Long Z2/Z3 rides are my thing, farthest ride was 220 km last summer. Now I would like to do roughly 350km IN ONE DAY. But how can I best train for this?
Also from a logistic point of view… my FTP is now 237, I hope after next build and some more it will be 250-255. If wind is acceptable, I hope to average 27km/h. That would mean 13h on the bike without breaks (350 / 27). And that is without lunch or mechanicals. I guess a long summer day would be best and leave early in the morning.
Any tips? Anybody has done this? I think I can cram out 250km in one go… but 350 is a lot more.
I used to be a believer in doing the mileage/ climb or at least close to it but when I did the Mallorca 312 and a flat 330km two months later, I went with a coach and it was done mainly of shorter and flatter but more intense rides of circa 40-60 miles with a few centuries thrown in.
Is this solo / unsupported / with help?
I did a similar ride last year, solo unsupported. I was training around 9 hours a week. Not a lot of HIIT (one day a week). I was doing an 80 mile ride most weeks leading up to the final 200 miler. I would time myself up climbs early in the ride, to judge perceived effort(I’d ride slow). Not burning out early on is the key to riding longer.
Most of the “training” I did was around expected caloric needs, and if I could stomac the food while riding. Nothing but gels for 13 hours is pretty awful. Rice cakes are good. I used the recipe from that GCN plant based book. I’d ride fasted sometimes, and only start eating 2 hours into the ride (bonked bad once, but that helped me plan).
I’ve done 200 miles in the summer (supported). The light is good, but if the heat is too much you can get in serious trouble. On these long rides I always carry a Camelbak.
Good luck! I love long rides also. So much to explore.
I am always on mid-volume plans + additional Z2-Z3 rides (around 60-100km per ride). The ride itself is solo, but my partner will be on the road and will supply me whatever I need (drinks, foods, repair kits). Advantage is that I do not have to carry everything on the bike.
I am more afraid that I cannot make the “jump” from 250km to 350km, and that I run out of time literally on a day.
How early did you leave for your 200mi on the day?
Get some decent bike lights and start out before dawn…
This is the link to Audax riders thread.
You are correct going from 250Km ride to a 350Km ride may sound only another 62 miles. From my Audax experience, feeding/ hydration and electrolytes are critical. Not burning your matches too early in the ride. You do not say how much climbing will be in the ride. Typical rides i have done have 2500-3000m of climbs. I have done PBP with 11000m of climbs and 1240km.
My FTP is 250w and 75kg. The 27km/hr average sounds high if its a hilly course, if its flat and light winds should be doable. Start as early as you can (Early Audax is 6am) I have done 400km (Hilly) unsupported in about 18hours and carrying all my gear, and stopping in cafes and restaurants. Could have done this quicker, but sitting in one of the controls 10pm and heavy rain much nicer another coffee and cake. Plan for some low points.
For the solo ride I left at 4:48am(according to Strava). In the dark. I had two lights as I expected the charge to not last the whole ride and wanted another in case I was still riding in the dark.
For the supported ride we all left between 6:15 and 6:30 (different groups with different expected speeds). For that ride the sun was creeping over the horizon.
How much time did the 250k take? Its surprising how far you can really go if you just keep pedaling.
IMO training to eat on the bike is essential.
Miles 160 - 180 are the worst for me. Already mentally drained, but too far away to see the finish…
I did 540k in one go in 2019. My personal take aways from that:
- learn to ride slowly/pace yourself (especially when fit and on uphill sections)
- Ride often and don’t worry about the distance per ride
- Ride in all conditions you may encounter: early, late, dark, cold, hot, rain etc. etc.
- Get comfy and be critical about that. Small things may become horrible after 200km of riding. Shoes, socks, gloves, bibs, gloves, seat, bartape, position. Don’t just change all of them. You’ll know which after riding more often.
- Learn to eat on the bike. Bring you lunch while riding, figure out how to pack and unpack it and get a feel of what your stomach handles well. (p.s. low pace makes it easier)
- Electronics like lights and computers may go empty after X hours, have a batterypack and test that on your rides.
- Have a little strategy to keep yourself sane and awake. Stop and stretch every X hours/k’s, divide the distance, count people with yellow jackets or something silly.
- Do a longer ride well before (1 month or more) your event to figure out if you’ve got things covered. If not you have time to fix those things and recover and train for the main event
- Start fresh and go with the flow
Probably forgetting stuff…
Just reading a lot on fueling. And loss of cognative ability when not fueled affecting ability to make decisions. Worth having a couple of high energy caffeine Gel’s for that moment.
or stop at some nice country pubs on the way - if you are in the UK
If You ever do any Lucy McTaggerts (Start in Scotland) events, you will never see a Pub for all the hills she plans in the events
Most has been said already including the critical importance of fueling.
I’m on the side of the fence that doing some long rides leading up to the event are very helpful. Not only do they help train your energy systems, it allows you to really dial in the nutrition side of things. What works for 4 hours might not work well for 8 hours. Getting some big days in the saddle before hand is also going to give you a huge boost of confidence on the day of the event since you’ve already done it before and not going into unexplored territory.
The other important aspect of some long rides ahead of time is watching for any joint issues that might arise. I’ve had situations where I felt fine for 5-6 hour rides, but when I went longer that some issues arose that required some tweaking of my bike position. It was only with doing these long rides that the issues became unmasked.
a power meter could be useful here.
James Mark Hayden (like him up if you don’t know him) is using it as a pacing tool.
I think it is worth you expanding on what you are aiming for as an experience. This will impact on your decisions. In the UK a small number of cyclists do 12 hour timetrials and most exceed 200 miles. The winners often exceed 300. However, this is an entirely different experience to riding an Audax in a group, and then riding solo for 200 miles outside an organised event is another experience again.
Are you aiming to get it done as quickly as possible, fast machine, limited stops, on the bike nutrition, or are you aiming to enjoy the experience, use a memorable route, and not worry too much about the time?
I did a self-suppored 345km/3700m ride last year to a friend’s place. I was extremely lucky with a tailwind and managed to average 26.6km/h according to strava. Average power was 190w. I’m around 85kg and the hills were all of the shorter/steeper kinds. I did it in October and it was cool out but I started at 4am to get out of the city early. I hadn’t done an FTP test anywhere around that time but intervals.icu eftp was 300W.
I’ve done a lot of brevets over the last 5 years as well PBP and another 1200km ride. I did the century plan in TR in early 2019 (skipped base/build lol) and I think the helped me the most when it came to specific workouts or training types. I mostly just ride around now without any kind of intention or plan. Before that I’d just build up my time in the saddle and work my way through the populaires up to 200km and then onto the longer brevets. Never really worried about time aside from finishing under the time limits but I saw the biggest reduction in my brevet finishing times by learning how to be really efficient with my stopped time. I mostly drink pop at a stop and bring some candy and bread with me on the bike.
It depens on your budget. I didn’t have them during the ride, but the could have helped. Especially when you are well rested and heart rate reads low during the first hours!
If you can ride 220km, you can extend to 350km. The fitness training is basically the same.
The main differences on the day itself are pacing, nutrition, and bike comfort.
I did a 160 mile 12k feet gravel ride last summer. Moving time of 12:30 and average speed of 13 mph.
That was the longest ride I did last year by a ways. I had the fitness for it despite not doing anything “different” than my normal riding and training.
A few notes from the ride I did:
- Started and finished in the dark. Have lights.
- Took good breaks (15-30mins) every 2-3 hours
- Rode at a very conservative pace in the first half of the ride (this is really important)
- Drank a lot of fluids. Sometimes, feeling like forcing myself to drink vs feeling like I needed to drink
- Lots of different food choices. Bring more than you plan to eat. Some foods may start tasting a lot better than others as the day goes on
- Set my bike up with 45mm tires. Bigger = more comfortable.
- pick a route that avoids cars. Especially towards the end when you are tired. We had a stretch of riding on paved roads in the dark towards the end, and it was the most stressful riding of the day. It’s a lot less mentally stressful when you can enjoy open roads!