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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well stupidly I have agreed to ride the Cannell Plunge with some friends and aquaintances on Sept 18th.

Cannel plunge is about 30 miles of mostly downhill in the Southern Sierras, but it also includes a couple thousand feet of ascending all around 7,000 to 9,000 feet. yikes!

Unfortunately I am the zero in the equation here and I have to get ready enough to at least get through it alive between now and then.

OK let me define zero. I am 38 years old, been riding since the 80's but work and kids have cut more and more into my riding time over the last several years. About a year ago I was down to commuting to the train station on my bike to stay at least somewhat in shape but I even stopped doing that about 9 months ago. Since then I have been getting fatter and softer with each passing day.

As of last week, I already started working to get back in shape by dusting of the old bike and resuming my commute. Said commute is only about 5 miles each way. In the morning I have about 4 miles of downhill followed by about a mile of very slight uphill during which I don't even break a sweat (which works out nicely since I am heading to work). This is all road/path riding of course.

The return trip is obviously exactly the opposite with a couple of short steep sections thrown in. Honestly, I thought on my first day that I would be walking the steep sections (I felt that much like a slug!) so needless to say I was a little surprised when I made it without walking or using the granny ring. So maybe I am not completely at zero but pretty close enough.

My somewhat unscientific plan is to continue commuting 5 days a week but to gradually extend my trips home on Mon, Tue, and Wed by taking longer routes.

Does this sound about right? if so how much longer should I be making my "long" rides each week?

Should I be throwing in some weekend rides or would that be overdoing it?

any thoughts questions or criticisms welcome.

Thanks in advance to anyone who throws some input or even encouragement my way!
 

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XCdude
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Just keep it going increasing the distance, (time)

gmaki said:
Well stupidly I have agreed to ride the Cannell Plunge with some friends and aquaintances on Sept 18th.

Cannel plunge is about 30 miles of mostly downhill in the Southern Sierras, but it also includes a couple thousand feet of ascending all around 7,000 to 9,000 feet. yikes!

Unfortunately I am the zero in the equation here and I have to get ready enough to at least get through it alive between now and then.

OK let me define zero. I am 38 years old, been riding since the 80's but work and kids have cut more and more into my riding time over the last several years. About a year ago I was down to commuting to the train station on my bike to stay at least somewhat in shape but I even stopped doing that about 9 months ago. Since then I have been getting fatter and softer with each passing day.

As of last week, I already started working to get back in shape by dusting of the old bike and resuming my commute. Said commute is only about 5 miles each way. In the morning I have about 4 miles of downhill followed by about a mile of very slight uphill during which I don't even break a sweat (which works out nicely since I am heading to work). This is all road/path riding of course.

The return trip is obviously exactly the opposite with a couple of short steep sections thrown in. Honestly, I thought on my first day that I would be walking the steep sections (I felt that much like a slug!) so needless to say I was a little surprised when I made it without walking or using the granny ring. So maybe I am not completely at zero but pretty close enough.

My somewhat unscientific plan is to continue commuting 5 days a week but to gradually extend my trips home on Mon, Tue, and Wed by taking longer routes.

Does this sound about right? if so how much longer should I be making my "long" rides each week?

Should I be throwing in some weekend rides or would that be overdoing it?

any thoughts questions or criticisms welcome.

Thanks in advance to anyone who throws some input or even encouragement my way!
until you get to at least a 2hour ride once a week dont try anything to crazy since you wont have time for it. The week before the ride do a few hard efforts, three times during the week nad go for it. At least you wont die to fast. Do it because you want to, maybe next year you can be in shape to show them the real pro. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well next year I plan to be in much better shape but one of the good things that come with age is that I know better than to let me ego get involved.

I will be happy to simply make it back before sundown and in one piece.

Last year I shuttled a group up for Cannell and one of them ended up getting choppered out. She broke something (a rib I think), and couldn't continue.

There is one other guy going who is only a little bit more fit than I am (younger) but I already know I am way faster than him going downhill so I don't expect to be bringing up the rear at least.

Funny thing is I am the one who mentioned this trail to him but I strongly recommended we take a much easier one on this trip and save the tough one for later. He came back to me the next day and said he wanted to do it despite my strongly urging him against it. I am not sure he really understands what he is getting into although I keep trying to tell him.
 

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With 30 miles of offroad descending the main thing you need to work on is your fore arm and grip strength. If your hands give up you won't be able to brake or control the bike properly making a crash more likely.

Weight training is the best bet: wrist curls, wrist extensions and tricep exercises are the main ones you should be doing.

If it's very bumpy trails then neck exercises such as using a neck sling will help stop your neck getting tired too.

30 days is a bit short to get major improvements from weights but every little helps!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks and I am certain you are correct that I will experience some arm fatigue by the end of the run. However, descending is the least of my worries, not that I am a pro or anything, but I have done enough of it in my time to learn how to get down nearly anything regardless of my level of fitness. I know how (and when) to slow down by about 10% and cut out 80% of the effort. I do some motorcycle riding (dirt) as well which helps a little in that department.

Really my only concern on that front is if I wear myself out so much on the uphill that I will be so tired for the downhill that I make bad decisions. So my realisitic goal is to just try and build up enough stamina in the allotted time to be able to get past those two climbs and have some reserve left to keep me alert for the rest of the ride.

I have been doing more reading and researching in this forum and it seems what I need to do is add some long, relatively slow rides into my schedule. It also looks like I could add Saturday rides in as well as long as I am off the bike Sundays. I think I might start with a 2 hour flat street ride this saturday and gradually increase it to 4 hours the week before the ride.

Not that I am discounting the strength training for the wrists, I think I will do that too. the stronger my wrists are the faster I will be able to descend.
 

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Theres also about 2.5K of climbing between 7 and 9K ft

gmaki said:
Well stupidly I have agreed to ride the Cannell Plunge with some friends and aquaintances on Sept 18th.

Cannel plunge is about 30 miles of mostly downhill in the Southern Sierras, but it also includes a couple thousand feet of ascending all around 7,000 to 9,000 feet. yikes!

Unfortunately I am the zero in the equation here and I have to get ready enough to at least get through it alive between now and then.

OK let me define zero. I am 38 years old, been riding since the 80's but work and kids have cut more and more into my riding time over the last several years. About a year ago I was down to commuting to the train station on my bike to stay at least somewhat in shape but I even stopped doing that about 9 months ago. Since then I have been getting fatter and softer with each passing day.

As of last week, I already started working to get back in shape by dusting of the old bike and resuming my commute. Said commute is only about 5 miles each way. In the morning I have about 4 miles of downhill followed by about a mile of very slight uphill during which I don't even break a sweat (which works out nicely since I am heading to work). This is all road/path riding of course.

The return trip is obviously exactly the opposite with a couple of short steep sections thrown in. Honestly, I thought on my first day that I would be walking the steep sections (I felt that much like a slug!) so needless to say I was a little surprised when I made it without walking or using the granny ring. So maybe I am not completely at zero but pretty close enough.

My somewhat unscientific plan is to continue commuting 5 days a week but to gradually extend my trips home on Mon, Tue, and Wed by taking longer routes.

Does this sound about right? if so how much longer should I be making my "long" rides each week?

Should I be throwing in some weekend rides or would that be overdoing it?

any thoughts questions or criticisms welcome.

Thanks in advance to anyone who throws some input or even encouragement my way!
And its technical. I'd suggest doing more climbing inaddition to your repeated endurance stuff. Also, some kinda strenght conditioning would help too.
 

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Relax

The climb to Sherman Peak is optional, if you start "downhill" from the shuttle drop the net climbing is 1700' according to a GPS log (http://www.mountainbikebill.com/). The most challenging climb (of the descent) is 500' at 11%.

Anyway, GPS' logs over-estimate the climbs, inaccuracies are more likely to add to the elevation deltas.
 

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gmaki said:
Really my only concern on that front is if I wear myself out so much on the uphill that I will be so tired for the downhill that I make bad decisions. So my realisitic goal is to just try and build up enough stamina in the allotted time to be able to get past those two climbs and have some reserve left to keep me alert for the rest of the ride.
If you're doing long climbs something to remember is that your wheels can flex a lot laterally and rub on the brake blocks, especially riding out of the saddle. This can really add up over a big climb. When you see riders in the Tour De France they open the brake quick release at the start of the climb because of this.

If you've got V brakes I'd consider loosening them right off on the barrel adjuster at the start of the climb for maximum clearance from the wheels. Just don't forget to tighten them back up for the downhill.:)

Not much use with discs and not much use on technical climbs of course but it could help on any long uphill fire road sections.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd love to relax :) , however, my brother has ridden Cannel trail many times (as a guide and otherwise), he is in great shape, and he knows my abilities. He has told me the ride is pretty strenuous (and a bit much for my level of fitness) and that his calfs are usually burning by the end.

If I have to pick between someones GPS log or him, I am going with my bro'.

In any event, I'd rather overestimate the difficulty than underestimate, and if it motivates me to train a little harder and I end up being in a little better shape, it'll all be good anyway.
 

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For a quick boost to your climbing carry extra weight whilst you're building up to the event.

2 Waterbottles on the bike + a full camelbak or even a rucksack with some light weights in to build up the resistance.

When you do the ride at normal weight it'll feel much easier uphill.:)
 

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pacman said:
The climb to Sherman Peak is optional, if you start "downhill" from the shuttle drop the net climbing is 1700' according to a GPS log (http://www.mountainbikebill.com/). The most challenging climb (of the descent) is 500' at 11%.

Anyway, GPS' logs over-estimate the climbs, inaccuracies are more likely to add to the elevation deltas.
Not exactly...I just rode Cannel with my Polar monitor....For the first 16 miles you are in rolling hills above 8,000 feet with total vertical climbing of about 2,800 feet. This includes the optional 800 ft climb to Sherman Peak. At 8,000 ft, it feels as if there is one half the oxygen in the air. On top of that, the trail is VERY sandy so what appears to be a simple hill becomes a big chore. Be sure to bring a map and directions because its easy to get lost. Its not the easy downhill shuttle ride that I expected. My monitor indicates that I burned 3,372 calories over the 31.2 miles. My guess is that you will be hurting unless you put in some long weekend rides.
 

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WR304 said:
If you've got V brakes I'd consider loosening them right off on the barrel adjuster at the start of the climb for maximum clearance from the wheels. Just don't forget to tighten them back up for the downhill.:)

)
Not going to help you on Cannel, as there is no real long sustained uphill....lots of rolling hills that you need your front brake for.
 

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EJBlur said:
Not exactly...I just rode Cannel with my Polar monitor....For the first 16 miles you are in rolling hills above 8,000 feet with total vertical climbing of about 2,800 feet. This includes the optional 800 ft climb to Sherman Peak. At 8,000 ft, it feels as if there is one half the oxygen in the air. On top of that, the trail is VERY sandy so what appears to be a simple hill becomes a big chore. Be sure to bring a map and directions because its easy to get lost. Its not the easy downhill shuttle ride that I expected. My monitor indicates that I burned 3,372 calories over the 31.2 miles. My guess is that you will be hurting unless you put in some long weekend rides.
Your barimetric sensor says 2000' of non-optional climbing? Not a bad estimate. Did you get the calories burned from the Polar Power System?

I was just looking the Polar site and they say their device was designed for road bikes but mtn bikes are OK. Then they say that chain tension is constant (over bumps) UH OH, what about a FS bike?
 

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pacman said:
Your barimetric sensor says 2000' of non-optional climbing? Not a bad estimate. Did you get the calories burned from the Polar Power System?

I was just looking the Polar site and they say their device was designed for road bikes but mtn bikes are OK. Then they say that chain tension is constant (over bumps) UH OH, what about a FS bike?
I don't have the power system. The polar calculates calories burned based on heart rate, body weight, and length of exercise. Probably not exact, but may not be far off either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I completed my first week. rode 6 days, rested on Sunday (like god). Spent approximately an hour on the bike each day from Mon - Fri and 2 hours on Sat. Nice slow start. One thing I have noticed with age is that my butt is still sore even after 6 days. I can remember when it would be fine after only two days.. oh well.

This week I will start pushing it a little more on tues, thurs, and sat.

All of my riding so far has been paved, riding a heavy (35 lb) cheapo mountainbike set up for commuting. Also carrying my backpack with my dell d800 in the back which probably amounts to over 10 pounds altogether.

This week I will start adding some offroad. I had an old Dagger (Amp B3) in the garage in pieces. Didn't seem worth it to put an obsolete bike back together so I bought an Iron Horse Hollowpoint Expert (Supergo tax free sale!) yesterday for my offroad days (and for the ride itself of course). Also a new bike will be a good incentive to keep me going out and putting in the miles.
 

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XCdude
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Is not age , the sore butt will go away after about

gmaki said:
Well, I completed my first week. rode 6 days, rested on Sunday (like god). Spent approximately an hour on the bike each day from Mon - Fri and 2 hours on Sat. Nice slow start. One thing I have noticed with age is that my butt is still sore even after 6 days. I can remember when it would be fine after only two days.. oh well.

This week I will start pushing it a little more on tues, thurs, and sat.

All of my riding so far has been paved, riding a heavy (35 lb) cheapo mountainbike set up for commuting. Also carrying my backpack with my dell d800 in the back which probably amounts to over 10 pounds altogether.

This week I will start adding some offroad. I had an old Dagger (Amp B3) in the garage in pieces. Didn't seem worth it to put an obsolete bike back together so I bought an Iron Horse Hollowpoint Expert (Supergo tax free sale!) yesterday for my offroad days (and for the ride itself of course). Also a new bike will be a good incentive to keep me going out and putting in the miles.
two weeks, just keep at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It must be age because like I say I have been through this before and it only took 2 or 3 days to get past the soreness. It was already beginning to improve until I rode the Hollowpoint last night. The seat on that thing is a torture device! I am going to have to steal the seat of my old bike tonight.

On a side note I left my cheapo bike on the front porch last night and this morning it was stolen. No biggie since I was going to give it away or toss it anyway but that is the first time anything like that has happened in my neighborhood. I have another one in the garage I'll just dust off. I was keeping it on the porch because I had literally rnu out of room in the garage for all the bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Second week down.

I managed 6 days again and stepped up the time on the bike some although not as much as I had planned. It was a really tough week, tougher than I thought. I hit a couple real lows this week and some dissapointments but I am feeling pretty good today and am ready for next week.

Monday: 1 hour on the bike, just to the train and back, I rode the Hollowpoint though since the commuter bike was stolen. If I thought my butt hurt before it has been taken to a new level of pain thanks to the seat on the HP.

Tuesday: Well the plan was again to ride the HP but take a detour in the dirt on the way home and step the ride up to two hours. Well the detour to my chosen trail would have been no trouble by car but I was trying to find a way there using mostly bike paths (paseos they are called here in Santa Clarita) and went down three dead end routes, having to backtrack each time.

Finally I gave up, and decided to just brave the street, I headed down a two lane road with a generous shoulder to ride on, but with two miles still to go to get to my trail the shoulder dwindled down to nothing. Considering it was rush hour and cars were travelling at a high rate of speed on this particular stretch I decided it wasn't worth dying for. Besides by this time I had already been riding for a full hour and a half. The temperature was about 95 degrees out and I was starting to feel it.

I back tracked and began the 3 mile ascent to my house. The first part of it is the steepest but even before I started climbing I was feeling incredibly hungry, and a little nauseous. As I climbed my knees and arms got shakey, the seat digging into my butt, the heat, and the hunger all seemed to become one huge weight on my shoulders and I barely even made it up the first hill.

There is a park after that hill, and with two miles of climbing still to go, I knew I couldn't make it so I collapsed in the park and rested for 20 - 30 minutes. Without any food though I simply could not recover any energy and ended up walking most of the way home from there.

Anyway pretty damn stupid. I am sure a candy bar would have made all the difference. I have since added a couple of fig newtons to my pack and I usually eat one just before I get off the train on the way home.

Wed: 1 Hour on the bike. Rode to and from train only. Still felt the effect from tue though. I was feeling pretty low. After getting home I went through all the stuff in my backpack and found a bottle of wine a client gave me. I absent mindedly put it in my pack on Friday and had forgotten about it, carrying back and forth to work since. I am sure that didn't help any during my Tuesday fiasco.

Thurs. 2 hours on the bike. after being gun shy from Tue I decided to keep it to paved miles for now and just rode all over town on the paseos for an hour and a half and then the 1/2 hour ride back home.

Fri. To and from train. I switched my old bontragger seat in to replace the fizek on the HP. No help, I have never felt such pain in the ol' butt and it is worse now than ever.

Sat: ended up doing yardwork all day, so postponed ride til sunday.

Sun: Dusted off my old supergo team issue (also set up for commuting). Cleaned the chain and the derailler and decided to use it for my ride. Two hours of steady pace bike path riding and man I forgot how much I still love this bike. with slick tires and a hardtail it feels like a feather compared to the HP.

I also had ordered a deuter hydration pack a week ago which came in Friday, so I carried that instead of my huge laptop backpack which also went a long way towards making me feel "super light." On top of that it was under 80 degrees for the first time since I started riding. The combination really helped boost my confidence even though I suppose in a sense it was cheating a little.

When I got to the last turn on to my street on the way home, I wasn't even spent yet so I continued climbing past my house, pushing as hard as I could until I was done and then cooled down back down the hill and home.

In the end my butt still hurts to high heaven, but after my ride today my spirits are back up and I am ready for next week.

Man I gotta say age really sucks though. I have more things that hurt than I have ever felt in my life.
 

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You've got to put in some non road miles. I did Cannel a couple of months ago - I consider myself in good shape, and it was definitely a long strenous ride. Cannel is NOT all downhill and its NOT all easy. Its a 22 mile cross country ride at altitude that happens to have an 8 mile descent (plunge)at the end. There is technical uphill and downhill, and you will be pushing your bike up a couple of the more sustained climbs because of the altitude. Small rocks on the trail get a lot bigger when you are climbing at altitude.

Having said that, I went with a large group and one of our members was pretty out of shape, but he did make it with a lot of stops and pushing.
 
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