I am currently using a hybrid bike, which weighs about 10kg (quite light for the category I've heard), and my longest ride has been 65km at an average of 18km/h in a mostly flat terrain. In this ride for many kms I had a big muscle pain in my legs; by the end of the ride, stopping at traffic lights was extremely painful. Also, it took hours at home to go from huge pain to just normal muscle pain. I do not think I could have gone even one kilometer further.
I was pedaling at a good cadence, aiming for 90rpm. At no moment I felt like instant burning in my muscles; I would choose easy gears to keep me in high cadence and light strokes; it felt relaxed. But still, after 35km I felt 'loaded'; after that the pain started to increase more and more.
I will participate in a race of 180km with a time limit of 9 hours (so I need 20km/h and I am fine with finishing in 8h59m, I just want to finish), 3 months from now.
So I roughly need to go a little bit faster and improve my endurance 3-fold in 3 months.
My current plans for improvement are (my bike is 500$ Giant Escape; nothing fancy):
- Buy clip-on aerobars. This should make me reach the speed I need, the terrain in mostly flat.
- Buy clipless pedals. To help me use different muscles. I do not know how much would this help with endurance. I hope 10% or so.
- Buy energy gels, I did not feel like I was lacking energy but I guess they will help. And on the race day I'll need them for sure.
What other gear, training techniques, and race day tactics can be used to improve endurance quickly?