• Marathon racing 101

    Posted this brief little article over at Your Group Ride. Here is the cut-n-paste version from the site...

    With the Front Range 50 mountain bike race just over a week away I figured it would be a good time to get some race tips from our local ultra racer Jeff Kerkove. Here is what he had to say.

    Marathon events are basically 3-6 hour long XC races. The gun goes off......and you rev the engine as high as you can for the duration. There are no shortage of these events in Colorado and Wyoming: Front Range 50, Firecracker 50, Gunnison Growler, and the Laramie Enduro just to name a few. Coming up in a weeks time is the Front Range 50 outside Denver. This event is a 50 mile event....basically five 10 mile laps. While coming into these events isn't that much different than an XC event, some special prep is often needed.

    Pacing often plays a huge roll. Go out too hard at the start and you will pay for it in the later half of the event. Personally, I suggest starting out at about 60-70% (slower at higher altitudes) and getting faster as the race goes on. In many, many cases most riders begin to go backwards after 3 hours of racing. Play your cards right and you will soon find yourself catching and passing these other riders. Always ask your self this during the race....."Can I go this fast for 5 hours?"

    The other factor is nutrition. While is sounds simple enough to eat and drink....a lot of riders forget this important element. Get out on some longer training rides and experiment with different forms. Are you the type that needs solid foods...or only liquid? Most marathon events riders can get by on gels and a sports drink such as Cytomax. While each rider is different, try to aim for 1-2 gels per hour....as well as 20 oz of liquid whether it be water or sports drink. Also, don't forget the electrolyte supplements such as ELETE or Hammer Endurolytes. I ofter carry these in a coin pouch in my jersey pocket or the under the shorts on the leg. This allows me to pull it out....squeeze it open....and pop in the pills. I try to get in 2 per hour....sometime as many as 4 if it is super warm out.

    Now that we are heading into Marathon season, here is a little checklist to guide you into that first event of the season....

    In the car

    - Bike tools
    - Repair stand
    - Chain lube
    - Floor pump
    - Spare tubes, tires, small parts, wheelset, etc

    Carry on the bike during the race

    - Race bike (hardtail or full suspension)
    - Clothing, eyewear, helmet, gloves, and shoes
    - Spare tube(s)
    - Mini-tool
    - CO2 or hand pump
    - 1 or 2 water bottles with nutrition
    - Nutrition in the form of gels or bars

    In the Start/Finish or transition area

    - 5-10 water bottles filled with sports drink and/or water
    - Extra CO2's
    - Extra tubes
    - Assorted nutrition (gels, bars, electrolytes, etc)
    - An excellent support person to hand this stuff to you if you need it

    Now get out there and execute!