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  1. #1
    Let's fly!
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    Tapering for 100 mile mtb race

    My primary goal in cycling all year has been to train for and to “peak” on August 14 for a 100 mile mountain bike race (Leadville 100). I purchased a training plan back in February and have followed it all year. It included 4, 5, and 6 hour rides on the weekends all summer long which I've done. I've done a couple 8 hour efforts, too - the Triple Bypass (road ride of 115 miles and 10k climbing) and the Breckenridge 68 (72 mile mtb race with 8500 feet of climbing that took 8 hours). 1.0-2.0 high intensity rides (intervals) on Tues, Wed, Thurs. i've been racing the Winter Park Mtb Series every-other-week all summer. Very high training load all year.

    My target time for the LT100 is 8:45. I'm 50 years old. I recover pretty quickly. I seem to do well the day after a pretty big effort. But that is for shorter (2-3 hour) efforts. Haven't taken on anything like Leadville before.

    The training plan that I purchased has really prepared me for a long event, but it looks to me like it has too much volume and too much intensity in the next 2 weeks. But I've never done such an event and am not sure how much to taper. Or if I should taper early and then build towards the event (an approach I heard about from a pretty successful racer). The bottom line is that I want to be rested but not lose fitness or be sluggish.

    Here’s what my training plan says from now till race day:

    Mon 8/2 Recovery Day
    Tues 8/3 LT Intervals – 1x20 min at HR4-5, 60 minutes total
    Wed 8/4 Off-road climbs – Z4-5 on moderate climbs with full recovery between, 60 minutes total
    Thur 8/5 Short sprints 4 sets of 5x8-12 second max effort, total of 60 minutes
    Fri 8/6 Recovery spin, super low priority ride, skip if you feel like it, 30 minutes total
    Sat 8/7 Hill attacks – 5x2 minute climbs with 10 pedal stroke attacks at 30, 60, 90 seconds; 4 min recoveries; 3 hours total
    Sun 8/8 Moderate effort on rolling course, Z2-3, 3 hours total
    Mon 8/9 Recovery day
    Tue 8/10 Short sprints 3 sets of 5x8-12 second max effort, total 2 hours
    Wed 8/11 Mixed intensity on hills – long climbs in the saddle, attack short hills, 10% or more in Z4-5, 1.5 hours total
    Thur 8/12 Taper phase, 4x80 seconds Z4-5, 3 minute recoveries, 75 minutes
    Fri 8/13 Recovery
    Sat 8/14 RACE

    I think I do better when I ride some the day before the race, so I plan to take Thurs 8/12 off for recovery and switch that workout to Fri 8/13. I know I can’t make any significant improvements to fitness at this point, but I don’t want to lose anything,either. Need to be well rested but not sluggish on 8/14.

    Would welcome thoughts on the training plan contents for the next 2 weeks!

  2. #2
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    I've got a couple sub 9's out of six LT 100's. I was sick once the whole week before the race and was very rested and got a sub 9. I seem to as you feel stronger after a few days after a very hard effort. Last year prior to the race I rode all the LT 100 climbs and did more than I have in the past. I finished sub 9.
    If your training plan has worked for you but you are feeling it does not give you enough rest, than I would suggest a taper around Tuesday, and perhaps cut your training load back by 25-50%.
    Good Luck!
    ould siufsti

  3. #3
    Towlie for prez
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    We all have different opinions about tapering....That being said you should already be in taper mode for pbville,esp considering your age(unless your last name is Overend )
    I am a few yrs younger than you-44,and this will be my 13th yr lining up at 6th and Harrison.I have always done a 2 week taper for this race.Last week was about 15 hrs for me w/my longest ride of the yr on sat~7hrs.This week I will do maybe 7 or 8 hrs,and 3 next week prior to the race.You have already accumulated ALL the fitness you can,you cant improve much if at all,but you can risk not peaking properly if you do too much.
    I have always gone by Friels advice on tapering,and it seems to work well.Today will be my first ride since Sunday,and I will do some intervals but at a slightly lower effort and for a shorter period of time.The hardest thing about tapering is psycological,for me anyway-I always worry that I am loosing fitness,but things always seem to gel come next week.
    I would HIGHLY recommend riding the start down to pbville junction on fri and back up the boulevard to the finish.That way you know what to be aware of when the gun goes off on the 14th,and riding back up the boulevard will prepare you for the last few miles of pain.It will seem like someone tilted up the last few miles about 15 extra degrees overnight from fri to sat!
    Here is a little info...hope it helps.Good luck!
    http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/06...-workouts.html

  4. #4
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    I looked through my training log and found several instances where I entered "Felt GREAT" a few days AFTER a big/hard/draining effort. The most glaring example of this was where the Breck 68 was a grueling sufferfest for me due to fueling issues and I ended up in the EMT tent for a few hours after the race, then on the following Wed and Thurs my log says "Felt like Superman! Legs never tired, hammered all hills, great day!"

    So maybe I need a near-death experience this weekend?

    Kinda kidding, kinda not. Except that the "Superman" rides were all 1-2 hours; no way to know if that was sustainable.

    Good to hear from LT100 vets. Has anyone tried a more aggressive last two weeks? Any results from doing intervals or high intensity the week before the race like my training plan contains?

    One Expert level racer I was talking to said to taper to almost nothing this week, then build next week - easy to moderate to pretty hard by Friday. He says that causes him to be really amped and feel great on Saturday races. But, once again, apples-to-oranges because he is focused on 2-4 hour xc events.

  5. #5
    Towlie for prez
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    Now is not the time to try something new.Take your own advice from past race exp-If riding hard a few days prior to racing worked for you,do it again.What works for me/others may not work for you.Stick to your gut on this one.

  6. #6
    It ain't easy being Green
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    Here's what I'll be doing next week:

    Mon 8/9 Recovery day
    Tue 8/10 Mixed intensity on hills – long climbs in the saddle, attack short hills, 10% or more in Z4-5, 1.5 hours total (Columbine pre-ride)
    Wed 8/11 Short sprints 3 sets of 5x8-12 second max effort, total 2 hour (St Kevs/Boulevard pre-ride)
    Thur 8/12 Low intensity, low gear, high cadence cardio workout, probably just a loop around Boulevard, total 1 hour.
    Fri 8/13 Same as Thursday.
    Sat 8/14 RACE

    I reserve the right to be lazy Wed-Fri if my legs demand it

    This week I'm at a half-way-house altitude camp in Flagstaff at 7000ft (I live at sea level), climbing big hills at tempo pace while I acclimate, 7 miles of 8% ascent twice a day. I'm messing around with different gears and cadences, trying to figure out how I can be most efficient (i.e. burn the least calories and still get to the top at the same time). It appears that 75-80RPM and 75-80% HR (32/28 or 32/30 gearing) is best for me but that may change as acclimation progresses.

    FWIW I'm about your age and have similar goals for Leadville.

  7. #7
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    This was my second year doing the CCP. Both years my week to go looked like this;
    sunday- race xc 2 hrs or 3 hr hard ride
    monday- short track race x2 with good warmups
    tuesday- nothing but eat good food
    wednesday - same
    thursday- same
    friday- hard, hard intensity 1 hour ride and the best night of sleep i can manage
    saturday- travel, eat good food, ride enough to check out the bike and stretch the legs, nothing more than 2-4 miles
    sunday- race my butt off.

    both times I have had the best legs of the year for this race by using this program.
    the good night sleep two nights before ensures that you wont' freak out when you don't get a good one the night before.
    basiclly just be lazy and be ok with it. taking it easy the week before is the best part of the race, almost better than the meals you will dream up starting at about hour 6 :-)
    good luck!

  8. #8
    g3h6o3
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    Although my races are shorter (80-90km) I barely taper. What I do is make sure I get the legs still moving 2-3 days prior to the race. I also do high intensity earlier in the week 4-5 days prior to the race.

    So this week, I have a 93km on saturday. I rode last sunday but rather relaxed. I wanted to do a longish (2H30-3H00) ride but the new chain I installed in the morning was skipping so I got pissed. It ended up in a 1H30 with some unhill being walked because of loss of momentum. Anyways....
    I also rode on tuesday, this was my high intensity rid of the week. I opted for a MTB start workout. 1 min all-out followed by 10 minutes just above treshold, repeat twice.
    Tonight I'll try to ride a 1H00-1H30 at tempo.
    The other days we're complete rest.

    I know the theory says to taper longer for longer races but I end up feeling tired and having a hard getting the machine back up and running when I stop riding for too long. So I take a week with lots of rest but make sure to get a workout every so often to keep the rythm, lowering the effort the close I get to the race.

    Up to now, this has given good results, I always felt great on race day. I'll also add that I believe pre-race day sleep is the most important. I usually go to bed at 20H, get up at 5H30 to give me plenty of time to prepare and wakeup.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  9. #9
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    I'm going into Leadville #6. Last year I had my best time out of 5, and did a 3 day road tour with a fair amount of climbint at high intensity the 2 weeks before, then cut way back until the race.

    I'm doing high intensity this week, but cutting the hours way back. I've been traveling for the last couple of weeks as well, so I'm maybe a bit heavier on the recovery than I'd want to be.

    Also, I did the Breck 68 this year for the first time. In my opinion, the 68 was tougher than Leadville (at least I suffered more from the cramping). You're 8 hour finish should mean you're good to go for Leadville - don't know that it equates to 8:45 or not, but will be curious to see how it comes out.

  10. #10
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    My plan has 12 hours scheduled for this week, but I'm thinking of cutting back a little by skipping a 2 hour endurance ride since I will be traveling to Leadville anyway. I did read in the Hammer magazine this week that keeping the high intensity stuff during your taper is important, so I am keeping all the mid-week high intensity stuff. There is only about 5 hours of riding race week, which I will use to pre-ride the course.

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