We discover what the ultra-endurance rider has learned when it comes to tackling multi-day events…
I use a heart rate monitor and power meter, but it’s important to know how it feels when you go too hard.
Think about your ride in terms of time rather than distance covered — the same amount of effort could take you 200 or 250 miles depending on the weather — and break it into manageable chunks.
I use periods of four hours, but if you’re not covering as much ground each day you could use two-hour, one-hour or 30-minute chunks.
Fuelling on the bike is important, but for multi-day rides you need to take this seriously off the bike too.
Being disciplined about hydration is crucial, as any cyclist knows it can be easy not to drink enough, especially when it’s cold.
Make sure you’re hydrated before you start each day. From then on, you need to make it easy for the body to fuel and hydrate, and that means eating and drinking little and often throughout the ride.
Keep other distractions to a minimum so that when you’re not riding you’re recovering. In the case of my ‘Round The World In 80 Days’ ride I’ll be climbing off the bike each day at 9.30pm and be in bed by 10pm, then I’ll be up at 3.30am and out by 4am.
If you’re doing something like London-Edinburgh-London you can survive on less sleep for a few days. I’ll also be taking four 30-minute breaks per day.
4. Contact points
You will be putting pressure on your feet, hands/wrists and backside. Ensure that your bike is set up as well as possible for you, so as to balance the weight between those three contact points.
After that, just get out there and ride: your pain sensors will tend to transmit less as you ride more. I spend a lot of time on the tri bars as this really helps to distribute the weight through a bigger area.
5. Confidence is key
Riding big distances or riding day after day is about confidence. Most roadies train for 100–130 miles and are beyond their comfort zone after that, but you just need to adjust how you ride and give it a go.
Ride by time, not distance, and get lost in the ride and the world around you.
On 18 September 2017, Mark broke the world record for cycling around the world by 44 days, completing the ride in 78 days, 14hrs and 40 mins. Find out more about the ride at artemisworldcycle.com