Jumping into the Saddle
Last year was one of the hardest years of my life...
Fired from my job? Check.
Devastating ski injury two weeks later? Check.
Complications from surgery? Check.
Wait...another surgery? Check.
And then, there was my bike. The one shining light! To celebrate finally graduating from PT and becoming an athlete again (finally!), my friends and husband have talked me into registering for the Fat Tire 40 - a 40 mile mountain bike race on single track in Crested Butte, Colorado. Does this even qualify as endurance? It seems like it should to me. There are nearly 7,000 vertical feet of climbing over a technically and mentally challenging course. Did I mention that it's all over 9300 feet?
I'm scared but excited...and have under two months to train.
My goals for this race in order of importance:
1. Have fun.
2. Learn from other riders.
3. Be inspired by other riders.
5. Finish feeling NOT like death and ready to sign up for another.
Currently I train at altitude and live at 9, 300 feet. I ride between 40 and 60 miles a week, depending...I don't really keep track.
I don't know the lingo. I drink too much and eat pretty badly. I don't know what I'm doing, but I love my bike, I love to ride, and I can't wait to dive into another amazing chapter of my life on my bike beginning now.
I'm not sure if I'm asking for advice or encouragement or past experiences to learn from, but anything offered would be much appreciated.
If you could tell your former self one thing on your first mountain bike race ever what would it be?
If nothing else, I hope this sparks a lifelong passion and helps me inspire myself and others.
If I could tell my former self one thing, it would be to focus on the fun.
Of course, preparation has a lot to do with how much fun you'll actually have between miles 20-40...
Good on ya for getting through a brutal sounding year, and setting this goal for yourself.
My former self? Don't win the warmup. Start off easy and then slow down.
Originally Posted by snowgypsy
I'd call 40 miles with that much climbing an endurance event. Good for you that you're hitting it.
For a first one, really, don't try to keep up with anyone. Ride your own ride.
Originally Posted by TomP
Don't worry about starting fast or who is passing you just stay focused on your own race, try to eat and drink often, keep the hr down and pedal, pedal, pedal....
In terms of lead up just try to ride a fair bit, do one or two longer rides (say 3/4 distance) with similar elevation profiles if possible.
Lastly, have fun and don't take it to heart if you don't finish in the "x" percentile... Finishing is an achievement in it'self.
Cul is a regretted trademark of the CulBaire Co'op Pty Ltd, as are his random ramblings and associated bullshit.
I would say a couple easy things to help:
- Learn to eat right on the bike
- If you have a HRM start using it just to know where your thresholds are for you, nothing formal on longer prep rides just look at data or keep an eye on it and you will notice the difference between comfortable and pushing. Keep comfortable and you will do well.
Good for you go for it!
XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!
Definitely an endurance event at that altitude with that climbing. If I could tell myself one thing - train MUCH harder than I did! I had no clue when I got the endurance race bug in my head, I thought I was training hard, but I wasn't, had no clue what it would be like doing a 70 mile and then 100 mile MTB race. Unlike my training rides where I went out for 6 or 7 hours, but was only pedaling for 5 or 6, when I "raced" I was on the bike for many more hours and a much higher percentage, no stopping and sitting down to eat like I'd been training. Yes, always make sure you're having fun, but you've got to suffer and push yourself in training or you'll get a nasty awakening on race day.
Advice to you - while MTBing should always be fun, cut down on the drinking and try to eat better, you will not only see improvement in your fitness MTBing, it will also be seen in everyday energy levels and how you feel - training with a hang over or from a hard nights drinking is NO FUN at all.
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