Tuesday, 14 June 2016
hints and tips on doing your best at a 12 hour mtb race
1, Never give up!: keeping going when the body and mind say stop can be very hard, these races are a mind game, You have to be mentally prepared for some real lows over the 12 hours and a lot does go through your head on why you are doing it, if its late in the race think of the finish line, all the weeks/months of hard work and the pain and hard work you have just done for the last 7/8 hours, you cant do that to throw in the towel, let yourself down or others, Or focus like i do on the now for most of the race, the next few turns, the next section of trail, staying in the now will take away the thought of 6 hours still to go.
2.Love the suffer and pain! : yes you will feel like c*ap at some point but don't get miserable, you need the attitude that keeps you positive and up beat, when it rained at bikefest this year i just looked at it that this will let me pick some new lines, I'm a skilled rider, i might make some time up and a bit of slip and slide might make things wild and fun, plus it just made the race more bad ass, rather than thinking great its hammering down I'm cold wet and i have 4 hours of chafing to come.. put spin on it and work your head game.
3, keep it fun: Having a pit crew to help feed you food,bottles and time checks helps keep things simple, it also gives you a few seconds to talk to someone, its lonely out on the track some times trying to focus for 12 hours to hit lines, time checks and asking what food you want just helps make you think of other things and that race might say solo, but you cant let your pit crew down by bailing because it was hard, its a 12 hour race, its not easy!
4,pacing: yes going out hard on a xc race and going pop with 20 mins to go can be nasty, but bonking with 2,4,6 hours to go will be a big problem and end your race some times or make you ill, so dont go out all guns blazing, turn it down just a little, try and save a little bit of energy as you will need it later.
5, data: i run a garmin but i keep it simple on race day, time,speed,miles, that way it lasts the 12 hours and i dont need the info till i get home, All i look down at once in a whiles the time of day, rather than a stop watch, this way my brain has to workout how long i have to go, how far i have been, i never take much interest in the speed but you could see each lap if your doing the same speed on a long flat section or at the top of a climb, but again i just focus on the now and its there if i want it, as for miles i know i did 109 last year so if i was first or last this year i wanted to do more in the 12 hours ( i won with 127 miles covered), so this can work to push you later in the laps.
Plan b: mid race you might want a couple of off laps, when you turn it down even more, real recover, few seconds lost on these laps may give you the boost and motivations to push on when you thought of calling it a day or to then give it the last push and dig hard for a few laps, maybe spin the legs up the climbs on some laps to change muscle groups and flush some lactic acid out, also maybe stand once in a while to help stretch to fight of cramping and getting back pain.
Talking in your head: Great sayings like "you are better than you think you are and you can go further than you think you can", or "never give up", so you know its not an option, i always think "fight to win, fight to win Don" lol, this is off an old vid from the 1989 Worlds that someone says to Don Myrah, its stuck with me and it always comes in to my head when i'm battling the demons in my head mid race, it works for me! I also think about doing it for my Dad, he passed away a few years ago, but he was mentally the strongest person i have ever met and he would not give up and i would not want to let him down, do what works for you!
nutrition: This is simple, listen to the experts, follow no one! find what works for you, i could not do 12 hours on gells, so i know if im racing im just burning sugar, so im taking in cola and snicker bars as my main food and drink, the odd other drink to help keep off cramps and to switch things up, i mostly drink as eating slows me down.
Fuc*ed it up: failure.. its a great way to workout how to do it better next time, my first 12 hour i paced it but i was also just racing myself, this year i paced it, but turned it up when i needed to catch riders/time and also had some off laps to recover, i rode smarter,fast and went further.. Have fun with it, don't stress if you don't win, you can only turn up with the best prep you can and do the best ride you can, if you do this what ever result you get be happy with it.