I remember my first competitive race season. It was 2002, I was racing the Sport category in the Intermountain Cup XC series. My overall goal was to win the series. I learned quickly that in order to do that I would need to actually finish on the podium. It was not enough to just race every race. I also learned that to finish on the podium, I had to go fast. Well duh.
I had to force myself to go out hard at the start of the race. If I went easy in the beginning, hoping to reel guys in, I never would see the leaders again. The sport races were just to short for any sort of strategy. You had to go redline from start to finish. Once I figured that out, I was able to finish consistently in the top 3.
What’s my point?
Well, endurance racing is starting to resemble those Sport races I used to do. Guys are getting so fast that they can punch it early and leave the vast majority behind for good. In a long race I am constantly reminding myself to pace evenly, eat often, eat early, pace pace pace….
Sometimes I wonder if I pace myself into a slumber.
I think it is time to push my limits again. I am not going to jump in and go kamikaze so I can DNF 4 hours later due to extreme exhaustion and dehydration. But I think I can do more, be faster, go faster.
Maybe I can’t. But there is only one way to find out….
AnonymousApril 4, 2007
I have been thinking the same thing. See you at a start line.
Dave HarrisApril 4, 2007
Adam, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years its that the magic happens in training. There are a few guys out there (Bart G for instance) who don’t train much but can really rip it up. They are genetically gifted. For the rest of us (and them too really) huge gains can be made in training. The single most important ride in my regime for enduros is a 4.5-6 hour ride, big climbs, done once per week, and hammer the beejeezus out of that route. There is a lot more to it of course, but that is one of the biggies for sure.
Often I don’t feel to sparkly when heading out on this one due to accumulated stress of prior training. 9 time out of 10 I feel fine after an hour or so. The take home here is you can train a lot more than you think you can – and still improve.
Anywhoo…lots of ideas…hit me via email if you want to hear more wako ideas 🙂
ChrisApril 4, 2007
Adam I feel similarly although Old Pueblo was a bit of a wake up in that regard for me. You can go out fast but man things can go wrong in a hurry like that too. Since then I’ve taken a step back a bit and just worked on my training like Dave says. I’m riding more than I ever have and harder too. Talk to the man with the wacko ideas 🙂
Dave ByersApril 4, 2007
A very interesting post and good comments. Once you are confident in your ability to finish a big race strong I suppose the next progression is to test out pacing strategies.
Isn’t that Chris Eatough’s 24 hour strategy? Go out really fast, build a lead, and then go just fast enough to maintain the lead?