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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    12 hour race. Zero experience. 2 months to train. Any tips?

    I'm really considering entering a 12 hour race. I've never done anything like this before. In fact, I've only raced twice on a 17 mile course. My longest ride is around 25 miles. I just want to finish. That is my only goal. Any tips on training, nutrition, etc? I've been reading everything I can find on the internet and I would really appreciate your input as well.


  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    how long is each lap? are you doing a team or solo entry? do you have a plan for meals?
    Put a mountain biker in a room with 2 bowling balls and we'll break one and lose the other - GelatiCruiser

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    how long is each lap? are you doing a team or solo entry? do you have a plan for meals?
    15 mile lap. Solo- single speed. Not yet. I read somewhere that liquid nutrition is best, but I'm not sure if that applies to endurance races. Also, I'll most likely be doing this self supported. They let you set up a 10x10 tent, which I'll stock with goodies. I have help setting up, but I have not been able to convince anyone to hang out for 12 hours in the desert.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Keep drinking and eating. Don't try to go too fast. Do lots of long rides between now and then.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Wow, I thought I had a tough race coming up 44 miles and 8500 feet of climbing I am hoping to finish in 6 hours.

    Is there only 12 hour race, a lot of time they have 6 hours as well.

    Might be a better place to start.

    If they don't, start slow learn what foods you tolerate while exercising.

    A few suggestions: Fig newtons, gummy bears , banana's!! I like the cliff zbar ropes.

    Trader Joes has awesome dried fruit that might work for you.

    Don't forget a good sports drink. No shame in taking a break here and there. 12 hours is a long time on a bike.

    Have fun and let us know how it goes!.

    Good Luck


  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    A race this long becomes more an issue of energy management than fitness per se. Of course being more fit helps but being able to sustain a constant output will come down to how well you can take energy in.

    Eating on the bike at low thresholds does mean that more energy can be consumed as a solids. Things like rice cakes can work very well (google: Alan Lim Rice Cake).

    Whilst carbohydrates are the main source required also fats in the form of medium-chain triglycerides will help keep a steady energy supply. Coconut oil is a rich source and very conveniently so does Nutella (english muffins with nutella and peanut butter a personal favourite).

    A small amount of protein may help preserve muscle but doesn't actually help output and may slow gastric emptying. Good in training - not so much in racing.

    Caffeine of course helps but the doses need to be monitored as too much may start to impede performance and may lead to a higher instance of cramping.

    On the topic of cramping - whilst some electrolyte intake is not a bad thing at all you don't need to go overboard. For cramping there is no evidence for lack of electrolytes being the cause. They are needed by the body - but taking them won't be a magic bullet to stop them. In most cases, cramping sets in when race demands exceed conditioning ie: going harder than you have managed in training.

    That being said - the mere presence of salt in the mouth can help alleviate the symptoms of cramp (and stretching) so a small salty snack is handy to have - and sometimes craving for salty food arises, and can help cut through the generally sweet carbs being ingested.

    For fluids I like diluted pineapple juice and if I am on "fluids only" heavily diluted pineapple juice with a touch of sugar and maltodextrin power mixed together (reason being the "transporters" of carbs can deal with a certain amount but that can be increased if the types of carbs are blended - so a mix of sucrose, fructose and maltodextrin etc should yield in a higher energy uptake).

    For training - whilst some real long rides (basic arse on seat time), especially those where you practice your nutrition strategy will be good it would be highly advisable not to eschew shorter duration efforts - anything from 30sec to 20mins will help.

    When racing it is simple - if you're hungry, eat. If you're thirsty, drink. If you think you're going at a strong steady pace... slow down

    Also on extreme endurance, especially those multi-lap deals, try not to stop. If you're feeling tired and you stop, ya know, just for 5 mins, then it's probably race over.

    A helper monkey to pass you food and fluid and shout at you and catch you at the end is highly recommended.

    Oh, and enjoy.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    ^^^ great advice. Thanks for taking the time to write it out. ^^^

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