Difference in Approach between a 6-hour race and a 50-mile race?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453

    Difference in Approach between a 6-hour race and a 50-mile race?

    So I was planning to preride one of my riding spots this weekend in preparation for a race there in August when I found out that they're having an endurance race this weekend. It's a 10-mile course and the race runs 6 hours +a lap.

    I haven't registered yet, I'm seeing if I can talk a teammate into racing with me.

    If I do it solo, is there a big difference in how to approach this than how to approach a race that I expect to take me about six hours? Or am I just going around and around and around instead of aaaarrrrroooouuuuunnnnnnddddd? If I make it to six laps, there's more elevation gain than what I've done before, but it took me a little under six hours to ride 50 miles last August.

    I did a Century in just under six a couple weeks ago, so I'm in at least decent shape for this. I haven't trained for it per se either though.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    301
    i'm usually a little more aggressive on a lap course vs a big loop or point to point, knowing that there is a set of wheels and other spare parts in my pit if things go pear shaped. depending on your personality, sometimes it can be challenging riding the same terrain over and over and over again. you don't get that same adventure feeling as when you are in a big race. you do get a chance to really dial in your lines, though.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    Hmm. I'll take some extra tires and tubes with me. With only one spare front wheel and no rotors or 'B' bikes, I won't exactly have a stocked pit other than that.

    But, good reason not to dump this bike when I'm back in the working world.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,116
    I'm pretty sure I would race this the same way I would a point to point race of similar length. Same gig, you are just going around in circles as you already noted.
    "Bikes aren't fast--people are fast. Bikes are overpriced. It's an important distinction."---BikeSnob NYC

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    Yeah, I've had some more time to mull it over.

    When I did my 50-miler last year, I think I ate maybe one bar. Mostly I slurped gels. I took pre-portioned drink mix with me, which I ended up finding really easy to use and I really liked having "my" drink when I was four hours in. And while I'll never be as far from my car and mechanical assistance, getting a double flat at the wrong end of the course would really suck if I only took one tube with me, and that's how Mr. Murphy works.

    So I'm now thinking that if I solo it, I'll load up pretty close to how I did for the last one. Drink mix and a couple bars in a frame bag, a bunch of gels in my pocket, my usual spares and tools for a trail ride. Since I can, I'll keep some bigger stuff in my car, and some spare tires and extra layers. If I shred a tire, I can figure out finishing the lap; I'll want a non-destroyed tire for the next one. Probably try to do two laps between aid stops, and carry water appropriately.

    I was generally pretty happy with how my nutrition/packing worked out last August. So, I'm not inclined to mess with the formula, at least as long as I'm soloing it. I'll take extra bottles with me, so if it turns out to be more convenient, I can line up pre-filled bottles. But this is a six hour event, so I doubt the time left on course to refill a bottle will matter. I can imagine being incredibly frustrated if I have to park far. I know they'll have pit spaces for the race, but I haven't done it before, so I don't know how that will actually work, or how close to the course they'll be.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    253
    Like you said 6 hours is 6 hours for MTB. The laps make it easier like everyone said as you just keep a cooler with cold drink and food. That part is a lot easier.

    Some people find laps easier since they can pace themselves based on the laps vs HR etc. I just did Lumberjack which was 3x33miles and I didnt like it as much as a one lap 100 miler. But its for sure easier to pull into your pit and pull out a premixed 100oz of drink and dump it into your camelback than having to mix at an aid station.

    Since you already probably know what a good lap time is should make it easy for you to keep track of your fatigue and food intake. Im sure you will have a blast.

    My two cents. Oh and liquid food makes that stuff so much easier

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PlayAllDay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    47
    I just did a rocky, muddy 50 and that was over 6 hours. Have an actual 6 hour race next weekend and I will probably push the pace more each lap I think. Probably liquid food.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    Gawd... today's race started out as a real worst-case scenario.

    Apparently the course was dry for most of yesterday. It was pouring when I was driving down, though, and I actually decided to skip pre-ride because I thought it would be destroyed and muddy and awful. By this morning, it certainly was. It was still drizzling when I parked.

    I noticed a little slipping in my drivetrain riding into the start/finish area. A little backstory here: I put a new chain on on Sunday or Monday, before registering for the race. Then I was doing some other things, registered for the race, and though, "Ooh, new chain... I hope it works." I made sure I could ride up the steepest street on my block, actually pretty steep, and that shifting was all working well. But, I didn't try all the cogs under load. Turns out that about three of them, the ones next to the smallest two, are pretty worn.

    I just shifted again in whichever direction if I found myself in a cog that was doing poorly. Usually one shift was enough to get me onto a good one. Still, not an auspicious beginning.

    The course is laid out with a big climb, a rolling singletrack connecting two of the larger trails, and then a long descent. The singletrack connector was nasty, gritty, pine needle-containing, soul-destroying mud. At least the two main trails were steep enough to drain better, and trafficked enough not to have a lot of organic material on them. I think wet pine needles are my Kryptonite. Except, I know they're everyone else's kryptonite. Anyway, I was riding along and talking to another racer who also was soloing and didn't want to kill himself yet when my pedaling resistance suddenly became much higher and I stopped. He actually buzzed my tire, but I think that happened after. My rear derailleur was all sorts of twisted and mangled.

    I tried to make the bike a singlespeed, but the closest to a workable gear combination I found in terms of chain links matching up was 22/11. I didn't have to ride for very long before that autoshifted to 22/13 and started binding like crazy. Since I was at the top of the course, I rode the rest of the way to the start/finish line, including a little pushing, and went to the mechanic. The best gear ratio he could find was also 22/11, so it's not just me not understanding chainline. I realized I'd forgotten to put up my parking pass, so I rode to my car to take care of that and the bike autoshifted to 22/13 again. So I hadn't put it there in the first place, and it was clearly not going to work for riding another lap.

    At this point, I was ready to give up. At least, on getting my bike working. So I went to find the organizer and let him know I was pulling out - good to let them know I'm not lying unconscious in the woods somewhere or something. He asked if I'd keep going if I could, and I said, "I came here to race!" Someone else who was there to cheer and drink beer had a singlespeed with a chain tensioner, so that was the next plan. The mechanic started to install it and my derailleur hanger broke. Darn!

    SRAM had a van there with suspension forks to demo. They also had some demo bikes. So they lent me a Stumpjumper 29er Hardtail. While it was a nice bike, it really made me miss mine! Mine has fenders, a front tire I like better, a granny gear, a little bell, a suspension fork that's old but that I've got set up to the best compromise I can find, which is a bit plusher than the Reba on the SJ was, and, last but certainly not least, I have a lower, longer cockpit. I felt like I was driving a truck on the SJ. Wide bars, short stems, and sitting bolt upright aren't my thing, apparently. I think if this was my only 29er hardtail demo, I might be in the chorus of people saying they suck. But actually I think it was a stubby stem and me having the wrong riding position. Still, SRAM saved my race, and I realize they're carrying bikes that they're supposed to be able to use to send people on short demos, not four and a half hours and a few thousand feet of climbing and mud.

    All in all, this feels like the hardest I've ever worked to ride my bike 40 miles. People took really good care of me, though, which was great - I was able to get myself safely off the mountain, but I wouldn't have been able to continue to race without everybody's help and SRAM's demo bike. And there were definitely some moments when I wasn't slogging uphill through the mud and I could get in my (sort of, 'cuz of the high bars) attack position and carve through the linked turns and flowy bits. Results aren't up yet, but while I think the fastest people may have managed seven laps, I think my four put me at least mid-pack. Not bad for over an hour left on course and a borrowed bike!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    10
    Rough, man! Racing with drivetrain problems has got to be one of the most frustrating things to experience as a mountain biker. I had some issues with a worn-out drivetrain last summer, and racing with a rear derailleur that had a mind of its own and getting cadence-jamming chain suck on every steep climb BLEW.

    Seems like it kinda sorta worked out for you in the end though.

    To address the initial topic, I think my approach to marathon races (multiple laps on the same course) is the same as what others have said - try not to get bored by dialing in the line a little bit more each time, and take advantage of the feed zone to keep a cooler of cold sports drink available. That keeps a tiny bit more weight off the bike and lets you choose your fuel, instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that the aid stations have something that agrees with your system.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    I do think I did okay on nutrition this time. It was a lot easier because of my drivetrain problems. I had a power bar before I started, and another while the mechanic was working on my drivetrain. I also had a gel near the beginning of each lap, before the big climb. So I was certainly not maxing out on nutrition, but I don't feel like I bonked either.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    440
    For 50 mile races I push the pace a little harder since it's over when I reach that millage.

    I competed in a 8-hour race yesterday and had to hang it up with 64.4 and 3 hours to go. I was running in third/second all day long. The 94 degree heat and high humidity did me in with stomach cramps and nausea and I could no longer eat or drink anything. If I stayed out there for 3 more hours I would have suffered heat exhaustion.

    I need to rethink my hydration strategy. Bottles worked great but I could only drink in certain areas of the course which left me thirsty the majority of the time. I usually wear a small camel bak for long point to point races.

    I have a 5 hour race coming up and I think I will wear a camel back loaded down with ice and water. and carry one bottle on the bike with electrolyte tabs.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    288
    tough race! Good on you to hang in there even on borrowed equipment and good on Sram/rock shox/spec to loan you a bike

    Capitol forest is a wicked place to be in the wet. Those squalls saturday were nasty. I was pretty glad I wasn't racing I think you've convinced me to throw in the chain tool and SS tensioner (and extra hanger!) for my next lap race. It's a good backup to have.

    There's a 6-hr on hood next wknd if you want to take another shot on your own bike. You'll at least finish ahead of me

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    I don't know if I'll have it back together yet! Anyway, in general races that require me to figure out a place to stay are too far. I'm working on a degree, so these things are already a bit of an indulgence.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    288
    place to stay? The best night sleep I've had was when my bro through a futon in the back of his suv!

    so are you doing the 50 or the 100 cf in august? I'm thinking about that one too. Hopefully it wont be so wet

  15. #15
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    Just the 50. I haven't even started building up my volume for it. It would appear I'm good for a race that long, but I'd like to be faster.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
    I should be out riding
    Reputation: ACree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,831
    Quote Originally Posted by trees4me View Post
    place to stay? The best night sleep I've had was when my bro through a futon in the back of his suv!

    so are you doing the 50 or the 100 cf in august? I'm thinking about that one too. Hopefully it wont be so wet
    The 50 is a great course, and thus far, has been much drier than Sat. was. I haven't once thought that doing a second lap of the 50 course seemed like a good idea though.

    Haven't touched my bike or gear from Sat., and not looking forward to it.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    I hosed off my gear on Sunday.

    Because my bike broke during the first lap on Saturday, it actually wasn't too bad. I think the mud got a lot worse after it stopped raining, and the mud began to get a little stickier. SRAM's loaner bike was pretty cool, but I missed my fenders!

    Since I'm taking my bike apart pretty far anyway, I'll probably give it a pretty thorough cleaning. Every three years or so, whether it needs it or not!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    18,453
    The results are out.

    So after my first lap (I rolled through the timing gate as soon as I got to the start/finish area) I was DFL, running 18 minutes behind the next slowest rider.

    It took me over two hours to get to the timing gate again. That's counting all the time messing with equipment and trying to organize myself a feasible bike. One guy quit after one lap, so that got me past him.

    My third lap got me past another few people. A couple guys who quit after two, and one who just really took his time getting three laps in.

    Fourth lap landed me in the middle third for my class.

    While this wasn't exactly the best result I've ever had from a race, I'm pretty happy with being able to work my way back into the middle. On the one hand, I'm sure that people who went home early did so because of the weather, at least in part, and probably some had similar equipment issues to me. On the other hand, if it was nicer, my bike might have survived the whole time. The point is that on the day that I was there, the weather wasn't nicer but persistence and great support kept me in it enough to claw my way back up pretty far.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.