I am continuing training for the SINZ unitour and I completed my goal of a 75 mile ride 2 days ago. My friend joined me on his bike and was slowly cruising the whole way. I don’t want to write a long write up, but pretty much…
We left at 8:25AM from my house.
Took a break after 20 miles to get off the saddle, drink some water, eat a powerbar.
I stopped at a gas station after about 5 more miles to purchase some of those chemical pocket warmers, because my toes were freezing! It wasn’t too cold outside, but the wind must have been going through my shoes, and with those pocket warmers in my shoes, my toes were able to heat up.
We reached our destination after a long steady 3-4 mile incline in Purcellville Virginia (at the end of the W&OD trail - http://www.wodfriends.org ). At this point we had gone a little over 34 miles. We ate a sandwich and stopped at a bike shop that had really expensive bike clothes (shorts were 130 dollars and lightweight jackets were 350 dollars). We browsed at the expensive stuff and talked to some of the bikers there about our journey, and like most people they were shocked that I was traveling 75 miles on a unicycle.
This break lasted 30 minutes I think, and then we went back on the trail. I brought some chamois butter (lotion) and I put some on at the next break at the 50 mile mark, and also had some more water and a pack of powerbar gel. We ended up having to go an additional 3.5 miles past where we wanted to get off the trail and back so we could do 75 miles instead of 68. My legs were really feeling the burn during the last 10 miles of the trip, but I was able to get back to my house in one piece at about 5:00PM. I took more breaks that I explained in the writeup, but they were short ones to get some water or get off the saddle for a few minutes. Saddle soreness wasn’t too bad on this trip, my legs were definitely sore though.
My average according to my cycle computer was 10.7 mph, but it could have been a few tenths higher b/c I didnt pause it during a small break I took. The actual riding time(not including breaks) according to the cycle computer was 6 hours and 57 minutes. The chamois lubricant definitely helped with the irratation I was starting to get during the ride, and overall I wasnt that sore from the saddle. I was expecting to be in pain the next day, but my legs were fine once I woke up.
My next goal is to complete a century ride, but the only problem with this is that I will have to ride in darkness for some of the ride since the sun rises at like 730 and sets at 430 or so. I will have to look into getting a headlamp soon!
My set up for the ride was the same as my last write up (title: 55 mile writeup)
Wow. Dude, that’s awesome. When I grow up I’ll do some rides like this one. I just got my 125mm cranks in the mail today, and you’re getting me psyched to put them on and do it. (the ride, not to grow up).
Re: legs not being sore the next day - it must be nice to be 22.
Maybe there’s no significant climbing on his rides.
It’s the climbing and descending that most punishes the legs.
So far my longest Coker ride has been a metric century. One of these days I’ll have to do another metric century plus a little bit more. Maybe even do a full Imperial century one of these days. But long rides aren’t my thing and I have no aspirations of doing a uni tour like SINZ.
That’s an impressive training ride, James! 75 miles is 120km for those who don’t speak imperial.
My modest effort yesterday was an 86.7km loop on country roads north of Auckland. I started kind of late in the day - 3:30pm - but since I was expecting to do only 60km and it gets dark at 9pm I thought I’d have plenty of time. It turned out that the route which I’d ridden once before was rather longer than I’d remembered! I rode from my house north to Albany and stocked up on choccy bars and lollies at my favourite Indian dairy then chugged up the Albany Hill. Pretty soon I left the main road and into some quieter side roads. My newly re-tubeless’ed Wheel TA tyre was humming along nicely at a conservative 38PSI. This tyre seems to be less affected by road camber than the original Coker tyre, as John Childs indicated to me earlier (all praise to JC!).
I got to Dairy Flat and turned west towards the metropolis of Waitoki. This section of the ride had a headwind and was also the point of no turning back as I was getting further and further away from civilisation. Sometime after Waitoki I stopped for a banana n date break. The banana guard I was given for Xmas worked a treat - no banana bruises! I continued west to Kaukapakapa and had to stop again to stretch my twinging Archilles. This section to KKK took much longer than I remembered from the last time I rode there. It was a relief to turn south onto the aptly named Peak Road. There were two good climbs on this road which were a change from the last 20km of flattish terrain. Going up the second hill I ran out of water. Darn it I shoulda filled up at the gas station in Waitoki! I knew that there wouldn’t be any shops or petrol stations for a long way, so I had to find my own water source. Luckily it didn’t take long til I spotted a farmhouse with an outside tap near the road. No-one was home and I merrily filled up my Camelbak. I celebrated my newly refilled water supply by eating a peanut butter KitKat.
Soon I reached Old North Road and blasted down it. This road is one of the steepest and fastest I’ve ridden on a coker. Brakes on full, yet still pedalling like crazy. This is where I hit 33.5km/h, my maximum speed for the ride. To my right there was an orange tinged sunset, and low angle sunlight casting a very long one-wheeled shadow of me riding along. At this point I knew I still had a long way to go and would probably finish the ride after dark. I had a choice of two ways home, so I consulted my map and chose the shorter one. Now it was a race against time to get back to city streets in daylight and finish the ride under street lights.
I rode across the Upper Harbour Highway bridge on the old bridge which parallels the new one, but is closed to traffic larger than unicycles or bikes. This meant I had two whole lanes to myself which was nice. By this stage twilight had set in and the street lights were on. I passed the scene of a car crash between a small SUV and Transit van. The SUV had been rammed off the road and was pretty smashed up. Police were already on the scene, as were many bystanders. I pedalled on and counted five more police cars and a fire truck with lights aflashing and sirens awailing rushing to the accident. Sobering stuff! The final few kilometers were pretty dark, arriving home at 9:30pm.
Total distance: 86.7km
Riding time: 5:05:47
Average speed: 17.0km/h
Maximum speed: 33.5km/h
Food eaten: one banana, $1 of lollies, one bumper bar, one peanut butter KitKat, some dates.
Water drunk: about 3L
I’ve only done a metric century once and has been my only “long” ride. I’ve done a few 40 mile rides. Mostly my comfortable long distance is under 30 miles. 25 miles is a comfortable distance. Much longer than 25 miles and the ride turns into a slog rather than something fun (mostly due to saddle soreness).
During my younger years I did a cross-country bicycle ride. Long distance rides I can do. I just don’t find them enjoyable on a unicycle.
It’s the one in the green bottle. It works to chemically neutralize the salts. I squirt some on the areas of seat rub inside a pair of bike shorts. I also suggest that you try a pair of expensive bike shorts with the least amount of padding. The difference after 75 miles between cheep shorts and expensive shorts is amazing. PM me if you want to know which brand I liked. The road racers told me to try as mean brands on as I could find until I found the pair that really felt good (every brand fits some one else’s shape).
To maximize ride distance and seat comfort with out stopping, try to stand up on the peddles and off of the seat for a minimum of one minute out of ten or you risk going numb. More often, about 40+ second every five miles works better for me. The doctors recommend not waiting until numbness starts, as this may have long term effects.
Learn to remove enough weight on the upswing so that the feet do not start to go numb either. You can also try alternating one foot peddling. Clipless peddles helped me.
Just remember that nerve damage may start if you let body parts go numb and continue pushing on. I had trouble with numbness in my left foot and may have pushed to hard. It took several months for the burning feeling on the top of my foot to go away when I slid pants over my foot or put on socks.
I picked up some Sidetrak cycle booties. I wear them when it is below 50F if it’s raining or below 45F and not raining. They work for me down to about 25F. Colder if the ride segment is shorter than one hour.
Good to hear the progress your training is making. Keep it up and try getting use to training in the dark. My current commute/training has me doing 20 mile days (nights) in the dark. I have to remind my self to keep watching for walkers and joggers that do not wear any lights or reflectors.
nice writeup. Were you using 125mm cranks as well? I noticed you included some climbs in your ride, so I was wondering if 125s suited you for it. I plan on bringing 150mm just in case, but I am hoping the 125s will be suitable for most of the days on SINZ.
Thanks for the suggestions. Since moving to a seat with a center cut out I have not had any problems with numbness. I do worry about it though and when I didnt have the center cutout I sometimes didnt know I was going numb, so now I check every now and then to see if a certain sensitive part of my body is numb. I also sit on the back part of my seat and push down on my handles every now and then too, and if I am ever having bad saddle soreness I get off for a bit. If I ever do go numb with my new seat I will definitely get off right away, I dont mess around with that at all.
I actually found that having bike shorts with a little more padding is a lot more comfortable than bike shorts with little padding. I recently made the switch to more padding and it has helped.
As far as the cycle booties go, I only ride with sneakers, and all of the shoe covers I have tried do not fit over my sneakers, so I guess I will just keep on using the chemical warmer things on my cold rides.
Also here is the elevation profile of my ride (you can see there arent any mountainous climbs, but a few slow and steady climbs). I got on the trail at mile 18.5, went to the end, and went back to mile 18.5 then continued to mile 15 and back to 18.5. The other 15+ miles were from my house to the trail and back and they weren’t much different as far as the elevation profile goes.
JC, you can do a long ride without committing to something as full-blown as SINZ. For that metric century, how about considering the 2007 MS-150. Back to back 75s (or 50s), a chance to raise funds for a good cause, and some really nice terrain up on the coast. Plus if you’re riding, you don’t need to worry about me pressuring you to sponsor MY ride. The last two years, I’ve been the only unicyclist. I’d love to see that change in 2007.
Siafirede: Nice write up, and congratulations on the 75. I’ve done that distance once, and I know the challenge that it is. Regardless of elevation profile, 75 miles on a unicycle in one day is a significant accomplishment. While I’d love to get an imperial century sometime, I just don’t know that it’s ever in the cards for me. Certainly that whole 100/10/1 thing the Brits dreamed up is beyond me.
I kind of sidetracked things in this thread with my discussion. That wasn’t my intent. I just wanted to give props to those who do big Coker rides. I know it’s not easy both from the physical work required but also the saddle time and wear on the body. Congrats to all who all who do the big rides.
Yes I was using 125mm cranks. I find these to be the most versatile length for road coker riding. There are very few climbs that can’t be ridden on 125s. I have found a couple of suburban streets in my neighbourhood that are too steep to ride, but highways and main roads are never this steep, so it won’t be a problem on tour.* I plan on using them on most days of SINZ. For the hillier days I’ve got 140mm and 152mm cranks up my sleeve (well, not literally) and 114mm for the last days on the Canterbury plains.
*A notable exception will be the first multiple unicycle ascension of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, the world’s steepest street, on the first day of the tour! Even with 170mm cranks I think it’ll be very tough to conquer on a coker.