Planning a Multiday Ride

I ride my bike almost daily. The longer the ride, the more coordination it takes. If I’m leaving for an hour, I fill a water bottle, put a cycling kit on, and I’m ready to go. When the ride is longer than 90 minutes, I grab a little food.

I took this picture the night before LOTOJA, a 200-mile single-day race I rode in 2014. Each bag was food I needed to pick up at a feed station. I labeled each so my wife knew what to give me when. I also had water bottles, food, powders, and sunscreen. Everything was planned down to what gels I was going to drink when. We pulled it off and Annie met me at the finish line with a bottle of chocolate milk. It took a bit of planning to do it.

Last summer I everested, climbing and descending a hill on my bicycle 23 times. The rules say no sleep during the event. I spent 25 hours working on this endeavor. Every six hours I got off the bike, ate a meal, and changed my kit, both to keep the chamois fresh, and to adjust to the changing environmental conditions. The temperature ranged from 28 degrees to 82. As you can see, it required a lot more food. I also had a bin full of cycling clothes, and another with various medications, sunscreen, and things I needed to deal with contingencies.

But for this endeavor, we’re riding across the country. We range from the rocky mountains of Montana to the dry heat of the Sonoran Desert. In addition, the ability to recover from each day’s ride is crucial. Here are a few things we’re considering:

  • Where to sleep for three weeks
  • 250-300 calories of food each hour while on the bike. But with enough variety that the cyclists won’t get bored of it.
  • Making sure everyone stays hydrated (we’re bringing a scale and weighing everyone before and after each day’s ride)
  • Recovery meals and making sure each one includes 20-30 grams of protein and 100 grams of carbohydrates
  • Communication between the car and the riders. This is especially important in urban areas where we plan to have the car directly follow the bikes.
  • Gear to take care of the most common mechanical problems we’re likely to face.
  • A list of bike shops along the route, for those we can’t fix ourselves.
  • Hospitals along the route in case of a medical emergency.
  • How to track and share the location for those interested in following our progress.
  • What if it snows while we’re in Montana?
  • How do we deal with July/August heat in Arizona? Answer: We’re going to start our rides at 3 or 4 a.m.

You get the idea. We’re excited to do this, but it requires a LOT of coordination.