24h training

Hello all,
I am planning on going to a 24h race in may.
I have a quite good level on long distance races

  • one century with luggages - may 2022 - 12h
  • a 200 k BRM with 2000 m D+ - may 2023 - 12h50
  • several 100 k+ (4 between 100 and 120 k) between 2019 and 2022

I want to make the best result possible (at least 350-400 k, hoping for 454).

As anybody advices on how to train for it ?

I know I have to train long distance (at least several times 100k, and a few centuries), but I don’t really know what else I can do.
I usually do muni on the week ends (4-20 k on saturday afternoons and 25-40 k on sunday mornings), and I go to work with my road uni (6 k every morning and afternoon).

I currently ride a kh29 for muni and a custom 29er with 75 mm cranks for touring and races, but should receive a kh26 schlumpf quite soon (will be mounted on my touring uni as soon as I get a rim, probably a few months from now).


I’m not posting to advise, I’m posting to congratulate and encourage you. I don’t know anyone riding more than you, I can’t imagine coming up with more time to train. Best of luck.


There is quite a few people riding more than me, starting with the long time travellers (Becky, Ed Pratt and so on…) and a few motivated guys (I think Ken Loi and a few other persons).

Anyway, thank you for the congratulations and even more for the encouragement.


I can only report on my experience from the 24h record in 1991.
The worst thing was the uncomfortable saddle (back then there were those uncomfortable steel bar saddles with a steel plate and a few mm of foam and two terrible side nuts that rubbed through the clothes). Do everything you can to make it as comfortable as possible. Training: 100km is good. Try time steps. Train for more and more hours. Start with 3 hours, drive 6 hours and do a 12 hour drive at least once. That way you know what the halfway point feels like, it gives you motivation and it’s not an unknown factor. After that you only have to do this 12 hour drive twice (although the second 12 hours are of course much worse).

Think about your knee joints. Make it so that it is as comfortable as possible and rolls well. There will be cranks that are too short and those that are too long. Keep the load at the optimum, otherwise you can be punished with pain.

(translated by google :wink:


Thanks for the answer.

I will probably be going with a G29 and a spare wheel with 75, 89 or 100 mm.
I don’t know yet which crank length I will use on the G29 since I don’t have the hub yet (should receive it next week), but it will probably be 125 mm.

I should have a support team so if I feel that my setup is not good, it should be possible to switch the geared wheel to the ungeared one during a eating break (for a hot light meal beside the cereal bars I will be eating will riding). And they should be able to change the crank length of the ungeared while I’m riding the geared one, so crank length shouldn’t be a problem.

For the long rides, I will definitely do them during the upcoming months (at least a few 100 k), and will try to push distances and saddle time until the event day.

And I will try to borrow a running track to train for long times on flat ground.


I can only give you some ideas from what ultra runners do, I don’t have much experience in actual ultra events (other than doing quite long Muni and bike rides for fun).

Practice long distance, but don’t overdo it. Training effect from very long sessions is not good compared to the damage it does, the main reason to do it is practicing race day nutrition/skincare, find any issues with clothes or your equipment and prepare yourself mentally.
So absolutely do a few 6-7 hour rides, maybe even go up to 12 once, but not so much that it becomes your main form of training, better to increase your fitness with shorter but more frequent efforts.
Practice your nutrition during those longer rides, find out what food you can reliably eat constantly. Many people make the mistake of eating sugary gels for the first time ever in their life during sports events and then their stomach disagrees and that turns into trouble… (For example, I know that I can eat bananas and cereal bars pretty much the whole day, other fruit like apples can become an issue if I eat too much of them).

Typical training structure would be to start a training cycle you’d do some work at higher intensity (/speed) with lower volume to increase your thresholds, then as you get closer to your event do more training at the intensity you will have at the event at more volume.


This 24hr challenge of yours is so interesting and inspiring to me. Good luck and keep posting your progress please. (I’m interested in what works and what doesn’t work for you)

Recently on Sun Nov 12, I completed my first 100km ride on my KH36. Total elapsed time 12 hours.The following week, I was pleasantly surprised to feel ok to commute to work 4 x 15km. And then joined a charity ride with work and completed 90km.
Total 250km in 8 days…my current limit (Physically and Mentally)

I took a week off, riding just short rides to/from the station to work on my KH29. (I can’t ride long distance on the KH29. I was waiting for replacement bearings to replace the 2 cracked bearings on the KH36.

After a week rest/ cross training on the KH 29, I got back on the KH36, commuting to work and felt a definite feeling of improvement re: comfort maintaining a higher speed and more strength on the hills.

I follow a few cycling you tube channels and feel the concept of “muscle growth in recovery” to have applied well to my situation.

I will be interested in your training schedule and how you find the optimum recovery periods to allow your body to adapt/grow to the challenge ahead.

I am also interested in your fuelling of your long distance training rides and the 24hr event.

I have become accustomed to my “mush” mix of cooked Oats with roasted almonds, pipeta seeds, roasted shredded coconut and banana.
For my (2 only) long distance rides, I had two 1 kg bags of the mixture and take two bites every half hour, starting from 1 hour before start.
In hour 10, I start having gels, and in the last half hour pure sugar sweets. For Hydration, I had a 1.5 litre water bladder and carried a water bottle with hydration tablets. (Total hydration, I carried 3 Litres of water.)i


That is an interesting challenge you plan to do, I will enjoy reading about your experience.
My thoughts to train for this go for two directions. One is endurance, which for a long performance like yours is good to train in volume at low heart rates around 120 to 140, your green zone, where your system can provide performance without stress for a very long time. This could be around 70 or 80% of your training time. The other level to train for is high intensity, heart rate for young and fit (as I guess you are) above 160, where you would spent 20 to 30 percent training time.

The other direction is to prepare strain resilience, to develop muscle and tendon structure and sensitive tolerance, for which you can go for higher loads than your actual performance. Running would be an example, where you load higher forces on your legs, or resistence training in the gym, which I would use to build a good foundation to prepare for your distance ride.
I would also think, strengthening your back muscles makes sense as they support your sitting posture, rowing or the gym again. With the endurance training you’re going to do, the muscle growth will have less volume effect, you probably won’t need to worry about developing mass like a body builder, but some extra strength in legs and core / back will help carrying you through this. Hope for a good experience for you !!!


Thanks for all the replies.

Reading your advices, I will definitely be training with long rides at low intensity to train my muscle resistance, butt resistance and test my feeding.

I will add to that higher intensitiy trainings, mostly during my daily commuting and on muni rides.

For those wondering what I am eating on those long rides, here is what I usually take.

  • I mostly eat cereal and caramel bars (lion, snickers, etc…)
  • some jaffa cakes for the mental (I love the cherry ones, so I keep them for when I’m not so good or to reward myself)
  • Aperitif biscuits or salted cashew nuts, which allows to get some salt back.
  • I mostly drink tap water, stored in my camelback (I have up to 2 liters at the same time.
  • I also drink mint syrup diluted in water and stored in a gourd.
  • Lastly, I drink coca-cola either during breaks, either in alternance with the mint syrup.

Although I’ve done lots of racing (road bike a long time ago, then mountain bike racing and now unicycling the last years), I am not a distance specialist (I’m actually a sprinter by nature).
But I think you have 5 main considerations:

  • dial-in your setup with saddle comfort
  • nutrition and energy (I would think some kind of electrolyte/calorie powder would be better than just water, but I’m not current on endurance nutrition as I haven’t been competitive there for over 10 years)
  • the obvious: mainly riding lots of long rides and frequently at least 30% of your desired distance (I would think ideally once a month doing 60% but again I’m thinking in terms of 5-7 hour endurance events)
  • maybe also doing strength training (weights, squats, lunges) or uni sprints to get faster although not sure as raw speed isn’t really a goal for 24hr races, so probably much less significant for long endurance races than a 1-4 hour races
  • mental/psychological preparation for the pain/suffering when you get really tired/spent (from my circle of friends (24hr solo mountain biking in the past) the last few hours have more to do with keeping your attitude in check and staying motivated than just your physical capabilities)

Note that switching to a Schlumpf will change things a bit. Right now you likely have very little strength requirements and mostly fitness/endurance/spinning speed. If you add a Schlumpf (especially in a larger 29/36" wheel) then your muscle strength begins to play a role.

By the way, why a 26" Schlumpf? Or is it that you will get an already-built wheel that’s 26"?
Why not a 29" Schlumpf, as it seems like it would be a better size if you’re already riding 29 with 75mm cranks (29" fixed with 75mm cranks nominally translates into 103mm cranks on a Schlumpf 26" or 116mm on a 29" Schlumpf), then you should be able to handle 29 Schlumpf and then choose your crank length around 100mm for more speed. (Or the “fast” riders mostly ride 36" Schlumpf). Plus the larger wheel is more stable at speed anyway. Compared to the cost of the Schlumpf hub, buying a new 29" rim is not so much (and should fit in your existing frame and maybe even use your current 29 tire).

Depending on how fast you’re targeting, then a handlebar and wind profile starts to be a concern (I only dabble in uni road and ride 36" with 100mm cranks so it’s pretty much a non-issue for me), but if you want advice on handlebar setup or Schlumpf, I would ask Timo (he has trained hard the last months and is amazingly fit and won the Marathon and 10K on a Schlumf 36" at the French nationals in October 2023). Send me a PM and I can give you his contact details.


I will definitely be doing that. For the powder, I agree but would prefer to keep tap water in my camelback since it is way easier to drink. I will add syrup, elecrolyte, etc… in a gourd that I carry on my uni.

I think 30% is already a lot (7 hours or 135 km), and 60 % is probably too much (14h30 or 270 km). I am planning one or two 100+ kms a month.

I already do a little bit of bodyweight training during my freestyle trainings (once a week). And I do daily sprints when commuting.

That is probably the hardest part, especially if I am not fast enough and have no way to go for the WR.

I know that, and it scares me a bit, but short cranks are really annoying on a daily basis, and I want to do long distance bike races with quite a lot of D+, which means that I cannot be fast on the flat AND climb properly. The solution for that is definitely the geared hub.

I am buying a hub mounted in a 26er. I will be buying a 29 carbon rim (probably the LB AM928) in the upcoming weeks, but right now, I don’t have enough money (just bought a schlumpf, and still have to pay for unicon).

I will be going with 125 cranks since it is what I use for muni and am really confortable using. In addition, speed is related to cranks length, but it isn’t linear. So using a schlumpf with 125 should give me similar performances to ungeared 75, but way comfier.

I am planning to go for 21-22 kph, maybe accelerating a bit during the last hours if I have enough energy left. I already use handlebars and aerobars (which I will probably not be allowed to use during the race).
I was at the french nationals (won the marathon standard, 2 minutes or so behind Gert Jan, and got fourth place on the 10k unlimited with my ungeared 29er not counting not french riders) and I saw timo who was really impressive, especially at downhill.
I think that if I have questions, mostly about the hub I can ask @Maxence or @toutestbon , who both speak french which makes the conversation way easier.