9 Endurance Cycling Tips from Ultra-Distance World Record Holders

When it comes to long cycling rides, whether it’s crossing the 100-mile threshold or even reaching an awe-inspiring 1,000, the sense of accomplishment is nothing short of exhilarating. Ultra-distance cycling takes this thrill and elevates it, with an additional layer of careful preparation and tactical decision-making. If you’re a cycling enthusiast, there’s a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned from those who have set astounding records in the field.

Let’s explore the world of ultra-distance cycling through the lens of two world record holders, Leigh Timmis and Jenny Graham. Their shared wisdom offers a roadmap for bolstering your endurance and augmenting the duration of your bike rides.

Discover Your Cycling Passion and Let it Propel You

Discover Your Cycling Passion and Let it Propel You

When contemplating an around-the-world cycling trip with the added pressure of setting a world record, not everyone feels a spark of excitement. Jenny Graham, however, describes the pure exhilaration she experienced as her endurance rides stretched longer and longer. She found her strength shining late in the day, after hours on the saddle, and reveled in the astounding feats her mind and body could accomplish.

While long-distance cycling can indeed serve as a challenge to oneself, it also offers a transformative journey. Leigh Timmis shares his experience of using cycling as a form of escapism and self-discovery, especially as a tool for managing his mental health. The beauty of cycling lies not only in the physical endeavor but also in its ability to give you space to process thoughts and emotions, ultimately enhancing your mental wellbeing.

Embrace the Full Spectrum of Training Sessions

Embrace the Full Spectrum of Training Sessions

Training for a World Record is a strenuous task requiring careful preparation. Graham and Timmis underline the importance of varied workouts, including those that might not be your favorite. Graham shares that focusing on simple, yet often overlooked skills such as pedaling technique, was vital in her training. For Timmis, experimenting with different testing scenarios and incorporating cutting-edge tech became an exciting part of the process. This goes to show that every aspect of training, even the challenging parts, contributes to overall endurance and success.

Perfect Your Nutritional Strategy

Your body’s fuel matters, especially when you’re planning to spend countless hours cycling. Graham attributes her endurance success to her ability to consume just about anything, emphasizing the importance of eating enough. Timmis, on the other hand, learned that consuming large amounts of calories (11,000-12,000 a day) necessitates a carefully crafted plan to avoid feeling overly full. The common thread here? Have a nutrition plan in place that suits your body and ensures you’re adequately fueled throughout your ride.

Delve into a Variety of Caloric Choices

A diet heavy in calories can become monotonous, especially when cycling for extended hours. Graham loved finding calorie-dense items, like cheese puffs, that provided a change in texture and flavor. Timmis, meanwhile, maintained a balance between main meals and cycling nutrition on the bike, highlighting the importance of variety for sustaining your energy and morale during long rides.

Keep Your Devices Charged

When setting off on a self-supported journey like Graham’s, it’s crucial to keep your devices juiced up. A piece of equipment she relied heavily upon was her dynamo hub, which kept her bike lights and USB charger powered as long as her wheels were turning. It’s a vital reminder to have back-up systems in place for your electrical devices on a long-distance ride.

Let Your Mind Wander with Podcasts and Playlists

Long rides demand mental stamina. Graham found solace in audiobooks and music, while Timmis created playlists tailored to his different mental states. Whether it’s an audiobook about other people’s harrowing adventures or your favorite upbeat songs, having something to keep your mind engaged can be a game changer.

Envision Your Triumphs

When you hit a low point on a long ride, it’s essential to pull yourself out of that mindset. Graham and Timmis shared their strategies for doing just that, from Graham reminding herself of her drive and passion, to Timmis visualizing himself crossing the finish line. These self-motivation techniques are crucial tools for overcoming challenges.

Minimize Aches and Soreness

Staying on the bike day in and day out can cause body aches and soreness. Graham used the first half hour of her day to stretch and ease into the ride. Timmis took steps to minimize pressure on his hands and found different riding positions to help with discomfort. Proactively managing soreness can dramatically improve your ride experience.

Expand Your Knowledge with Relevant Literature

Both Graham and Timmis have penned their own books, sharing behind-the-scenes insights into their record-breaking adventures. If you’re an ultra-endurance cyclist, or aspire to become one, adding these books to your reading list can offer an in-depth perspective.


Ultra-endurance cycling is an extraordinary endeavor that requires mental strength, physical stamina, meticulous preparation, and unyielding determination. May these tips from world record holders inspire you to conquer new cycling heights.


a 35-year-old web developer and cycling coach based in Boulder, Colorado. Over the past ten years, my passion for cycling has transformed from a casual hobby into a way of life. As a lover of all things cycling, I am thrilled to share my journey with others who share the same enthusiasm for this incredible sport.