Race planning for a double century group ride

Hey everybody. I have a few long gran fondos scheduled for next summer. Granted they aren’t “races” but I wanna beat the brakes off the fellers I’m riding with. The first two are centuries, then a 205 mile ride (Seattle To Portland, anyone gunna be there?), I’ve used Best Bike Split with great success on my 50 mile group rides, and will definitely be using it for the long ones. My question is what is an appropriate IF for long days in the saddle? I’m sure like anything these will be highly individualistic, so I’m just looking for a starting point. My A race is the 205m, and my time goal puts me at .6 IF (of my projected FTP) which seems realistic. Is 12 hours at .6 IF reasonable?

0.5-0.6 is realistic.
With that amount of time in the saddle the bigger issues outside of just fitness are going to be bike fit and nutrition. I actually believe they will be a bigger limiter than fitness to be honest. What you can get away with and tolerate for 50 miles can become debilitating for 200miles. And if you can’t fuel properly your fitness won’t even matter.


I 100% agree with you. One of the guys I’m going with looked at me like I’m crazy when I told him keeping appropriately fueled will be harder than getting fit. I’m pretty happy with my bike fit and nutrition plan so far, I’ll use the two 100 milers to fine tune. Im much more “anxious” about finding the right nutrition/hydration strategy than I am about cranking out the miles.

I’ve found it’s a lot easier to eat enough, and keep an appetite, when the pace is a little slower than “race pace” - meaning if you plan to ride the 200 miles at the limits of your ability, nutrition can be hard to get right. Whereas if you dial the pace back 5-10%, nutrition can be more forgiving, and easier to stay fueled.


I think .6 is reasonable, but as noted hydration/nutrition will be critical to maintaining this over a long day. I did .61 if on a 26 hour everesting, and that ended up being a very workable pace for me. This was higher than I had planned, but I was able to keep that pace consistently throughout. I think starting out at the ‘high’ end of your estimated pace is likely reasonable - ie start out at .6 IF, and back off if that ends up being too much. I don’t think you will dig yourself into a hole too quickly at that pace, and you will have time to adjust down if need be. I was honestly expecting to have to back off from my slightly aggressive pace at the start, but that never happened.

Note that my experience was based on 25 minute climbs and 10 minute descents, so the variability index was high (153 NP, 93 average). I expect STP to have long stretches of steady output, so a lower IF may be required in that case. STP is on my someday list, but not for 2019 :slight_smile:



My second year target event was the 2017 Davis Double. Rode mostly solo, about 9400’ of climbing and I’m a big guy. Did 0.67 IF and 12.75 hours. Could have done sub 12 by losing more weight at 275 ftp was at 3W/kg on the long climbs, and drafting my shadow on the flats.

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.6 sounds reasonable to me. I did the STP for the first time this year and my IF was approximately .55-.6 and no pacing plan. I had some problems with my power meter (user error) and only had left leg data though.

I was also nervous about the nutrition and ending up in a bush on the side of the road. I fueled with simple sugars from gels/gummies/drinks because of previous shorter rides at higher IFs, but at .5-.6 it felt like I could have used complex carbs and fats as well. My biggest problem was mild dehydration. I forgot my bigger bottles in the fridge that morning and ended up using 2x 600 ml bottles. :grimacing:

It sounds like you know what you’re getting into so you’ll probably do great. It’s such a diverse group of people who do the ride that you’ll be more prepared than most.

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