Yep, I would do a modified SPB block with a progressively longer ride on the weekend every other week, and then a custom block consisting of longer and longer SS intervals with extra Z2 tacked on the end, also with some long weekend rides. Personally I would be aiming for being able to finish maybe 3x30 SST+Z2 and maybe 160km with similar climbing rate as the event. Lay off the long rides 2-3 weeks before the event and then mostly take it easy with intervals the week before. Just my 2 cents.
At these distances, saddle time is probably a better metric than distance. So instead of targeting a number of miles, if the event is likely to take you, say, 15 hours, try to complete a 10 or 12 hour ride leading up to the event.
The SST work is probably more important than the super long rides if you can’t fit in both. Z2 rides in the 3-6hr range can have some good benefits, but beyond that is more about dialing in nutrition, fit, pacing, and mental capacity.
Best of luck! I love things like this and also love to shoot for “pipe dream” types of events. Give it what you’ve got and have fun!
I think over ~240km you might find you want different things to eat. Take the next weeks to build up an arsenal of foods you know you can eat on the bike so that you don’t get flavour fatigue 100km in!
TR recently put out this article which I thought had lots of helpful tips about planning and the ebbs and flows of long days in the saddle. I think for the kind of ride that you’re planning on doing, being mentally prepared will be important too.
I presume that is 5,500m of climbing so reasonably hilly. Have you been riding hill repeats or hilly routes of late to develop the muscle endurance to tackle all the hills? Fading badly before the finish can be the result if you don’t have the endurance , regardless of FTP.
Personally I don’t think the SSB2 progression has long enough SST efforts for building up to really long stuff. There’s some good info in the “Sweet Spot Progression” thread, but maybe something like 2x20 → 3x15 → 2x25 → 3x20 → 1x50 → 2x30 → 3x25 → 2x40 → 3x30? And then you can add 15 to 30m of Z2 on the end after those as well. I’ve found this kind of work to be really beneficial for longer distance efforts and having the muscle endurance to keep going for really long days.
Edit: here’s a link to the SST thread. There is A LOT of info there (2k posts) but I think this chart at the beginning is a decent starting point, work your way out from there to get to as long of a duration as you can in the time you have: Sweet Spot Progression - #2 by bbarrera
Slightly off topic but the HG800 11-34 cassette has 11-13-15-17-19-21-23-25-27-30-34T spacing (you’ll need to use a spacer on an 11s FHB). It’s ratios are much closer when the hills get steep, although it still has the problem where the ratios are (arguably) too far apart when rolling on flat/downhill terrain.
Taking into account your FTP of 210W and those 18% gradients I’d 100% recommend you go for the 40 tooth cassette in the back. Otherwise you’re going to be spinning at a really low cadence to stay below FTP.
Also keep in mind that you’re going to spend a significant amount of time at altitude, so you’ll actually be able to put out less power.
I concur on the low gearing recommendation. You will want to be able to keep your power at a reasonable level even on the steep parts of the climbs, and the lower (40 tooth) would definitely help with this. This can be tricky to set up depending on your equipment, but I would go as big as you can in the back.
If you are concerned about finishing, having low enough gears to keep a comfortable cadence at a comfortable power on the climbs is good insurance I have never regretted having low gears on the long hilly rides I have done - typically hilly rides like this have little enough flats in them that the wider spacing is only a minor issue.
I’ve only done this with older shimano, but have had good luck with the wolftooth and similar hanger extenders. I know I have done 36 tooth with a 6700 gs derailleur + wolftooth, not sure if I could fit my 42 on that bike. If you don’t already have the gs derailleur, you might look to see if any mtb derailleurs are compatible with the the road shifters you have. On another bike I am running an 9speed MTB rd with 10s shifters, as the pull ratios match up. Generally shimano is quite conservative with their capacity limits on their derailleurs, but I don’t know exactly how much you can push them.
The shifting is not as crisp across the cassette with the wolftooth, but I find it a good tradeoff for really hilly or steep rides.
A little more free internet advise. Before deciding on gearing, look at the nature of the climbs and typical grades. Max grade can be very misleading if it only occurs at limited locations for very short ramps. I’m a little heavier than you but have similar power, and have done quite a number of longer rides very comfortably with total climbing in the 5000m to 6000m range on both 11x32 and 11x34 cassettes, but grades rarely (but occasionally) exceeded 10%. If you have to tackle sections with average grades in the 10% to 18% range that will take longer than 15 or 20 seconds to get up, then I agree with a larger cassette. An 11x36 may also be an option and a little easier to fit, depending on your derailleur. Mine will not handle a long enough chain for a 40 in back.
My experience with all day rides is that when people fail, it’s usually a result of either pacing too fast / hard in the first few hours, or they have not spent enough time on the bike and their butt / feet / hands / neck or back become too painful to continue. Unusual things happen after 8 or 10 hours in the saddle, and building time on an occasional very long ride is critical. It’s rarely the case, with proper pacing, that riders don’t have the muscular endurance to continue.
For my long ride preparation, I’ve been plugging the ride into plan builder, and let it develop the progression for me. BUT…I supplement the plan builder plan with a progressively longer Z2 long ride every week or every other week.
I would have thought 11-34 would be plenty… I’ve never used anything smaller than 50-34 with 11-32. I’m a bit better wkg than you now but it wasn’t always thus, and I never had any real issues. I’ve even used that combo for fully loaded touring with some very steep inclines, although I would not recommend that (I would fit an MTB double chainset before doing that again).
If you’ve a normal 110 BCD chainring at the front you can fit a 33 instead of the 34 inner, which is a really easy thing to do and gives a benefit (not as much as the 40 rear obviously).
Agree with the above, pacing and time in saddle is critical for anything like this. And eating.
I’ve always just done normal sweetspot base into general build with some longer weekend rides.
Just some random thoughts on this:
The Timmelsjoch will probably kill you, no matter what you do (maybe 40 in the rear helps, but then you are so slow, that the duration will be hard. At least 40 would be still faster than walking).
Some things will make it easier.: Take it easy on the Kütai, and as important on the Brenner! If your group is slightly too fast there, the risk is high that you notice this too late.
2 Gels per hour are probably not enough (as long as your are not a monster diesel). Experiment with different food / self made drink with 60g malto and 30g fructose per hour.
How many hours did you spent in average per week over the last year?
If less than 7, maybe don’t focus too much on TR plans. Slowly ramp up your z2 volume for being able to ride 12h/week in the 8 weeks before the Ötzi. 4h for the longest rides is plenty.
When this feels comfortable, mix in SS.
On rainy days you can still do Trainnow workouts in the Vo2max range (now) or SS/Threshold (closer to the event).
If you have access to a decent smart trainer I would try something like Ven-Top in Zwift on 100% trainer difficulty (or Rouvy, bkool etc.) to get an idea where you’re at with gearing and also to get used to these long sustained efforts in case you haven’t done them before or in a while.
Also I’d say a good pacing strategy is essential. Consider that you’ll be at altitude, as mentioned by Fritso above.
Anyhow, congrats on scoring a ticket for the Ötztaler! I hope to ride it some day as well.