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  1. #1
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    25 miler...any suggestions?

    hey all...i'm an average joe cat 3/sport "racer," (vet 2 - 40-49) and one that doesn't even do a ton of 'em. This year i'll probably do 4 when all is said and done.

    That said, in my area most cat 3 races are usually around 15/16 milers. And you just blast out and blow your head off, and go.

    I'm doing a race september 7 or 8 (can't remember), and it's a 25 miler. I actually have not done one before (i have not actually been racing that long).

    For those more experienced than me, is there any change in strategy? just pace a little more?

    How about training? I know i don't have a long way until race time, but what should i try and be doing? I certainly don't do 25 miles worth of mountain biking in one session when i hit the trails. I just don't have that much terrain around me (or time! i have a job and all). I've been getting some road rides in, but usually just around 30 milers. Should i try and up that for the next week? Try and and least hit 40 milers so my legs really can get some feel for a 25 mile mtb race? try and figure out how to do at least a couple 20 mile mountain bike sessions?

    I'm not looking to win (ha!) - i just want to put in a decent race and not be miserable.

    Looking at Strava, i average, between both mountain biking and road, 5.5/6 hours of riding a week, and around 80 miles.

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Any idea of how the 25miler course compares to the ones that you have been doing?

    As you know, it will all depend on how tough the course is. I would worry less about the mileage and more about the time needed to complete the course. It could be a fast course and take only slightly more time than what you have been competing 15 miles on; or, it could be a very difficult course and you could be out there for 3hrs or more.

  3. #3
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    thx for the reply...i did ride it last year - just as an 11 miler. It's technical at times, but overall not deeply technical. It's mainly new england style singletrack - roots, rock, etc.

    this is the descriptor -

    "Almost entirely on singletrack, this race showcases a great deal of what we has to offer trail-wise as well as some of the historic features of the trail system. Over the 25 miles you will encounter almost every type of trail situation - rocks, roots, berms, pavement (minimal), fast and slow trails, etc. This course takes you through the best of New England mountain biking!"

  4. #4
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    I would try to get at least one 20-25 miler in on similar terrain or better yet, go pre-ride the course. Based on your current levels of riding, you'd probably be fine to just show up tomorrow and complete the course. Pain cave may run deep, but you'd at least finish. I raced a 50 miler this year at altitude in the Rocky Mtns and the longest mtb ride I did was 40 miles. Granted I did this every weekend for 6 weeks beforehand mixed in with some 12-25 mile days 2-3 times a week. If you can pre-ride the course, you'll know exactly where you can pin it and where you have to hold back.

    With that said, it's amazing how much you can put your body through come race day.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwine View Post
    I would try to get at least one 20-25 miler in on similar terrain or better yet, go pre-ride the course. Based on your current levels of riding, you'd probably be fine to just show up tomorrow and complete the course. Pain cave may run deep, but you'd at least finish. I raced a 50 miler this year at altitude in the Rocky Mtns and the longest mtb ride I did was 40 miles. Granted I did this every weekend for 6 weeks beforehand mixed in with some 12-25 mile days 2-3 times a week. If you can pre-ride the course, you'll know exactly where you can pin it and where you have to hold back.

    With that said, it's amazing how much you can put your body through come race day.
    thanks...wow - yeah, not sure i have enough time to train like that (that's amazing). But yeah, you had a 50 miler so it's a diifferent animal. How'd you do in the race?

    Yeah, i'll try to get some longer mtb rides in (while not taking those longer rides right UP to race day - i'll back off before then).

    My buddy who's a good mtb racer swears by road training, but i never feel like it "feels" how hard mountain biking is. then again, he rides more miles than me on the road. If you ride 50 milers on the road a couple times a week, then maybe that mimics a 25 mile mtb race in some ways. I've been doing 30/35 milers. Probably not a sufficient mimic.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    thanks...wow - yeah, not sure i have enough time to train like that (that's amazing). But yeah, you had a 50 miler so it's a diifferent animal. How'd you do in the race?

    Yeah, i'll try to get some longer mtb rides in (while not taking those longer rides right UP to race day - i'll back off before then).

    My buddy who's a good mtb racer swears by road training, but i never feel like it "feels" how hard mountain biking is. then again, he rides more miles than me on the road. If you ride 50 milers on the road a couple times a week, then maybe that mimics a 25 mile mtb race in some ways. I've been doing 30/35 milers. Probably not a sufficient mimic.
    Thanks, I did pretty well 8th out of 52 in my sport age group. Second race I've ever done.

    Training wise a 50 miler is a different animal but the principals should be similar. I didn't train by doing only 50 mile rides (all mountain, I did no road riding) but mixed in lots of riding with varied miles. Some rides were long with lots of climbing while some were shorter (10 miles) but at a much faster pace and intensity. With only 2 weeks to go, don't sweat it too much. Ride as much as you can and push yourself through the last several miles. Remember, it's 'only' 25 miles!

  7. #7
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    wow, great finish - 2nd race ever? man..

    thx for the tips - yeah, not a ton of time to really do THAT much different training wise, but i will try to get one or two bigger rides in, and just ride as much as possible before tapering a couple of days before i guess.

    and yeah - just push through the pain cave of those last 5 miles or so

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I'd try to shoot maybe for 20-25 miler this weekend if you can (maybe even do another "big" ride the day after if you can swing it just to get your body used to back-to-back volume) to try to figure out a nutrition schedule. If for you that's 3-3.5 hours instead of 1-1.5 then you need to determine if you can take in food and what kind, and what intervals.

    Aside from that, do what works for you for your normal length races, only longer Obviously will have to pace a little slower, but could be tough because everyone goes out to race. Even in 12/24 hour races that first lap is red line! Maintain, race your own race, have fun!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by miss rides a lot View Post
    Yeah, I'd try to shoot maybe for 20-25 miler this weekend if you can (maybe even do another "big" ride the day after if you can swing it just to get your body used to back-to-back volume) to try to figure out a nutrition schedule. If for you that's 3-3.5 hours instead of 1-1.5 then you need to determine if you can take in food and what kind, and what intervals.

    Aside from that, do what works for you for your normal length races, only longer Obviously will have to pace a little slower, but could be tough because everyone goes out to race. Even in 12/24 hour races that first lap is red line! Maintain, race your own race, have fun!
    Thanks! great advice...i usually finish mid pack, cat 3 for the 15/16 milers. So, hmm...i'm probably looking at 2 or 2.5 hours for this...2 is probably wishful thinking. I really don;t know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    Thanks! great advice...i usually finish mid pack, cat 3 for the 15/16 milers. So, hmm...i'm probably looking at 2 or 2.5 hours for this...2 is probably wishful thinking. I really don;t know.
    sounds like you are talking about the landmine classic race at wompatuck state park. definitely a really fun place to ride. I have done that 25 mile loop a bunch and will try to help you out a bit.

    the 11 mile loop you did last year is pretty much super fast non technical riding. if you remember when your crossed the street and took a right instead of a left that is where it gets interesting. for the most part the other side of the street is a pretty steady diet of roots with little breaks here and there and a couple short (less than 1/8th mile) road pieces. I find that side of the street is constantly wearing you out little by little.

    I am by no means fast and I have done that loop in the 2hr 45min range when I am trying pretty good. I have never road it at race pace the whole time so not really sure how much time I could shave off. but I think a good goal is 2hr 30min. people who win the cat 2 class that day will be around the 2hr mark.

    if you have strava and have a garmin that can do maps you can download the race course and follow it. that could be the best thing you could do because you probably will not be able to see much physical gains in such a short time but knowing the course could save you more in my opinion.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowagriz View Post
    Any idea of how the 25miler course compares to the ones that you have been doing?

    As you know, it will all depend on how tough the course is. I would worry less about the mileage and more about the time needed to complete the course. It could be a fast course and take only slightly more time than what you have been competing 15 miles on; or, it could be a very difficult course and you could be out there for 3hrs or more.
    I did a 24 mile race in 2hrs 8 min. My standard 2.5 hr recreation ride is 23 miles. I have 24 mile loop that takes me 3hr 30 min. I did a 30 mile race in 3:45 min. Saturday I have 20 mile race planned and I expect it to take 2:15 to 2:45. I am not race winner, but just a mid pack guy seeks to race on occasion for fun. Point is miles are not away indicative of the effort. Time is more realistic. For training when I prepared for my 30 mile race I knew it was going to be along race so I put in extra effort to get on the trails riding hard for what I expected my time to be. I wanted to know how my body would react to going hard for that long. I was never able to pre-ride the course, but my training did make my comfortable with that time on the bike.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  12. #12
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    yep, it's the Landmine. Yeah, 2 hrs was DEF wishful thinking for me. 2:45 prob would be my goal, MAYBE 2.5...Thanks for the advice and info. I do have Strava....I have maprika - wonder if that would allow me to get the course.

    So, i did 19 today at another spot. Tried it at a pretty decent clip most of the way - Lungs, not a problem. Legs, sure, getting tired by the end of that 19, but not bad. Biggest issue? my lower back when i ride long. Sucks. Makes it not fun and i think affects my psyche and performance. Not sure what it is - it don't really get it when I road ride. So obviously it's the way i'm positioned on the bike or something. Or i'm just getting freaking old. I wonder if a really good bike fitting would help at all (never had one for this bike). Prob don't even really have time for that. Maybe i throw a bunch of Ben Gay on and know that i'm entering pain cave. My recreational rides are usually 12 milers, with occasional epic days thrown in like when at Kingdom Trails and such. Or races (like I said, 3 or 4 a year). Guess i gotta suck up the pain and know it's coming.

    Is it not a good idea to take a bunch of advil BEFORE a race? never done that before..

    Quote Originally Posted by adumb View Post
    sounds like you are talking about the landmine classic race at wompatuck state park. definitely a really fun place to ride. I have done that 25 mile loop a bunch and will try to help you out a bit.

    the 11 mile loop you did last year is pretty much super fast non technical riding. if you remember when your crossed the street and took a right instead of a left that is where it gets interesting. for the most part the other side of the street is a pretty steady diet of roots with little breaks here and there and a couple short (less than 1/8th mile) road pieces. I find that side of the street is constantly wearing you out little by little.

    I am by no means fast and I have done that loop in the 2hr 45min range when I am trying pretty good. I have never road it at race pace the whole time so not really sure how much time I could shave off. but I think a good goal is 2hr 30min. people who win the cat 2 class that day will be around the 2hr mark.

    if you have strava and have a garmin that can do maps you can download the race course and follow it. that could be the best thing you could do because you probably will not be able to see much physical gains in such a short time but knowing the course could save you more in my opinion.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry View Post
    So, i did 19 today at another spot. Tried it at a pretty decent clip most of the way - Lungs, not a problem. Legs, sure, getting tired by the end of that 19, but not bad. Biggest issue? my lower back when i ride long. Sucks. Makes it not fun and i think affects my psyche and performance. Not sure what it is - it don't really get it when I road ride. So obviously it's the way i'm positioned on the bike or something. Or i'm just getting freaking old. I wonder if a really good bike fitting would help at all (never had one for this bike). Prob don't even really have time for that. Maybe i throw a bunch of Ben Gay on and know that i'm entering pain cave. My recreational rides are usually 12 milers, with occasional epic days thrown in like when at Kingdom Trails and such. Or races (like I said, 3 or 4 a year). Guess i gotta suck up the pain and know it's coming.

    Is it not a good idea to take a bunch of advil BEFORE a race? never done that before..
    It's a musculature/strength/endurance thing IMO. I have the same issue(s). Try stretching it out when you can during the race, start early and often. Just stand and try to get your leg and back muscles stretched back out on a short descent or flat spot, even if it's only momentary. You shouldn't lose a ton of time, but "shaking it off" so to speak and relaxing and stretching out should help. Advil, IMO/E won't do that much for you.

    Don't get a bike fit before a long race. If any big changes are made your body needs time to adapt and adjust.

    I also wouldn't suggest a lot of Advil before (or right after) the race. Just try to stretch and relax a little.

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    ^what she said. Do not change anything this close to the race. Deal with it afterwards. As far as the back pain, yep it will happen. Takes time and effort to get those muscles accustomed to that aggressive, forward position. After the race, skip the advil and head to the frosty beverages!

    Although I must admit, after I finished the Firecracker 50 I slammed a Coke and it was the best tasting gosh darn soda EVER!

  15. #15
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    thanks miss and smallwine - super good advice...appreciated.

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