Training for long, multi-day tour

I’m training for a 6-week tour from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Coast with Adventure Cycling. I will be riding 41 days with 5 rest days (one about every 9th day), average 52 mi/day (ranging from 32-85) and climbing an average of 2500 feet a day (1300-6000).

I started the plan this last November and input the tour as a multi-stage Gran Fondo (I’ve also done several metric centuries and a one-week cycling tour during this time, which I input as B or C races).

So far, everything’s been working. But as I look at the specialty plan (Century high volume) that starts in a couple of weeks, I see one VO2 max and 2 threshold workouts each week, bracketed by easy/endurance rides.

Frankly, I don’t think I’m going to need that much VO2 and threshold training. It won’t be a race.

My goal, each day, will be to conserve energy as much as possible, enjoy the ride, and keep climbs sustainable at or below threshold. And I’m thinking that what I really need to do is scrap the plan and just start training with outdoor rides that will mimic the mileage range and terrain that I’ll be encountering during the tour (starting at a lower % of time/elevation and raising it each week. I just recently retired, so I will have the time.



Still helpful for growing FTP and prepping for those times you don’t have low enough gearing.

I’ve got dozens of friends who have done 3 month, 80-110mi per day trips: Yes, you should of course work to get as fit as you can, obviously, but when you’re spending that long on the bike, all the comfort points really come into play too. Bike fit, hands, feet, neck, core strength. Couple that with eating constantly, sleeping well, and not blowing up early.

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So you think it would be better to stick with the structured training over creating my own “mimic” rides?

I don’t feel confident enough to give a “should.” If it were me, I’d generally be trying to 1)grow my FTP and 2) grow my ability to sit comfortably on a bike for long durations. I’d also be doing core strength work.

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Yep. Already working on all of the above.

Whilst I see no harm in following the TR plan, personally I’d be riding outside a lot in preparation for your adventure. Issues such as an uncomfortable saddle, sometimes only manifest after a few days of 4hr plus rides. Besides, long rides in the outdoors are great. If you don’t agree then you might not enjoy your trip. As always from me, my advice is ride really easy and let the suffering come to you. Don’t go searching for it. A big climb, 6hrs into a day will loom into view at some point. Feeling relatively fresh for it will make a huge difference.


How many back to back days of that distance with that climbing have you tried? How far away is your tour? As above, part of your training should be assessing you and your bike for the task you will be undertaking.

I agree with your sentiments that you are not ready to employ, ditching the VO2 work that is.

Long ass endurance rides takes on a different meaning when it’s required to get to a point. And knowing mentally that you can sit for the next 6,7,8 more hours will take you way further than having done a one hour HIIT session a times.

Getting comfortable on the bike will take you way further for longer than just having an improved FTP.

Ensuring you have multiple hand positions (aero bars should be considered) available to you, the skin on the saddle area has been put through its paces, knowing Shermer’s won’t be appearing due to increased load of same riding position, and using with air liners to gain some extra loss of psi and gain some comfort, knowing how much to fuel during long ass duration riding, these things will take you to the end quicker/easier.

When the skin in the ass cracks and the palms of your hands are tender, having an improved FTP is going to do what for you?

Stay practical to the cause of your ride, this ride, the long one which is not a race.


I am on the same plan as you. Mine is for a 700 km backcountry bikepacking race that is not until august. I did just finish a 1600 km trip from alberta to ontario. I would follow your program
You need that punch on a lot of the climbs you will have. An increase will never hurt you on a long ride. It will just make the overall trip more enjoyable. I did learn from this just completed trip that i need some longer days in the saddle. My butt is a little worse for wear.

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