Monday, July 13, 2009
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.