Thinking about your own Ultracycling adventure?
Learn from Ian’s experiences before you hit the road:
- Speed & Endurance – be fast & have the stamina to ride 400 miles in a day, and also be able to ride in the dark.
- Nutrition – find, eat, and keep down at least 6,000 calories per day! That’s a lot of food to find in petrol stations, fast food, supermarkets, and cafés, which is harder in foreign countries.
- Sleeping – strike a balance between stopping time (especially sleeping) and riding, whilst not risking “microsleeps” on the bike! Ian is mentally strong and experienced, so copes well with extreme sleep deprivation, typically sleeping only 1 hour in the first 48 hours.
- Mechanicals – know how the whole bike works and how to fix it, be it punctures, moving parts or electronics.
- Navigating – many hours are spent plotting the optimal route, to follow using a GPS device, because the best road is crucial, the wrong road is a waste of energy, time, and you may have to turn around and do the same road again!
- Weather – be able to cope with extremes of weather conditions, enduring:
Scorching heat requiring more water, up to 40º celsius during Hard Cro, and “Lucifer” up to 45º during TCR.
- The cold & torrential rain – being wet and cold means you have to try to keep warm & need more food.
- Strong winds: headwinds which slow you, or crosswinds threatening to blow you off the road.
- Foreign cultures – Meeting friendly, helpful and charitable people is fantastic. Language can be a barrier, especially reading Cyrillic! Different food can be delicious or hazardous, Booking.com is not an option in remote, rural areas!
- Wildlife – being chased by bears, dogs, or anything else that can bite, can provide motivation rarely matched in the UK!
- Traffic – whilst Swiss roads are smooth as butter , German and Austrian cycle paths are invariably a pleasure, Italian and Eastern European motorists (and roads) can be very unforgiving.
- Adventure – know that all the above are tough to endure but the beautiful views and the sheer experience is worth the sense of accomplishment.