It is possible to ride 100 miles on an indoor bike! It is even easier to do this than outdoor, where the miles have hills and wind. A Peloton “just ride” style ride can be used to guide 100 mile in a single ride. But doing a 100 mile ride on a Peloton takes some preparation and practice.
There are 90 minute class rides that are good training for a peloton century ride. But since most people will take over 5 hours to complete the century journey, the lack of need for constant motivation and instruction makes a just ride option easier. With the right setup you can get some work done, catch-up on reading, shows, or a podcast during a century ride.
Some people report stringing together multiple long classes to do 100 miles. While this is entirely doable, and helps provide easy options for nutrition and restrooms breaks if needed, the visual at the end of the ride never shows 100 miles! Also, varying an effort at an instructors direction is hard when you are doing 4 to 5 times more than the class length. There is no reason to have multiple warmups, spin ups, or unnecessary hills. Doing a 100 mile ride on your own can be easier, despite the boredom.
Nutrition for 5 Hour Ride
Planning nutrition is key to a successful multi hour effort. 200-400 Calories per hour of intake, ideally carbohydrates, along with some electrolytes, is the goal. The huge upside for a stationary bike is you can prep your own aid station and not have to carry any nutrition. This also expands the menu options, gels are fine for their compactness and efficiency, but fresh strawberries can be a great mental boost on a ride too.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Strawberries. These are tastier than a lot of on the go nutrition options. A plate of strawberries is simple to prepare and keep nearby.
Blueberries. Same as above, berries can add hydration as well as needed energy.
Gatorade, or a preferred sports nutrition drink.
Ice Water. A fan and ice packs can also help lower core body temp, this is helpful when you are pedaling away inside.
Gummy Bears. Delicious option with easy sugar energy.
Pretzels. Salted pretzels help replenish sodium loss and ultimately avoid cramps.
Peloton Output and Pace for multi hour ride. 20mph average.
To make a 100 mile ride in 4 hours requires and average speed of 25/mph. That is the ultimate goal of many top cyclists, since it’s round numbers. But to be clear, this is a huge objective.
A 5 hour ride is a huge target and a 6 hour ride is still an achievement. Even simply completing 100 is a goal of itself. Still, the longer you go the harder it’ll be to ensure nothing goes wrong, as 7 hours in the saddle can wreak havoc on your whole body.
I have found that at around 170-180 watts my speed is right at 20MPH. This is achievable with either high resistance/low cadence combinations like 60+ resistance and ~60-70 cadence; alternately a higher cadence of 85-90 with a 48-50 resistance works. Each feels a bit different and generally my plan is alternate a bit but to stay at my preferred natural cadence which is mid 80s.
Overall this 20 mile per hour target puts the ride target in Power Zone 2 for me, which varies from 148-200. A more important marker can also be heart rate. Low heart rate shows an ability to clear lactic acid from the body, if you reach threshold the heart rate will climb too quickly. A nice steady line is the goal for a heart rate chart, and practicing this to determine your target pace can be done on earlier rides.
Expecting some fall off at the end of the ride my goal is to bank a bit of time in the first half, but still not push it ever over a 21MPH average unless I’m feeling good after 80 miles. This can be risky as time spent over exerted will have an outsized effect on the end results. Spend 3 minutes in Zone 4 and it might cost you ten on the backend when your body crashes.
Another bonus of being stationary is I can easily reach for my phone calculator to see what my time and pace equate to since Peloton only shows an instantaneous speed average. This to is why I tried to figure out my output target since the Bike displays total average output at all times. If I am at 175 average things should be okay to hit the 5 hour target.
It is worth highlighting that all bikes vary in calibration. Even so the output average to time calculation is right. On a road bike this speed is possible though, the record for an outdoor ride is well under 5 hours.
Has anyone done a 100 mile ride on a Peloton?
The idea of a 100 mile ride isn’t new. There is a years old Reddit post of someone who sat in the saddle for a 6 and a half hour Peloton ride. Thread.
There is also a community, the Pelofondo, which organizes events to get to long distances. Not all riders do 100 miles, and their setup is to use multiple classes in succession to get there. This is a bit different and generates consistent breaks, which can actually be beneficial in finishing in a reasonable time.
Breaks provides a good opportunity to eat as well as increase circulation to the legs and lower your heart rate for a bit. It can be tough to get back into a rhythm, especially for late in the ride breaks, but it’s a great option for achieving a goal.