Thursday, May 8, 2008

So How Does One Feel After a 12-Hour Mountain Bike Race

That question was posed to me pre-race, and I thought it deserved an answer.

Short answer - It depends.

Long answer - depends on:
  • The course - technical or not. climbing or not. Long or short laps.
  • The Team - solo, duo, or 3-4 person (more people, less laps - solo - lots of laps)
  • Your competition - are you pushing to win, or breezing to the podium due to no competition and just riding at an aeorbic pace. Anaerobic the whole time? You'll be wiped out.
  • Your food consumption pre and during race - this is a biggy. Don't eat, you'll bonk. Don't eat the right things, you'll bonk. Eat during laps (gel or energy drink), between laps (energy bar, recovery mixes, cookies, whatever works for you) and you'll be ok. Always, always drink plenty WITH electrolytes.
  • Your physical state - are you fit. Endurance ready? Have you been riding for several years or is this your first crack at anything long or with a team. And mountain biking requires some upper body strength -- have you been lifting your weights?

I usually feel like shit after these things...but this one was different. I did a duo, and Donna did some research prior to the race and was told switching laps with your team mate will give your body just enough time to rest, but not enough time for it to start shutting down. And that advice was right on. Donna felt good the whole time and was ready to take on a 5th lap if needed. She's big on nutrition, and stretched between every lap. I was ok for the 4 laps, but was cramping on the 3rd and 4th (I shoulda followed Donna's lead on stretching), so I'm no sure a 5th would have been wise. The part that hurt me most afterward was my arms from going over logs. I stopped lifting weights about a month ago, and I felt it on this one. My legs were fine, and I didn't have that physcially-tired for days feeling. I was tired from lack of sleep, but not physical draining. The course, for me, was perfect -- very little climbing and no rocks. Don't get me wrong - I love a sweet rock garden, but they can sap all energy out of you fairly quickly in a race. So for the 12-hour race, no rocks and no climbing was perfect. 12 Hours of Lodi was a perfect 12-hour race for the solo rider.

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