Mulling over TABR

I am looking to hear about opinions and experiences (educated or even just sarcastic) on riding TABR, though have a few specific fears/concerns:

This is something I’ve been thinking over for the past year or so, and I’m slowly moving off the fence on. Timeline would be 2025-26 at the earliest due to financial and family realities, so still very far away with lots of time for things to change.

The vague training plan I am envisioning (based on prior experiences) would be to train for roughly 9 months leading into it with a coach, building to a few months of 20+ hour weeks/120+ CTL before hand. This would involve roughly a 6month sabbatical from work to focus on training. I’d also like to get out to like Denver or somewhere at altitude during the last weeks before to adapt to altitude a bit (theres nothing too crazy elevation wise, but there’s enough time spent north of 7000’ that I think it’d be beneficial. A friend of mine also got altitude sickness in Colorado when doing it before).

Experience wise, I guess I can call myself a relatively seasoned ultra-endurance cyclist now. I’ve done maybe 10ish 600k or longer brevets or races, and maybe 20-30 200-600k brevets/races. I did PBP this year and enjoyed it, sleeping a few hours in a hotel each night while not going too hard, and unintentionally ended up being one of the fastest riders from my country.

My fitness over the last few years is such that I’d normally aim for 30-32kph for a 200-300k ride (on flat ground). Last summer I peaked with an FTP of somewhere around 4.4w/k (eFTP from intervals mind you), but was cruising around 34-35kph solo for my endurance work. That was with a CTL peaking in the 60-70 range. I’d like to be at this level or higher if I do TABR.

The only goals I’d have for doing this are (in order): finish, enjoy the ride, finish in the top 10… based on recent years that’d be planning for riding 300-350k/d on average. In general, I am not motivated by competing with others, and draw most of my motivation from competing with myself, or helping others achieve their goals.

I’m open to any comments whatsoever as it all gets synthesized together into my decision making.

The things I have the biggest reservations on though are:

  1. Am I going to get bored riding the same roads for 20+ hours a week? How do you keep motivated to ride when it starts to turn into a job?

  2. Safety. The sheer volume of hours you spend on the road during these multiday events means there is a much higher absolute risk of a traffic accident than with normal road cycling. When you factor in fatigue or riding in poor conditions, the risk increases more. I don’t know if I’m being selfish by considering putting myself in that situation.

  3. Even if I take a sabbatical, will I still be able to be a functional husband and parent if I’m training that much? I am not willing to sacrifice my family for personal goals, and don’t want to get 6 months into this only to realize I’m a drain on my family in the process.

Valid concerns. A lot boils down to personal preference. If I were to take a sabbatical and embark on a project like this, It would have to be something with prettier scenery, less cars. If it has to be in the US, ToD is the standard.

To be honest, this event looks boring as hell.

There’s the bike nonstop event as well. It uses lower traffic roads. My only reservation with it is the volume and quality of gravel. I like riding gravel but not for thousands of km, and not when it turns into a muddy slogfest. And having thousands of km each of paved road and gravel makes tire choice really annoying - not interested in having to run a tire that’s “meh” on both road and gravel, just to be able to do both road and gravel with the same tire.

Know a few ppl who’s done ToD. I like the idea but I have enough experience with the backcountry from a prior life that I don’t like the idea of being in a situation where a bad decision could necessitate a HEMS rescue.

Trying to race this reminds of The Barkley Marathons. Training is obviously important but its just as much about how crazy you are. And i mean crazy in a fairly good way