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  1. #1
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    4 hr MTB endurance race - rest strategy

    Racing my second 4hr endurance race this weekend ( 7-8 mi loop as many laps as u can in 4hr). Did one about 3 wks and felt pretty good for 2 hr but didn't stop till at 3hr.... Pretty wasted, stopped for 10 min rest and stretched but I think I waited too late for that... Finished slowly... I noticed a few other stopped every lap for 3-5 min and jumped on their bikes and finished strong.... What's a good strategy... I really didn't need to stop and rest as much as I needed to stop just to stretch and get out of saddle.... It's amazing how uncomfortable one gets after a few hours without getting off... Especially my lower back and shoulders and neck... Should u stop to eat and stretch ? How. Long and how often?

  2. #2
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    In summary, I guess my question is the "trade off" of resting for 3-5 min every hour worth the time spent ... And thus finish overall faster then no rest at all...? Or is just 1- 5 min break at 2 hours best...,etc. hopefully several will discuss the pros and cons from their experience ... Again, this is more about riding/saddle soreness and not so much out of shape wasted... For example, my last 4 hr race, felt beat up during ride but not sore at all that night and rode the next day like I didn't even race the day before... Where as, after a marathon or half ironman, I needed about a week to rest before I did another run or long ride...

  3. #3
    Sissy Pants FTW Moderator
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    Normally, spending as many minutes as possible in the saddle and adjusting your pace to make this possible will yield the best result. It's a losing battle to try to make up time you spend off the bike, assuming you pace it out well enough such that you don't completely fall apart to a crawl pace.

    If a rider isn't able to spend the vast majority of a 4 hour race in the saddle, I'd say they are over pacing relative to their abilities.

    That being said, if you really need to stop, do what you need to. It's better than riding to inevitable DNF if that's the other option.

  4. #4
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    Good answer! Thx

  5. #5
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    I think much of it depends on the course and the riders you're trying to pass. If you burn yourself out passing someone who's just slow enough to be annoying but just fast enough to burn you out when passing them it's hard to recover. Ideally you'd want to pass someone just before a section that you know you can recover on. I tend to prefer a level track, or slight uphill that's as long as possible and a bit narrow where I can use my glutes and lean into the pedal to recover...

  6. #6
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    I don't do the endurance races very often, but for max mileage I try to just keep going at a moderate pace - often with stretching on the bike, or a "rest" where I am running at about 50% for a short time. If I must stop - or I anticipate that I will have to stop - I try to do it before the 2 hr. mark. 2 hrs. always seems to be when I either find my 2nd wind or fold like a cheap tent. If I stop before that, just for a minute or two, I am tricking myself into starting over. Sometimes it works really well. Sometimes it makes no diff. Sometimes I am just destined for a long grind of a ride. Don't forget to eat and drink the whole time - not all at once.

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    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  7. #7
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    My longest race was 24 miles and just over 2 hrs. So not like 4hr race, but I did do few things.

    1) I was just after the start and got clogged on tight single track climb. I was riding a bit below my pace, but since it was train as far I I could see I just held back and conserved energy. I could have run slight faster up there clean, but in traffic I could chose to try to pass everyone (10-15 riders on the side of mtn) and probably blow up and give it all back or just back off and conserve and take the passes as they come. I chose the later and was happy for it as by the top of climb the pack thinned out and I was able ride my pace and not blow up anywhere.


    2) Find spots on the course you can rest while riding. These are places you can take breather and not go 100%. Sure it faster to ride 100% for 100% of the time, but if you need breather take one in good spot. Maybe it is an easy descent or bit of smooth single/double track where you can let you heart rate drop and recover some. Even if you back off the pace slightly you are still moving. It is interesting to race with someone for bit. Then back off in your "rest zone" and then to come back at the next climb and pass them and leave them in the dust.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
    workin' it Administrator
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    I moved this to the endurance racing forum. Probably get more directed answers here.
    Try this: HTFU

  9. #9
    BBW
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    I really didn't need to stop and rest as much as I needed to stop just to stretch and get out of saddle.... It's amazing how uncomfortable one gets after a few hours without getting off... Especially my lower back and shoulders and neck...
    I seems the problem here is not the riding speed or cardiovascular shape, is more of a fit/core/upper body strength-endurance?
    There are many stretches you can do while on your bike (like stretching your quads by lifting your shoe and letting it rest on the saddle while leaning back, etc). try to stand up often to "rest from the saddle".
    Also a good fit/ proper saddle and upper strengthning go a long way in endurance.
    I usually stop to get water and take 1-2 minutes to stretch back, glutes and legs.
    Hope it helps
    BBW. MS, RD

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    OP, not a whole lot to add except that that was a good catch by BBW about your bike not fitting you. So I agree - get your bike sorted out first.

    Aside from that, when I do this kind of event, I figure I'm already sitting on my ass. I can recover on my bike, and still keep the miles ticking by.

    How long are your training rides? Some years, I've gone up to 6 hour training rides before my 50-mile race, or done things like centuries. So while I ride harder on race day than I would on one of those days, being on my bike for five and a half hours isn't out of the ordinary for me.

    To be fair, I drink from bottles when I race. So my event typically requires two water stops. They're fast, but I am getting a chance to stand upright and shake my legs out. I just don't lollygag for five minutes.

    I guess that's a tangled and sometimes self-contradictory answer. So if you take away one thing, it's don't stop for the sake of resting - do what it takes to make your bike/rider system work well for that length of time. But also think about where you might get a moment off your bike anyway.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I raced approx 8 4hr+ events last year. 6 of those were 4hr, most laps marathons in the Nebraska series.

    To be near the front, I'd go hard for the first 15-20min and then settle into an easy pace (155bpm avg, 165ish is z5 for me). It was all about pacing and eating on time. Pick a time and take a small amount of food each time (for me, I'd start at 1hr and every 30min after with 1 large bite of Clif bar, or some goo).

    I also found it helpful to pick 2 spots of the course that it was better/faster to give higher effort for a shorter period of time. Usually a 3-5min climb that I would enter Z5 for a short time. Mostly just to remind myself that it was a race.

    Otherwise, try to be as smooth as possible and work on saving energy everywhere. No sense in jamming on the brakes if you have to spin back up to speed afterwards. Try to enter and exit corners at a smooth and consistent speed.

    Good luck, they are fun.

  12. #12
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    I did my first 5 hour last year so I cannot give much advice.

    A couple things did come up that I did not expect though. The course was really choppy and by the end of the 50 miles my core and arms were shot even riding a FS 29er.

    My gloves got sweat soaked and I got blisters.

  13. #13
    They call me Shoogs
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    Push at the beginning, ease off into a tempo pace and give everything with an hr to go.

    Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. ~John F. Kennedy

  14. #14
    Rod
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    I'm going to highlight two things that I found very important. The first post by BBW is great and spot on. If I were you I would do a lot more core work and get a bicycle fit. You don't want to hurt yourself from riding a bike that does not fit. You can also stretch when getting your bottles for a minute and hop off the bike if you need to, but don't stay off the bike long at all. I would also do what Andrew said and get in some very long training rides. Ride 4 hours or more on your bike, get use to your nutrition needs, and see how you feel. It won't be race pace, but your body will be more accustomed to it. Good luck and report back. I've done a 12 hour race with good results by doing the above. Use bottles and not an 8 lbs. camelbak. Eat often, but not a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by BBW View Post
    I seems the problem here is not the riding speed or cardiovascular shape, is more of a fit/core/upper body strength-endurance?
    There are many stretches you can do while on your bike (like stretching your quads by lifting your shoe and letting it rest on the saddle while leaning back, etc). try to stand up often to "rest from the saddle".
    Also a good fit/ proper saddle and upper strengthning go a long way in endurance.
    I usually stop to get water and take 1-2 minutes to stretch back, glutes and legs.
    Hope it helps
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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