Physical training and motorcycle maintenance for long distance

#1
HI

I was wondering if any of you have a special physical traning program for long distance riding, either for a SS1000 or for other multiple days long distance (ie, 4 cities corner in 12 or 14 days or 48/10.
I did the 48/10 challenge in 2018 (12282 km- 7581mi) with my FJR 1300 '08 and it went well, but I'm sure if my body was in better shape, it would have been easier. I've read that cycling can improve the stamina during the long days sitting on a motorcycle.

Also, how do you plan your maintenance during those long journey, (espacially oil and filter change). those who do the IronButt Rally must have some tips to share.
;-)
 

Greg Rice

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#2
I personally only do a little physical training leading up to the Iron Butt Rally, mainly to increase my stamina. It really depends on individuals and how active you are normally. I am a very active person so I don’t need as much physical training leading up to a big ride.

I do all of my motorcycle maintenance prior to my ride including 5 Iron Butt Rallies and many other LD rides like Alaska and Mexico and then I do no maintenance during the ride. I wait until I return home. It has never been an issue. I have ridden over 15,000 miles on many rides that I did no maintenance.

I do a lot of maintenance on my motorcycles and many times have to change my oil, filter and final drive fluid way short of the recommended intervals. Again this all depends on the type of motorcycle you ride. Some motorcycles lend themselves to long maintenance windows. Gold Wings and FJR’s are some of those types of motorcycles.
 

Marc11

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#4
I workout with heavy weights 5 days a week as a general rule, but before longer multiple day rides I will increase the focus on my core and hydration 6-8 weeks prior, I also give up all caffeine during this time too. A week before the large ride I will scale down or deload my workouts and skip back...this is mainly to avoid a potential injury prior to the ride. I've had times where bad form on a deadlift hurt my back for two weeks, I attempt to avoid this.

During the IBR physical fatigue was never a factor. Mental, well......

As for maintenance, I also do all my own, start with fresh tires, fluids, check things like brake pads and bearings and if more than 50 percent used or in case of bearings higher mileage end I'll change before I go.

On the road, depending on miles, oil and supplies can be purchased and can be easily changed at any Walmart in the parking lot and recycled while you're there, I carry the needed tools, I don't change the filter unless the ride will run over 12k miles. Things like plugs I'll change before the ride if they are close to the service interval and valves I will not worry about again unless it's close to the interval then I'll check and not worry about until I get back.

Tires, any cycle gear or motorcycle shop generally carry common tire sizes and selections in stock and can swap out while you wait, easy to call ahead while on the road if you know your route and make an appointment, my tires last 12k rear, near 18k front so often it's not a worry if I start with fresh.

It's the fuel pump you need to worry about!!! I carry a spare now (sorry inside joke)
 
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#5
Get everything packed and ready before trip, try to relax and get in some good sleep before taking off. I also like traveling as light as possible, that cuts down on riding effort; i.e. less top heavy = lower wind resistance. Do not try to go too far between stops, hydrate through the day.
 

c10

Well-Known Member
#6
As said above . Core focus , weight lifting , all services done before ride . I've changed oil only on the road , but since my bike has no center stand I carry a arm jack to lube / clean chain every night . 10 min job before a shower . Each person is different on diet , but just watch anything that makes for to frequent of poo ;)
 

TheRoss

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#7
Don't pack the morning of, which I'm in a bad habit of doing. Pack and service the bike ahead of time, and get some good sleep if you can, which is something else I struggle with right before a ride because I'm always excited.

I think your mileage may vary on the rest. It's personal, but the fact that you've asked the question means you're thinking through it, which is great.
Before an IBR I cut out alcohol, and cut down caffeine. I am a 6+ cup of coffee every day kind of guy and going through the headaches associated with going cold turkey doesn't make sense to me. If I get down to two cups a day with some water thrown in before a major ride I consider it a win.

Following Nancy Oswald's comment on one of the Hard Miles episodes, I took up yoga and spin before IBR15. It helped with flexibility and made climbing on and off the tall GSA for 11 straight days more manageable. Otherwise, I don't really exercise like I should. Do what makes you feel better, but don't start some big work out program right before a major ride unless the ride dates are totally movable. For conditioning... I really think the best thing to do is just to ride, a lot.

As for service on the ride, I'm already tempting things riding a Beemer, so I just wing it and wait for the end of the ride.
 
#8
Following Nancy Oswald's comment on one of the Hard Miles episodes, I took up yoga and spin before IBR15. It helped with flexibility and made climbing on and off the tall GSA for 11 straight days more manageable. Otherwise, I don't really exercise like I should. Do what makes you feel better, but don't start some big work out program right before a major ride unless the ride dates are totally movable. For conditioning... I really think the best thing to do is just to ride, a lot.

As for service on the ride, I'm already tempting things riding a Beemer, so I just wing it and wait for the end of the ride.[/QUOTE]


Thank you for those advise, really helpfull,
I do not plan to do an IBR but just doing LD in short time please me a lot,
in 2017, I did 13 500 mi (22 000km) in 20 days from Quebec to Prudhoe Bay to San Diego to Key West to Quebec City, best trip ever and everything worked perfectly. My journey can be seen on FB at "By motorcycle for the Heart"

I though of the idea of doing yoga but did not fond anything that could be do for man, I'm 6-3, 220, so the flexibility is hard to reach lolll
I found some plank excersice to reinforce the back of thighs and some spinning drill as well.

My plan for this year would be the 4 cities corner in may be 14 days, too bad the IBA doesn't certifie this ride, I think the SCMA is too complicated to follow and too expensive, (as a Canadian, it is $180 USD, $235 CAD), that's my POV
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#9
I'd suggest looking into Chaz Rough's "Yogamazing" series on Youtube if you looking for good, beginner yoga instruction. (Obviously going to a studio is going to be 100x better, but this is free)

https://www.youtube.com/user/yogamazing

Most of is videos are pretty short, so you have less of the "I just can't find time to exercise" excuses...
 

Baxter

Well-Known Member
#10
I'm a little surprised that the physical training part of this thread isn't in a subforum under Rider Preparation. I'd like to learn from y'all what you do to keep in shape for endurance riding. And I wonder if others would find it helpful as well.

A series of unlikely events has kept me from taking a motorcycle trip for the past two seasons, and is wiping this season out as well.

But as I'm getting older it's become a bit more compelling to get fit for a longer trip and especially any certificate rides. I lost some stamina with developing high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Afternoon naps were calling for me. My pants were shrinking. And I became worried that I'd not be able to ride in an alert and thoughtful manner for the hours necessary to complete a SS1K. So in the second season of my retirement, it's time to get fit.

My goal isn't to star in a superhero movie--just to get reasonably fit for my age. I fixed up the old bicycle and started doing at least an hour each day, and then added two sets of push ups. I've also worked on both quitting snacking and on choosing snacks that are better, such as fruit or nuts rather than black licorice. When it's safe from the pandemic, I'll get a gym membership (I have vulnerable folks in my life--so probably not until a proven vaccine has become widely available). And because I'm a tightwad, I'll use every penny of the membership instead of letting it slide. And I saw the references above to core and yoga, there's a studio just around the corner from my home.

I've no expectation of undoing 25 years of inactivity in a season, but as I'm starting out from such a bad position there's low hanging fruit to be found. After about a month, it seems as if my sleep cycle has improved, not so nappy feeling during the day and sleeping more through the night. If I keep this up, the docs think I may be able to get off of the blood pressure meds. Leg strength has noticeably increased when I'm stopped with my motorcycle at a light. And my pants seem to be growing in size instead of shrinking.

The end result should be that I'll be in good shape for my next motorcycle trip, and I want to earn a few more certificates along the way!

But I bet that the really dedicated IBA'ers have a lot of tips to share.
 

Kylearane

Premier Member
#11
I've no expectation of undoing 25 years of inactivity in a season, but as I'm starting out from such a bad position there's low hanging fruit to be found. After about a month, it seems as if my sleep cycle has improved, not so nappy feeling during the day and sleeping more through the night. If I keep this up, the docs think I may be able to get off of the blood pressure meds. Leg strength has noticeably increased when I'm stopped with my motorcycle at a light. And my pants seem to be growing in size instead of shrinking.

The end result should be that I'll be in good shape for my next motorcycle trip, and I want to earn a few more certificates along the way!

But I bet that the really dedicated IBA'ers have a lot of tips to share.
Five years ago it became apparent that my age and inactivity was having a negative affect. I changed the rear bearings on a vehicle and was sore for a week. After that, I decided to start lifting in the gym to gain strength and prevent muscle loss. Like you, I didn't have any desire to compete as a power lifter or a body builder.

I started lifting, and only lifting. I didn't make any changes to diet, activities, etc. Once I started getting stronger and a few pounds dropped off, I bought a fitbit and started walking an hour a day on my lunch break. When I was young my father would walk ten miles every day. I thought he was off. Now I understand.

Once I'd established that habit I started looking at my diet. The first thing I learned was that you shouldn't think in terms of diet. Diets are temporary and negative. I don't get to have this; I don't get to have that. I started thinking in terms of nutrition, which is permanent and positive. I get to have this; I get to have that. I dropped the junk (mostly) and focused on protein, fat, and complex carbs. I increased my water intake to around a gallon a day, depending on activity levels, heat, etc. I don't drink my calories; milk, juices, sodas, coffee. (I never liked coffee anyway so that wasn't an issue.) Now I do what is referred to as time restricted eating. I only consume calories in a 9-10 hour window. That gives my metabolism rest for 14-15 hours a day.

I've learned a few things in the past five years; some by accident, others not.

1. Make one change at a time. If you try to change to much at once it's overwhelming. If make one change its easier to manage and you'll have a sense of accomplishment. It also makes it seem possible.

2. Weight loss is through nutrition. Strength is through weight training. Endurance is through conditioning (cardio, etc.)

3. Fitness isn't a goal; its a way of living.

4. Train for life, not just for a specific thing. I'm able and ready for daily living and everything that comes with it. Including IBA rides.

5. Training/fitness improves sleep, as you've already discovered. It will also improve your mental state of mind. I live in the north and used to have issues with seasonal depression. The only thing that works to prevent it is training.

I hope this helps.
 

rneal55555

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#12
I'll second what Kyle said seems like sage advice. For me 5 or 6 years ago a friend of mine was using a calorie counter App (My Fitness Pal) I started using it and just kept track of the calories I was consuming. It was amazing to see what my intake was compared to what it should have been. I set it up put in that I was sedentary and was scrupulously honest with what I ate and how much. It allowed me to figure out what my calorie sucks were and let me make better decisions about what I ate I learned a cheeseburger and fries at most restaurants is approaching 1500 calories which is about all I got to reach my goal weight. a cheeseburger an d fries was what I got 90% of the time when I ate out. I also learned that bread was a killer we'd go to a place with free rolls and I'd be a 1000 calories in before they put my plate on the table.

I got a little fanatic about it but was able to loose about 50 lbs through diet alone it wasn't so much a diet as it was portion control, the fitness pal let me see what was what and keep me honest.
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#13
Being in better shape is never a bad thing. Use what you can to motivate yourself.

That said, there are a lot of fat guys riding LD. It's not a cardio sport. Taking care of yourself on the bike is perhaps more important than your fitness level before you get on the bike. If you can't drink water while riding, you're not going to do well on multi-day rides. Drink when you think about being thirsty. Literally, if you think about it, take a sip. Many sips are far better than chugging down a pint of gatoraid or water at a stop. The idea is to stay hydrated while riding, not get dehydrated and try to catch up later. Excessive water intake in high temps w/o electrolytes is also bad. People get hospitalized for that.

Eating while riding is also a key part of the game. No, you're not going to power down a sit down meal. But you can choose your snacks well and many a rider has tucked multiple fast food sandwiches in the tank bag to be eaten later while moving. (Or in some cases just before bed at a hotel). I can attest that Arby's roast beef sandwiches and McD's cheeseburgers taste the same fresh or 14 hours later. And while it may seem like a passable idea, take a pass on the Taco Bell Crunch Wrap. They tend to detonate at interstate speeds after a few bites. BTDTGTTS.

Oh sure, a banana can be eaten while riding too. Although, if you're a female rider, plan on every vehicle that passes you suddenly braking to take pictures. That sometimes happens no matter what you're eating. Just don't litter. My lower left jacket pocket on my Klim is my trash pocket.

Before my IBR I did lose some weight. I felt better, but I don't know if that 40 lbs really impacted my IBR or not. My inability to wrap my head around the puzzle that year had a far larger impact on my over all performance.
 

Baxter

Well-Known Member
#14
I've never tried eating while riding. Sounds messy. But keeping hydrated and fed are very important for mental alertness and fighting fatigue.

I agree when you say that LD isn't a cardio sport. But a rider should be healthy enough to ride. I've known two riders who had heart attacks while riding. They certainly come to mind when I consider whether I'm healthy enough to ride LD.

One, a stranger, had been riding with a group when he had a heart attack and left the road. I came across the crash and stopped to help. A car with a nurse had also stopped and really helped. He made it, but had some broken bones from the crash in addition to the heart attack.

The other was an acquaintance from my state's ABATE. He was found dead near his crashed bike, apparently he'd had a heart attack along with crash injuries. He had a minor daughter and had recently remarried.

We have physical limits as riders, and we need to take that into account before we exceed those limits. I know that I'm at the age where I need to do something about it or give up. And I'm too stubborn to give up.
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#15
Physical training for LD riding is the topic. Yes, I know of LD riders that died on the ride. That's not really the same topic here. We do what we do, we can help our odds as we get older. No argument there.
 

Baxter

Well-Known Member
#16
Sorry if I sounded argumentative, that wasn't my intent. It's just some extreme examples of what can happen if a person rides without being fit enough to ride.
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#17
No harm, no foul. We are sharing experiences.

Eating on the bike is no big deal. But, a modular or 3/4 helmet with a drop down internal sun visor makes it a lot easier/safer. Part of the trick is having a process and being able to access what you want by feel and with gloves on. You learn to pick things that work for you and hopefully you enjoy. On the average cert ride, stopping to eat or eating while at a gas stop is fine and most do this. In endurance rallies, the clock ticks louder and you spend absolutely as much time on the bike covering ground and bagging bonuses as possible. Virtually all rally riders are eating on the bike, if only snacks. Some survive on home made goo in tubes that they can pull out and squeeze, then return to the tank bag. Others have an assortment of items in bite sizes stored in tupperware like containers. Hitting a drive thru Arby's at the start of a rally or rally day and buying 5 small roast beef sandwiches w/o any toppings worked well for me. In a multi-day rally, you get what you can when you can. That led me to the unfortunate experience with the Crunch wrap. :D First one did fine. Second one, not so much.

Physical training should include developing routines and muscle memory for hydration and nutrition on the bike as well. Even the most fit rider will suffer if they don't eat/hydrate during a long distance ride.
 

IBA ZX-9R

Active Member
#18
Easier, fun, relaxed, but on pace riding is the way to do an IBA quest ride. The quickest isn't necessarily the easiest, but the longest certainly isn't. Condition. Eat healthy. Prepare. Plan. Because if you do, the training will be harder than actually doing it and you'll enjoy the experience that much more.

I've been helping two other riders gear up for a SS1K in two weeks. Unfortunately, I can only guide them on what has worked for me and I cannot force them to do anything beyond verbal recommendations.

Personally, I've taken this seriously and I do increase my workouts, with an eye on eating healthy, eating lesser portions, reducing high-carb drinks (like beer), proper hydration, and shedding unwanted weight. A fit healthy rider is one that will have something in reserve for adversity. And every IBA ride I've undertaken has had some level of adversity.

One week before each of my three prior IBA SS1K rides, I would click off a 500 miler to acclimate my body and expectations for the real thing the following week. I'd tape to my bike waypoints and time of day along my route, to take the guesswork out of it. And in conjunction with that, as some have said above, I would cease training and increase sleep time 4 - 5 days prior to the ride itself so my body could fully recover.

This year, we couldn't do the week before, so we did two weeks before. We started with four riders and the one who cold-turkeyed this attempt, didn't make it to mile 400 before they were through. No exercise, eating high caffeine energy drinks and snack foods showed in real time the effects of how far off the mark this rider was. He was literally falling asleep, wandering over the double-yellow in turns, and just an overall rolling hazard. We agreed he should stop and he did.

The other two that I've been grooming had a similar diet of beef jerky, PB&J, canned fruit drinks and no exercise. They did better. The first 350 miles seemed to go well for them, but I soon discovered that was an illusion. One had fallen off the pace in a curvy mountainous region and kind of lost their cool. I can't know their mindset, but the fact that we had fallen behind the pace we needed to keep may have stressed them into the realization that this was tougher than they thought. And every 100 miles thereafter we would fall further off pace and their mood soured accordingly.

They didn't prepare, were sore, tired, grumpy, sapped of strength and by the end of our 650 mile ride, had fallen so far off the pace, that even if they were able to maintain the average pace of the previous miles, they would have been bordering on the 24 hour time constraint. To me, this was proof of fitness. The three who didn't prepare would have failed or tried killing themselves to prove something not worth dying for. And to me, that defeats the whole idea of an IBA ride adventure. If it's not going to be a fun rewarding experience, then what is the point?
 

EricV

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#19
Easier, fun, relaxed, but on pace riding is the way to do an IBA quest ride. The quickest isn't necessarily the easiest, but the longest certainly isn't. Condition. Eat healthy. Prepare. Plan. Because if you do, the training will be harder than actually doing it and you'll enjoy the experience that much more.

I've been helping two other riders gear up for a SS1K in two weeks. Unfortunately, I can only guide them on what has worked for me and I cannot force them to do anything beyond verbal recommendations.
<snip>
Nice contribution to the thread. Sounds like the ride in question was a BBG pace ride. Time management is much more critical during such a ride. I forget that some people don't ride for weeks or months, then hop on and want to knock out a cert ride. I've always ridden all year and while work would prevent me for riding for a week or two, I generally got out often. I only started doing shorter rides under 200-300 miles after I retired.

The biggest thing most people have trouble getting their head around on cert rides is the concept of managing the stopped time. Novices think speed or average speed is important. It's not. You have a set amount of time. Managing the stopped time is much more crucial. Getting your head around how much total time you spend stopped will give a rider a better understanding of how much time they really have to ride. You can't really make up time easily, but you can save an amazing amount of stopped time with a little effort.

I now return you to your fitness/physical training thread. ;)
 
#20
I always make a back squat. Also, a simple stretching of my neck, butt, and legs before, between-meal breaks, and fuel breaks are my usual routine. Riding really needs an abdominal strength and core strength. But, I make sure that I have proper sleep before the day.