Ryan’s Endurance Cross Country Tips

Some of my most memorable rides have been endurance cross country rides. I am not exactly sure what the definition of an “endurance ride” is but I would loosely sum it up as a ride that is over 25 miles and over 2 hours in time. Let’s not get this confused with “enduro” racing which is a whole ‘nother discussion. Here are a few tips that should get you rolling!

Wilder Ranch State Park Bluff Trail

Pace Your Self

If you are riding for long periods of time, you definitely do not want to go hard in the beginning and be dead for the rest of the ride. One basic rule to follow is if you feel like you are pushing to hard of a gear, shift down. Pushing a harder gear will work your muscles harder and fatigue will fall in faster. You also want to pace yourself on the downhill. You are going for endurance, not to win the downhill world championships. Taking it easy on the downhill will conserve energy and help you recover for the nasty climb back to the top.

Drink Plenty of Water

It may seem obvious, but you will be surprised how fast you can dehydrate out there. Especially in the hot summer sun when you are sweating buckets. Always pack more water than you think you will need, and drink all of it! I would suggest a full hydration pack plus a bottle of water and/or an electrolyte mix. Remember, water will never harm you when you are out sweating on the bike. It would also be wise to see if there are any areas along your route to refill your bottles.

Sand Point at Nisene Marks State Park


Eating on these long rides is essential and just as important as drinking. Some of my favorite energy foods are Gu gels and chomps. You could also pack fruits, energy bars, or a good old fashioned sandwich.

Know Your Route

You should go into your ride knowing where you are going to go. It is also wise to ride with other people. If you do not have a previous knowledge of the area you will be riding always bring a map and ride with other people who do know the area. Riding with a group is also much more fun than riding alone. Instead of thinking about how terrible this climb is, you can chat with some of your best riding buddies.

Plan Ahead

Expect the unexpected. You should be knowledgeable about your route. Bring more water and food than you expect you will need. Bring a cell phone and a GPS. Bring a map. Know your route. Bring tools! You should carry a tube, pump/CO2 cartridge,multi tool, various allen keys, and a chain breaker/master link. With these tools you should be able to finish your ride or get yourself to civilization.

And most importantly have fun! If you are not having fun you are doing it wrong.

Can’t make your full route? Don’t worry about it. Go home, get some rest and do it again next weekend!

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