Pacing 100 mile events

Just finished a 100 mile single track race a few days back. It was my first experience using a power meter for this type of event. I aimed to maintain between 60-77% of my ftp for the duration of the race which I was able to hold. Final average power was 65% of ftp for a elapsed time of 10 hours.

However, despite trying to be more analytic and focusing on training power and incorporating structured interval training I basically finished at my average for this event.

I did feel stronger at the end than at I have at previous rides of the course but staring at my power meter didn’t do anything to help my time.

What are others experiences with using a power meter for a long event? What percent of ftp do you try to maintain for a 10ish hour event?

For anything other than a TT I’ll ride on feel and enjoy the event with only the briefest glance down at power and my %max HR occasionally to correlate with.


For a long event, I only look at heart rate. Not power.


If it is mostly true singletrack and not fireroad and more open riding, I find a power meter not very useful during the race. I race by feel. Do the start necessary to put you in the placing you desire, sometimes it is beneficial to burn a match or two. Then I try to break the race down into sections, at least 2, maybe 3 or 4 and I try and do a negative split (again by feel). So if it is 2 halves - first half hard but doable, the second half give her the beans!

If you are going to use a measurement for pacing, think heart rate is better. But mostly, trust your feel-o-meter.

1 Like

Use power for maybe the first 10-20 mins to ensure you don’t go out too hard, then just ignore power. The only exception may be if you have extended 10+ minute climbs maybe you set pacing strategies.

Every time I’ve tried to pace 100 mile MTBs by power I’ve always been slower and it gets discouraging towards the end. When I use RPE I’m faster.

1 Like

Long rides like this are best done on feel and are a mix of riding within yourself and eating properly. (= Lots and regularly)

A power meter might be useful if you are front of pack racing it but i think at 10 hours you’re best just going on feel.

{I don’t have a PM on my MTB so i have no choice]

1 Like

But you finished stronger…so from an inverse POV, it did kind of help improve your time. Had you finished as tired as previous efforts, you would have finished faster.

Just putting on a PM won’t you any faster automatically…it is a tool that requires experience to use properly. You now have a great starting point for reference…you know you can go .65+IF and still finish within your capabilities. So next time, shoot for .70 IF and see how it works out for you.


I really only pay attention to pacing by power on climbs when I start feeling like it’s going to be longer or steeper than I normally train for and my HR starts going past threshold.

Thanks for all the input. It was an interesting experiment and does give more data for future events. I think RPE with monitoring HR occasionally will continue to be my go to.

Can I ask why this will be your “go to” (other than familiarity)? The power meter can be a great pacing tool…you just need to log some data / experience to be able to full utilize it. Once you you do, it is a superior pacing option because the numbers are objective, while HR and RPE are subjective.

1 Like