do the Coast and Castle's with the Dunbar Loop to finish in Berwick.

If you are b & being it, I don't think you will find it hard. I can recommend at least 21 gears or lower. I'm camping all the way, so I have 27 gears and nice cross tyres for the moderate off-road stuff.

vernon
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby vernon » 7 Nov 2009, 4:09am

rapidfire72 wrote:I've done part of the Pennine Cycleway from Settle to Berwick and found the only rough part was Wark Forest, super ride. I'm doing it again, next year in June. But i'm going to do it from Derby to Haltwistle, then to Newcastle upon Tyne along the Hadrian's Cycleway and then do the Coast and Castle's with the Dunbar Loop to finish in Berwick.

If you are b & being it, I don't think you will find it hard. I can recommend at least 21 gears or lower. I'm camping all the way, so I have 27 gears and nice cross tyres for the moderate off-road stuff.


It's not so much the gears but the gearing that makes the difference i.e. what is the lowest gear, in inches. For what it's worth I used to use a 17" bottom gear on my Dawes Galaxy i.e. a 22 tooth Granny ring and a 34 tooth largest sprocket on the rear cassette. Now that I'm less porky i.e. 22 stones I get by with a bottom gear of 24" i.e. more teeth on the granny ring and a few fewer teeth on the cassettes largest ring.

Less portly riders will have even higher bottom gears.

As for making the Pennine Cycle Route a first tour, I'd get one or two weekend tours in first to get accustomed to the rituals of touring. I have no doubt that the original poster can complete the ride but the enjoyment will be enhanced if it is started with the confidence that it can be finished without any stresses linked to doubts about fitness or ability.

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DaveP
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby DaveP » 7 Nov 2009, 6:59am

I'd go with that last comment
I find that generally tired muscles will loosen up fairly quickly. What doesnt improve the next day is a sore backside, and I'm thinking of bruising rather than blisters!
If you're fine with 40 miles then your bike is probably reasonably comfy and you wont notice another 10 - 50 miles is a fairly relaxed daily total - I daresay you'll be stopping for lunches, photos etc! And why not? But to make sure, try to fit in one or two back to back rides, with luggage. You could stuff panniers with anything handy just to get used to the effect of some weight, or you could pack what you think you might take with you.If you adopt the latter course I bet you will have less on the day :lol:
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...

PW
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby PW » 7 Nov 2009, 6:41pm

If you ride around 100 miles per week, commuting etc, you'll be fine. Start at a low mileage and build it up slightly every couple of days, that way you won't hit the wall 20 miles from an intended overnight stop. Eat and drink little and often, and keep a Soreen Malt loaf in the barbag.
I'm an overweight 50something and rode John O'Groats to Chesterfield down the west coast and the Pennines last summer. 50 miles to start, building to 75, no bother. The last day I had a rush of blood to the head and did 115m in one pull, that was a mistake, it took 3 days to recover, so build the miles slowly.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

aide555
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Re: Am I fit enough for Berwick to Derby?

Postby aide555 » 9 Nov 2009, 9:04am

Many thanks for all your kind replies and advice, I think you’ve set my mind at rest! I will get a few back to back rides in before hand. I just hope that I can keep my level of fitness up over winter. There was a small layer of ice on my handlebars by the time I got to work this morning. BRRRR!! :shock: