The Longest Day
208 miles in one Day

(Last updated: Thu. Sep 24, 2009)

The Longest Day


This is my first attempt at coming up with a plan in written form. I've already done a number of these rides so I know what I do. I have my friend Mark Heck to thank for getting me started with my first Longest Day in 2001. I've since become some what of a mileage junky though I don't record any of the mileage anymore. I'll be reworking this over time trying to improve the material.

I've created this Planning page (requires Javascript) so you can plan out your rest stops and what time you might expect to be at certain mile markers on the route. I actually use that page and the route map to figure rest stops and time.

The first thing you need to do is decide that you actually want to do this ride. I'll venture a guess that you've already decided that. :-) The numbers that follow are for planning and may not reflect what you'll actually experience on the ride. You should use your own numbers. For my ability these are a little low but they are quite doable.

  • Review this route map of the Longest Day Route. Make sure you have Javascript enabled. There's a link to the elevation and a cue sheet so you can get a pretty good idea of what you're getting yourself into.
  • Figure out at what speed you want to average over the entire ride. You usually won't be able to go any faster than your best ride. I recommend using the average speed of a long ride and take a little off that. Divide the miles (usually around 208 for the double century) by your avg speed and this will tell you the number of hours you'll be on the bike. Let's say your average speed is 15 mph over the entire 208 miles (some parts will be faster and some slower). That means you'll be on the bike for about 13.87 hours or 13' 53" (13 hours 53 minutes)
  • Remember that you want to be at the Lighthouse before dark which is a about 8:15 PM. Subtract 13' 53" from 8:15 PM, that would be 6:22 AM. Now you have a base time for your start. That is to say that if you were to start at 6:22 AM, jump on the bike and ride non-stop for 13' 53", you'd then arrive at the Lighthouse at 8:15 PM if everything went perfectly. That doesn't sound like a fun ride so we need to add a few things to that time to make it more manageable.
  • Figure out how many stops you want to make and for how long. If you make your stops every 20 miles or so then you'll have about 10 stops. If you make each stop 15 minutes that's 150 minutes. As a precaution add a little padding and assume 2 stops for bike repairs, now that 180 minutes (3' or 3 hours). Subtract 3' from the 6:22 AM and you have 3:22 AM. Now you have a start time and an estimate of your stops.
  • Now comes the hard part. Putting your team together. Look for folks who want to ride as a team (very important). A group that you'll be able to deal with over 208 miles. Start training with them, as the date approaches try to ride with the team on long rides above your intended pace. Sometimes, on the Longest Day, you can meet up with other teams and ride together for a while but that's not a good way to plan out your ride but it is a good way to take advantage of a good thing.
  • More information can be found on the Training section.