Monday, July 13, 2009

All smiles.

Questionable decisions. This year has been somewhat of a transition year for me in terms of racing. I have never 'trained' before, i have never changed gear for races before and i have never worked at different feeding and fluid intake strategies. One for the reasons for this is that if something doesn't work, you are likely going to be off the pace.

I have had numerous successes - using nuun tablets, hammer nutrition perpetuem, changing to a lower gear and learning to pedal with a higher cadence by using a 39:16 on my fixed gear a lot.

A lot of this has been about shenandoah for me. I haven't ever done a race that has been so hard. Don't get me wrong, it isn't hard to finish per se. But it is hard to go fast on a rigid singlespeed. There is a lot of climbing, and there is a lot of hard, technical singletrack descending. In order to go faster than last year several things have had to change.

For 10 at kirroughtree i intended to use a small 1 litre wingnut bladder pack, 2 flasks of honey stinger gel (with 9 packets in total in them) and bottles with nuun, restocked every 2 laps.

Each lap is 8.6 miles with 300 m of climbing/descending, and i was hoping for at least 10 laps in the 10+1 hours you have.

All went well for 3 laps, which was good as id felt pretty wabbit the week before and was concerned i had a bit of a cold, or was just plain tired.

Then i started to have wildly fluctuating energy levels. The gel was giving me some energy pretty quickly, that then seemed to cause an absolute crash shortly afterwards. Fluid was a struggle as the course is relentlessly technical, so it is possible that i wasn't actually getting the best from the gels due to poor hydration.

Nevertheless stomach cramps started followed swiftly by catastrophic legs cramps. At hour six i ate a cheese roll and trina made me a bottle with hammer perpetuem and i rolled a couple of slower laps. After that i was able to ride on, albeit with continuing cramps.

Lesson? gels don't work for me. Hydration *is* massively important and the gels seem to require more fluid than i could get on board on a rough course.

So: i need to mount another bottle cage to the jones (thank you King Cage!) and go back to the hammer with occasional other bits and bobs.


Douglas F Shearer said...

Course was so rough I ended up going out with 250ml of fluid, and drinking 1l in between every laps, the benefit of being in a pair. Other soloists were complaining about the lack of drinking space on the course, I'm not sure what their strategy was with that.

I tend to try and go 50/50 between sugars (gels, bananas, drink) and other stuff, like sandwiches, cocktail sausages, scotch eggs etc. Keeps my stomach settled, and is reasonably easy to get down.

No idea what you said to me when I passed you in the last few hours just before the steep climb on the return leg, might just have been a 'cheers' to my comment about the Jones looking good.

Nick said...

Carb drinks cause havoc with my digestion on endurance races/rides.

A low-tech approach of large-ish low GI carb rich meal (porridge), with little or no milk before the event, and home made flapjack (a blend of sugars for the hit and oats for sustained release) as race fuel works for me. Not sure about the fat content (from the butter) being of any use, though use unsalted butter and you can add your own choice of electrolytes.

Flapjack has the benefit of being easy to carry and eat in chunks, so you can eat a mouthful, stick it back in your pocket.

Anonymous said...

I've given up on the fancy stuff.

Jam sandwiches cut into fingers with no crusts and loads of jam and dilute Co-op OJ squash but I'm not as fast as you.