Biking Long Distance
I own a Trek 6500 and am a huge fan of riding on the trails for long periods of time. However, I have never rode for 50-80 miles on a trail-only when I used to ride a road cycle. Anyone ever do this amount of mileage on a trail? I only ask b/c there is a trail nearby that is an old railroad passage and I would like to do the whole trail. Any advice? Weighing 170 lbs, I could only imagine that Ill lose a ton of calories and would need to rehydrate and eat while riding.
It depends on the trail.
Had a good day yesterday - rode only about 45km, but some very steep climbs, and technical msot of the way around... On fairly smooth dirt tracks, alot more than that would be possible.
I would consider myself fairly fit (Rarely, if ever, get overtaken on red or black routes that I ride near home) - but 45k yesterday was a lot because of the steepness of the place.
What sort of shape is the ground in there? Is it fairly smooth and fairly flat, or rough and steep?
That really makes a big difference.
And dont compare road riding to offroad, theres a thread somewhere about road miles vs trail miles... in truth it depends on the trail and the road in question - how steep and how rough each is.
I suggest judging what you can do by how long you can keep an effort going on the bike because each trail has its own demands.
The rail trails I've been on are all quite flat compared to single track. Then I can think of how the single track trails I rode yesterday allowed twice the average speed of trails I'll ride today.
I would not suggest a huge ride if this is about weight loss as you said, and if you're not fit for it. For weight loss you have to address both diet and the exercise you're doing and spread that over weeks, months and years.
not looking for weight loss here-just worried ill break down if i dont get enough calories in me the trail is completely flat with small grades running 80 miles roundtrip
Its quite a long way.
Even if its fairly smooth and flat, its still quite a long distance to be biking if you're not massively fit.
Even a shorter distance than that can be considered a hell of a ride - for example:
Skyline - Afan (Wales)
W2 - Afan (Wales)
46km route, epic ride... over 2000m of climbing... that is hard going for anyone.
At the same time, 46km of smooth, flat dirt road isnt the same.
responsible zombie owner
work up gradually to the longer distances. i'm stuck with fairly short circuits (up to about 35km) at the moment but i am thinking of working towards longer distances using new routes. if you do try something much longer than you're used to, try a trail with an 'escape route' or shorter loop in case you run out of energy and need to quit. alternatively, have someone with transport on standby in case you need to do an ET and phone home.
weather makes a big difference as well. i did 30kms a couple of days ago and nearly had a heatstroke as temps here are hitting highs of 110F/43C and i didn't get up early enough!
If you've done 50-80 miles road biking, you'll be fine with a 50-80 mile rails to trail ride on your mtb. Make sure to take plenty of water and food. Plan a bottle of water an hour or more and 200-400 calories an hour in the form of gel, bars, trail mix, pb&j, whatever you like to eat while riding. Fuel up before you go and after you're done. You'll be fine.
When I do 30-40 mile mtb rides, which will consist of plenty more climbing than the rails-to-trails (and part of that is usually some road riding back to the car), I'll usually just pack a lunch in my camelbak and throw in some gels and bars.