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  1. #1
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    24 Hour Solo Riders and Sleep

    Just a general question for the 24 hour solo riders -
    Do you take a hour or so nap sometime during the race? You know go crash in a chair or your tent for a little shuteye?
    I know it depends on the race, but I'm just curious.
    Pros and Cons?

    Thanks,

    Woody

  2. #2
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    No sleep for me. I ride the whole time. I think if you try to nap you won't want to get up.

  3. #3
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    No sleep for me either. The adrenaline will keep you going.

  4. #4
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    i tried both

    Hello there i raced in 10, 24h solo races now and tried everything from DNF to podium spots.
    To be honest there are few good enough to race for 24h without resting, be that sitting in a chair eating waiting for your legs to replenish energy and cramps to go away or laying in your tent, that said sleeping have never been a part of my gameplan thou sometimes i ended up taking a nap anyway.

    But as i see it all boils down to 2 things.
    What are your goals in 24hour racing, do you want a top finish or are you there for the fun. if you say top finish there is no time for resting. you will never make up what you lost, so better just slow down abit and keep going.

    secondly. do you have what it takes to ride for 24h without having a break, if you say no then a plan for the race that includes time to eat, drink and stretch might be better for you.

  5. #5
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    if you want to win there is no rest, and your pits are timed in seconds not minutes.
    MTB Coach
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbcoach_co View Post
    if you want to win there is no rest, and your pits are timed in seconds not minutes.
    This is very true.....if you are going for the win your race has to be focused on the utmost of efficiency and organization....no time for sleep or rest....don't even plan on sitting down....you may not want to get back up.

    If your goal is simply to finish rest is ok. I have done both.....two years ago I was racing in a 24 where it rained for over 20 hours of the race....I was running out of brake pads due to the grinding mud....I was forced off the bike for a 5 hour break in the middle of the night and did not want to get back on the horse once it became light. I find it much easier to just keep plodding along all night....many of your competitors will go to sleep and this may automatically hand you a podium spot........good luck out there

  7. #7
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    If you want to win, you don't sleep. In fact, you don't really even stop. The only time you stop moving is to answer the call of nature, and some people even do that from the bike!
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    Joe Partridge

  8. #8
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    I've done seventeen 24hr Solos, at all kinds of different small event to big event scenarios. That doesn't mean I've got everything figured out but it does mean I've got a fair bit of 24hr Solo experience.

    To your question...

    Sometimes you plan to race non-stop and then fate will hand you a setback which interrupts your plan. Sometimes you plan to race non-stop and you do.

    At a competitive level the pit stops don't happen until quite a few hours into the race and then it's only for a few seconds. That continues well into the night where you might stop in the pit for less than a minute. By the end stages of the race it feels like you are racing faster than a speeding bullet (though typically that's not the case) and still there's little to no stopping in the pit.

    Racing for the podium there's always someone nipping at your heels, sleep or stopping is rarely an option.

  9. #9
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    fwiw, i just read that Andy Jacques-Maynes took a 20 minute nap during his race winning effort at 24 hours of moab this year.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    fwiw, i just read that Andy Jacques-Maynes took a 20 minute nap during his race winning effort at 24 hours of moab this year.
    Sure, that can happen, but if racer A and racer B are equally as fit, talented and experienced which racer do you think will win if Racer A sleeps and Racer B doesn't?

  11. #11
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    I have not done this before but I can't see going 24 on my bike and not sleeping. I have respect for anyone who can.

  12. #12
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    Like everyone said, if you are contending for the win, then you have to keep riding. For me, I usually find myself in the top ten (5th to 10th during the day) and I like to take a few short 2 to 3 minute breaks every 4 or 5 laps to stretch, refill bottles and eat something. I won't stop for an extended period until around 2:00 a.m. and will lay down for an hour or maybe two. This conserves my lights somewhat and gives me new life for the morning to end laps. Many of your competitors are doing the same thing and at worst you lose 1, maybe 2 laps, which I always make up at 4:00 when I get back on the bike. I've done four 24 hour solos now and have finished 6th 7th and 8th twice. I never have support but that makes a huge difference. You want a support person or two for sure.

  13. #13
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    How much tougher is a 24 than a 12. I know the course will have something to do with it but is it a major step up?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MREGAN View Post
    How much tougher is a 24 than a 12. I know the course will have something to do with it but is it a major step up?
    roughly twice as hard

  15. #15
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    I would assume more. A 12 hour isnt twice as hard as a 6. The second half of the 12 is always harder. I would say the same applies here. So training wise just do twice as much you reckon?

  16. #16
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    Depends. The pace in a 12-hour tends to be higher. I don't like to go fast, so I've always found 12-hr races to be rough.

    On the other hand, a 24-hr race is really just getting started after 12 hours. I like to still feel 'fresh' at the 12-hr point.

    To the point: the pace of a 12-hr race makes it physically hard. The length and lack of sleep make the 24-hr race mentally hard.

    Your milage may vary!

    Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by MREGAN View Post
    How much tougher is a 24 than a 12. I know the course will have something to do with it but is it a major step up?
    --
    Joe Partridge

  17. #17
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    Never raced an endurance event, but I do work a job that requires working mixed shifts through the week- ie, first, second, then third. The first night on a third shift is really tough to rest up for cause you are not tired and for some reason the body seems to do fine the first night staying up. It is the second and third nights that really hurt. So, with that in mind it seems to me that you would not really need to sleep if doing a 24 hour event. Obviously you are gonna crash after the event and need to get some rest to recover but I am up for nearly 24 hours quite a bit and that does not even include the adrenaline from the race. Just a thought

  18. #18
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    Has anyone ever done a 24 hour race without doing 6hr and 12 hr races first? I too like lamb am often up fro 24 to 30 hours with no sleep due to shift work. Granted its not on a bike, but the staying up part wouldnt be hard for me.

  19. #19
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    I have done 24 hour adventure races. So I know the mental aspects involved. Its just the saddle sores or constant pedalling I am not sure about. I done the 12 hour solo the first year with no issues. Second year I done it as a team of two. We didnt go much further than I did as solo and I felt a lot more tired after the pairs 12 hour. I was doing the 10k laps at a greater pace but the long breaks were killing me.

  20. #20
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    I've got a dozen or so 24hrs under my belt. When I'm tired, no matter what, I've gotta keep going and if that means walking when I can't ride, then I get off and walk. The clock keeps ticking no matter what you are doing. I'd sooner keep moving forward than sitting in my tent only wishing I was out there.
    My first several races I'd go hard as long as I could and rest for a few hours then go at it again. But for me that didn't work, I found it hard to get my head back in the game after a rest.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MREGAN View Post
    How much tougher is a 24 than a 12. I know the course will have something to do with it but is it a major step up?
    Compared to a 12, a 24 is a major step up.

    12's are hard at race pace but 24's are mentally and physically harder at race pace. Most people can toe the line at a 12 and gut it out if they want it bad enough, a 24 challenges you at a deeper level than a 12 and that needs to be experienced to be understood. I could write a 12 paragraph post to explain the differences but it would pale in comparison to your personal in-the-race hardships and invariably the hardships always show up, especially if you are racing for a spot on the podium in the finishing hours.

    There are a bunch of different ways to race a 24... you can treat it like a camping trip where you head out to race a few hours, then you take advantage of the free evening pasta and corn cook-up along with a couple of beers, head off to bed early and wake up in the morning to do a handful more laps... or the other end of the spectrum and that's the non-stop racing where accumulated pit time (non race time) consists of less than 10 minutes for the entire race and the pace is such that you aren't sure if you can continue to dig that deep. Two very different approaches to a 24 creating two very different understandings of how easy or hard a 24 is.

    24hrs in a competitive race where you are looking for the podium or a personal best is hard, really hard, and I don't think that's emphasized enough sometimes. Being extremely well prepared will help but at some point it's going to test you in ways that a 12 can't.

    The easiest way to learn what a 24 is all about requires circling one on the calendar and then toeing the line. Typically there is a direct correlation between how well prepared you are and how satisfying the race is. Start preparing now and you will be ready for next season.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveo View Post
    Has anyone ever done a 24 hour race without doing 6hr and 12 hr races first? I too like lamb am often up fro 24 to 30 hours with no sleep due to shift work. Granted its not on a bike, but the staying up part wouldnt be hard for me.
    I have all I do is 24 hr solo racing mt first mtb race was a 24 hour race after my first two I tryed a few 12hr races but like someone sais already the pace was faster in the 12 hr races.

    To the OP..I have goten cold at night a few times and layed down but then I was new and I finshed out of the top 5. Most of the time but not all the time now if I stay on the bike no more then 5min in the pit I can get into the top 5. but this year I was only able to do one 24hr race and I got hurt but I finshed. Remimber it's ok to make plans just don't plan the out come you might find yourself in 1st place on lap one and running from the 2nd place racer and then 15 or so hours later trying to put him (or her) a lap down and then you flat!
    Dean.

  23. #23
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    Definitely No Sleep here! Time not moving is important, the racing down here in Australia is stupid competitive and every minute counts. For example, my last 24 which was at Easter, I worked out, out of the 24hrs 27mins I wasn't moving for a total of 23mins. This includes nature breaks, pit stops, battery changes, bike swaps etc and still finished 7th overall. Generally I and my support crew try and run rolling transitions at least until well after dark, to try and minimise the time stopped.

    To even consider getting on the podium recently down here, in Australia, you have to be able to ride in excess of 450kms (280miles) to stand a chance. Scary stuff!

    So to answer the original question, I would never sleep, not even consider it, I think as soon as you even consider sitting on anything other than your bike seat its "Game Over"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by staylor View Post
    I've done seventeen 24hr Solos, at all kinds of different small event to big event scenarios. That doesn't mean I've got everything figured out but it does mean I've got a fair bit of 24hr Solo experience.

    To your question...

    Sometimes you plan to race non-stop and then fate will hand you a setback which interrupts your plan. Sometimes you plan to race non-stop and you do.

    At a competitive level the pit stops don't happen until quite a few hours into the race and then it's only for a few seconds. That continues well into the night where you might stop in the pit for less than a minute. By the end stages of the race it feels like you are racing faster than a speeding bullet (though typically that's not the case) and still there's little to no stopping in the pit.

    Racing for the podium there's always someone nipping at your heels, sleep or stopping is rarely an option.
    I would hope you would have it figured out by 17 races!! Anyhow you are a stud for doing 17 24hours!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12to29 View Post
    I would hope you would have it figured out by 17 races!! Anyhow you are a stud for doing 17 24hours!
    There's always something new to learn in a 24. All the big lessons eventually move out of the way but there's always room for the little lessons that sneak up and school ya.

    Like quiggs1974 said a couple of posts above, the level of competition is really tough at the top and I think it's harder now than just a few years ago.

    The only race I've done in Australia was the World Solo Championship 24 in Canberra and it was a hard race based on the quality of the combined International/Aussie riders. The top 10% were excellent mtb'ers and ripping fast! Overall I was having a pretty decent race, no sleep, fast pits, etc and then murphy's law... my seatpost snapped in half going through a technical section on Sunday morning. At approx the halfway point into the lap my choice was to put my saddle and seatpost in my race jersey pocket and start pushing my bike and lose my spot on the podium (age category) or continue to race with my seatpost/saddle in my race jersey pocket by standing up for the rest of the lap. I chose race standing up and 45mins of non-stop quad-destruction later I got back to my pit. I yelled broken seatpost as I came up on my pit, slammed my brakes on, unclipped and then stood over my toptube while various pit crews sorted me out; someone slid a new seatpost/saddle in and adjusted the height, someone pulled my old bottles and put in new, someone grabbed my glasses and wiped them off and put them back on and someone slapped my back and said go. I managed to hang on to my podium spot but the last 3hrs were a redlined and drooling on myself blur. And from that race I learned a couple of new things, I always do.

  26. #26
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    Staylor I cant imagine how that must have felt so far into a race. Well done for digging deep and sticking with it. I had a similar last lap in a 12 hour in that I couldnt sit. Not that I broke the saddle but I couldnt sit on the seat due to a raw rear end. I wasnt fighting for a podium just wanted to complete that last lap. Its not an easy thing to do standing and racing for a long time. Fair play!
    Last edited by MREGAN; 11-17-2011 at 06:11 AM. Reason: Typo

  27. #27
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    Agree with no stopping to sleep in a 24 if you are looking at any top finish. However, my wife won a 24 solo last month with a two hour nap. The females were not racing at the same pace as the men and my wife was faster than all the other women. She got a two hour lead and took a two hour nap and later took a 30 minute break. The race was way too close and she didn't lock in her win till almost 11 am.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecsokak View Post
    roughly twice as hard
    lol
    Fall is here. Woo-hoo!

  29. #29
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    I share two very different experiences.. a few years back, I raced a 24 on a team where we set out to win the event (which we did, fortunately). Because of the team aspect, we all showered, ate, and slept between our laps and after every rest, I felt even worse waking up and getting back on the bike. My recovery afterwards took days before I felt decent again. The following year, I decided to do all of my endurance events as a solo and singlespeed. Obviously, this was going to change quite a few things and there's no doubt that the races were decidedly tougher. What's interesting though, is that I didn't sleep during those events and actually felt much better despite the increased personal mileage and single gear setup. After the first 5 laps or so, I'd start taking 5 minute breaks to stretch and eat off of the bike, but never did I just sit an rest. My recovery after these efforts were typically about 1-2 days max.

    These are obviously just personal experience but after being away from the endurance race scene for a few years, I plan on taking the no rest approach when I start up again this coming season as I am convinced its a better way to go.
    though hope is frail, it must prevail - Taj Weekes

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by woody.1 View Post
    Just a general question for the 24 hour solo riders -
    Do you take a hour or so nap sometime during the race? You know go crash in a chair or your tent for a little shuteye?
    I know it depends on the race, but I'm just curious.
    Pros and Cons?

    Thanks,

    Woody
    So.... lots of great advise. I would say that only the top 10% to 15% of most fields are even close to strong enough to contend for a podium spot. In the four 24 solos that I have done (the last two on ss), there have been countless numbers in the solo class who blow up after 8 laps or get sick and start puking and end up sleeping the whole night away, then getting up in the morning and riding 2 or 3 laps. You don't want to be that guy. If it's your first 24, do what ever you have to do to finish it out with the least amount of time off the bike. Pace properly, and rest a few minutes every 3 or 4 laps, take a power nap if needed. Really just set a realistic goal for laps in and try to stick to it. At The Burn 24 in N.C. (an 8 mile loop, some decent climbing, but not too tech) My goal is always 21 laps. I always get within one or two laps of that, and hit it once. The winner has done as many as 31 laps and I'm not even close to that kind of fitness.

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