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The effort must remain a PLEASURE over the days and miles.
Many of our evening guests are surprised to learn how many kilometers we travel during the day, and to see our load in relation to the freshness in which they find us. Nearly all of them tell us that the cyclists and cyclorandonneurs who pass by their homes usually arrive exhausted and exhausted from their day's pedaling.
Why is that? Because we are not athletes and don't have a great training.
There are a few simple rules, three of which are essential:
A few tricks can optimize the load a little bit.
In any case a sign does not deceive. If fatigue sets in over several days in a row, it is because choices unsuitable for cycling effort (for cycling pleasure) have been made.
For us, with the following rules, we NEVER accumulate fatigue over the weeks of riding…
The natural tendency is to stop only when you are tired. The disadvantage is that you then dig into the body's reserves. Inevitably, these reserves diminish over the course of the days. Automatically this leads to significant exhaustion at the end of each day.
Our tempo is to stop every 20 km or at most every 90 minutes (in case of strong positive difference in altitude).
Again, the natural tendency is to wait until you are hungry to eat and thirsty to drink. The disadvantages are the same as above.
Our tempo is :
To really drink regularly the solution is to have, like camels, your water bag. So we each have a water bag on our back (moreover by putting the yellow safety vest on the water bag it allows us to ride safely without being too hot in summer).
See here the details of the equipment.
A light snack is perfect with some oilseeds: walnut, hazelnut, almond, cashew, Brazil nut. This ensures energy with lots of minerals, with extremely low GI.
A few erroneous classics (high GI) should be banned:
In all three cases this only provides a temporary boost, but not resistance over several hours.
This then requires additional rations without interruption… with the only result of serious excess kilos…!!!
Changing your habits is always VERY difficult. Especially for us French people !!! In the case of cycling, not changing one's bad eating habits (at least during the hike) means exposing oneself to the inconvenience of pain, cramps, exhaustion… This can go to the ultimate displeasure: not being able to go any further. It is then the final stop, the abandonment.
Great champions are vegetarians: Lewis Hamilton (Formule 1), Ivan Lendl (tennis), Carl Lewis (sprinter - 8 gold medals), Alain Mimoun (marathon), Martina Navratilova (tennis), Lizzie Armitstead (cyclist)… etc…
Meat-eating sports champions can afford to have their overflow of muscle toxins evacuated by their appointed masseurs… we cyclorandonneurs anonymous it's much less obvious!
The myth linking muscular strength and meat (especially red) is tenacious. But there is no need for this food. It is even disadvantageous in long-term efforts because meat is a great purveyor of toxins. As the intense muscular activity of pedalling already generates a lot of toxins, the organism is overwhelmed by it and has difficulty in eliminating all these wastes… Thus, by sacrificing to this myth, we deteriorate our strength and endurance.
Of course, the delicatessen (sausage, rillettes and other pâtés) is even worse. It is very little protein, a lot of bad fat and a considerable amount of toxins. It is pain for the cyclorander.
To avoid excess meat, it is sufficient to turn more often to vegetable or sea proteins. For example:
By way of comparison, meat contains 18 to 22g of protein per 100g (plus a packet of toxins that are unfavourable to muscular effort).
Legumes, peas and lentils are absolutely delicious. Moreover they are easy to find cooked in any food store. Prepared in a variety of salads, it's hyper-fast and easy to prepare. But these delicacies, excellent for health, are underestimated in our rich countries.
Alternatively, beans are less favorable in protein, but excellent as slow sugars (low GI).
The very classic pasta is perfect. And for variety and pleasure, pasta salads (at lunchtime for example) with shrimps (or mussels, tuna…) are super pleasant; moreover it is once again quick and easy to prepare. But beware for the effort (as for the line) pasta is only good al dente! Indeed, overcooked, they will see their GI (Glycemic Index) increase by 20%, as a consequence of the breakdown of starch into glucose.
We like our glass of red wine at lunchtime… except when cycling. At noon it breaks the muscle tone, in the evening (as in ordinary life) it prevents a good restorative sleep. White wine is even worse for the muscles. Wine is therefore the opposite of the pleasure of cycling. On the other hand the days of relaxation without pedalling are conducive to a pleasant exception. In short, the tour of the cellars is for car tours (without driving of course), but not during a cycle tour.
French white bread is not recommended because of its very high GI. The bread with the lowest GI is "rye bread". But watch out for a real "rye bread". That is to say only rye, without other flours. Otherwise the GI will immediately rise.
Otherwise the "German" bread called "Pumpernickel" is very favourable, in addition it has an excellent taste. It is easy to transport and keeps well, so why deprive yourself? You can find it in most supermarkets in the bread and special bread section or in the organic section.
If you include vegetable proteins in your CURRENT LIFE diet, then
CEREALS AND LEGUMES SHOULD BE COMBINED IN THE SAME MEAL.
Cereals lack an essential amino acid called lysine, and legumes lack an essential amino acid called methionine.
This is why for centuries the following associations have been found throughout the world:
Exception that confirms the rule: quinoa can be eaten alone, as this cereal contains lysine.
In everyday life a majority of the population is deficient in magnesium… with the consequence that stress develops. As stress leads to a high consumption of magnesium in the body… it is a vicious circle.
In long-term efforts, magnesium deficiency leads to muscle cramps.
Everyone has to find his or her balance point so that the cramps never appear. For this, in addition to a correct diet it is often necessary to take magnesium as a dietary supplement. This can be a magnesium type Magne-B6 (vitamin B6 which promotes magnesium assimilation) or similar. If this is not enough, ISOXAN-ENDURANCE tablets are an excellent solution.
On a hike many years ago, we decided not to get up at dawn like every other morning. So we hiked by getting up at the crack of dawn and therefore starting around 10 am. It was super cool… at first.
But we were disappointed:
The biggest surprise was to be more tired than usual, at equal distance and difficulty.
In fact we had not taken into account the fact that when you are over 20 years old, even without physical activity during the day, you arrive at night with less punch than in the morning and with the need each night for a good night's restorative sleep.
So when, in addition, the days are well filled with prolonged physical activity, the need for relaxation comes even earlier, in the afternoon.
Moreover, we used to do the shopping for the noon picnic in the morning of the same day. This wastes a significant amount of time and postpones the end of the daily pedaling. The negative consequences are described above.
Since then we always organize ourselves to arrive around 3pm, at the latest 4pm. Either start pedalling around 8-8:30, or at worst 7:30 for the difficult stages. And so we:
This is all the more true and necessary when the climatic conditions are difficult..
For long hikes of several weeks the best alternation we have practiced is 3/1.
That is 3 days of pedaling for 1 day of rest.
With more days of pedaling in a row you accumulate too much fatigue, with more days of rest in a row you lose the advantage of the acquired rhythm and you hardly start again.
A bad alternation will be cruelly felt after 2 weeks or more of riding. Fatigue accumulates with more and more difficulty to recover. This can lead to abandonment, without understanding the origin.
Well loaded as we are in luggage (up to 45kg for one, 35kg for the other in hiking-camping mode), a pedaling regime a little too high can raise the heart rate beyond what is desirable, especially in very hot weather.
Two things are desirable:
Although they are adepts of cool routes, therefore without major relief, it is always possible to have to take a very steep section of road. And being no longer 20 years old (the proof we repeat ourselves) it is advisable to respect the usual engine speed: that the pulse does not exceed a maximum threshold of beats per minute.
This threshold limit is calculated as follows: MAXIMUM THRESHOLD = 220 - [Captain's Age].
For example, if you are 50 years old, the maximum threshold is 170 beats per minute (220-50).
This threshold is valid for short duration efforts. For prolonged efforts it is obviously advisable to set a value several tens of beats below the maximum threshold.
In order to apply all this, a heart rate monitor should be worn.
No need for a highly sophisticated model. However, when hiking with two people, you have to be careful not to interfere with each other. Each equipped:
The equipment of 2 users close to each other (2 cyclorandonneurs in this case) are subject to interference. The watch from 'A' can receive radio transmissions from its own transmitter and in addition radio transmissions from 'B'. The receiver of 'A' will then panic and will at best show the sum of the two, at worst nothing.
To avoid this interference, each transmitting belt must be coded (coded transmission). This is the case for POLAR FS3C.
Although partly controversial, stretching is essential to avoid aches, backaches and cramps.
An excellent website offers stretching according to one's sport activity:
here stretching for the bike, (sorry, in French ; but there are some very explicit illustrations).
We've simply rediscovered, some of the “7 Commandments of Velocio”.
It was while talking with Émile, a member of our family, a great cyclist who criss-crossed France in all directions throughout the 2nd half of the 20th century, that we learned of the existence of this great Vélocio and its Table of Commandments for the cyclotourist.
And this is not new! Since Velocio, whose real name was Paul de Vivie, lived from 1853 to 1930. We have thus discovered that he is the emblematic figure of French cycling tourism.
We encourage you to read the article about him.… Vélocio on WIKIPÉDIA, it's very interesting.
Takeaway selections often lead to dilemmas. You have to take enough to be cool under any circumstances, but not too much so you don't get overloaded.
To facilitate this duality, we can do the following:
Depending on doubts about the context of the destination or about the weather uncertainties, one may be led to take away things that turn out to be useless in the end.
During the hike it is sufficient, as soon as the doubt is removed, to send a parcel home with the surplus. If the hike is longer than 15 days the post office will not keep the parcels. In which case the parcel must be sent to good souls (neighbours, friends, family, employer…).
Example: Send to yourself, at a stage fixed in advance, a parcel with the things you won't need at the beginning of the hike (clothes, cards…).
Sending by yourself does not work when you do not know your stages in advance (ex: camping) or when the duration of the trip is several months.
In this case it is enough, before leaving, to entrust or send a parcel to a relative. During the trip, when you stop for several days in a large city to visit, it is enough, at that moment, to have the parcel sent by express mail to the address of the place. This is what we practiced in 2015 during our cyclorandonnée in Scandinavia. Our trip lasted 3 months. One parcel after one month in Copenhagen, another one a month later in Stockholm. With Chronopost the delay was 24 hours… sent D-day from a provincial post office, received D+1. If the stage is not a capital city, allow one more day. Of course you should ask beforehand if the country is covered by the carrier.
During a hike you may get surprises of equipment that become unusable. For some simple things we help ourselves locally. For more technical things it is much more complicated and LONG.
A great solution is AMAZON (anti-amazon ideologues close your chaste eyes and ears).
It is indeed necessary to know that an account created in France on AMAZON.FR allows you to buy also on ALL the other world sites of AMAZON. Amazon.COM, for the USA. Amazon.CO.UK, for Great Britain. Amazon.ES, for Spain. Amazon.DE, for Germany…. etc).
It's exactly the same account, it's the same Login - Password.
So with their large stock and ultra-fast delivery you can be delivered wherever you want, so on your way.
Example in 2019, in Germany, my air mattress suddenly seriously deteriorated. It was impossible to sleep properly. As our mattresses are very technical (ultra-light) they are not found everywhere, even in large cities. I ordered it on Amazon.DE and had it delivered to the next campsite where we planned to stop for 2 days. When I arrived at the campsite my package was waiting for me!