Noob to xc/endurance racing....need some advice- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Noob to xc/endurance racing....need some advice

    I caught themtb fever about 4 years ago when I decided MX was beating me up too bad and (atthe time) thought mtb would be a more affordable sport. Last year I did myfirst 50 mile race and this year I'm doing that race again as well as two other50 milers and a 100 miler to finish off the year. To date this year I have donea 25 and 30 mile race and try to ride 4 times a week. So far this year I haveonly cramped up once during the 30 mile race but my 50 miler from last year Icramped up really bad. Between last yearís race and the races I have done sofar I have a few questions I was hoping I could get some help with. I am ridinga Scott Spark 930, if that pertains to anyoneís response.

    - I am looking to upgrade shoes, currently running Shim M087 but thinkingsomething with a more solid sole will be more comfortable for these long races. I get hot footpretty bad in my right foot after 30 miles.

    - I want to get a good pair of bibs, currently running some cheap Price PointLycra and my taint has had enough. Willing to spend what it takes in thisdepartment. Are you guys wearing padded underwear under your Lycra and let thebib have the good chamois? No padding in the underwear under the bibs? Doesanyone go commando under Lycra?

    - What are you guys using to help with cramps? The 50 milerace i did last year was sponsored by Hammer and their products seem to workwell, I just started taking them too late in the game, any others you guys havehad good luck with?

    - Race fuel. I know this has been discussed A LOT but does anyone else get gut rot from the gel packs? Am I taking too much water with them causing the gut rot or do they just not agree with everyone?

    - Gel padded gloves or ergo grips....or both? Donít suffer real bad here andmaybe I need to move my hands around a bit more but from time to time myfingers go numb.

    Thanks for any help!
    <o></o>

  2. #2
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    First thing when you do get new shoes, deffenitly get some custom footbeds fitted to them. they make the world of difference.

    I have never worn anything under my shorts, that is the job of the shamy not just for extra padding but to keep you dry.

    Cramping is a very disputed subject and very little is known about it. Currently there is two major contributors to cramping one is training the other is electrolytes, I am not a firm believer in electrolytes to control cramping I believe that training is going to go much further to prevent cramping. So saying that between racing last year and the planed races this year cramping should become less and less of an issue. Keep training hard getting in some long intervals on the MTB and long rides on the weekend and it should help.

    Race fule is a personal thing, try try try, during training. use those long weekend rides to figure out what works for you what your stomach can handle. I got turned onto Tailwind this year a great liquid based fuel. I can't do only liquid there is just something missing when I try that so I add in some other stuff as well. (gels and banana's and melons)

    Tons of guys would never ride anything other then ergon grips, so they would be a pretty safe bet to try. The other thing to think about for numb hands is posture. think about where your shoulders are, how much you are rounding your back, where your elbows are, how your wrists are positioned, how much of a death grip you have on the bars. So many times people want an easy fix magic bullet but it is not that simple. hard work and body awareness goes a long way.
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  3. #3
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    No underwear if you are wearing bibs. Ever. It's way more comfortable and it's the way they are designed.

    This may not be a popular opinion, but it's worth spending serious coin on a nice pair of bibs. My Assos bibs (which were $280) really are worth it for long days in the saddle.

    Yes, it hurts your wallet though

  4. #4
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    I ride with Pearl Izumi Attack bibs. Great bibs and no problems so far on 50+ mile rides. You can get them for $100 or less if you find them on sale.
    Super snowflake = when an avatar offends you so much you have to cry about it and report it to admin. Life must suck for you.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info, and sorry my org post is so jacked up...dont know what happened there. Hopefully the LBS has a few different brands to choose from and look over. Last time i looked at bibs it seemed like $150 didnt get you much more than what my Price Point bibs have to offer (mainly regarding the pad), maybe i need to look at those over $200 bibs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udyr View Post
    No underwear if you are wearing bibs. Ever. It's way more comfortable and it's the way they are designed.

    This may not be a popular opinion, but it's worth spending serious coin on a nice pair of bibs. My Assos bibs (which were $280) really are worth it for long days in the saddle.

    Yes, it hurts your wallet though
    Couldn't agree more! I use Tailwind products for fuel during long races/rides and supplement with some Hammer endurolyte tabs for a lil extra electrolytes but mainly cuz I like the taste they add.

  7. #7
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    Staying on top of your water intake is the key to not cramping. Make sure you carry electrolytes with you during the race. You can either eat 4 of them every few hours to make sure you don't cramp or run nuun or something in your water that is loaded with electrolytes. If you start cramping the fastest way to stop it is open up the gel tabs and eat the electrolytes in powder form. It's the fastest way to get it into your bloodstream and stop the cramping. It really sucks eating them this way but cramping sucks even more.
    I am huge fan of infinit nutrition. They will tailor a drink for your protein, carbs and for you most importantly electrolytes. All I have to do is make sure I drink a water bottle an hour and all my nutrition is taken care of including electrolytes. I did the Breck 100 on a singlespeed and never cramped and never had to eat anything. I was sold!!!

    Sounds like you need a bike fit before you need new shoes, gloves and grips.
    A bad bike setup could be the culprit for all your complaints above.

    Bibs and definitely nothing underneath them!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    If you start cramping the fastest way to stop it is open up the gel tabs and eat the electrolytes in powder form. It's the fastest way to get it into your bloodstream and stop the cramping. It really sucks eating them this way but cramping sucks even more.
    Interesting, I had never heard of doing that. I have heard of trying to shock your system with something super sour, like pickle juice, or lemon juice. I hate that cramp-starting-feeling which for me starts in my left calf...

    Quote Originally Posted by cbrock450 View Post
    I did the Breck 100 on a singlespeed and never cramped and never had to eat anything. I was sold!!!
    Wow, that's impressive...on all accounts...the 100 miles, the singlespeed (which is sadistic) and the fact that you never ate anything. Can you elaborate on the infinit nutrition stuff you were drinking? How many calories per bottle, how many bottles per hour, how long did the race take you?

    As for the OP...

    Shoes: I have used the M087 shoes, not bad, I then bought the M162 which are similar but a bit more elaborate (and heavier, ugh). I rode the 162's for a year or so then just got new Specialized SL high-arch footbeds which have a very pronounced metatarsal button which feels really weird to walk around but on the bike it somehow works and I feel great wearing them. I assume a custom footbed would be even better but even an off-the-shelf item if it's correct for your foot can be an improvement.

    Bibs: I have several (nicest are Louis Garneau) bibs but I now prefer just shorts. I'm currently using Pearl Izumi Canyon shorts, they are by far the best shorts I have used. They are mountain bike style but have a snug liner but just feel good, look good, etc. (and yes any cycling shorts are for nekidness underneath)

    Cramps: I sweat like a mofo and in every long event have gotten cramps...until this year. My longest event (non-competitive road ride, which was ~9 hours on the bike) I made it a point to drink and drink and drink and only drank sports drink (HEED for that event, was what they had at the aid stations), and surprisingly enough I didn't cramp. I went back through how much I drank and I probably over-did it...since I think I ended up drinking nearly 2 gallons! Eeek...but it worked, I didn't cramp. Not going to drink as much on future events though.

    Fuel: If you drink the right stuff you probably won't need any extra fuel. I like Stinger waffles...well I like lots of stuff but it's easy for me to eat too much...

    Grips: All personal preference. I useto have numb hands when I'd ride on boring, non-technical sections (so your just riding along with no body movement), then just got Ergon grips and absolutely love them. I had to fiddle with the flat-part angle a bit to get them comfortable (mine are basically in-line with my arm angle coming down to the grip), but I'm a huge fan of them. I have some padded palm gloves for road riding, but on the mtn bike I prefer full-finger gloves that just give me the extra confidence (something about that thin layer over my finger thinks that it wouldn't hurt to go down on the ground...foolish I know) to ride harder/faster...

    Good luck

  9. #9
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    I am no expert but their is some good adivce in here but most important thing the needs to emphaized is TRAIN using the same nutrition plan, bike, and even clothing you will use on race day if possible. The bibs are a good idea personally I like De Marchi Bib but Peral IZumi is good as well. I dont htink you have to spend 200 or more but what I do is find hte brand that works for you and but when on sale. Try to use those bibs for your long training rides.

    What 100 miler you doing? Just curious? If your max to date is only 40 miles do you think that 40 miles is equivlanet to 40% of the time it will take you to do the 100? Try to plan training rides in hours, not 100% necessary but I think for us avg Joe's to take on some of these serious 100 mile evnts with lots of technical terrain and climbing you need to be getting long rides in 3 out of 4 weeks 3 months out at least. For me that is a 5-6 hour ride mix of gravel, singletrack, and some road. Make all the bike and clothing hcanges you want but if you are not training for the right amount of time on your race setup to much to go wrong.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  10. #10
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    Wow, that's impressive...on all accounts...the 100 miles, the singlespeed (which is sadistic) and the fact that you never ate anything. Can you elaborate on the infinit nutrition stuff you were drinking? How many calories per bottle, how many bottles per hour, how long did the race take you?



    I believe each bottle is 300 calories and that is the maximum amount of calories your body can digest. One bottle an hour for the entire race. I brought ziplock baggies and if I needed to stop for water they would put them in the bottle for me.
    I think it took around 12 hours. When I came to the last climb and officially made the cutoff I decided to walk most of the climb.
    I am terrible at nutrition and staying on top of my water intake with a camelback. Having a watch on my stem and knowing I need to drink one bottle of water an hour makes it easy to keep track of, kind of like riding a one gear bike

  11. #11
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    Shoes - For the last three seasons I've been using a pair of Mavics. They fitted me like a glove from the first time I wore them and the second time I ever used them was a 24 hour solo (which isn't advisable), but I had no problems with them at all, but shoes are a personal thing. Just try to try on as many as you can.

    Bibs - I've used a a huge range of price points and brands. I can honestly say that once you get past the halfway price point (or there abouts), there doesn't seem to be a huge difference in comfort. Although the top end ones seem to last longer from what I've heard, but the ones I spent the most on I've only had for two months so can't really compare them fully. The right for you is most important, and you generally pay for the quality of the chamois. I like the Giordana and Etxeondo ones best. And deffo commando underneath .

    Cramps - Infinit nutrition works best for me, but they can still sometimes creep in during a long race if I'm not trained enough.

    Race fuel - same as above. Its a liquid only fuel so easy on the stomach!

    Ergo grips for me all the way, I like the have a variety of padded and non padded gloves and just take whichever ones I feel like on the day! Helps prevent blisters/general hand sores I think.

    Good luck!!
    Last edited by Damitletsride!; 07-04-2014 at 09:48 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Are you guys that run Infinit using a custom mix or the preset mix? Anyone tried the preset mix?

    Looks pretty similar to the mix I came up with based on the questionnaire and thought it might be easier to duplicate (or modify slightly) if I use the premix.

  13. #13
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    I called the nutritionist and she set up a custom mix for me. I sweat a lot so cramping use to be an issue so I went custom. She also put in a small amount of caffeine as well. It's nice to let some who knows what they are doing do the work for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by NCtrailX View Post
    Are you guys that run Infinit using a custom mix or the preset mix? Anyone tried the preset mix?

    Looks pretty similar to the mix I came up with based on the questionnaire and thought it might be easier to duplicate (or modify slightly) if I use the premix.

  14. #14
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    Wow, thanks for all the insight. I ended up getting a pair of Castelli Endurance X2 bibs with their best pad. Just picked them up this week but already have 2 good rides in them and they are a huge improvement over what i was using.

    I'm starting to aquire data on all my rides, writing down my distance, avg hr, what i ate and suppliments i used, how i felt, times, ect. I hope by the race at the end of the summer I will have a good plan of attack.

    Still seeing what works for me with race fuel, longest training ride to date has been 6 hours and I started to get a little upset stomach feeling twards the end of the ride. I hope to finish under the 6 hour mark though so I should be ok. last year it started an hour in and made for a long day.

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    I love my Mavic Helium and Sprint shorts, naked underneath!
    But for the really long stuff some sticky, greasy chamois cream is absolutely essential.
    I found the Assos cream was too light and disappeared into the chamois too quickly; I don't know what's available in your neck of the woods but Overstim-S is my favourite. It's so greasy the soap has trouble getting it off in the shower afterwards.
    Cramps? No experience of them, have the occasional twinge but I've always managed to stretch them out before they lock up. No idea how to prevent them because they just haven't bugged me in 30 yrs of mtb.

    Food? I never put anything ither than water in my containers; the bacteria incubation is too much for my frail immune system to handle (getting old now). So cheap cereal bars and expensive gels (current favourite is High 5 Isogel - really don't make you thirsty). I consume something every 30 minutes; there's no way it balances the calories burnt but it seems to keep my mind convinced I can carry on.
    On the really insanely hard rides I also stop and stuff myself at every feed point I can find.

  16. #16
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    Any of you guys wear anything on your head to help keep the sweat out of your eyes during a long ride? Also, any recommendations on a good pair of socks, I heard you canít beat merino wool?

  17. #17
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    Prepare to laugh....
    I replaced the brow pad in my helmet with one of my wife's sanitary towels one day because I was sick of the niagra effect in my glasses.
    Now I buy them myself and occasionally bail her out when she runs out.
    Beats merino wool, but not very eco friendly :-o

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zach477 View Post
    Any of you guys wear anything on your head to help keep the sweat out of your eyes during a long ride? Also, any recommendations on a good pair of socks, I heard you canít beat merino wool?
    Halo headbands best 13$ you can spend I have 3 of them.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  19. #19
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    For those who carry solid food - what do you carry it in? Do you stop and eat, or have it in bite sized chunks that you eat while riding?

  20. #20
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    Cheap supermarket cereal bars in the back pockets of (relatively) tight roady style cycling tops. I grew out of worrying that I look out of place almost 40 years ago, there's a reason that cycling shirt design hasn't changed in so many, many years. The back pockets are very practical.
    The bars are always a fiddle trying to get the wrapper off in one piece to minimise the danger of losing a shred of wrapper in the mountains. I will not litter, no matter how sticky a used gel tube or wrapper makes my shirt.

  21. #21
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    Noob to xc/endurance racing....need some advice

    Second the halo headbands they are fantastic
    cheers
    Pagey

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