TR plan for a MTB ultra-endurance competition?

Hi. I want to do an MTB ultra-endurance race, around 480 km / 9000 m D+ in 2 and a half days at the end of October. I do not want to compete, just to finish “properly”. I have 3 months to prepare for this event, but I would like to know what TR plan is recommended for this. Endurance is the most important feature here, so long training sessions are recommended, but you should cope with the difficulties associated with the MTB terrain. Can you recommend a training program, please?

apart from handling skills, this thread should get you moving in the right direction…


Fit, Bike setup, gear choice, and nutrition will all be MUCH larger factors than fitness. For the fitness aspect, pick workouts with longer duration intervals. Instead of SS work like Antelope(and it’s variants) pick workouts like Wright Peak(and it’s variants)


Use plan builder and select the Century specialty plan. After 5-6 hours the most important piece (fitness wise) is muscular endurance and the ability to just pedal forever which this plan targets.

You might be tempted by the XC Marathon plan but due to the length of time for your event, the Century plan is better.

The linked thread is full of excellent advice. @Samus basically outlined my training plan from the '90s for things like White Rim and other longer routes we used to do in one day for fun.

The cross-training he describes is very important if the event you’re doing will include walking and pushing your bike. It’s easy to get destroyed by pushing a loaded bike, especially at altitude.


Yeah I was talking to another self-supported ultra racer about how “I signed up to ride my bike not walk!” seems to misunderstand the race category. If you’ve registered for a self-supported gravel, MTB, bikepack, winter ultra, whatever, you better be ready to hike-a-bike. The funny thing is that hike-a-bike is often restful for your cycling muscles. Once you slog through and hop back on your bike you’ll feel like your muscles got a nice break. It’s the mental and upper body aspect that throws people for a loop.

For someone who really struggles with pushing, I’d suggest pushing a sled around a gym. One should also be comfortable picking up their bike and carrying it loaded w/ bags, water, gear, etc. I deliberately keep the top rear section of my frame triangle clear so I can more easily grab and lift my bike. There was a race I did with one mile of HAB through a mountain trail. We weren’t allowed to roll our bikes–they had to be lifted off the ground. Before the race I experimented with different ways to carry the bike on my back that would be sustainable over a long distance. It’s good to figure it out beforehand because when you’re tired and sleep deprived you’re not gonna be in the best state to find an optimal strategy.

1 Like

Wise words!

Back in the '80s and '90s guys like Roman Dial were my heroes. I never made it to Alaska but we built routes in CO and UT based on this aesthetic: A Wild Ride — Rad Trail

1 Like

Thank you for referencing this thread. It is really good!

1 Like

I contemplated the Arizona Trail bikepacking race ( for a hot minute a few years ago that includes a bike carry through the Grand Canyon. I think I’ve aged out of racing that one, but the training demands for being ready to carry your bike for ~24 miles at altitude are fun to think through for a tour.

Yeah, the AZTR is on my radar but I’m actually not great at hiking long distances due to an old knee injury. I’d probably have to haul some trekking poles with me.