Audax DIY 1000k, 13000m climb: preparation?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
User avatar
Dean
Posts: 1031
Joined: 21 Apr 2008, 2:40pm
Location: Darlington

Re: Audax DIY 1000k, 13000m climb: preparation?

Postby Dean » 15 Mar 2018, 10:19pm

I didn't read any sarkiness in your post, TC. Possibly a little dry wit, but not aimed at the OP. Mind you, deadpan humour is everyday communication around here.

lvabd
Posts: 39
Joined: 3 Mar 2018, 4:44pm

Re: Audax DIY 1000k, 13000m climb: preparation?

Postby lvabd » 16 Mar 2018, 9:16am

thirdcrank wrote:I'm sorry if it came across that I was being sarcastic, because that was not my intention. . . ..

no problem I can be a bit sensitive myself simply because I kinda think that I committed to something beyond my capabilities, and 4 months seems to be a short time to build up. 200k is nothing, especially at 19kph. it's only a matter of being comfy on the bike, but physically, it's easier than a day gardening.
I am a total noob about sleeping in those conditions (I do fatbikepacking in the winter bivying and all that, but that's a completely different story from doing 200 miles, then 5 hrs of sleep in a ditch, start over again, for 4 days), so I am very eager to get advice (Dean gave me loads!)
Also, you may guess that I have spent a fair amount of time on forums, blogs, many of which about that specific bike ride. but a part from "ya, that's very tough, pace yourself, drink a lot", I have not seen many practical notes about sleeping, avoiding legs seizing on the 30% after several 100k, or about the actual route (again, thanks a lot Dean for the tips!).
For example, if I were to sleep in "audax hotels", what kind of gear is a good balance between comfort and weight on the bike..? bivy indeed, then... light summer sleeping bag too cold? mattress? (on fatbikepacking or loaded touring, I take pretty much half of my house on the bike, so that's really not a problem)
Better to aim at 3x1.5 hours of sleep or 5 hours straight at night? (sailors do the short-sleep pattern, seems to be doable..?)

Indeed I could figure it all by myself by trial and error, but again, 4 months is not a lot, so I am very interested in any tip/experience/advice.

thirdcrank
Posts: 30833
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Audax DIY 1000k, 13000m climb: preparation?

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Mar 2018, 11:16am

While waiting to see if anybody else has anything to say, I'd reiterate the importance of what Dean said about steep hills. On undulating roads, it's possible to think of climbing as money in the bank. You invest energy on the way up, and benefit from that investment on the descent, hopefully a nice long open road where you can freewheel for miles. Really steep hills, which also tend to be twisty in northern England and perhaps with extra problems like sheep and increasing levels of traffic, including drivers who "know" the road ahead is clear, can be as testing to descend as they are to climb, and your investment of energy is lost as heat through your brakes.

As for the amount of kit you carry, every gramme is magnified by the steepness of a climb. Not only does it have to be hauled up, but depending on how you stow it, it can affect your climbing style on steep sections.

And climbing style is something that needs attention. On a long ride, it's vital to conserve energy and anything which involves digging deep will use a disproportionate amount of energy. Your climbing needs to be smooth and as relaxed as possible, which can be a tall order if your eyeballs are resting on your cheekbones.

That inevitably introduces gearing. With the sort of climbs you are targeting, the emphasis is on low, but the whole range still needs some thought, especially the ranges of each chainring. I grew up on doubles, road triples arrived in time for ageing legs and it seems many are back to doubles, but if you don't get it right, backwards and forwards between chainrings to get it right when you are tired can be a disproportionate source of irritation.

Another thing I've had is that as you start to tire, that low gear you keep in reserve for the really steep bits suddenly becomes the natural choice up every pimple.

(I can't offer any advice on roughing it: I value a comfy bed too much.)

In brief: preparation for the climbing is probably more important than mileage and then, it's easier to lose time than to make it up. If three of you don't stick to the same breaks, it's three times easier to lose time.

User avatar
Dean
Posts: 1031
Joined: 21 Apr 2008, 2:40pm
Location: Darlington

Re: Audax DIY 1000k, 13000m climb: preparation?

Postby Dean » 16 Mar 2018, 9:31pm

..And on the note of climbing, when you do pick your route, don't edit out all of the main roads - they're in they're for a reason, which is they give you fast miles. It can be very time-dependent, but on days 2 and 3 of the event, the evening rides were fairly quick main road bashes (A7/A6 and A170/A684 respectively). You really need that opportunity to get the miles under your wheels. The start of day 2 took in every major pass between every river going east from the Pennines to the North Sea, all the way from Wensleydale to the North Tyne, and you can't do that all day. Big main roads in the evening, early morning and night can be fabulous. If the route was 1000 km of gnarly lanes, hardly anyone would finish.

On sleeping - I'm surprised you'd choose to bivvy. Obviously you know what you're doing, but with the additional weight, the faff of finding a decent spot, and the comparatively poor sleep, you'd probably be better off booking hotels, especially with three of you to spread the cost. It depends on where you plan to sleep, but there are fairly cycle-friendly hotels around the A1 corridor, at Catterick and Scotch Corner etc.

Or you could pitch tents at a central location and leave them there - I pitched my tent at the Askrigg campsite (bloody good job, as the official hall was stuffed to the gills) and had three good nights' sleep. Plus you can leave snacks, spare clothes etc in the tent.