is it possible?

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
plodderpaul
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is it possible?

Postby plodderpaul » 10 Aug 2014, 6:29pm

hi all, i've just been volunteered by my brother in law to do a lejog next year around april or may, so i am now in need of some imfo from some proper cyclist's, 1st thing is im 51 year's old/young and weighing in at just over 21stone, next thing is i've probly cycled around 40/50 mile's in the last year or so, i have use of a 29r mountainbike with no rear suspension, so, as for my age will i have time or be able to get fit enough? if i put some road tyre's on would that be ok? also just to make it that bit harder they are aiming to complete it in 9 day's, i really would like to give it a go but would i be better trying to talk my way out of it, thank's for any advice

thirdcrank
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Re: is it possible?

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Aug 2014, 7:44pm

You've nothing to lose and a lot to gain by making the effort to get sufficiently fit in time. You'll get all sorts of advice but the basic thing you have to do is get the miles in. Get used to treating a bike as your normal means of transport and only make an exception when cycling really is out of the question. You need to get to a situation where sitting on a bike all day and pedalling - come rain or shine - seems natural and even enjoyable. It's also important from a psychological POV that by the date fixed for the ride you are not frightened of the idea of riding 100+ miles in a day - and every day for a few days.

Everybody getting on well together is an important feature of a successful group ride of any length. Try to do some riding with the others who are doing it. It will show them that you are serious and you will get a good idea of how you feel riding with them.

That amount of riding will also soon give you the experience to know what sort of bike suits you and whether you want or need to shell out for something different. I'd advise against doing it the other way round.

When the big day draws near, you should then be in a good position to know whether you can do it and, just as important, whether you want to do it. Be honest with yourself about how often you find excuses not to ride your bike and try to translate that to starting off every morning on a lejog.

I'd say you still have a reasonable amount of time to train for this, so long as you start immediately and stick to it. IMO, the most important thing is your own motivation and only you can measure that.

Good luck with this and enjoy your riding.

Ben@Forest
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Re: is it possible?

Postby Ben@Forest » 11 Aug 2014, 4:02pm

I'm not sure from your post whether you've ridden 40/50 miles or are riding 40/50 mile trips. If it's the latter you've got no issues other than gradually stepping it up. If it's the former you must get training as soon as possible, especially if 21 stone is not your ideal weight. If it is not your ideal weight then approach your training regime sensibly.

thirdcrank
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Re: is it possible?

Postby thirdcrank » 11 Aug 2014, 6:38pm

Since this thread seems to be slow in getting up steam, I'll add this to what I've said. The group with which you have been "volunteered" should be a better source of advice than anything from an internet forum. Your bro-in-law presumably knows you, even if the others don't. eg is the invitation serious or just a bit of a cruel wind-up that you have misunderstood? If it's the former, they must believe you are up to it. If it's the latter, you'll have to decide whether you want to try to show them up by succeeding.

I think it's also worth taking the opportunity to assess the group. A good group - and by this I really mean one sharing a common purpose and style of riding - can transform distance riding, both by practical things like sharing riding at the front and the less tangible raising of morale. OTOH, a poor group - with various agendas and levels of fitness etc - can be purgatory. Time is wasted through individuals wanting to make unplanned stops and the bickering can soon spread. If this is a group of reasonably experienced riders who want you along, take that as a compliment and an encouragement to get going with getting the miles in. If it's a disparate group of time wasters, you might be better off avoiding them, even if you achieve super-fitness. Nine days is a long time to be cycling with a group of people you don't click with 100%.

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ferrit worrier
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Re: is it possible?

Postby ferrit worrier » 11 Aug 2014, 6:49pm

I'll just chuck my two penneth in, Agree with TC and Ben. Don't worry about age, I was 58 when I did my first LEJoG I'm 63 now and going for my third :D so worry not. start getting the miles in and build up to the 100, don't try and do it all at once, instinct will let you know when you can push yourself further. go out and enjoy the training. then when you get on the ride it'll be second nature and you'll enjoy it.

the very best of luck and let us know how you get on.

Malc
Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.

Furkuk
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Re: is it possible?

Postby Furkuk » 11 Aug 2014, 7:44pm

I take it you've only done 40 to 50 miles in a year? If that's correct then you need to do some serious training to be ready for lejog. To do it in 9 days you're looking at 100 miles a day. It is possible so get out on the bike now

Bicycler
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Re: is it possible?

Postby Bicycler » 11 Aug 2014, 8:17pm

I'll agree with what the others have said. It is possible but will require dedication. I was 19 stone when I started cycling properly and it was hard and very discouraging. The good thing is that you can see huge improvements in the space of a few weeks as you have a double effect of getting fitter and losing weight and this is very encouraging. If you persevere for a few weeks you do start to see the rewards.

I don't think you have to give your brother in law a firm commitment just yet. It is still some way off. There is time for you to go out and get riding regularly and just see how you go. I would agree that it is good to have a goal in mind but be careful not to overstretch yourself.

As for your bike, it will be fine for now (as long as it is roadworthy). Road tyres will help quite a bit as will making sure they are pumped up properly. Does your Suspension fork have a lock-out facility to disable the suspension when on road? This can make road cycling with a mountain bike a fair bit easier. For the actual ride you could use your mountain bike or you could use a hybrid or touring bike more suited to long road rides, particularly if you foresee yourself doing more road cycling than off road cycling in the future. The bike is a secondary consideration though really (shhh... don't tell anyone I said that...). As I said when you first get started gaining fitness and losing weight your performance gain dwarves any that will be gained from a lighter bike, so there's no need to get a new bike right away.

Good luck

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Spinners
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Re: is it possible?

Postby Spinners » 11 Aug 2014, 9:00pm

For sure, nine days is quite a tough LEJOG make no mistake. It's how long mine took although I didn't start until mid-afternoon on Day One due to travelling down and like to call it 8.5 days :wink: .

Of the three elements (age, bike and fitness) I'm least worried about your age but more worried about your fitness and your bike.

You need to commit to it asap to give yourself time to be ready. Once you commit, I think you'll motivate yourself when you see the immediate results of the your mileage increasing and your waistline decreasing (this assumes you'll be looking after yourself in terms of diet) although the winter months might hamper your progress. Take it slowly at first, build up the mileage and start to condition yourself for long hours in the saddle. This conditioning of your body is as important as your cardiovascular fitness.

As for your bike... I seriously think you should get something else. Yes, some folk do it on a BMX or a Raleigh Grifter but it's the wrong bike for the task. By all means, start getting the miles in on your current bike but look to get something with 700c wheels - perhaps something from the For Sale section here. I have my own views on frame material but that's not important, what is important is that it fits you.

I really hope you do it. It will make a fantastic read!
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plodderpaul
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Re: is it possible?

Postby plodderpaul » 11 Aug 2014, 9:47pm

hi all, thank's for the advice, the reason i got volunteered is that my brother inlaw has alway's wanted to do it but my sister would'nt let him do it if i did'nt go to keep a eye on him lol, at the moment there is just the 3 of us, brother inlaw who is a bit of a fitness freak who pushes himself hard, the other lad is a serving marine who also pushes himself hard, then there is me who upto press has'nt pushed himself hard, after reading these forums i think it will be me pushing them to attempt it now, ive took my bike in for a bit of a service and a look over just to make sure it is ok, some new road type tyres to put on at the weekend then i will be making some sort of programme to get stuck into, nice and steady along our local cycle route at first to get some sort of a system going, where ive only ridden 40/50 miles in the last year or so i hope to be doing 40/50 mile rides by the end of september, is that possible? should i then know if i can do it on the bike i have now, so many questions to be asked, motivation could be a problem for when winter turns up but hopefully if im loosing some lard and building some miles up by then it wont be too much of a problem, we will be using bnb's as well but not sure about a route yet, man in bike shop said to be carefull as this long distance bike riding can get addictive, thanks again for your help

AaronR
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Re: is it possible?

Postby AaronR » 11 Aug 2014, 11:04pm

Everything is possible.

Bike can be a final consideration for the trip itself, but get out now on whatever you've got and start putting in some miles.. ride to work? do the weekly shopping by bike? go to the pub by bike? there is no substitute more miles pedalled

At 21st there is a fair chance (unless you are 9ft tall) that you are not in the best of shape, so build up pace and mileage at a rate you are comfortable with - 10mph on an unloaded bike is really slow and easily achievable, 15mph will get the pulse going and for a 9 day LeJog you will need to be need to be doing that for about 8 hours a day, possibly carrying a load on the bike too (unless you have a support vehicle)

If you are looking at April/May you have some time to prepare, my advice would be to start early and make fitness a primary concern over bike choice

Bicycler
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Re: is it possible?

Postby Bicycler » 11 Aug 2014, 11:26pm

Spinners raises a good point about travelling time. Obviously this depends on where you live but this might take up two days which need to be factored in so that would strain your 9 days if you were planning on a week off work and two weekends. In truth I think that it would be a more enjoyable trip all round if you did it in a little longer, say 11 days. That would make them 80 mile days rather than 100 mile days, which is quite a big difference if you could talk your companions into it. It's always the last few miles which drag. I think I'd want to enjoy my time away as well as the challenge it represented. I'd certainly want to have enough time and energy for a few pints and a few laughs in the evening. I guess you can work out these details later.

Spinners suggests a bike with 700c tyres, you have one! To clarify 700c and 29er are different ways of describing the same diameter of wheel, though the latter term tends to be used for wider mountain bike tyres. I agree with Aaron that it's best not to get too hung up about bikes just yet.

I also agree with his point about taking it slowly. People can do themselves harm by pushing themselves too far too quickly. Remember to set aside rest days and some easier rides alongside the hard ones. It's not about making each ride longer than the last. If you find yourself feeling exhausted a lot when you shouldn't you need to ease back a little. You have a good amount of time to prepare so there's no need to rush. I'll also reiterate what I said before about how hard it can be getting started. You do need to persevere with it for a while before it feels easier. Don't even worry about distance for a couple of weeks, get used to getting out there riding on a regular basis, building time for riding into your routine, spending time in the saddle and pedalling. Once you are comfortably into a routine of regular cycling, you can start consciously upping the distances.

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Spinners
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Re: is it possible?

Postby Spinners » 12 Aug 2014, 7:21am

A new bike would make a cracking Christmas present to yourself! And the retailers are normally dropping the prices on last years stock.
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honesty
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Re: is it possible?

Postby honesty » 12 Aug 2014, 9:16am

Good news, you have lots of time. Bad news, you need to start training, and you need to start training sensibly and with your goal in mind. Its no use hitting the gym and going heavy on weights, you need to get time on the bike. Start small and ramp up. Set yourself a mileage goal each week, and increase it by an amount for the next week. For example, start now at 10 miles in the first week, add 3 miles a week, you will end up doing around 130 miles in the weeks leading up to your lejog. You can adjust up or down based on how you perceive it going. Its amazing how much benefit just switching your regular journeys to cycling can bring. have you thought about commuting by bike if its possible?

Before everyone starts on the bike advice, a small question. Are you going to be carrying your own luggage?

thirdcrank
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Re: is it possible?

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Aug 2014, 10:09am

Ultimately, your physical fitness is up to you but as I'm always saying, you have to be happy with sitting on a bike all day and pedalling, and on a ride like this day after day, for no other reason than "because it's there."

As this seems to be something of a scratch group, I'd recommend as much preparatory riding together over longish distances as possible and also some frank discussion about the way things are done.

eg There seems to have been a decision to do this in nine days (possibly for compelling reasons like holiday commitments) and then work back from there. I'll suggest that if there's a fixed timetable, some of the planning has to be done in the light of what's realistic for the individuals riding as a group. Time really is of the essence here. You need to be confident of what I'd call your cruising speed. By this I mean the speed at which you can comfortably ride for hours on end. This varies according to terrain and wind direction, but it's an important bit of self-knowledge. A cohesive group will have a higher cruising speed than an individual - this is one of the bases of most competitive cycling. That's all lost if somebody rides at a different speed to the others, either always racing ahead and waiting, or tailing off the back and needing the others to wait. The potential for discord over a few days is huge. Remember that it's much easier to lose time than to make it up by riding faster: any prolonged period of riding above the comfortable cruising speed will have to be paid for later in terms of fatigue etc., while the regained time will only be marginal. This is the difference between "cruising speed" which measures what's feasible and a true "average" which measures what must be done to achieve the goal ie distance/time. Some non-riding time is inevitable, but when time is tight, it has to be planned and followed as closely as possible. In round figures, this is likely to be 9days x 100 miles. To make the sums easy for me 10mph would mean 10 hours riding time - already quite a long day. The non-riding time then has to be added. This is where unplanned group riding can really mess it up. A five minute beak in each hour adds almost 10% to the day's time. If everybody expects to call their own time outs, a group of three might easily lose 15 minutes in every hour. Add late starts while somebody faffs about getting ready, elevenses, lunch breaks and afternoon tea and there aren't enough hours in the day. There are other things which will become obvious with experience eg a tendency to start the day riding too fast and to suffer later. This can be a particular problem with an inexperienced group if somebody doesn't urge caution.

I'm not suggesting that every ride has to be planned with military precision, especially if time isn't too much of an issue and the riders are used to riding with each other, but it's something that needs to be considered here. Sorting it out between LE and JOG will be too late.

drossall
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Re: is it possible?

Postby drossall » 12 Aug 2014, 11:07am

You're likely to find out about whether the bike is suitable as you prepare, so think first about building up the mileage, and use the bike you have for now (just don't change bikes with a week to go - you need to be accustomed to the bike).

The thing I would add is not to focus on the target of 100 miles or whatever. I'd argue that miles get easier. You'll probably need to do more to get to riding 30 miles a day from (effectively) zero, than from there to 100 miles a day, which you do by just adding ten miles at a time.

The other thing is that getting back on and riding a distance day in, day out is different from doing it once. Don't just build up distance, therefore, but also plan to get in some times when you ride on several successive days.

You do have plenty of time, but who knows what winter will bring, so use the rest of this summer to make a good start. You can to some extent use indoor trainers in winter, but there's no substitute for experience of riding on the road.