Indoors vs Outdoors – a 24hr Challenge

I like to ask the really pointless questions, by and large it’s how all of my challenges start life, with the question  “Could I [insert ridiculousness]?”

This time, with the countdown well and truly ticking for Race Across America next year, the question that struck me was “Could I go further indoors or outdoors?”…and so this challenge was born. As I rebuild my mileage and time in the saddle, it seemed like a sensible idea to start to push myself in this way, to build up to multi-day test rides later on in the year.

So what exactly am I doing?

RIDES

I’ll be setting up two 24hr rides in July;

Friday 2 July – 24hrs Indoors – I’ll be using the vWTTC course at Borrego Springs via FulGaz. I’ve chosen FulGaz over Zwift, for example, because FulGaz is closer to real world conditions, as it considers CDA, Rider and Bike Weight and Gradients etc. Similarly there is no interference from other riders, in Zwift you get the benefit of drag from other riders. Most 24hr TT’s are non-draft so again, I wanted to ensure I won’t get that benefit, even if unintended.

Thursday 29 July – 24hrs Outdoors – I’ve created a loop on some local roads that replicates the vWTTC course as closely as possible.

Course Stats

CourseBorrego SpringsAylesbury Vale loop
Distance (mi)1818.2
Elevation Gain (ft)367431

In both scenarios I’ll be riding based miles, aiming for a consistent power output throughout the 24hrs.

The aim being to answer one question – can I go further over 24hrs Indoors or Outdoors?

TRAINING

I’m lucky to be supported by one of the best endurance coaches out there – Pav Bryan – who’s been coaching me for the last 2 and a half years and I’m grateful for all his help and advice as we push towards RAAM next year.

EQUIPMENT

To keep the ‘science’ of this challenge in check I’ll be using the same kit and equipment across both rides.

I’m riding my Specialised Tarmac, which for the indoor ride will be parked on my Elite Direto X smart trainer. To ensure the virtual and real world effects are the same I’ll be weighting the bike, clothing, shoes, helmet and a full 500ml bottle – so that FulGaz accounts for that.

Guy with his indoor set up

In terms of kit I’ll use all dhb kit, as always – I’m going have a few different kit options to try – my ‘go to’ Aeron Ultra bib shorts and jersey and an Aeron LAB Raceline long sleeve speedsuit. Just looking at what the best options for me will be really, having a play with some awesome kit!

Want to have a look, check them out here – https://dhbsport.com/ – always happy to answer questions about what I wear and why.

I wouldn’t do any kind of long distance riding without a healthy application of the excellent chamois cream from the good people at VeloSkin – no one wants or needs chaffing or saddle sores, so this is a great, natural product to keep you comfortable.

FUELLING

Fuelling for me starts 72hrs before an event. So for both rides I’ll be upping my carbohydrate intake to ensure my glycogen stores are packed full. The evening before I will preload with electrolytes,  to ensure I start hydrated and to reduce fatigue through sweat adn sodium loss during the ride.

My general rule of thumb is to try and break a 24hr ride in to 4 hr windows, fuelling while on the bike and then stopping for real food, comfort breaks and changing clothing, as necessary.

Indoor riding makes snack access pretty easy

Whatever I eat has to be simple to digest, easy to prepare (or already prepared) and most importantly, something that I look forward to eating. Typically in a 4hr block I’ll eat a range of foods, mixing homemade bars, gluten free pizza rolls, waffles, PBJ on white bread with sports nutrition products such as the bars from KMC. KMC’s Wholesome Superfood Bar packs a decent 40g of carbs per 70g bar, so is a key piece of fuel on any ride over 90 minutes for me. I tend not to use gels, I know they work for a lot of people, as someone with IBS I don’t want to risk the GI issues they can often trigger.

Alongside that I’ll be drinking plain water or KMC ISO Mix, which is a carbohydrate drink with electrolytes and either Mission Green Tea or a cold brew coffee as my caffeine source towards the end of the 24hrs (depending on how big a lift I need).

www.kendalmint.co.uk/?atid=60

WHY?

This challenge asks a question that I think we all know the answer to, but that’s not really the point – the question is a bit of fun.

With one year to go until I head to California to take on the 3,000 mile non stop Race Across America I need to start building my mileage up again, honing my ability to suffer and making sure I understand my body and my fuelling strategy. 24hrs riding is a great way to do that and to start building the base again, so I can push on to more multi day, RAAM style training.

So, the question remains – which one do you think I’ll ride more miles on, Indoors or Outdoors? Will I beat my distance PB of 653km?

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