What (if anything) can I do in the next 2 weeks to feel strong late in a 5+ hr ride?

This year has been a bit of a challenge, since I had Covid over Christmas and sick a few times since requiring antibiotics. I’ve still managed 120 hrs on the bike through April 30th, I’m down 30 lbs from 1/1/23 and watts are up! Sitting around 2.8 w/kg which is huge for me since I’ve been struggling with weight for a while.

I did my biggest climbing ride ever on Sat (profile below and closer to 6k ft per TR). I’ve done half a dozen 100mi rides over the last few years (plus a bunch of 100km rides), but this was my longest ride YTD. I felt great through the first 4 hours but then hit a wall, so the last climb was a real struggle. Moving time was 5:20, the first 4 hours I was comfortably maintaining an IF of 0.72 but ended with an overall IF of 0.69.

My next big ride planned is noted below. Slightly shorter, but more elevation. I’m guessing this will be in the 5-5.5 hr range.

I don’t think fueling was the issue…had pancakes/syrup ~ 2.5 hrs before the ride and aimed for 80-100g carbs through the ride. I can probably ride ~10 hrs/week which is on par with my recent training. I’m aiming for some 2 hr rides on weekdays and I can probably do 4 hours next Saturday. The ride is the following Saturday.

I’m not expecting miracles, but is there anything you can recommend that could help me feel stronger after the 4 hr mark for my ride in 2 weeks? Should I throw in some sweetspot and/or tempo on my shorter weekday rides? Maybe change my pacing to go really easy for the first few hours like an IF of 0.65 and ramp up a bit later?

Any tips are appreciated!


Two weeks?!

Kudos on the biggest ride ever and all the other achievements! The “wall” sounds like under fueling or pacing it a bit too hard to me (or a little bit of both).

I’d say make sure you’re well rested and are able to shed all accumulated fatigue before your event, especially if you’re on the tail end of a big loading block. I also wouldn’t try to loose a single gram of bodyweight until then and fuel adequately. Maybe use those two weeks to fine tune your nutrition/hydration strategy.

In short I think you’d have more to loose than win by trying anything big this close to the event.


From a training perspective, likely not much. Your goal would be to increase your overall endurance, which takes the longest time to build. 2 Weeks is not going to give you a sufficient timeframe.

AGreed w/ @Slowsher that you should focus on arriving to the ride fresh vs. trying to cram some additional fitness into a tight window.

And focus on proper pacing.

Based on your other ride data, I think you are gonna be fine. :+1:t2:


You’re probably right! I definitely appreciate the insight. It probably doesn’t help that I’m used to flatter routes closer to home.

Thinking back, I don’t think it was my legs that gave out as much as just everything. Not a “bonk” per se, but just kinda my body saying…why are we still doing this?? :rofl:


Good stuff for sure. Thanks!

I hear you about trying to cram fitness … that wasn’t what I was trying to convey but I see how it reads like that!!

It’s been a challenge to maintain a proper plan while getting sick a few times, so I feel like I don’t know how to think about riding opportunities for the next few weeks.

I’ve been aiming for 2 interval days and then Z2 as the schedule allows. I’ll probably stick with that this week then maybe a bit of Z2 next week with an eye on being fresh for the ride.

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What was mention already. Endurance. Also try to not over do it the week before your event. You will not lose anything. You will gain freshness.

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I would focus on MAP intervals (5min or 6 min) and else do endurance. Id get 3 sessions in in the next 10 days then back off for a couple days before the event to recover.

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Like others have said I’m not sure there is a lot of work you can do that will make a big difference in two weeks but you can definitely make it more difficult with fatigue. You probably want to work on pacing in the first half and really focus on being under threshold if not straight up Z2.

Since this is gravel I wonder if there is anything you can do with your setup. My first two thoughts are gears and tire pressure. Ideally you should have gearing that will allow you to maintain a relatively higher cadence on the climbs. My small ring up front is a 32 and the big ring on the back is also a 32 which is easier than most road bikes for sure. I did two gravel events two weeks apart in March and just running lower pressure made the last hour of the 2nd event much more enjoyable. I have pathfinder pros in 42mm and I was running just over 40psi for the first event, brought that down closer to 35 for the 2nd and was just much more comfortable and felt less tired and beat up at the end.

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You fitness is essentially baked in at 2 weeks out. Possible to move the needle a little with sprintervals but you really need to know yourself and response to such work. Wouldn’t recommend that at this point.

I’m perennially 2.8-3.0W/kg and recently did 6500’ climbing on a Sunday. If you had more time, I have a list of what works for me on subcompact gearing (Shimano 50/34 crank and 11-34 cassette, or SRAM 46/33 crank and 10-33 cassette). Basically it involves some low cadence work for a month or two, mostly at endurance pace (zone2 and zone3 power).

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Looking at the ride profile, when was the 4h point? Was it just at the biggest climb? There was a smaller, but steeper climb just before too. That can zap energy. If so, I wouldn’t read too much into the duration issue. Just focus on not going too hard in the beginning, and fuelling well from the start.


Yeah I think that “hitting the wall” feeling at around ~4 hr was just before the biggest climb. The preceeding climb was also hard so that probably tipped me over the edge. I’m sure you’re right…would have been better off starting the day a bit easier but I was a bit over-confident about my timing.

@WindWarrior Thanks for the tip on low cadence work. I’ll try to bake some in after this event. I have a few more events lined up this year with some serious climbs.

@jiffylush You’re so right about gearing! I’m running an Eagle mullet and need every big cog I can fit :rofl:

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“I’ve never met a lower gear that I didn’t like” - @ambermalika


Staying on top of nutrition, pacing, not burning any unnecessary matches in the beginning of the ride. Future, and this is what I see work well, 4 hour rides with steady state intervals in the beginning, 2 hours of z2, steady state at the end. So, I try and do 2x20 or 2x15 at SS/threshold after a 20 min warmup (7-10 min recc between intervals), then 2 hours of z2, finish off with 2x20 or 2x15 steady state (ss/threshold) at the end of the ride.)
I also just do 5 hours at z2 and any sort or riser, I try roll those strong esp at the end of the ride.

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These are great ideas. Thank you!

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This is easier said than done, but try to get more sleep? As others have mentioned, two weeks out your fitness is what it is at this point but you could likely impact recovery to some degree.


Pancakes and syrup are really not that great for pre ride, unless they are from some unrefined flour at least. I have always had major crashes from that kind of breakfast.

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I’ve had great luck with Kodiak Cakes (whole grain and protein). I’m sure everyone’s different but that’s rocket fuel for me on a 2-3 hour ride :pancakes: :pancakes: :pancakes: :pancakes: :pancakes:

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@FrankTuna there is probably nothing I could suggest other than recover hard during this two weeks. I just wanted to add a note to this thread to encourage you to take a moment to celebrate a little bit. Already, your training has been pretty successful.

I don’t care what happens at your event, you should let yourself feel good about those training results.


Thank you @Brennus !!

I still have a way to go to reach my goals but it helps to stop once in a while to be happy with the progress I’ve made!

I genuinely appreciate the helpful folks on this forum :sunglasses::star_struck:


In 2 weeks you really won’t gain any fitness but you certainly can put yourself under too much fatigue. So I wouldn’t try to do any more volume or intensity than you’re used to.

I would try going a touch easier in the first half. Depending on how you actually rode it, you may be able to ride at the same average power but avoid any larger spikes.

For nutrition, maybe try having a larger dinner the night before. Then if you don’t have any gut issues, try eating a bit more. So instead of 80-100g/hr, try more like 100-110g/hr. It can make a huge difference.

But I think the pacing will be the biggest thing. 0.72NP is pretty hard for 4 hr. Certainly doable but not easy for most people.

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