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49ers accustomed to winning with long travel

  • San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) heads to the sideline with Bruce Miller (49) and Anthony Davis (76) after Gore scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run against the Tennessee Titans in the third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers sure do travel well, and it's hardly by accident.

Just like everything else in Jim Harbaugh's structured system, the team has trained for the challenges of leaving town for long hauls to the East Coast and across the pond.

The third-year coach took his team for weeklong stays in Youngstown, Ohio, between East Coast games in each of the past two seasons — so, this Nashville to London trek San Francisco is enduring now shouldn't be so bad.

"It's no big deal. You hop on the plane," defensive lineman Justin Smith said matter-of-factly. "You either fly east or west. We'll make it. You deal with what is in front of you I guess. It shouldn't be a problem."

The NFC champion Niners (5-2) beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for their fourth straight victory, then flew straight to London for the week before facing the winless Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in Jacksonville's home game as part of the NFL's International Series. Then, it's time for some recovery with the bye week.

San Francisco also played in Great Britain on Oct. 31, 2010, beating the Denver Broncos 24-16 before a sellout crowd of 83,941 at Wembley — 5,352 miles from team headquarters. The 49ers faced Arizona in Mexico City in 2005.

"We have done it before," left tackle Joe Staley said. "This is our second trip to London, and we also went to Youngstown for that week, too. Everybody here is used to the long trips, and I think it is beneficial. Everybody gets to spend a lot of time together as a team. We are just all excited to get over, and we basically just pack more clothes than usual."

Perhaps those trips to Youngstown were good preparation. Not much different from destination training camps, just during the season.

"I don't think it hurts," punter Andy Lee said. "It will be fun to hang out with some of the guys and see London a little bit. It was fun going there last time. The first couple of days are a little rough with the jet lag, but I don't know if it's any different from being here or being somewhere else."

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