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  1. #1
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    Fall Epic 8 Hour

    Thought I would get a jump on this thread since today is the last day of August I have signed up to do this race solo, which will just happen to be my first 8 hour race going solo. So, I am looking for any helpful suggestions on how to tackle 8 hours of (hopefully) continous riding with pace, how often to eat, drink etc.

    One thing I have been thinking about is the start. In past experience, if you are not at the very front you get stuck in a bottle neck even with the extra distance to try and spread out the riders, once you get to the single track. It is beneficial to start near or at the back and start with a nice easy pace in order to avoid the bottle neck?

    Any help/guideance would be most welcome

  2. #2
    bi-winning
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    Don't start at the back. It's not that fun riding behind inexperienced riders when you are racing.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  3. #3
    All my faucets is Moen.
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    I've done two summer solo's. Once starting hard to avoid the bottle neck and once taking it easy. I was much more successful starting off slow. There is plenty of time to make it up.

    Of course the answer to that question usually depends on your fitness, what your pace will be and if you plan on being on the podium or just riding for 8hrs.

  4. #4
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    I'm looking forward to this one again, I always like the fall 8 hour I this will be my 4th year doing it, and I am hoping for another podium for this one, but I have herd that there might be some pretty good riders coming this fall.

    Trekbikes there is lots of good answers to your questions in the new nutrition forums and in the endurance forums, but my advice would be to drink more then you think you need to, eat while you do some training rides. use the start loop, you don't need to be out front but you don't want to be in the back either then quickly settle into your pace. I am still working on some of these things especially the pacing thing, I am still going out a little too strong, but it is soooo much fun to ride the trails fast.
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  5. #5
    Evil Jr.
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    At the 8 Hours, I'm either on the podium or within spitting distance (4th or 5th) and I usually start around mid-pack. I figure that way I stay out of the way the team riders and generally avoid the worst of the riff-raff.

    I would suggest getting into a routine for each lap regarding nutrition and hydration. Depending on the weather, I usually plan on a bottle every two laps and a shot from gel flask, half a bar and a perogy every lap.

    At Hardwood, I always eat just after the transition zone and drink anytime I'm on level-ish double track.

    Don't fall for your silly brain telling you you're not thirsty or hungry 'cause it's a trap!
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  6. #6
    I Strava Hamburgers
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    I'll be there as well.

    I usually re bottle every lap, and have liquid calories on tap every two laps or so. At least that was my plan, and it was working last time :P

    I usually like to start mid / back pack and work my way up.

    Drink all the things too. Like GM said, your body will tell you that you're not thirsty. You should pre ride the course if you can and find drinking area's for yourself, then every time you hit it, you should put down a good amount of liquid. Even a little bit of dehydration can really ruin your day.

    I'm not a podium rider and I'm mostly doing this for giggles, but at the same time I'm looking to put in a respectable ride of 8-10 laps. So if you're thinking about something like that, then just read up on hydration and calorie intake and you should be good to go.

    See you there!

  7. #7
    snowbound
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    I usually start off mid pack and go hard the first lap - trying to stay ahead of most of the bottlenecks.
    For nutrition/hydration I drink about 1.5 bottles per lap - and those bottles are usually mixed with two scoops of Heed - so that I think is about 200 cal/bottle. In addition I have a gel per lap.
    My two favourite things during the race though, are, if I am really needing something solid, half a pb&j sandwich , and a cold mini can of coke after 5 or 6 dusty hours is super-refreshing.
    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    I've done 5 8-hours solo now. I am not a podium rider generally speaking. I don't like to start too far back since like Garage Monster and 14-Stone, I am on a singlespeed which means momentum counts, and having to brake behind slower riders then grind up hills wastes precious energy. Actually, what I do on the starts is try and line up around where Garage Monster has situated himself (look for the steel orange Misfit) as he is pretty good at staging himself in the right spot.

    Concerning nutrition, I have found that too many gels and energy drinks tend to upset my stomach, so I tend to eat real food during the race. Typically, I buy a bunch of tortilla wraps and make some up with banana and peanut butter, and others with smoked turkey, lettuce and just a little honey mustard. I also have oranges cut up into quarters. I eat something after every lap. The wraps come in handy because you can eat them on the go while riding after the transition zone.

    For drinks, I don't use a camelbak as I don't want to haul the extra weight with me for 8 hours. i make up bottles in advance and go thru a bottle of eload, flatted, diluted coke or water per lap. I keep a flask of perpetuum mixed as a gel in my jersey pocket just in case I start to bonk or want a taste of something sweet, but don't use it much.

    But that's just me. I learned what worked for me thru trial and error. There's only a few weeks until the race but if you can, try and go on some longer rides (even road rides) using what you think you might be eating at the race, and see how it sits.
    Strava made me do it....

  9. #9
    Evil Jr.
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    A note on pace: if you can't hold a conversation while you're riding a solo, you're riding too hard (or you're developing a bad attitude, ).

    DO NOT get tempted into chasing rabbits. Develop a mental race plan and stick to it. Don't worry about what the other riders are doing: you only have control over your ride.
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  10. #10
    All my faucets is Moen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    Actually, what I do on the starts is try and line up around where Garage Monster has situated himself (look for the steel orange Misfit) as he is pretty good at staging himself in the right spot.
    Since GM is always on the podium (or close to it) I suppose you could just follow him around all day then attack on the last lap.

  11. #11
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    winning advice ^^^

    does't get any better than that.



    Quote Originally Posted by thedumbopinion View Post
    Since GM is always on the podium (or close to it) I suppose you could just follow him around all day then attack on the last lap.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedumbopinion View Post
    Since GM is always on the podium (or close to it) I suppose you could just follow him around all day then attack on the last lap.
    Tried that in the Spring Epic 8 but found I was unable to talk while so doing, so I backed off. Of course, GM called it a day at 5pm and I stayed out until 6.30, so in an unprecedented and possibly never-to-be-repeated event, I finished one place ahead of Garage Monster. It's fortunate I didn't get a flat, though, as I would still be out there now....
    Strava made me do it....

  13. #13
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    Tried that in the Spring Epic 8 but found I was unable to talk while so doing, so I backed off. Of course, GM called it a day at 5pm and I stayed out until 6.30, so in an unprecedented and possibly never-to-be-repeated event, I finished one place ahead of Garage Monster. It's fortunate I didn't get a flat, though, as I would still be out there now....
    Ah, see now that was all part of my race plan and I stuck to it (...mostly, Mrs. Monster did force me out for one more parade lap, )! To that point, I'd only done a handful of rides all Spring (I think the 8 actually tripled my total distance on a MTB to that point) and I was intentionally limiting myself to 100km.
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage monster View Post
    Ah, see now that was all part of my race plan and I stuck to it (...mostly, Mrs. Monster did force me out for one more parade lap, )! To that point, I'd only done a handful of rides all Spring (I think the 8 actually tripled my total distance on a MTB to that point) and I was intentionally limiting myself to 100km.
    Yeah, but it was still unprecedented and likely never-to-be repeated...
    Strava made me do it....

  15. #15
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    Thanks everyone for their helpful hints and suggestions. One more question, I am not sure if I will have some support there to help, meaning I could very well be doing this all on my own. Has anyone else attempted this? If so, how did you deal with changing and filling bottles, getting food etc. without loosing too much momentum?

  16. #16
    Evil Jr.
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    If you're on your own, you can set up a nice little pit area in the shade just after the transition.

    Prepare all your stuff in advance. If you think you'll need eight bottles, bring eight full bottles. Lay out all your stuff in a cooler for easy access. If you're eating bars, pre-tear the bags for easy opening once you're back on track. If you're on gel, I recommend using a flask and keeping fresh flasks with your bottles.

    Every second you save in the pits is a second you don't have to "earn" on the trail.
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  17. #17
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    For a truly epic week-end, some friends are organizing a mass trip to Blue that w/e. Several are suggesting doing Blue on Sunday so they can race the eight hour on Saturday.

    I don’t have enough adjectives to describe the boggling going on in my brain thinking about riding an eight hour and then hammering the thighs and core the next day doing downhill. But you folks are incredible athletes, so if this interests you please get in touch!

  18. #18
    Lemmy Rules!
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekbikes View Post
    Thanks everyone for their helpful hints and suggestions. One more question, I am not sure if I will have some support there to help, meaning I could very well be doing this all on my own. Has anyone else attempted this? If so, how did you deal with changing and filling bottles, getting food etc. without loosing too much momentum?
    I've always done these things unsupported. The trick is to put your cooler RIGHT NEXT TO the trail. I also built a little widget made of a stake I can push into the ground, with a block of wood and three old bottle holders attached to it. That way, I can stick that into the ground, again right next to the trail, have three bottles ready to grab as I ride by without even stopping. Worked pretty well, as evidenced by the fact that this was the unprecedented and never to be repeated day that I came in front of Garage Monster.
    Strava made me do it....

  19. #19
    Ms. Monster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    I also built a little widget made of a stake I can push into the ground, with a block of wood and three old bottle holders attached to it.
    You can also purchase such things, if you're feeling less crafty than Unglued.

  20. #20
    I Strava Hamburgers
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    If you're going solo and you don't have support but want some, I'm pretty sure my friend who's tossing me bottles and stuff will help you along as well.

    I pretend I'm racing. I have a long way to go before a podium, but if you're thinking about having a go at the podium, or putting in a really solid day, I don't mind sharing a support tent. Believe me, the extra work will keep my friend entertained.

    During the Mansfield Epic 8, I was riding behind a solo female rider that I had seen around the course. This was 6 hours in. I started talking to her after I had heard her get upset with an aggressive rider who passed her on some single track, I figured if I shared a joke or 2 it'd help in some way.. I got around to asking her about support and how she was coping through the day. She said she didn't have anyone, and I actually got upset for her because I figure that would suck horribly.

    Anyone doing a ultra endurance event should have at least 1 person to help.

    So the offer is there
    Last edited by 14Stone; 09-02-2011 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Grammar not gud.

  21. #21
    Ms. Monster
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14Stone View Post
    Anyone doing a ultra endurance event should have at least 1 person to help.
    Pfft. Mr. Monster and I did Solstice solo last year with no support and it was fine. Having said that, Erick Auger's (perennial winner of 40+ solo) support crew totally stepped up and offered their help. They were so sweet, but I didn't know what to do with it!

  22. #22
    I Strava Hamburgers
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    Supporting each other doesn't count!

    Wasn't saying its fact, just saying you should just in case kinda thing

  23. #23
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    14Stone, thank you very much for the offer and I may just take you up on the offer if my wife and kids can't make it. As for a podium, good question. Given this is my first solo 8 hour I am targeting 10 laps and see where the chips fall from there

  24. #24
    Over the bars...
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    Agreed on starting about mid pack around faces you recognize from other races. As far as fuel I tried many things and have settled on Perpetuem of 8 hours. Perpetuem in bottles and thick in a flask. I have a large meal approximately 2 hours before the race and a caffinated Powerbar gel 30 mins before also. Seems to work for me. I am not a podeum rider. Any other food plan i have used has eventually given me gutrot. Oh and I almost forgot lots of endurolytes and water!!

  25. #25
    Evil Jr.
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    And for goodness sakes, bring at least one beer for the end of the race. You'll have earned it!
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage monster View Post
    And for goodness sakes, bring at least one beer for the end of the race. You'll have earned it!
    +1
    My favorite part of 8 Hour Races is how good that beer tastes at the end of the day!
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  27. #27
    sock puppet
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    Glorious Nucking Futs will be there to have fun and enjoy a beer or two with friends...

  28. #28
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    For the love of God, what did I just do?

    Haven't done a solo 8 (or 9) in a few years and haven't ridden my singlespeed at all this year.

    For some reason, I decided signing up for the singlespeed category would be interesting.

    Do I gear to survive or gear to try and place well?

    This is going to hurt.

    Who wants to carpool and drive me home?

  29. #29
    I Strava Hamburgers
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    For the love of God, what did I just do?


    He's one of us now....

  30. #30
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    Seeing as I just signed up for solo and have done a few previously, I will give my advice.

    If you are looking to win, regardless of category, you go out with the fast guys on lap one. The top solo guys will lap with the fastest people first time around, then settle into their endurance pace. Building into your endurance pace by taking it easy on lap one will only put you behind by that much (essentially, don't give away time on lap one). It's also a little easier to chase by being on one's wheel, then chasing a ghost that's a few minutes ahead. Endurance racing has got to the point where it's close to being a sprint race, just bordering on keeping the body functioning (mostly digestive and hydration). Even though I've never stepped on the podium much in the solo categories, I have raced where I have out lapped 75% of teams, and can say it's close to OCUP pace (or my OCUP pace, which is why I don't have much success)

    Now, depending where you want to finish,you can scale this all down. If this is your first solo, just give it a shot, set a lap goal, work on that.

    Nutrition is the biggest issue. You are going to need calories, but you are not going to want to eat much after hour 3-4. Neutral substances that keep your stomach motivated, but not revolted is key. I have a big problem with acidic substances, learned that through time. I love fruit, can eat fruit on rides, but cannot race with fruit. I used to make fruit smoothies and race a few with them till I put two and two together. Picking a sports drink that also manages this require lots of trial and error. I've had success with eload and feel it's relatively neutral (and though never raced with, Heed seems to be the same, the big name drinks (gatorade, poweraide don't work best for me)

    Depending on how hard you are going, your stomach will be in various places. This could include, screw anything, at which point you have to stomach what you know to be tolerable just to get calories, or I want food really bad, but only want chocolate chip cookies. Best advice is to bring things you really enjoy eating. Screw whether they are the best nutrition option (especially if you are just out to survive), bring things you know you will like eating and will be happy to shove down your throat.

    Saying all of that, here is what I have found to be best.

    1) I always have a bottle of eload. Depending on the temperature, I try to drink about a bottle of liquid per hour (minimum). It's a tough balance, too much will make you cramp in the stomach, not enough will make you cramp in the legs.

    2) Gel. I take one per lap. Since I don't drink coffee, the caffeinated ones are very helpful in the later laps. If you are unsupported, a flask is very helpful.

    3) I've tried a variety of things for getting in larger calories. Bars, shakes, etc, but my best results have been with mashed potato's. They ain't exciting, but if you are racing to do well, nothing is going to be enticing. You need to shove stuff down that works. I put the potato's in a baggy that I can rip open and down relatively easy. They are spiced up to my liking.

    As far as unsupported goes, collect enough bottles so you don't have to refill is key (unless you have great friends like RKJ and jmoote). I've only done one 8 hour unsupported and likely will this time. For me, it would be 10 full bottles sitting along the course with 2 bottle cages. Stopping in the pits takes time and it's wasted time as mentioned.

    I will carry (unsupported):

    1) Flat/chain kit taped to my bike

    2) 2 bottles, lasting under typical (fall) weather 1.5 - 2 hours

    3) Gel flask lasting the same

    4) 2 packs of mashed potato's

    I will take gels every lap, potato's every other lap. So if everything is going well, I will stop every 4 laps to refill. Though if things are set up well, I might only carry 1 bottle and exchange them quickly.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14Stone View Post


    He's one of us now....
    Best I can guess, I had a fork blow out 2-3 hours into a solo 8. So that's like riding a rigid....singlespeed, no comparison.

    After signing up, first thing I did was check my other MTB's, none have V-brake mounts on the fork and none are mechanical brakes (see how much I know about what I ride!). Not impossible, but would take a lot of reconfiguring which I am not prepared to do.

    Looks like a rigid, 26'er, with v-brakes. Question is 32-18 or 32-16?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Looks like a rigid, 26'er, with v-brakes. Question is 32-18 or 32-16?
    On a 26'er? 32:16. No brainer.
    Strava made me do it....

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    3) I've tried a variety of things for getting in larger calories. Bars, shakes, etc, but my best results have been with mashed potato's. They ain't exciting, but if you are racing to do well, nothing is going to be enticing. You need to shove stuff down that works. I put the potato's in a baggy that I can rip open and down relatively easy. They are spiced up to my liking.
    I have never tried mashed potatos but that sounds like a great idea!!
    Will try it at the Fall 8.

  34. #34
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    I'm thinking of signing up for this one. Don't know yet if it will be a 2,3 or 4 man team yet. We did very well with 4 last time.

  35. #35
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    haven't read ever line here yet. if it hasn't been mentioned Home | BOOST® Nutritional Drinks works for me rather then solid food. the heed/ endurolytes my metabolism goes nuts and usually ends in an emergency, not easy with a bib on.

    I will be there in ss cat. last years full suspension ss worked so well i have a much lighter carbon version this year. its not working so well yet but will have it dialed in time?

    see you there!

  36. #36
    Over the bars...
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    Also contemplating the whole mashed potato thing, my 26er is geared 34x16 and seemed good, I stepped down to 33x18 when I went 29er... Maybe go with 32x16.... Enjoy!!

  37. #37
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    I just hurt my knee badly this Saturday at Hardwood doing laps on Gnarly. The Provincials are out of the question now, but I do hope to recover in time for the Epic 8. I am beyond pissed off as this season has been awful for me.

    Speaking of being unsupported, I never ever had a supported race, so it is doable. But if you are there to win, support is critical to avoid wasting precious time.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    ... as this season has been awful for me.
    Liar pants! You totally won the Six Pack Smackdown at the Summer 8. There is no greater honour in SS Solo!
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  39. #39
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    GM :Liar pants! You totally won the Six Pack Smackdown at the Summer 8. There is no greater honour in SS Solo!

    Good point! I feel better already ... even though my knee does not. If I cannot ride this weekend I am officially panicking about the 8 Hour race.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
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    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

  40. #40
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    Trail map is up: Fall Epic 8 Hour Map

    I wish I knew what I was looking at, but all I know is that it's not the same as the summer race course

  41. #41
    Evil Jr.
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    Yesterday at Provincials, a kind group of Lapdogs took pity on me and invited me to join their 4-person team. Which is a good thing...

    a) I don't have to Solo.
    b) I'll be in much better shape for Guelph Cross the next day!

    Win!
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  42. #42
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    Any chance anyone from Kitchener area is heading to this race and has room for a "carpool" guy to haul up there? I have a ride back but no way up at this point.

  43. #43
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    I've been told the course is marked. Has anyone had the opportunity to ride it yet?

  44. #44
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    The course is up and marked, if you rode the fall 8 hour last year it is very similar to that by looking at the map, and from what I have herd from others. I haven't had a chance to ride it yet that should happen this weekend. I can make a better comment after Monday.
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  45. #45
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    did it, liked it, lots of fun. great course if mother nature doesn't want to be cooperative.

  46. #46
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    I did the course on Saturday and I thought it was excellent. The course has some fun twisty single track and plenty of double track. It is a fairly fast course, in the style of the Mansfield and Albion O-Cups, so I would consider it single speed friendly. My injured knee held up during my ride so I am optimistic about having a problem free race.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

  47. #47
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt 24 solo View Post
    did it, liked it, lots of fun. great course if mother nature doesn't want to be cooperative.
    Speaking of which, it's looking a little rainy this weekend.
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage monster View Post
    Speaking of which, it's looking a little rainy this weekend.
    not just rainy but also kinda cold... which is not the best combo in my books... but, we've been there before...

    the training for 2012 Crank the Shield officially starts at Hardwood...

  49. #49
    Evil Jr.
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    6,859
    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    the training for 2012 Crank the Shield officially starts at Hardwood...
    Meh, it's been vaguely crappy for the last two weeks (not counting the weekend), my head's already in the game.
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  50. #50
    mtbr member
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    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    51
    Yup, the weather forecast is not looking great for Saturday. Currently they are saying a high of 21 (which is good) with 60% of thunder showers and between 5-10mm of rain.

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