2012 Pittsburgh-Area Ultracycling and Rando Events

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reddan
Keymaster
#

So, for those interested in such things, here’s a basic breakdown of what’s going on when in 2012.

(More-or-less current calendar. Note that other ultra events from the surrounding area are also listed there.)

Mar:

31st (Sat): Pgh-Randos Spring 200K, Shaler.

Apr:

21st (Sat): Pgh-Randos Spring 300K, Neville Island

27th (Fri): Crush the Commonwealth, Philly

28th (Sat): Pgh-Randos 100K Populaire (tentative…may be rescheduled due to CtC)

May:

5th (Sat): Calvin’s Challenge, Springfield OH

12th (Sat): Pgh-Randos Spring 400K, Pittsburgh-Erie-Pittsburgh, Cranberry

12th (Sat): TOSRV

26th (Sat): Pgh-Randos Spring 600K, Cranberry

Jun:

9th (Sat): MS 150 Escape, Zelienople

16th (Sat): Pgh-Randos AMCUP 200K (Allegheny Mts Cruel and Unusual Punishment), Ohiopyle

Jul:

14th (Sat): Pgh-Randos There… 200K, TBD

15th (Sun): Pgh-Randos …And Back Again 200K, TBD

Aug:

3rd (Friday): Pgh-Randos 1000K, Neville Island.

The 1000K is my baby this year. Starting and ending in Neville Island, it’ll head overland to Somerset, then pick up Bike Route S as far as Bedford before heading north to an overnight controle in Lamar (near State College).From there, north through Pine Creek Gorge to Wellsboro, then west along Bike Route Y to Coudersport, followed by a jaunt through New York State to the shore of Lake Erie and an overnight in Erie proper. The last day follows much of our well-loved 200K route south from Erie through Meadville and Ellwood City, before returning to Neville Island via Monaca and Rt 51.

It’s a formal RUSA brevet, so will require participants to either complete a full 200/300/400/600K series in advance, or to obtain permission from the RBA (Jim Logan). So, if you’re interested in the 1000K, plan ahead for appropriate brevets, or contact Jim to see what else can be arranged.


steevo
Participant
#

that 1000k looks like a great tour


reddan
Keymaster
#

that 1000k looks like a great tour

Once I get the route finalized, I’ll post the map and cue.


erok
Keymaster
#

Dan, let me know if you want some more eyes on this stuff. we can make a write up happen for the blog as well.


Nick D
Participant
#

I’ve actually been training to CtC this year, so maybe it won’t kick my butt again.

I’m going to tell myself I’ll d that 200k in March, but I know I won’t.


benstiglitz
Participant
#

This looks like so much fun but I feel like I have no idea how to get into it. Also, third child on the way, won’t have time to figure out how to figure it out.


benstiglitz
Participant
#

I’m not complaining, just…something something wistful something.


stefb
Participant
#

Nick, I am aiming to do CtC


Kayla
Participant
#

Stef, you’re crazy. In a good way.


Nick D
Participant
#

Stef, that is awesome!

Kyle has been training for tri’s, so I’m probably going to get dropped by him. We can be riding buddies!


boostuv
Participant
#

Yup, Im gonna give it a shot with Nick. Shooting for what, sub 36hours?


eMcK
Participant
#

stefb
Participant
#

How exactly do you train for CtC or the 1000k rides? Other than just ride your bike a lot beforehand?


reddan
Keymaster
#

How exactly do you train for CtC or the 1000k rides? Other than just ride your bike a lot beforehand?

Depends. If you want to be serious/competitive about it, you start looking at structured training, maybe get a consult or an ongoing training package with a real coach. Scary phrases like “interval training”, “power meter”, and “lactate threshold” become part of your vocabulary.

That said, I find that a less-than-rigorous program of daily commuting, riding fast once or twice a week, and one long ride per weekend (e.g. 100Km/65 miles or thereabouts) is all the physical training one really needs to complete ultras comfortably.

Honestly, more important factors are tweaking your bike fit, your wardrobe, and your on-bike hydration/nutrition strategies. Turning the pedals over is pretty easy, all things considered.

For something like the 1000K, you’ve had to ride a full brevet series (200, 300, 400, and 600) or equivalent in advance. That means you’ve already had to sort out the stuff like dealing with fatigue, pacing yourself, getting back on the bike on day 2 after a few hours sleep, etc. Once you’ve learned those lessons, doing a 1000 or 1200 or more is just a matter of “keep on doing what you’re doing.”


stefb
Participant
#

I think hydration and nutrition are the biggest things for me to work on. I have been fitted well at the upmc south side facility on my road bike. I would probably want to go again and get the measurements transferred to my cross bike. I tried to adjust it as best I could. I don’t think I could spend the money on a coach.


John
Participant
#

Completely agree with Dan’s advice. A couple additional suggestions, if you want slightly more structure:

If you have time, incrementally ramp up weekend long rides, or do a 4 week cycle where you ramp up distance for three weeks then back off a bit for one week. A brevet series can probably fit into a plan like this.

The day after your long ride, take an easy day.

Don’t go for a ride that’s a lot longer than the longest you’ve recently done. That’s when you’re most likely to injure yourself.


Nick D
Participant
#

As a one-time (almost not) finisher of CtC, not going completely nuts was my biggest challenge. That is why I an happy that I got Kyle to ride it.

Hydration and nutrition was an issue as was fit, but hallucinating on the Schuylkill River Trail was far more of a challenge. Though the cause of that was most likely some gas station food in Lancaster mixed with fatigue.

Also, I think I only had about 200-300 miles under my belt for the whole year when I rolled up to Point State Park. I definitely recommended riding more than that leading up to it.

I also recommend riding with your bike loaded with whatever you plan on taking. I rode a few times with my handlebar bar (only bag I took), but never fully loaded. Loaded I realized it made the front end unstable enough that I couldn’t ride without my hands off the bars.


stefb
Participant
#

So I assume that a comfortable cross type bike with a rack, though weighing 33lbs unloaded, would be better than my 17lb carbon Fuji road bike?


reddan
Keymaster
#

@stef: If you’re talking CtC, keep in mind that it will include 8 miles of destroyed pavement by the turnpike tunnels (possibly in the dark…”be warned”, says Captain Pinchflat), and 90+ miles of limestone. If nothing else, I’d suggest 25 or 28s for tires.

In general, comfort(AKA ergonomically well fitted, not necessarily lounge-chair relaxation) trumps weight when it comes to completing ultra events.

If you can be comfortable AND light-weight, that’s certainly best.


stefb
Participant
#

Ok. My roadbike has 25s on them anyway I think. Sounds weird, but I think that is what I have. I am betting that if I put a lighter rack on the comfy cross bike, that would be the best thing to use.


reddan
Keymaster
#

@stef: I think you’re right…a comfy cross bike will work fine.

As Nick mentioned earlier, doing some of your longer training rides with the full set of gear you’re planning to carry on the ultra is a Good Idea.

Plus, if you find out that riding 50 or 60 miles with a bunch of extra crap really sucks, it gives you time to pare down your packing list to what you’ll really need.

For CtC, I’m a big fan of throwing money at the problem…I’d rather pay $40 for a cheap motel room somewhere than haul a tarp and bedroll. If you’re not planning on camping out, and merely need a couple of spare garments, you may not need a rear rack at all.

Depends on how minimalist you wish to go, really. (I’m trying to be better this year about carrying less Stuff I Can’t Live Without.)

Also note, for those interested in brevets, that most of them are arranged such that you don’t need to carry multiple days worth of clothing and supplies. 600Ks usually are a 400K loop back to the start, followed by a 200K loop for the next day; longer rides like 1000s and 1200s, with multiple overnights, usually offer drop bag service.


Mick
Participant
#

Training.

I’m in no sense a racer and I don’t do “ultra” ANYTHING, but the training I’ve done for trips is like what Reddan suggests.

I based my training for a DC round trip loosely on a book about marathons: “Run Less, Run faster.” (Although I do not run and I don’t go fast.)

http://www.amazon.com/Runners-World-Less-Faster-Revolutionary/dp/159486649X

This book has really helped me make effective training programs for swimming distances and doing bike trips.

They recommend 3 “key” training sessions per week: one distance, one pacing (mid distance, roughly race speed), and one sprint intervals workout.

For 26.2 mile marathons, the very longest distance they ever recommend in a 16 week training program is about 20 miles – this is in keeping with what Reddan says about 65 miles being a good distance workout, even if you are training for something longer.

I would recommend a little bit longer. But that is what I recommend, not what I get around to doing.

So for biking, to me it means this is a training week:

On Sunday, ride a lot of the day

On Tuesday, do a medium distance ride quickly.

On Thursday, find a 5-minute hill and race to the top a bunch of times. Leisurely come back down.

The distances for “a lot of the day,” “a medium ride” and “a bunch of times” vary with where I am in the program and with my fitness. I fuss about exactly how much they should be. “Tuesdays” and “Thursdays” are sometimes Wednesday and Friday. No biggie.

But the weekly format stays the same.

And it does a great job at getting my pathetically deteriorated carcass somewhat less dilapidated.

No commonwealths were crushed developing these training programs.


eMcK
Participant
#

I’m not going to recommend anything about training for stuff like this, mostly because my training outside of commuting mostly consists of mountain biking, which is really not a good way to train for anything.

I’ll second Dan’s recommendation about bike set up. It is more important that training in my opinion. If you can keep up a slow steady pace on a comfortable bike, you’ll finish. If your back/neck/hands/undercarriage/knee is in enough pain, your ride is over.

A professional bike fits should always be considered a good starting point. You and your body are the final arbiters of what works for you.

The hardest parts for me to figure out has been saddles (WTB Vigo is my go to long distance saddle) and handlebar height. My lower back always hurts on long rides, it actually hurts less with the bars lower rather than higher.

Also learn what kind of convenience store food works for you. You’ll be eating a lot of it.


Chris Mayhew
Participant
#

Mick, what are you doing on Wed and Saturday?


Nick D
Participant
#

I think a rack would only be needed if you plan on camping. I used a handlebar bag and believe I over packed a little.

I also second the cheap hotel room. I got a room for ~$34 bucks in Breezewood. It was gross, but the shower after 180 miles was worth every penny.


Mick
Participant
#

@chris M Mick, what are you doing on Wed and Saturday?

Ideally, some kind of cross-training two or three days a week. Off the bike.

I do a 2 1/4 mile swim “race” at the end of July, so if I’m prepping for a late spring bike trip, I need to get going on swimming before I do the trip.

Being undertrained for an open water swim is not the cool “type-2 fun” that being undertrained for a ride or a running event is. I update my will for open water events.

Sometimes I do a “track” work out. Walk fast to the local track. Run some, walk fast backwards, jumping jacks, squat-thrusts, standing leaps, and jump-rope.

Most often, though? I blow them off.

That is just one of the MANY reasons I am as slow as I am. ;)

When I’m slack, the fastest way for me to get in shape for one sport is to workout every OTHER day. Not sure that it’s true for biking, but measurably so for a swimming or hiking/running event.

This is clearly a YMMV thing. I’m active, but I’m not any kind of athletic contender. DFL in about half the events I’ve done.

I was shocked at how much more rapidly I buffed up swimming by STOPPING the “every-day-if-it-kills-you” thing. After doing it that way for races for decades. Might be an age thing I suppose (I’m late 50’s).

Really, REALLY cuts down on overuse problems, too. That book should be: “Run less, run without injury.” Fewer colds, less muscle soreness, life more fun.

“Run Less, Run Faster” changed my life.

Even if you personally would lose something by skipping days, I’m guessing it would surprise you how little you lose.

I believe that the idea of not overtraining (along with the generous use of anaboloic steroids) was a key piece of the famed East German athletic program. People only started believing it when those commies collected gold medals.

Overtraining is still endemic in some sports. Like the 1950’s football maxim of denying fluids to players during workouts, it’s hard to eliminate a “tougher is better” idea, no matter how misguided.

In case anyone is wondering, I have noticed this approach is consistent with my “more-lower-gears” position and my “Turducken” layered approach to cold. I believe type 2 fun rarely accomplishes much. “Pain” often is equivalent to “NO gain”

[That being said, if you want to win Crush the Commonwealth, you probably will have to do some suffering.)


boostuv
Participant
#

My cross training program goes like this:

M-Off

Tu-Long swim

W-Short Run + core strength workout

Th-Long Bike + light leg workout

F-Off

Sat-Long Run + core strength workout

Sun-Short bike + short swim


erok
Keymaster
#

Also, I think I only had about 200-300 miles under my belt for the whole year when I rolled up to Point State Park. I definitely recommended riding more than that leading up to it.

haha. how many of those miles were on the tall bike?


reddan
Keymaster
#

how many of those miles were on the tall bike?

Those count double, methinks.


eMcK
Participant
#

Training at altitude.


reddan
Keymaster
#

While we’re chatting about training:

UltraRaceNews article on training


stefb
Participant
#

Thanks, Dan. I am gonna try to get some program together. I ordered a bodymedia armband and I hope it helps me lose weight. I have endurance, but it would be most helpful for me to drop some weight.


reddan
Keymaster
#

I have endurance, but it would be most helpful for me to drop some weight.

I say that every year. And it’s still true, every year.


salty
Participant
#

I tell myself the extra pounds are helpful for training purposes.


reddan
Keymaster
#

Anti-bonk emergency calorie stores.

Inertial storage battery.

Integral thermal stabilization system.

Aerodynamic turbulence smoothing mechanism.


tomh
Participant
#

Aerodynamic turbulence smoothing mechanism….aka Aerobelly?


tomh
Participant
#

Oh, my two cents regarding training: you’d be surprised how much proper pacing, a comfy bike, and good fueling can overcome lack of fitness or training mileage. I prove this to myself every year with Reddan’s silly events. You can do this stuff on 5 or 6 hours a week of ‘training’. More than that is not really necessary….remarkably.


stefb
Participant
#

do you also ride a rolling couch (recliner on wheels), tomh? i would think that it would be a lot kinder on the nether regions for those long rides


tomh
Participant
#

Yeah, I’m guilty.

Here I am with Dan. I am the one looking scared sh_tlss and the guy smiling is, well, you know….

http://www.ultraracepics.com/Event-Galleries/Calvins-Challenge/2010-Calvins-Challenge/IMG6815/854592416_kdDwS-L-1.jpg


dmtroyer
Participant
#

jiggling fat has to be a natural momentum flywheel of some sort.

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