Distance Training

There’s very little caffeine, if any, in these products. They’re concentrated carbohydrates. You need carbs to fuel your muscles. Caffeine just keeps you alert and increases your pain threshold.

The carb content of Gu products aren’t simple sugars (sucrose, fructose, anything-ose)… such carbs tend to give you a spike in energy followed by a crash. These are not fun 1/2 way through a ride.

Bananas are composed of simple sugars and starches. They’re a good supplement to complex carbs, but on their own, they won’t take you the distance.

You can only eat so many bananas on a 100 km day. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Uh, the carb content of Gu products is almost entirely simple sugars. Looking at ingredients of one type, the #1 ingredient is maltodextrin (basically, glucose), and #3 is fructose.

The only thing that’s useful about Gu is that it’s more easily digestible than more complex foods when you’re exercising. But it is certainly not more complex than a banana, or more likely to give you lasting energy.

Yes the “goos” (I like PowerGel) are designed to digest quickly and give you the boost sooner, rather than later. They are great for short-term stuff. They won’t keep you going all day, but will help you crest that big hill, or bouy you up if you don’t have that far to go. They, and the various bars out there are in-between stuff. You still need real food no matter what.

Using a big ride as a way to lose some pounds is great; it’s hard not to. The advice to eat and eat is what you’ll need to keep up on the calories. If you don’t do this you won’t be able to ride as far, and won’t enjoy those miles either. Be prepared to chow!

On “bars” beware that some are sports-oriented while others are “poser” products that are more like candy bars. I like Clif bars, but there are many good brands of those.

Some basic food advice from Andy Cotter, organizer of the original Unicycle Tour of Minnesota: Eat salty foods. This is a more natural way to keep your electrolytes up, especially if you’re sweating a lot. After a grueling climb in the Alps and before a big MUni ride down, Andy was adding more salt on top of some salty fried potatoes. It worked well.

Personally I find that things like bananas, apples, pears are great for immediate boosts. Bars of any kind were a bit pricey for me so I just kept a few at the bottom of my bag as back-up.

I’d recommend looking into powders for your water which add in the salts and other things you lose when you sweat. I had a few bad days where I was drinking litres upon litres of water but got terrible headaches from dehydration. I don’t find the sweetened mixes satisfying at all. The stuff I had was citrus flavoured and I used it in about one of every three bottles of water. It was supposedly designed just to replenish the salts, and not for energy. This is not something I know a lot about, so others here could probably give better advice they can back up. I just know what felt good.

I found my best days were after eating a huge carb-filled meal the night before (eg, spaghetti), and then a large breakfast. Oatmeal loaded with dried fruit, nuts and seeds, plus cinnamon and maybe maple syrup or something was my favourite. Funny, that’s definitely not something I’d ever seek out off tour…

Yup. eat, eat, eat.

Don’t worry, the weight will come off regardless if you are substantially more active than your norm. On one organized b*ke trip I went on there were 4 of us in the group but somehow in the food drop-offs we got rations for 12. We ate everything every day except the one day that there was just way too much chilly and rice. Anyway I still lost about 5 pounds over the week of riding. I was pretty skinny to begin with. The bigger kid on the ride had to safety pin his pants to keep them from falling down after the second day. I am not sure how much he lost but it was definitely visible even though we ate what would normally been ridiculous amounts of food.

Our favorite trail food was what we called “gop” it was basically oatmeal or cream of wheat with our GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) trailmix, whatever we were supposed to cook for desert, our hot-chocolate mix, and whatever else we were supposed to have for snacks all sort of mixed together and cooked in a big frying pan over the fire. We would eat it out of bags for a breakfast when we got up and on the trail supplemented with fruit.

If you are going to put energy or electrolyte stuff in your water I would suggest mixing that stuff in a water bottle that you can have on your handlebar or in a cage behind your seat. Have clear water on your back in the form of a hydration pack. You will know when you need the electrolytes and when you just need water. Too many electrolytes is not a good thing either.

Thanks guys all great tips

Sorry I was getting mixed up, not heard of those products so assumed they were those sugary caffine shots that have just become popular! I expect I will take a lot of lucozade sport with me, find that repalces most things, but will also look for some kind of replacement

Thsoe are good tips, I’m currently riding about 70-80 miles a week and am really tired all the time, just eating what I normally do, think I’m going to have to eat more than normal, bigger breakfasts, more carbs and snacks to keep me going! Syrup sounds good too, any excuse for some pancackes and syrup…

I’m going to try that GOP before I go, may be good for me to eat at weekends when I go on my long 20-30 mile rides. I’m going to a bike shop today so will keep an eye out for those kind of mixes and ‘power bars’

Would a boost chocolate help, is that the kind of thing I’m looking for?

On another note, got my KH 29er yesterday :slight_smile: going for a nice ride on it today to get used to it, then a longish one tomorrow :slight_smile:

That’s one beautiful unicycle you got there!

Ok, been out on my first ride!! Got my wheel nice and dirty!!

Having a few issues tho, can anyone help?

  1. My arms seem to flail round a lot to try and keep balance I think. My right arm tends to go behind me, makes me twist
  2. My left leg seems to go inwards every now and then, occasionally this rubs against the wheel - OUCH
  3. I can’t hold my handle bars for more than 5 secs without having to let go
  4. When I do hold onto my handle bars I seem to pull back or push down on them making me lose balance, if I don’t do that I’m not really holding it!
  5. My feet ache when riding for about a mile or so, like im arching them a lot or something.

Other than that had a great ride, did about 5 miles, not too bad for the first time and was adjusting thing as I went to make sure it was good!

1, 2: Probably just part of getting used to the bigger wheel. Ride it lots and you’ll quickly gain more control over the beast, and quickly learn not to lean in your legs!

3, 4: Again. When you are comfortable riding the uni, you will be able to hold on longer. It will feel like you are giving up a lot of control at first, but then after a while you will find it gives you a different kind of control. Don’t try to lean hard on it until you’re comfortable just holding on. Once you’re used to that it will be possible to put a lot of weight on it without losing balance. Just takes practice.

5: From the photo it looks like you’ve got the middle of your feet on the pedals. Try resting the front of your foot on the pedals. I’m no expert here, but I find riding that way feels better over long distances, plus it allows me to spin faster.

Thanks, thought it was experience but who knows.
I can’t idle or go backwards for any distance so am going to master that to see if that helps, if not its something I need to learn anyway!

That photo was the first time I got on it, I normally have my feet a bit further back, but I will make sure I keep that in mind anyway!

Your #1 issue sounds like road crown twist. Lots of riders say they have figured out how to get over that. Maybe they can add something about that. I still have issues with it regardless of tire pressure, tire type, etc. I just try to ride on as flat of a surface as I can. Sometimes it means hopping on the sidewalk.

I would recommend getting used to the bigger wheel without the handle and then add it back later. I just put a handle on my 36". I rode it for awhile before adding the handle. It still a bit of an adjustment. Unless I’m going straight I use the handle one-handed. It’s going to take some getting used to but I really like it.

I once put a hole in a pair of pants from rubbing the wheel. I don’t know why I did it but I rarely do that now. I wear 661 knee/shin pads and every once in a while it will rub (better than my leg).

Have fun on your new unicycle.

I got the information from MTB Marathon organizing team that unicycles are very welcome, so we (hopefully the rest of interested ones are also in, I am) are attempting to do a 37km easy MTB route.
I got really excited about it, but as it is in one month, I’ve just realized that Wired is not the only one that shall do the training :wink:
Luckily it’s just a one day event, but anyway I’ve never done that long trip on my uni, so now also thanks from me for the tips. They will be useful.

And last, but not least… let somebody take this winter-type sleet out of here!!! It’s cold, a bit snowy, a bit rainy and definitely windy here at the moment.

I’ve been getting used to it a lot more now. Went out for a good 8miler today so had a good settling in session, too many UPDs but mainly due to hills and pot holes!

Seem to be getting better at balancing and will settle in. I’m pretty sure its just that I havn’t unicycled properly in nearly a year and that I’m not used to a 29" wheel.
Also the fact that last time I was on a unicycle I broke my ankle makes me a bit nervous so a lot to compete with.

I’ve put my bars back a bit and that gets in the way of my legs…which is good, it means i’m pushing my legs out a bit to stop them hitting that, giving me better balance and stopping my leg from rubbing against the tyre!

Been getting used to holding that bars too, been just using one hand, but its a start and will help me get my balance back too!

Do you know http://www.unitours.org/?

You don’t really want your knees pointing inwards or outwards. Idealy, they should be parallel with each other and the tyre. Knees problems are the bane of distance riding, you don’t want to make it any worse than it needs to be.

Good luck on this, it sounds amazing.

All of the advice here is excellent [bar, perhaps, clipless – you guys are geniunely crazy. :slight_smile: ]

From my personal experience, I suggest regular breaks to keep you refreshed. During my LEJOG run – unsupported – my friend and I took a short break every 2-3 miles to ease the pressure from our extremely heavy rucksacks. If you have a van with your gear you’ll be less pained, but don’t worry about taking it easy – 30 miles per day is easily achievable.

Lots of water. Lots of food.

Put something fluorescent on your bag/Camelbak to ensure that you’re visible to cars. It’s important to make it obvious that you need space.

Also, advice from some cyclists which I’m glad I took: vaseline. It really does help with the chafing!

Think my main problem is that I have bad balance, my arms wave around too much and me knees are used for balance too much. I need to get a few more miles under my belt and try to get my balance up! Any tips?

Should I sit up straight, lean forward lean back? will that help me balance or will that make me worse!

Definitely sit up straight and lean forward – though not too much. Take some of the weight with your handlebars in order to lessen the weight on your sit bones.

It might be beneficial to practice using your handlebars in a safe space such as an empty car park in off hours or in a gym – you should feel completely comfortable riding with them.

@Wired… for waving around, the best thing probably is practice… but if you have too much place for your knees to get involved into balance, then maybe you should put up your saddle a bit. I feel a bit less control, but definitely my body is more stable when the saddle is higher.

Try riding while holding your hands behind your back. This will force you to use other means of balancing, namely steering into your fall instead of flailing.

Once you can ride a fair distance with your hands behind your back start using a handle, you will instantly feel the advantages of having one.