Bikepacking training/Week long races

So on a current program to do a bikepacking race. I set it up when I just started using TR so not sure everything was done correctly and too scared to change anything now.
My question is how to setup a program where you’d be riding 12-15 hours a day at lower intensity day after day? If it can help with doing this with limited sleep that would be great :stuck_out_tongue:

Those are the kind of events I do so …

You don’t say what sort of biking and training history you have but really you need to have a good endurance base so look at something like the Traditional Base plans. In addition to that you do need some high/top end power to get up the punchier short climbs and not completely overload your system when doing so.

Alternatively if you already have a good endurance base then do Sweet Spot Base and then choose one of the punchier build plans to lift your FTP so that your current endurance pace is an even lower percentage of your FTP (or you go faster). Do the low volume plans then augment that with a couple of long Z2 rides at the weekend.

1 Like

In the months leading up to the event, I suggest doing a lot of sweetspot, with back to back long rides on the weekend. I would do a 4-5hr road ride on saturday with a bunch of sweet spot, then on sunday Id do another long ride with a lot of tempo climbing on the bike I was bikepacking on. you really need to be use to riding off road for that long and super use to the position on that bike. while training on the trainer is great, you need to train your to be really use to bouncing around for that time period too. Sleep, I’ve never had an issue with that, the first day I usually ride until 3-4am because I cant sleep anyways. the days after that, I just go to sleep as needed…my skills usually tell me when its time to stop as I just start to flail in tech stuff.


So been riding for over a decade. I started racing XC and a little bit of marathon rides. In the last few years discovered bikepacking and was riding for fun and just enjoying it. In October doing my first bikepacking “race”. The Holyland Challenge in Israel, but only the half distance of 700km. I did Sweet Spot Base and now in the Build phase. I did a custom setup with my race as the A race so it’s created something for that. So far I’m feeling stronger and my FTP has jumped so something is working. just wondering how to balance the endurance with the higer end stuff.

I like this idea and might adjust the plan for the next event I plan on doing. I have been getting out on really long rides every two weeks outdoors. I’m pretty time crunched so getting out and riding is an issue as well as the crazy summer heat over here in Israel.

Multi-day, single stage races are about three things:

  1. Looking after yourself
  2. Looking after your bike.
  3. Looking after yourself.

Make sure your contact points are dialled - I took a long while, in the order of 18 months, to get my bike set up such that I didn’t get numb fingers. I’d be fine with an 8-10hr ride but after 12hrs the ring and little fingers on both hands would get nerve damage and go numb. It would take a month to six weeks for things to get back to normal so each change I tried meant another 4-6 weeks before I could try another. (Turned out to be saddle angle - I now have the saddle nose down by about 5 degrees).

Good strategy helps - minimising stopped time can make a big difference. In 2017 I did the Highland Trail 550, my riding time was only a couple of hours more than the winner, Neil Beltchenko. Looking at our respective Strava activities I did a lot of segments quicker than he did but my overall time was way slower. The reason: He stopped for a total of ten hours, I stopped time for 42hrs! I would have had to ridden about 40% faster to make up for that difference.

Good core and upper body strength is also needed, especially if your race has some hike-a-bike.

Actual high FTP/bike fitness comes well down the list. It obviously helps if you intend to be at the pointy end of things but for most mid-pack riders just being able to be in the saddle for extended periods is enough.

1 Like