Ultracycling explained

Are you looking for a new way to test and expand your mental and physical limits?

Putting distance on El Capitan Peak, the last of the Rocky Mountains.
Day 9 of transcontinental ride: 100 miles to Roswell, NM

Find it difficult to train adequately for all three sports of triathlon? Suffering from chronic pain due to the pounding of long runs? Then ultracycling may provide a fertile new frontier for adventurous sports persons like you.

Ultracycling is becoming increasingly popular in the USA for endurance athletes. Typically, a cyclist's first taste of an ultracycling distance is completing a local charity century ride; first a metric century (100 km), then an English century (100 miles). Technically, the domain of ultracycling begins with a 100-mile distance and a finishing time of 10 to 12 hours, depending on the event. Sound easy? It may be for a "short" ride like 100 miles. However, just pedaling every inch of a 3000-mile transcontinental tour is worthy lifetime goal. To earn the world-class distinction of "official RAAM finisher" you will have to cross the USA in 12 days or less, sustaining an average speed of 10.42 mph day and night. To have any hope of winning your time should be less than 8 1/2 days. That's 50% farther than the Tour De France in 1/3 the time.

In between those two extremes are various competitive events such as UMCA 12 & 24 hour races, UMCA yearly mileage challenges; and noncompetitive events like RUSA/ACP brevets. Brevets are 200 to 1200 km (125 to 750 mile) events. Although brevets are noncompetitive there are checkpoints and time restrictions. This paradoxical combination of timing performances in a noncompetitive atmosphere fosters teamwork and camaraderie in what others might see as a purely individual sport.

Understanding cycling science; Speed Calculator

If you are technically inclined, you will learn how to analyze cycling courses and answer questions such as, "In my next time trial should I ride harder on the flat sections or climbs - the answer may surprise you. You'll also learn why the conventional wisdom of maintaining constant power is a losing strategy. You can use a free online Speed Calculator (Java) to precisely quantify how much time can be gained or lost under various cycling scenarios. If you are interested, you can also find out why it works. You can also use the Speed Calculator to assess the relative difficulty of different cycling routes - a capability found nowhere else. It computes the equivalent distance of a cycling course/route taking into account rider power (watts), climbing elevation and distance, wind and more. Alternatively you can use this spreadsheet.

Florida ultracycling

You will find many, maps and GPS tracks of routes in Florida, reports of previous ultracycling events to help you to avoid common and sometimes painful mistakes.

Near Mena AR after surviving the 21 miles of 13% grades on Talimena Scenic Drive

Florida has great cycling roads, and the east coast of central Florida is particularly scenic and bike friendly if you know where to ride. There are GPS files, GoogleMaps, elevation profiles and cue sheets of great Florida rides ranging from training rides to double cross-Florida epics. Featured routes use the best available roads based on many years long distance cycling in the greater Brevard county area covering Melbourne, Cocoa, Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island, Sebastian and Fellsmere. You may view and download these materials completely free of charge.

Articles of notable rides include lessons learned due to careless oversights and bad ideas. Other times an idea saves time, makes one faster, or simply makes the ride more fun.

About the author: The technical content of this site was developed using his education and experience as a Aerospace Mechanical Design Engineer and Computer Scientist. He holds a BSME from Drexel University in 1983 and an Masters degree in Computer Science from Florida Tech in 1995. The equations and algorithms presented, and used in the Speed Calculator, are provided to expose its internal workings to public review.


200 km RUSA Permanents

You can ride a scenic, fun and challenging 125+ mile rides on the sunny space coast. These are official 200k RUSA permanents, so have fun an get credit for RUSA R12 and UMCA distance awards.

You can ride it on the date of your choice, with as many or as few friends as you like. You can preview the routes on a GoogleMap and download a rider package that includes ride card, cue sheet, and even GPS files. full article


Hawaii, Oahu Island Bike Ride, 112 miles

One of many wonderful views while cycling in Hawaii

On June 18, 2007 I completed a solo counterclockwise bike ride around the Hawaiian island of Oahu that stands out as one of my most scenic and memorable cycling adventures. It also made Hawaii the 14th state where I have ridden 100 miles or more in a single day.

This was truely a unique Hawaiian cycling experience. This article shows you how to plan your own Hawaiian adventure complete with photos, 3D maps, a Google Earth file, elevation profiles, and more. full article



USA Transcontinental Tour Finished!

After two years of planning, dreaming and training, then 26 days of pedaling my transcontinental bike tour is complete! On October 5 2006 I rolled to a stop into the arms of my wife Janine and daughter Holly in front of our hotel in Tybee Island GA completing a journey that I first contemplated in 1986 after watching Pete Penseyres win the Race Across America (RAAM) in record time on a special edition of ABC's "Wide World of Sports". more including a daily journal...


At the continental divide just a few miles inside of New Mexico. I crossed the highest point of the tour of 8114 ft just 10 miles from here.
Day 7: 157 miles to Socorro, NM
Our second state crossing in as many days.
Day 12: 117 miles Amarillo, TX to Erick, OK.
At the finish on Tybee Island beach.
Day 26

Day 16 of trancontinental ride on the beautiful and brutal Talimena Scenic Drive, 111 miles to Mena Arkansas


Super Randonneur

2005 Super Randonneur Metal

Cyclists who complete a challenging 4-ride series of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km (125, 187, 250, and 375 miles) in a single season earn the coveted "Super Randonneur" award. Each ride, called a brevet, is a timed event, with overall and intermediate times that apply. In 2004 only 177 USA cyclists earned this distinction. I earned the one shown here in 2005. full article

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