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  1. #1
    Sleek Jamis Exile Rider
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    Tips for 6 hour races

    I'm racing in my first ever 6 hour event next weekend.
    Is it ok to stop and rest/refuel between laps or do I have to ride the 6? There are teams being formed and will switch out for their laps but I wont know anyone as I'm coming from another state to ride.
    Any tips for the overall experience will be greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Of course it's okay to stop and rest. What are they going to do? It just means that you probably won't ride as many laps, and it'll take you longer.

    From the way you phrase the question and the comment about teams, it sounds like this is the endurance format with a relatively manageably-sized lap, coming through the same place every time. I've done one of those, and a couple of single loop, long course endurance races.

    Things actually went a bit sideways for me at my 6 hour. I blew up my drivetrain. But, here's how I'd approach a race going through the same aide station every hour or so - there's likely to be a place you can leave a bag for yourself. You're not going to be the only solo rider, or the only unsupported solo rider. So, put extra layers, extra socks, food you know you can tolerate, and extra water in your bag. Basically, set yourself up not to need the aide station. It's fine if they have cookies and you want them, but people sometimes end up having some gastrointestinal "fun" if they drink a new energy drink or use a new gel on race day. Better to have "your" energy drink and "your" gels and bars. You can also take a more extensive set of tools if you like. It's not like you have to carry them. Definitely be able to fix minor mechanical problems out on course. Six hours is long enough to make up time spent changing a flat, sometimes even for guys in contention for the podium, depending on the event size and how closely matched they are. But it's a lot harder to make up time spent walking half of the course.

    Other than that - it's a long race. So, pace yourself. If you've trained up to this duration, you'll have a good idea of what you can do. Bear in mind that some of the people who go haring off at the start are only going to be riding for under an hour before they hand off to someone else. You're not competing with them.

    In general, I don't like to stop and start a lot, even in endurance races. I think that not taking so much water with me, and changing bottles, is nice, but that takes less than a minute. I do my eating and drinking on the bike. I've had fair results that way; I think the thing that's really holding me back is that I don't train as well as I could. Basically, I'm happy with what I do on race day, given the fitness I've created to work with. Some people say it gets harder and harder to go out for another lap, especially if they stop for longer at the start/finish area. So maybe I'm sparing myself some mental angst by either rolling through or making very brief stops.

    Good luck, and have fun!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    1. Start slow and finish strong. No point in blowing up 3 hours in and dragging through your final laps. The first couple/few laps should be boringly slow. You will thank yourself once you are on your last couple laps picking bonked riders off.

    2. Race your own race. All the 6 hours I have done are mass start, meaning, I dont know who around me is in my category. Trying to race as fast as a 'team category' racer who swaps out every lap is a recipe for disaster.

    3. Dont stop drinking water and eating. Getting behind on your nutrition/hydration can cause you to bonk which will be hard to escape and will damage your moral. Dont forget electrolytes. Mustard packets are my favorite because I like the taste

    4. If you are strong, it may be a good idea to try to get to the front before you hit the singletrack. Being stuck behind a bunch of riders crawling along isnt fun. But if you are average, just chill out and ride with the group till it starts to open up some.

    Good luck and post back how it went!
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  4. #4
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    Depends on your goal, if you are going for the win, the top guys will not be stopping at all. The last couple of 6 hrs I have done were raced like a XC race. Took me a few to be able to push that hard for that long.

    By the end of last season I was doing 100 milers without stopping but to re-fill bottles every 25 miles.

    If you are just trying to finish I would stick to what you were doing in training. Changing anything this close could result in a serious stomach issue.

  5. #5
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    Great info. And this is a serious question: how do you handle bathroom breaks, especially #2?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    Great info. And this is a serious question: how do you handle bathroom breaks, especially #2?
    You have better taken care of that about 30 minutes before the start.

  7. #7
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    Lol, I have never had the urge to take a #2 during an endurance race. I have had my fair share of stomach aches though. Its gotta be the sympathetic nervous system under stress.

    Never had to urinate either.... But its typically hot and humid around here and you sweat out most of that fluid.

    When I raced that chainbusters 6 hour in march, I diddnt urinate for like 4 hours after getting off the bike. And I was knocking out 2 bottles of fluid per 10 mile lap. Follow by serious hydration on the ride back home.

    But some Ironmen and ironwomen of tri need to urinate during the duration of the sport, so you may have to...
    Last edited by Sheepo5669; 01-05-2013 at 06:54 PM.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I throw a roll of toilet paper in my race bag. Sometimes it runs out in the porta-potties.

    Otherwise, what's been said - I've never had to stop and take a dump during a race. I've had to before, usually it's taken some time for things to "wake up" after in that regard, but often I do need to pee like a race horse after.

    I guess if I had to take a dump during, I'd do it at the next porta-potty. I'm not a triathlete.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
    Sleek Jamis Exile Rider
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    Race was today. I had a great time supporting a great cause. Finished ok. Just two laps as I've been sick. Winner in my division rode 8 laps. Each lap being little more than ten miles. So those guys are super men

    I learned a lot about riding technique and endurance. Had some quality riders look at my bike and offered up some future gear changes that will help my position on the bike. So ill incorporate those ASAP.

    I also learned what I need to pack and what to leave out. Clif bars are good. Just not so good on the trail. Had to drink too much water to get them down.and they weigh down the camelbak. I had gu packets and sports bean. Those are light weight and really helped me refuel.

    Now I'm soaking in a hot bath and will do some light stretches to loosen up.
    Thanks for all the tips guys

  10. #10
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    Do most people race this distance with a hydration pack, or bottles? Wouldn't it quite a bit of time to skip the feed zones? for 5 hrs would a 70oz hydration pack (water) and two bottles in the frame (with concentrated caloric mix) be sufficient for hydration?

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I've gone with bottles. I didn't get a GPS track of the 6-hour race I did and blowing up my drivetrain caused a bunch of other delay, but last time I did a 50-mile race, it took me 5:36 from when I turned on Strava to when I told it I was done, and my ride time was 5:30. Being 6 minutes faster would have moved me from 36th to 35th in that event. But who knows - maybe I'd have been 2% slower with a camelbak? I also doubt that those water stops slowed me down six minutes. While refilling bottles, I'm also recovering.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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