Recently my interest was piqued with a very long tour: http://tourdivide.org/

Being time constrained by an 8 hour job, how does one train for a ride that will require 160 kilometers (100 miles) per day for 30 days?

  • There have been a number of similar questions recently -- I'm guessing that several "duplicates" will be identified by others. But basically you need to do a few 100 mile days, as close to back-to-back as you can. Then, after a week on the tour, you'll be (after a rest day) "conditioned" for the rest of the ride. May 31, 2012 at 17:26
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    @DanielRHicks: Most of the similar questions I've seen have been about training for single-day distance, not multi-day or multi-week rides.
    – freiheit
    May 31, 2012 at 18:08
  • That's well into some serious endurance training. If you really want to be successful at it, I'd recommend talking with and signing on with an endurance coach. Talk with local sports (bike/running/multi) shops and triathletes to get the skinny on who the good coaches are.
    – Ken Hiatt
    May 31, 2012 at 19:27
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    (With regard to that specific tour, it sounds like some challenging terrain, and not the place to "cut your teeth" on high-mileage touring.) May 31, 2012 at 22:13
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    I agree with @DanielRHicks. The Tour Divide is not something you want to start on this sort of path with. You'll definitely want to get some centuries and a double century or three under your belt first, then use some vacation days to do a 50mi/day week-long tour. Don't underestimate how difficult this ride is. Jul 16, 2013 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


I confess, I have not done this kind of ride. But I know a few folks who have done some long ones: Vancouver, BC to San Diego; San Francisco to the Mexican Border; the 999 Ride, and so forth.

I will tell you a few things they passed along to me.

  1. You can get some really nasty saddle sores from this kind of riding. Make sure you have some really good shorts or bibs, and some good chamois cream. Once this kind of injury has occurred, it doesn't heal overnight. It also may help to get out of salty, sweaty kit as quickly as possible, and rinse/wash both your body and your kit. Some people are more sensitive to salt on their skin than others; if you're sensitive, take good care of your skin.
  2. You will need to train hard for this. Since your link specifies that the ride is self-supported, you should train as you plan to ride. If you plan to carry panniers on your bike, for example, you should train with these. Fully loaded, even if you use bricks or weights or something.
  3. Saddle time is essential, but you can use short-but-intense rides to help train. The people I know who do these long-distance rides know every steep, hilly route around here, and they ride them. Frequently. As in 250 miles per week (do the math on that, if you're averaging 10 mph because of all the climbing, that is a lot of hours on the bike).
  4. Plan on carrying spare tubes, a spare tire, and extra spokes, especially if you have funky wheels that use proprietary spokes (Easton and Mavic come to mind). Make sure your wheels can do this kind of loaded touring.

You do not mention any particular experience with this kind of riding, so you may want to do some shorter rides-- 500 miles or whatever-- before attempting such a long, hard ride.


I have ridden 200km dailyfor ten consecutive days, in the French Alps, in a timed event. I trained for it by riding 60, then 70, then 80 hours in months -3, -2, -1 respectively, and came 4th out of 40. How you fit in such saddle-time in is up to you.

NB: for a 30-day event you'll get stronger as it goes on, as long as you start conservatively and eat and sleep well each night.

  • 15 hours/week sounds about right for the start of that regime, but I'm guessing you were young and fit to start with?
    – Móż
    Jul 16, 2013 at 23:37
  • I was 48; a little older but fitter by the end! Jul 19, 2013 at 12:36

If you are doing loaded touring on windy and/or hilly roads you may only average 8 mph, so you might be in the saddle a lot longer.

To be comfortable on a bike for that long you need only a few things: good shorts, a good saddle, good chamois cream and reasonably strong legs.

Padding in normally bad for both the saddle and the chamois in your shorts as it allows pressure to be placed on more of your skin. You really want most of the pressure to be on your Sitz bones (ischial tuberosity). You need a good cream to keep you from chafing or getting saddle sores (boils). The stronger your legs are the more weight you can keep on them and off your saddle.

As for training, if you can ride for 2 hour with out ANY discomfort you should not have trouble riding 100 with a higher level of discomfort.

The problem I see you having is that you are going to be on the edge of your distance everyday and won't really be able to enjoy the trip. I would cut the distance in half and enjoy myself along the way.

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    I disagree with the 2 hour no discomfort -> 100 [mile] with discomfort. Even at a good clip, say 25 mph, which most of us probably are not going to average across a century, you get a four hour ride. Doubling (or more realistically tripling or worse) the time in the saddle and the time the legs are pumping is probably not a recipe for success. This is even more so in this case as the question is to do "tour" style rides with many centuries in a row.
    – Ken Hiatt
    May 31, 2012 at 20:53

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