Training for Epic Rides

This was my 2nd year on Colorado’s Triple Bypass, and I was terribly disappointed by my performance. (For those unfamiliar, the Triple is EPIC for someone who is only an enthusiast, 100+ miles and 10,000+ feet of climbing, with a lot of riding above 6,000 and even 7,000 ft.) I live at altitude and I trained super hard on Trainerroad and outside. Leading up to the ride, I was crushing 50+ mile rides with close to 6,000 ft of climbing. I did thr recommended taper. But when Triple day came, I just couldn’t hack it after about 5 hours. It wasn’t horrible, I just didn’t have the endurance. I don’t think it was hydration or nutrition, as I think I have that well sorted. I think it was just my legs getting tired.

So, to my question. Who has a strategy they like to train for huge rides, and what modifications to Trainerroad suggested training plans do you make? Thank you.


How were you pacing the climbs? When I’ve botched big rides and hydration hasn’t been the issue, it’s always pacing. The training is done already, you know where you’re at. Do you ride with power outside?

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Sorry to hear your Triple didn’t go well. I think we’ll need to hear more about what your training was before giving targeted advice. The one thing I noted (this may be an error when you were typing it up) but the low point of the Triple is 7.5k (and that’s at the end) with a high point of nearly 12k ft. I also did the Triple this year. I also live in Colorado–at about 5k feet–and on my training rides I rode up to 8k feet. I rode the Triple half by power but also influenced by RPE, aiming for low Tempo on the climbs, and I noticed on the higher reaches of Juniper Pass and even more for the Loveland Pass, I was hitting what would normally be mid-high Endurance numbers. Though I would have liked to go faster, I think that worked well for me. You mentioned that you live at altitude, but there are a lot of different altitudes to live at. For instance, someone living at the lower end of the altitude range for the race around 7.5k would still need to modify their pacing expectations down a bit at the top of the climbs.

My training was a low volume gran fondo plan with a lot of added endurance rides and long rides that went up into Tempo for climbs as I mentioned before. I did do a number of 85 - 100+ mile rides before hand which probably helped me (though I like doing that length anyway). Of course, you may not have had time for such long practice rides, and TrainerRoad does like to say that race/event mimicking practice rides aren’t necessary. I will also say that my big climbs were generally steeper than what we encountered during the Triple, which at least I think made the Triple’s climbs feel easier to me. My Triple time was actually only about 1:40 longer than my longest training ride (at least time in saddle–thanks to the aid stations, I spent more time off the bike, which I think helped).

I don’t think I would actually do the same training program if I had it to do over. At least, I want to try a specialty that’s more aimed at ultra endurance that does fewer high end workouts, and even more endurance and tempo–having those be stricter training rides rather than filler like they were before. I’m trying that out now (for a planned double century that will be–well, as flat as the terrain around here will allow). I think that will work for me because I have the time that others might not have, and I know it’s recommended by some people who do ultra endurance, but I’m sure results will vary from person to person.

Let us know more about your training and your time restraints and we’ll see if we have other thoughts.


I paced the whole ride with power on my bike. I was staying in zone 2, sometimes up to zone 3, but was very careful not to spend too long there. I also had long recovery times on the downhills. After about 5.5 hours, I couldnt really hold zone 2.

I live at about 6,000 feet. I train on climbs up to 10,000 feet regularly, and generally train on climbs that range from 4 to 7 percent, with a few spots that are 8 to 9 percent and above. I paced by power meter, staying in zone 2 and 3. I also montiroes my heart rate, and up until about 5.5 hours in, was able to carry conversations with fellow riders, albeit soemtimes with shorter sentences. Foregoing pacing included first 2 major climbs, i.e., Juniper and Loveland. To be clear, I finished. I just felt like I dropped off a cliff after the second climb. I stuggled to maintain zone 2.

I was high volume grand fondo, riding 8 to 10 hours per week across 5 to 6 rides. I started training in October 2022 for the ride in July 2023. I also felt Trainerroad emphasized too much VO2 max type stuff when i just need muscular endurance. I want to CRUSH next year. Not just finish.

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You said your nutrition was well sorted but what does that mean, how many grams of carbs per hour? Some ppl think 2 bananas per hour is plenty and start to bonk after 4 hours.

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To me that sounds like you didn’t do enough actually long rides. I’d do a really long ride maybe every two weeks, up to rougly the target event duration. Probably with less climbing, just time in the saddle.

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I don’t think most club riders in the UK would consider a century and 10,000 feet (3000 metres approx) particularly epic.

Based on the training rides you’ve described it really sounds like nutrition is your problem, there’s zero difference between a 50 mile and 100 mile ride other than eating more. How many grams of carbs per hour, and how did you carb load in the day and morning prior to the event?

Maybe it’s just the high altitude, but I doubt it.

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I don’t care what they “say” - TR plans are not good for “crushing” long endurance events without some additional long ride work. They are built around 2 hour or less trainer rides. I would add a long ride day at least every other week, if not every week. Focus on zone 2 and add some zone 3 in the last hour if you are feeling good. Start at half the length of goal ride and increase gradually until you are at least 80% of goal ride length/time.


I think this is likely your problem….and it is one of the issues I have with TR a plans for long endurance events. One of the key tenets of a good training plan is “specificity” and having your training mimic your event the closer you get to it.

In the Specialty phase of most plans, I think TR places too much emphasis on V02 max work and not enough on endurance. While it may work for some, in my experience, you are better off doing longer rides than shorter, high intensity ones.

I would be targeting rides of 80+ miles leading up to your event….and since the TB is basically a century, there is no reason you can’t bag a couple of centuries leading up to the event as well.

I have SBT GRVL next weekend, and in addition to having already done FNLD GRVL and Dustbowl 100 this year, I have done multiple 80-100 mile gravel days. I topped it off last Saturday with 120 mile trail ride. Now I just need to add another 20 miles and 8k feet of climbing. :crazy_face:


I followed the taper. Meaning? Those short hard V02 and sprints for the week before the event?
Since your legs didn’t have it I would they were not rested. You mentioned this was your second TBP. How did it compare to your first one ?

Disclaimer: I’m 72 and need extra rest before these kind of 100 mile all out rides.

Very similar thoughts to what many of the others have posted. Working on long ride at Z2 pace are key to big events like this. They make you metabolically much more efficient. However it takes time for this to develop, really years rather than weeks or months. But if you stick with it, you will build a really strong aerobic foundation that can carry you through many EPIC rides.

Intervals are still important and mixing in threshold and VO2 max days will help raise your aerobic ceiling, but they shouldn’t be over prescribed. A couple days a week of some intervals and then filling in the rest with Z2 efforts will make you really strong in the long run.

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I totally agree with this. I’ve Everested three times (1 x virtual and 2 x real world); while I’ve used TR as the basis of my training for these efforts, you can’t expect to train for 18 hours in the saddle by riding (up to) 2 hour sessions in the garage. I have always added in long steady rides, building to 100 / 120 mile rides, plus at least one 8 / 9 hour ride. In fact the virtual Everesting was in prep from my first real world, road Everesting …

The way I’ve used Plan Builder is to set the event, let it do its thing (always low volume), then manually add in the endurance rides. Seems to work.


I’ve also found that long sweet spot efforts like those in the More Sweet Spot team collection (Log In to TrainerRoad) help with fatigue resistance for 100+ mile rides. Did a 150 mile ride Saturday and was not destroyed.


I ride a lot of long distance hilly rides, or otherwise known as Audax. What I’ve found helps is a couple of interval sessions per week, and then use the other days of the week to work on your endurance and also some strength and conditioning work. Sitting that long on a bike requires a fair bit of core strength and muscle endurance.

One thing that helped me this year, was to do my interval sessions in the week, on a Tuesday and Thursday and then at the weekend do back to back days and gradually build the distance up, so you might start with 100km Saturday and 50Km on Sunday, then 120km Saturday and 80km Sunday and maybe after a month or so drop down to one day at the weekend but make it a really long day and then get a few days good recovery before going again. It’s surprising how quickly you can get up to quite long back to back days this way.

I’m currently doing a low volume Plan Builder plan, but I switch the third workout for a long outdoors ride on the Saturday, unless the weather is rubbish and even then I may decide to do a longer sweetspot session rather than say a 90minute over/unders workout. Given the increasing popularity of gravel events and longer distance or even multiday events, it does surprise me that TrainerRoad hasn’t got a plan for this sort of thing, as nearly everybody on here who comments on these sort of threads always seems to say that whilst they use TraineRoad they heavily modify the plans as there is too much focus on intensity.


Hey there! Nice work getting through the Triple Bypass. Anything that’s 100+ miles and 10,000+ ft of climbing is pretty dang epic in my book!!

Do you recall your fueling strategy for the event? You mentioned that you thought it was “well sorted,” but I’m curious to know how much you were taking in – especially during such a long ride. Nutrition plans can make or break epic rides like this, which is why I’m interested to learn more details about what you were eating and drinking.

Regarding your training, we do truly believe you can crush a big ride like this without having done the full duration beforehand. Targeting the right energy systems is key to getting prepared. I took a look at your TR Calendar and it looks like you were generally consistent – something we love to see!

The Fondo plan looked to be a good fit – you got plenty of Sweet Spot, Threshold, and VO2 work that you needed to build up your fitness for this kind of ride. Even if you didn’t spend much time at VO2 max power during the ride, the fitness you developed from those workouts was still helping you.

To address @KonaSS’s point, we don’t try to dissuade athletes from doing longer rides, especially if their goal event is a longer endurance race. In fact, we advise athletes to experiment out on the road with some longer rides (though “longer” may not necessarily be the same distance/time of the goal event) in their training if they have the time to do so.

Getting out on longer rides can be a great way to test out your nutrition/hydration strategy, familiarize yourself with your equipment in the real world (for example: does your saddle still feel comfortable after 2, 3, 4+ hours?), and have plain ol’ fun riding outside.

Remember, though, that these longer rides can be stressful and fatiguing. While they can be helpful, overdoing them or doing them too often may be counterproductive to your overall training.

Finally, keep in mind that this was just one single day. I know I personally have had races where I should have been fit as a fiddle on paper, but just had a stinker of a day when the time came to pin on my number. If you’ve been crushing 50+ mile rides with 6,000 ft of climbing, it sounds like your fitness is on the right track – and was on the right track going into the Triple Bypass. If you’re feeling stronger than you were at the start of your training for this race, then that’s still progress and you shouldn’t let one “off” day discourage you too much. :muscle:

Here are some additional TR Blog articles we have that are relevant to this discussion:

Hope this helps! Looking forward to hearing more details about the ride so we can help you dial things in even further.


The ride I targeted last year was Chase The Sun, 200 miles from one side of UK to the other from sunrise to sunset. I tried to follow the low volume plan builder plan as closely as possible. Due to family and work commitments, I only did a few outside rides,and it meant I missed the scheduled workout (which I kept thinking meant that Coach Jonathan would be saying that I wasn’t being consistent). In the ride, I got to the halfway point and called it quits, I was getting slower and slower and made the tough call to quit and catch a train home.

That experience really knocked my confidence and motivation. I know TrainerRoad works. It’s certainly got me fitter. But how come it hadn’t got me in a position to complete, let alone crush? What did I need to change, what did I need to maintain?

This year, I stuck with low volume, plan builder again but I made a deliberate decision to make sure I included some outdoor rides (even if it then looked like I wasn’t following the plan). I rode outside at least once a month and increased mileage each time, starting from 50ish and the next time 60ish. I didn’t do full distance but did two rides over 100 miles (105 and then 111) where I tried to push the pace and the last ride was 3 weeks before.

I did successfully complete the ride (about 2 minutes before sunset :joy:) and I made sure that I took the first half rather easily, my mantra was light feet light feet, so that I wasn’t pushing hard. I’m sure there are other factors, like nutrition and mindset and core strength and tyres and inflation pressure. But the outside rides gave me confidence, gave me handling practice, gave me confidence I could hold my position, gave me confidence that I could cope with eating and fuelling, gave me confidence that the indoor training was working.

So stick with TrainerRoad but add in some outdoor rides. You’ve got one hell of a motivation for next year. Best of luck😎


I my own experience you need long endurance road miles in order to succeed at long duration events.
I trained for the Marmotte this year and used the Gran Fondo plan mainly for the Base (High Volume) and build period (I switched to Mid Volume) and whenever the opportunity arose I would get a long Z2/Z3 ride in the mountains at the weekend.

When the weather improved I trained outdoors and build up my long weekend spin from 100km to 160km about 3 weeks before the event.

Even with those long endurance miles in the legs I suffered badly for the last 2 hours of the event and was so relieved to make the finish.

Next year I plan another big Gran Fondo (maybe Marmotte again) as my A event and will again follow the HV SSB plans and possibly some of the build to raise FTP. From there my focus will be raising my ability to ride for extended periods at 78-82% FTP. In training I could ride comfortably at 80% for the 2 - 2.5 hour range but never extended beyond that timeframe. In the event I fell apart after putting in about 2.5 hours at 80% which makes sense as I was entering untested territory.

Like you I did question the value of Vo2max focus in the weeks/month leading up to the event. I pretty much spent the entire event well below FTP.

At my age and with 15 years competitive cycling behind me I am unlikely nudge FTP or Vo2max any further and feel my time would be better spent with extending time at low tempo levels.


I don’t know your training/endurance sport history but I’d say you simply do not have the endurance yet for the distance and pace. Everyone has a zone 2 but this does not mean that they can ride at it for hours. Even zone 2 has a time to exhaustion. And when we’re honest aren’t our zones too high anyway. Good for the self-pride but not necessarily fully realistic.

Falling off a cliff after a couple of hours in these events is a clear sign of going somehow to fast for the current endurance level. The optimal pacing strategy is something that comes with experience.

For the endurance component, all you can do is ride your bike a lot. And this is not built within one season, this type of endurance is built over years. Of course, it depends on the individual training history.


I felt similarly for quite a long time….but through a combination of structure and volume, I bumped my FTP from ~260 to 277 last year. This was after almost 30 years of riding and racing.