What Is a Cycling Marathon Called? (Explained)

By Rachel Lee
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The sight of several bikers competing with one another on the beautiful scenic routes has become familiar. You just can’t take your eyes off the lean and fit professional cyclists.

Call it leisure, sports, or a clean transportation mode, cycling or biking, is growing in prominence. Along with the different forms of biking, a cycling marathon called ‘road bicycle cycling,’ and ‘century’ is becoming a new sports attraction.

The number of active cyclists in the US hovers around the 50 million mark. These numbers depict how people are shifting towards this environment-friendly activity. Cycling, also known popularly as biking, has become a sporting attraction. The sports events associated with this activity stand in the top ten of favorite Olympic events for US respondents.

So, if you are one such biking enthusiast, it is benign to explore cycling events. Who knows? You might gather the motivation to enter the next road bicycle cycling event!

A Quick Peek Into Cycle Sports

You might be familiar with the scene of lean participants cycling their way on the beautiful European outskirts. Before we get deeper into the different cycling marathons, check this out.

This competitive sport not only delights spectators but also satisfies athletes. Cycle sports are majorly segregated in the following events.

  • Road bicycle cycling
  • Track cycling
  • Cycle speedway
  • BMX
  • Cyclo-cross
  • Mountain bike racing
  • Ultra-distance cycling

The UNI (Union Cycliste Internationale) governs these competitive cycle sports events.

Different Types of Cycling Marathons

Bike marathon races are further differentiated based on specific factors. Here are some well-known biking marathon events.

Stage Races

You might have heard the famous name — ‘Tour de France.’ This cycle race is the prime example of stage races.

These races last over multiple days and have many mass-start stages. For instance, the Tour de France lasts for 23 days covering over 2,000 miles.

Road Races

These marathon cycling events span between 30 to 60 miles for amateurs. However, expert bikers cover a distance of 150 miles in a day.

Traditional road racing is organized on paved roads. Interestingly, these races exist in two formats — time trials and mass-start events.

Gravel Grinder Races

As the name suggests, these races have a mixture of paved and gravel routes. So, the road’s surface is crucial in adding extra competition to the event.

In this competition, you can witness various bikes like mountain bikes, cross bikes, road bikes, and gravel bikes. These races are exciting due to the added challenge.


If you ride 100 miles on a bike, it is called a ‘century.’ This training can prove beneficial for endurance events.

Riding through paved and gravel roads can significantly impact a biker’s stamina. In addition, this ride helps to enhance fitness levels.

4 Things To Keep In Mind About Cycling Marathons

Whether you are a cycling enthusiast or professional, some tips and info about cycling marathons can prove benign.

1. Focus on Mental Strength

Cycling is perceived to be a physical sport. This fact is true up to an extent. However, cycling marathons challenge the mental strength of a biker.

It is easy to experience the stress of the overall distance during road bicycle cycling. Hence, it is vital to stay fresh and focus on the adjacent nature during these events.

2. Be Wary of Wind and Hills

Since road bicycle cycling is an outdoor event, you will face practical challenges. Wind and hills are unavoidable factors that can impact your speed.

So, it is beneficial to practice in such an environment before a cycling marathon. Try to maintain your bike RPM, especially during a practice race like ‘century.’

3. Maintain the Right Posture

Marathons or road cycling races usually span over 100 miles. As you progress through a set distance, the stress on various body parts becomes inevitable.

You will feel pressure on your neck, back, arms, shoulders, and legs. So, an excellent strategy to combat this stress is by practicing the right posture.

In short, you need to keep changing your body posture to relieve physical exhaustion on specific muscles during the cycling marathons.

4. Nutritious Food Is Mandatory

A cycling marathon can easily last between 12 to 24 hours. So, you need to regain energy at regular intervals.

Ensure a steady supply of water, whole grains, proteins, and healthy carbs to keep you energized.  

Cross Country Marathon (XCM)

This type of cycling marathon is one of the most challenging events as it takes place in mountainous terrains.

These marathons range between 37 to 99 miles. Here are some popular XCM events.

  • The Endurance 100
  • Yak Attack
  • Titan Desert
  • Mohican MTB 100
  • Lumberjack 100

Moreover, you need to pay close attention to your mountain bike to participate in this marathon.

Related Questions

Which Cycling Races are Considered to be the Hardest?

The ‘Tour de France’ is the most challenging cycling marathon. It consists of complex mountain stages, steep hills, wind resistance, and hot weather.

In addition, the high level of competition adds to the mental toll on each professional cyclist. So, you need to have excellent teamwork to succeed in this tour.

Which is the Longest Cycle Race?

The Trans-Siberian Extreme is the longest cycle race in the world. It starts through Russia and lasts for 25 days.

Its overall distance is 9,105 km, which is approximately 5,658 miles. This cycling marathon is held in 15 stages.

What Is Meant by Ultra-Endurance Cycling?

A race that spans more than 100 miles is termed an ‘ultra-endurance cycling race.’ These races aren’t restricted to a particular road surface or bike type.

See Also:
15 Bicycle Safety Facts, Statistics, and Tips
How Much Does A Bike Chain Weigh?
Why is it Harder to Ride a Bicycle With a Flat Tire
Can I Use A Smaller Bike Inner Tube Than I Am Supposed To?