What I want to do: Ride my ungeared 29" Nimbus the entire length of the NCR and York Heritage trails, from Ashland, MD to York, PA and back - a total of about 85 miles (or 136 km). I would like to accomplish this in one day. The terrain is a flat limestone gravel road.
A little background on my uni abilities: I’ve only been unicycling for a few months now, and while I’m very comfortable on my 24" MUni, I’m still getting used to my 29er. I can ride it well enough, but I’m still trying to find a comfortable cadence. I was able to freemount it consistently enough before installing the T7 and adjusting my saddle angle; now that ability is a bit sketchy, but I’m confident that it’s only a matter of time before I reach my former proficiency.
As far a distance riding goes, I am very much a novice. The longest I’ve ever gone is 15 miles, and while I was sore and exhausted afterwards, I was surprised to feel confident that I COULD have done a little bit more. It was a slow trip - I only averaged about 6.5 mph, so I spent 2.5 hours in the saddle and another half hour in breaks. I think that this is due to the gravelly terrain, my undeveloped fitness, my lack of familiarity with the unicycle, and my habit of riding with my arches over the pedals (which is due to my lack of familiarity) rather than the balls of my feet. I’m also riding 125mm cranks, and I think that I may switch to 114s when I feel more confident with my uni. I hope to raise my average speed to at least 8 mph eventually.
My question for the distance/touring unicyclists out there is: How should I build my endurance up? My plan is to do two long rides every week, and to start I’ll only be repeating my 15-mile trip. After I get used to the 15 miles, should I increase my training distance by 5 miles? 10? 15? I’m not sure what is considered a reasonable buildup.
I’m thinking that I’m going to stick to 15 miles for a few weeks, then increase it to 20, 30, 40, 60, and finally the entire 85 mile trip. Does this seem reasonable, or am I being too ambitious about it? (Or am I not ambitious enough?)
I’d like to complete this epic journey before winter, so I have about six months in which to train. I think that this is a reasonable time frame.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!