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  1. #1
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    Noobs 1st 6hr. Tips/advice wanted!

    I'll be doing my first 6 hour on the 16th and am looking for tips/advice on how to prepare. I'll be riding a 26er (probably the last 26er in my state -GA) giant trance x 120mm (f/r) my main problem is avoiding those "bad days" some days I ride awesome, strong, fast, quick climbing and then there's days like yesterday where it seems as though I have barely enough to spin at a crawl up climbs. Last Sunday I did 4hours on an xc trail with absolutely NO coasting. I was strong and kept up with the "fast guys" using really high gears and standing/mashing up climbs. Yesterday a few of us went to check out the race loop and I was mush! The second loop went waaaay faster than the first but both loops I struggled to keep up. Just couldn't catch my wind for the life of me. When I woke up I drank coffee had a decent breakfast 2eggs, turkey sausage, toast, and banana followed by an hour drive to the trail. Stayed hydrated the whole way, drank an electrolyte drink on the way also. On the trail I hit the occasional gel and sips of electrolyte drink here and there. I drink LOTS of water from my pack when I ride too. Between loops I ate a granola bar and split a banana with my friend. I though this was plenty but my legs did not want to work! I still finished, just slow.

    I tend to stick to road rides during the week (school and a fulltime job) and do a lot of mashing uphills. I will get out for at least 1 night trail ride but then on weekends ill do long early morning trail rides.

    I'm a little overweight 5'9 210lbs but in decent health from landscaping for 5 years. I have a poor diet but I've been changing it drastically for the good since getting a little more serious in cycling. I've been riding recreational for about 3 years I think.

    Is there something I really need to focus on to avoid those Crap days?

    Sorry if I gave way too much info. I was just trying to get it all out there. Thanks in advance for anything!
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  2. #2
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    One of the biggest, and most often over looked, part of training is rest. It is very easy to "over train" when we are just starting out. Sometimes before big races, riders taper down the volume and intensity almost a week out before the race and be sure you are giving yourself a rest day or two during your training weeks. However, there are a lot of factors that come into play and everybody is different, so keep that in mind.

    I would suggest you look into Joe Friels Mountain Bikers Training Bible and look into the plethora of resources available on the internet. (Google)

    I am just starting out myself, so take my post FWIW.
    "I have one speed. I have one gear: Go." -- Charlie Sheen

  3. #3
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    I actually just started reading that book! Lot of terminology/lingo to learn bur its a good read. it stresses the same thing about rest.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikoraa View Post
    Is there something I really need to focus on to avoid those Crap days?
    IMHO, the hardest by far part of training for endurance sports is knowing when to rest.

    If you did a solid 4 hr effort that is a big jump in your training, it will likely take you a couple weeks to recover. Most of training is learning how to do the hard efforts in a way
    that allows you to recover for the next hard effort.

    Ups and Downs are just part of what happens, learning to manage them is part of the game.

    If you want to have Great Days, there is simply no way to avoid Crap days. What you really need to avoid is Crap weeks and months. If you learn to listen to your body, you'll know when to just call it a day. When you've been riding hard, it can be amazing what a few days off can change. The trick is pushing just hard enough to get a good training effect without overdoing it and creating negative feedback ( the more you train the slower you go... )

  5. #5
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    So does rest=not riding?
    Legs are a little sore today. When would be a good time to hop on the roadie? Cruise or huff it? I plan do another long ride this weekend, an 8mile night ride singletrack loop during the week and probably the same loop on the weekend day I didn't do the long ride. So basically 2 days normal loop and 1 day a long multi hour ride. With some roadie mixed in. Am I overdoing it?
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikoraa View Post
    So does rest=not riding?
    Sometimes, sometimes it means just riding at minimal effort. Riding at recovery pace takes a fair amount of self-discpline and experience. It can be especially tough for MTB as sometimes the terrain simply doesn't allow you to ride "easy".

    On an "easy" day when you get off the bike, you should feel fresh and ready to go. It should feel like you really didn't do much that day.

    Legs are a little sore today. When would be a good time to hop on the roadie? Cruise or huff it? I plan do another long ride this weekend, an 8mile night ride singletrack loop during the week and probably the same loop on the weekend day I didn't do the long ride. So basically 2 days normal loop and 1 day a long multi hour ride. With some roadie mixed in. Am I overdoing it?
    Nobody can say from the outside whether you're overdoing it or not. Sore legs doesn't really mean much. What I look for on the days when I'm not feeling great is how I feel after
    20-30 minutes, if I'm still dragging I'll just call it a day.

    Training should be fun and you should be ready and raring to go most days. There will be days when you really need to make an effort to get out there, but those should be few and far between.
    Last edited by bbense; 01-31-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    +1 to rest.

    I notice you talk a lot about mashing up hill. So you may be missing a tool - learn to spin up hills too. On intense training rides and in races, do whichever seems best to you at the time. But on your easy days or when you need a change, having more choices about how to climb is great.

    You say you'll be doing your first 6-hour on the 16th. Do you mean February? That's pretty soon... How long have your rides been in training?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    So I guess you are talking bout Tribble Mill on the 16th, will be there too with 2 buddies and our pit mechanic who is injured and cant race, remember to have fun on the race take it all in and yo'll do even better the next time Chain Busters does agreat job and it is a fun challenging course see you there
    Cale
    2013 Black Epic Carbon Comp
    or backup 2011 Giant Anthem X3 custom

  9. #9
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    Yup that's the one! I'm doing two man now. I had trouble finding a partner and was going to do solo but I have a partner now. I haven't really been "training" I just ride a lot and am in the process of getting on a more serious routine to get faster/stronger. I'm not expecting to rank very high. I'm doing it mainly because I love to ride, love the atmosphere at these events, I'm very active in my local SORBA (IMBA). It's going to be a blast regardless of how I do. Gotta start somewhere.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  10. #10
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    Can you pre-ride? Knowing the course is really nice. Having an idea of how long it takes and how the efforts are spaced out is helpful too. One of my favorite courses turns out to have an elevation profile really similar to a road loop that I can get to in about twenty minutes. So I think that riding out there, doing some hard laps on that loop, and then riding home at an easy pace is a really good workout for preparing for that race, if I can't actually go ride the course.

    Depending on how technical the course is, for me, doing it as a 2-man team with a course that length would mean a series of fifty-minuteish sprints and then recoveries.

    Doing something like a tempo ride this week and next week and a fast hills ride this week and next could "faster" you. If you wanted to replicate the racing better, you could make your long ride a series of 50-minute tempo or a bit faster and a 50-minute rest intervals. This is supposed to be enough time to see some training response; I think that's true but am not a coach or an exercise scientist or anything. Certainly I find it helpful to have an idea of what I can do lately.

    The other part of that is that you need to not be doing all your rides really hard. It totally messes with the workouts that are supposed to be hard.

    For the last week before you race, take it easy. Most books will recommend some short workouts where you spool it all the way up to max effort a couple times. I don't know if that works, but I think there's something to be said for having a max effort behind me on race day, and also getting in one or two during warmup if the course has a fast start.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Yea I did two laps through the race loop yesterday. A buddy of mind guided me through it. He's familiar with it. I'm still learning how to properly "train" being a noob and all. The mtb bible is hard to understand at times but has definitely taught me a lot.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  12. #12
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    The second lap went way faster. I knew what was coming up, when I needed to up momentum, when to rest because of that slow long climb coming up. Nothing too steep just long and gradual. That's where I felt the worse. I'm normally fine. Dropped it in granny and spun but legs felt like they had no gas.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  13. #13
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    Given how soon your event is, the Bible may not be of a ton of use to you. I'm trying to follow it myself this year, but I'm not really hoping to be fast until May. You could try doing his Peak weeks - I think you have time for that - and see what it does for you.

    You have other racing coming up this year?

    For climbs - there are some threads on it, but one thing I like to do with the long ones is alternate sitting and standing. I think it helps me stay a little fresher, and dig a little deeper.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I plan to do a few more this year. Nothing serious, more for fun and just to ride and meet people. It'll be a learning experience. As stated in my op, I am a little overweight so that's priority. Way cheaper than blingin out the bike! I barely understand what Joe friel is saying in his book. Just reading it to build a foundation for future routines.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  15. #15
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    It may be a dumb question, but reading your first post how much are you hydrating all the time or the day before a big day? I've read (and personal experience) that hydrating the day before is more effective than the day of a big effort.

  16. #16
    some know me as mongo
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    kikoraa,

    I am starting to train for some endurance events as well, but the difference is that I have been riding for over 15 years now. Thah being said, when I started training I was a one of my lowest cardio levels I have been at in years. I think the best thing to do whe you are new to training is to create a schedule and STICK TO IT. By that I mean if you are having one of those great days you don't keep on going just because you feel great. It also means on the short days you don't cut it short. This will help out out by not over doing it on your great days whcih should make you bad days a bit better.

    Also CROSS TRAIN! This is a huge thing that I think most cyclist overlook/down want to do. Cycling is considered one of the most over skilled and under trained sports in the world. Find another activity that is endurance based that you kinda suck at, for me that is running. If you suck at it, it probably means that you are lacking that type of mucsle strengh and you proabaly are going to need some of that strengh to break past your next goal in cycling. I also play Badmitten in a local club, before you knock badmitten let me tell you that it requires you to react very quickly and precisely. This will hlep biuld fast twitch mucsle fibers that will help you in mose over aspect of cycling. Not saying play badmitten per sae but look for a sport that is not endurance but needs explosive force as well.

  17. #17
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    GAAAHHH! I hate running I have actually been trying to get into it. And yes, I suck bad at running. Things are hard right now. The race is the 16th and I have only been riding on the weekends and not all that much. I have a full time job and am also a student so the little time I have left has been dedicated to studying. I have an online test and a paper to write this week and am also getting paid to drive someone to boston and back over the weekend (long story) so I doubt I will get a ride in. I'm going to be embarrassingly slow come the 16th

  18. #18
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    Working running back into my training schedule has been really helpful. It's a workout that takes under an hour and that only requires me to bring shoes and a pair of shorts to avoid missing a lot of workouts when I'm traveling.

    Sorry.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    The day before the race eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Make sure your urine is clear before you go to bed and as soon as you get up in the morning, drink a big glass of water.

    Figure out what you are going to eat on the bike and when. I usually tape a few GU's on the top bar of my bike in a way which makes them easy to tear off and eat whilst riding.

    If you can, try and visit the area you will be racing. Get an idea of the landscape (hills/flats/steep sections/ etc) this will help with how you ride during the first lap or two.

    Take water and also electrolytes. Dont mix electro's into all of your water. If you do, at some stage during the race you will no longer want to drink sweet stuff and as you wont have any water, will slow down on your hydration - which is the worst thing you want to do.

    Research on 'bonking' and learn what to do if you start to feel like it is happening to you. Focus on breathing and Heart Rate. Towards the end of the race start to break the track down into sections. For example - Section A keep riding at 60%, section B amp it up to 75%, section C drop it back to 60%, section D 80% sprint, etc.

    This will get you pushing harder towards the end, but in a manner that wont cause you too much hurt or cause you to blow yourself out too soon towards the end of the race.

    Also remember, dont go too hard too soon - no matter how tempting it is. Dont try and match the rider in front of you. Just go at your own pace and see how you go. Get used to people passing you, and same again for passing others. The people who just passed you may slow down and you will pass them again later.

    Since it is your first 6hr the aim is to finish. Ride your own race, and let faster riders go past and let slower riders know when you are passing.

    Most importantly, walk around after the race to avoid cramps and drink BULK fluids for the rest of the day, and day after that, and day after that.
    Burning fat, not oil.

  20. #20
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    Re: Noobs 1st 6hr. Tips/advice wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Working running back into my training schedule has been really helpful. It's a workout that takes under an hour and that only requires me to bring shoes and a pair of shorts to avoid missing a lot of workouts when I'm traveling.

    Sorry.
    I need to take a page from your book, man up, and run!
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  21. #21
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    Re: Noobs 1st 6hr. Tips/advice wanted!

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinderz View Post
    The day before the race eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Make sure your urine is clear before you go to bed and as soon as you get up in the morning, drink a big glass of water.

    Figure out what you are going to eat on the bike and when. I usually tape a few GU's on the top bar of my bike in a way which makes them easy to tear off and eat whilst riding.

    If you can, try and visit the area you will be racing. Get an idea of the landscape (hills/flats/steep sections/ etc) this will help with how you ride during the first lap or two.

    Take water and also electrolytes. Dont mix electro's into all of your water. If you do, at some stage during the race you will no longer want to drink sweet stuff and as you wont have any water, will slow down on your hydration - which is the worst thing you want to do.

    Research on 'bonking' and learn what to do if you start to feel like it is happening to you. Focus on breathing and Heart Rate. Towards the end of the race start to break the track down into sections. For example - Section A keep riding at 60%, section B amp it up to 75%, section C drop it back to 60%, section D 80% sprint, etc.

    This will get you pushing harder towards the end, but in a manner that wont cause you too much hurt or cause you to blow yourself out too soon towards the end of the race.

    Also remember, dont go too hard too soon - no matter how tempting it is. Dont try and match the rider in front of you. Just go at your own pace and see how you go. Get used to people passing you, and same again for passing others. The people who just passed you may slow down and you will pass them again later.

    Since it is your first 6hr the aim is to finish. Ride your own race, and let faster riders go past and let slower riders know when you are passing.

    Most importantly, walk around after the race to avoid cramps and drink BULK fluids for the rest of the day, and day after that, and day after that.
    Thanks for this brother!
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  22. #22
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikoraa View Post
    I need to take a page from your book, man up, and run!
    If you do, re-introduce it with some caution. I had trouble for a while because cycling has given me the aerobic fitness to be pretty fast on foot, but doesn't require me to develop the strength and stability around my ankles to run healthy. Doing a really conservative training plan helped me succeed in re-introducing running this time around. I did the Couch to 5k - the article is free, I think the site that published it wants people to come back for pay plans. It feels a little silly, but I was successful this time around and not some previous times when I've revisited running. Not that I'm much of a sample set.

    The other thing about running is that the same things that make cycling more fun can make running more fun. Figuring out pacing, running in nice places, that kind of thing. I wasn't really trying to man up, per se. I remembered enjoying running, and the ability to do it while traveling was attractive.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Re: Noobs 1st 6hr. Tips/advice wanted!

    I actually have the c25k app. I think I push waaaay to hard for something I havent been used to in 8 years. The app tones it down and let's you take it slow. There's a walking trail behind my house too which I may start running on. I hate running on the roads and through neighbours orhoods. I'm pretty bashful. I feel like I'm being judged and ****. Lol. A lot of people have said great things about the couch to 5k plans. I definitely have a lot of work to do!
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  24. #24
    some know me as mongo
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    sounds like you are on the right track. BTW I have been there taking 18 credit hours or classes and working 30+ hours a week. I often times rode at night because it was the olny time that I had to ride!

    But yeah if this is you first endurance event just take your time and finish.

  25. #25
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    I don't have any advice for your first Endurance Race but I will tell you this. You are NOT the last 26" bike in GA. I'm in the same area you are and I ride an even rarer 26" hardtail. But wait, it gets better. Not only am I building up new a 26" FS bike but I'm looking for a new frame for my old 26" HT.

    You are not alone!

    Good luck with your race. Given your post, I wouldn't even say you are overtrained. It sounds to me more like you were just not fully recovered for your second ride. There's a difference between that and overtraining. Unfortunately, riding without good recovery will quickly lead to overtraining so be careful.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

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