3 week tour 3000 kilometres

I’ve entered a 3 week event ! its essentially as near can be,the 1972 TDF Route
here https://grandvelotours.com

each day is approx 80- 100 miles some days with classic climbs as well. My rough plan is build up the ability to ride at 80-85% FTP for couple of hours , on climbs and repeat again following descents.

suspect daily TSS will be about 275-300 + a day on mountain stages , taking low gears 30/46 - 11-34
Will hopefully have a CTL of approx 110 and strong +TSB at the start of the event. BTW I’m 55 years old.

If any ultra endurance riders have any advice in prep and tips be most appreciated
thanks in advance


There’s a thread on ultra training that you might find useful Ultra-endurance training

and maybe this one too

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For a tour as such as this, it’s not what you can do when fresh for the first couple of hours. It’s about what you can do day after day. Thus you want to build up your fatigue resistance and your ability to recover day after day.

I presume you have experience of multiple back to back 100 mile days, and this won’t be your first time?

Hi Phil,

I’ve done 10 day camping tours,800 miles in Scotland & 2 week tours in Belgium ,Netherlands previously.

What I found is not ground breaking but keeping HR low below 125 I’ve a max of 182 , and eating a lot of carbs at the days end.

Enables you to ride and keep riding day after day,
and you end up feeling stronger as the tour goes on.
Riding within yourself is the key.

Having shorts,saddle and shoes you love helps !

It will be the most & hardest ride i’ve ever done

My experience isn’t exactly the same but I’ve done a 30 day ride across the USA averaging 115 miles a day, based on what I experienced, I would recommend keeping the climbs upper z2 at most and staying on track of fueling. It’s very important to avoid digging yourself into a hole from intensity or food that you’ll struggle to recover from

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I’m not sure how realistic it is to ride at 80-85% for 4-6h a day every day for 3 weeks, even if just for climbs.

My personal experience doing these sorts of things, as someone who focuses on ultraendurance events, is that unless the climbs are quite short, you’ll be happy to be holding ~75% on them by a week in.

I’ve typically averaged 70-75% FTP on these week+ events where you’re on the bike 4-6h a day. I was only doing 85% on climbs on the first two or three days.


The only other comment would be to eat as much of everything whenever you can. I did 10d of 6h a day this summer, and lost almost 10 pounds despite eating as much as possible whenever possible.

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Sounds like you already have your opinions on what works for you based on your previous tours. Generally if it works for at least 3 / 4 days without feeling done in by the end, then it’ll scale for as many days as you keep going.

For ultra endurance it’s not necessarily how high your ftp is, but how high your LT1 is which determines your performance over many hours. For me, physical prep would be about pushing up that LT1 and how long you can sustain riding at it before you decline.

Nutrition will as much be determined by what’s laid on by your tour company. But sounds like you’ll get a few periods during each days to top up the calories.

Will you be in a big peloton most of the time except for the climbs? If so that will obviously have a huge impact on your TSS each day.

thats something I’d forgotten about , sitting on wheels, yes about 30 off us so a big help in-between the climbing

I don’t know the event but it looks really cool. If you were to do a write up or diary here on how it goes it would be fantastic to read!

If there’s around 30 participants, you might expect it could be broken into 2 groups of 15 or so, so as not to have too large a group on open roads with traffic etc. Maybe if they have outriders one group of 30 might be possible.

I think that it will then really depend on the spirit of the event - is it competitive most of the time or is it more of a ‘no rider left behind’ spirit. If it’s the latter, you could see the relatively stronger riders taking on more peloton leading duties to help the weaker riders. In either case it will probably be everyone go their own pace on climbs. Maybe a regroup at top?

Considering the above, the real key to an enjoyable event in my opinion is to ensure that you are at least in the top half in terms of your strength and condition. These types of things are generally much tougher on the less well conditioned that are struggling to keep with stronger riders or make cut off times etc.

If the whole thing is a series of stage races (like an actual GT), then that changes things a lot. If that’s the case you might consider getting one or two teammates involved in order to share the workload. It would probably be possible to make alliances at start or on road but it’s difficult to keep such things together given different goals and abilities/strengths.

Speaking of goals, what are you hoping to achieve? Finishing is your goal (that would definitely be mine!) or you want to compete?

I’m 55 in February and I’ve been cycling since my teen years. As I’ve aged , dare I say matured! I started looking at the journey and discovery of new roads being my motivation,rather than trying to be the best amongst my buddies.

So 2023 needed a plan, to do something different!

Possibilities were

Ride from La Paz to San Diego eating loads of tacos

crazier …Ride across Peru , Atacama desert

Ride UCI masters RR in UK

Then I seen the Tour De France 72 route after a few espressos I was in !

As you say, the riders will split into groups and within them rivalries & friendships made. Sure if I feel good enough I’ll raise my game, but my biggest goal is to try and absorb the ride and perhaps find my cycling soul and not be bothered about anything except the press of the pedals and sound of rubber on tarmac.

A dairy is a great idea , I’ve written a few cycling books
memoirs and existentialist guff ! and this one I’d like to take the daily 72 tour report and position it against my own report .

Just to finish will be great and hopefully want to go riding the day after would be awesome !

cool tan lines as well lol

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