Prepping for a Bikepacking Trip


I would like to ask for people’s opinions on the best approach to training for an upcoming bikepacking trip. I have a 3-day trip planned for the first weekend in March (25 days from today), covering about 30 miles and 2500 ft of climbing per day, with most of the climbing on the first day. We will be full loaded with water and gear so the bikes will be HEAVY.

I have trained and road a lot for the last few years, but I have been off the bike for the last 75ish days due to various reasons (COVID, buying a house, travel, holidays, etc.). I have done two endurance rides in the last week, and my fitness… is trash… obviously.

I am mainly wondering what my approach should be: should I focus on getting as much Zone 2 as I can, with maybe a few high-intensity rides/polarized type sessions closer to the trip, or should I lean more towards Low Volume SSB1?

I would appreciate your input!

When I go bikepacking I find I’m often going much slower and lower geared than for the same bit of road unloaded (not exactly surprising) since your fitness isn’t great but it isn’t massive distances per day so going slower won’t use up all the daylight as well as general fitness I’d look at your gearing.

Get a smaller, maybe much smaller, front ring. If you spin out going down so be it but heavily loaded no one has ever complained about having an easy bail out gear.

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is your new BFF

As far as training, it’s hard to train for bikepacking because you will be doing 8-12 hour days on the bike. Just eat a lot and do the best you can.

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For the most part, since this sounds like a recreational trip and not a race, and you only have 25 days, just riding is enough. You could run plan builder and call your trip a stage race. Opt not to add leg openers.

  1. It depends if this is on pavement, gravel roads or MTB trails how long this 30 miles will take to ride each day. But you can gradually increase the length of your weekend rides towards this amount of time in the saddle.
  2. Try to do 2 days per week of rides back to back to get accustomed to riding while not fully recovered.
  3. When you’re ready for specificity: Definitely get all of your gear together as you would for your trip and do a short overnighter. You could even just park 2 hrs from a campsite - so 2 hours in and 2 hours back. If you don’t have time for that, just plan a day ride with gear.
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This is mostly dirt/sand. So I will be bringing my 2.8" MTB and already got a 32/52 on there. Spin to WIN! Haha.

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We are actually doing a modified version of this loop. Love that website!

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Training is training.

Your history of training, your available time to train and recover, and so on determine what the best training plan will be for you.

I would choose the most relevant race type and use Plan Builder to make the decisions for me.

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Yea it is 100% recreational. Lots of stopping, taking pics, hangin’ kinda vibes.

It is about 40% unpaved/sandy.

So feels like I should just be stepping up my volume a bunch but keep the general intensity low. I have bikepacked before and have ridden this “rig” a few times with this setup. So I have a pretty good idea of how it rides/handles. I think the added weight will be the biggest thing. We have to carry almost all of our water and food.

Just coming off a 75 day break I want to use the time I have as best I can. If a few days a week at higher intensities is better or more days a week at lower intensities is better…

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Yes, I think you would need some easy long spins in z2, long tempo intervals and/or sweet spot, gradually doing longer and longer intervals over the next 3 weeks, because of the long climbs on your route. TR plan builder should figure all of that out.

That route and the whole adventure sounds awesome!

I’ve got a 28 front, 46 rear on my bikepacking mtb and use that ratio a lot and my setup isnt even that heavy plus I’m pretty fit. Food for thought?
Training for me is plenty of shakedown rides with full kit. Find those gremlins now! Otherwise, lots of z1-2 rides. I prefer to ride as often as possible so an hour a day easy peddle for example is what makes me nicely conditioned.
Water filtration and knowing where you’ll be able to resupply can reduce your burden massively.

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I’d hope not for 30 miles, as you’re in walking pace at those durations.

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Concentrate on the basics in the short time you have available. Firstly make sure you’re getting in as much volume as you can. Then sprinkle in the odd bit of intensity. Since off road requires more technical handling skills make sure to get some off road riding in , forest trails whatever is near you.

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