MTB xc 12 hour solo race plan

My A race is currently looking like an entry for 24/12 down here in Devon. This is either 12 hours or 24 running laps around the XC course near Plymouth. At the moment I’m planning on entering the 12 hour solo class as don’t have any friends to do it, there’s a race paddock where you can stop nap and refuel as required.

I’m building a LV plan in plan builder (LV is best for me to add in endurance work and actual outside skills/fun rides) I have used xc marathon but that’s a quarter of the time racing. I’m trying to decide between the greater high power stuff from MTB or getting a bigger endurance from using grand frondo plans. I’m also throwing in some kettlebell and body weight training on endurance/free days.

I have no experience with long racing, nor expectations for position bar completing it. I’m open to suggestions on plans to use.

i do 8, 12, and 24 hour mtb events. trying to work up to a 24 hour mostly continuous. we’ll see. may never get there. i do sustained power build and century plan specialty. it was recommended early on by the podcast; i’m sure on this forum too. doing that with TR for 3-4 years now. works great supplementing with long weekend days. the v02 work in the other mtb specific plans put too much stress on me personally as i typically start doing back to back days ranging from 4/6/8 hour endurance on weekends 6 weeks out.

That all makes sense, and what I would have done pre plan builder but now using events and AT I need to let TrainerRoad do the magic for me.

So have added my two events (12hr in July '22 and a 55km MTB sportive thing in Oct '21) as XC marathons as they seem the longest mtb options. But since for the 12hrs at least I don’t plan to getting into the red too often and should be keeping things slow and steady I’m thing Grand Fondo to try and reduce some of the VO2 stuff and build a bigger gas tank.

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I trained up for a 100km XC Marathon last year using XC Marathon and it was perfect. I’m doing 160km this year (mainly singletrack and 4500m of climbing) and doing the same. All the numbers are better already this year so pretty happy. Just either doubling up the weekend rides (so one four hour of sweet spot rather than 2x2hours) or doing long scoping rides seeing as I live local to the course.


I race expert/Cat 1 XCO, XCM and MTB :100:. So far this year outside of my XCO race series, I’ve completed a 50 mile (3:40 hours) and a 100 mile (8:30 hours). In 2 weeks I have another 100 miler which is expected to take 10-11 hours (Shenandoah 100).

I use high volume plans and swap out Saturday’s with a trail ride (weather permitting) and Sundays with longer z2 ride (3-4 hours) on gravel. I would recommend General Build and whatever Specialty that mimics your course profile. The biggest difference for me was increasing my volume from mid to high.

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Sorry I deleted my prior over complex post! I was top 10 in Vets this year in your target race OP. essentially what everyone else is saying is correct - long base (z2) over winter, then move to Sweet Spot in Spring and Threshold in Summer always with long weekend rides at z2/3. Other than that:

a) Try to use your race MTB in the few months leading to the event for the long rides for familiarity and to get comfortable
b) Practise nutrition with mega carbs, 12hrs is a long time and your desirability changes
c) Sprinkle some 4-6hr events (Gorrick, Souther XC, MTB Marathons) over the year to prep and practice
d) Prior to a decent taper, make your last few rides long and in loops e.g. 7hr round and round at Z2 to get used to the mental issue if the same laps again and again
e) Prior to the race, practise with lights and at night, the last 3hrs will be dark, 4 if they extend it to a “long” 12.

Good luck and see you on course!

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My first MTB race, and more or less first time riding MTB, was at a 12 hour. I just showed up and rode. I had a peanut butter sandwich every lap (about once an hour). THough I did drop out around hour 9 or 10 when I broke the chain ($400, 40 pound hard tail I borrowed from a friend).

Just go have fun, use the first one as an experience on how to race long.

I have since won that series (3 races in a season) in the Open/Pro class.

I suspect with your experience you’d see me setting up my base van, near the start line and then you’ll be lapping me! Reading this I might be over extending myself and might try and find someone to partner with.

I’ve been looking at plan builder but can’t see how I can choose the bits used to make it up (maybe @IvyAudrain could confirm), so will just have to see and add lots of z2 one non plan days. Shame there’s not an ultra option in the events.

Going to ‘Training Plans’, then each phase, selecting the discipline/type you’d like, the volume, and then adding to your calendar is how to do this! Really using full Plan Builder and entering event dates is what we recommend, especially for use with Adaptive Training!

I was using plan builder (which with AT is pretty cool) - I was initially unsure of what to class events that are XC but much longer than Marathon races. I think I’m going to stick with tempo marathon events.

Thanks all.

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Powered by Croucher Beer?

Always :blush:


Don’t be put off. Go with JSTootells advice - it’ll be your first event so just rock up with no expectations and enjoy it.

For what it’s worth you’ve picked one of the UK most excellent weekends, great riding, loads for the family and kids, bit of a festival vibe with excellent facilities and an excellent spectacle of many 12/24 teams, pairs and solos racing through the arena.


I’ve lived in Plymouth for coming up to 20 years and I have been to the weekend back around 2006 just to party which was great fun.

I’ve missed MTBing for the last couple of years how technical is the course as of right now I’m struggling with drops/steep rolling/generally being scared which as I’m out solo currently I’m not pushing much cos I want to get home afterwards.

No need to worry its:

Fire road climb on double track gravel / grass, Rooty singletrack with short steep bits in the woods, more fire road joining single track. The main technical bit will be the Cottage Return section which is a few 3/4ft easy rollover lumps in bomb holes into some single track with embedded rocks, easier to navigate the slower you go. I’m no riding god and I recorded 46kmph down their last month on a Spark RC (100mm) and am still alive.

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As @kryton57 says, it’s great fun. I did a 24 hour solo there with very little experience. My skills dropped off as time went on and I got more tired and I did have a lot of bruises by the end of it. So I would say just go and ride what you feel like doing first time.
Have fun!

I do at least one 24 Solo as my A Race every year. Last year it went very well and I took the win. I did mid volume marathon plan back in the olden days before AT, and would sneak in an extra mtb ride every other week or so.
More important things on race day with events this long is nutrition and mentality. 12 hours is long enough to go from feeling good to really bad to good again. Just don’t stop putting fuel in and remember that the best part of endurance races is that all you have to do is keep moving forward, no matter how slowly you’re going forward progress is great.


I think this is one area where the TR plan catalogue is lacking and they should address. There’s no options for a 6+ hour/all day race, and marathon xc focuses way too much on spikey vo2 power to be effective.

I know their general opinion is that you don’t need to train long to race long and Nate did leadville without ever going over 2hrs or whatever…but there is something to specificity, and at the higher levels one does need to put in longer hours to do well in longer races and be able to pace them correctly and feed yourself correctly…etc.

For 10-12 hour events most of my sustained climbing is spent at mid-high tempo and I try to avoid going into sweet spot too much. Flats are generally spent at lower tempo to high endurance. Those zones come down a bit as the race extends. Raising your ceiling raises all those zones, but you do have to spend a lot of time in them and extended your time there to ideally be good at it.

I’d probably recommend doing traditional base, sustained power build and then either century specialty or full distance triathlon specialty. Seems funny, but it’s the one with the most real sustained tempo work, which is going to be the most specific for endurance cycling, imho.

Absolutely this, mentally and physically and for familiarity with the equipment and nutrition that you’ll be using.