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What is the life time grand prix and how do you train for a big endurance event?
Athlete StoriesCycling

Breakthrough: A Season Recap With Cole Paton

What were your highs, lows, or specific moments that stood out?

Although it wasn’t my best result of the year, Big Sugar was the highlight of my season. It took me almost the whole season to find my confidence and I raced aggressively and animated that day from the start. I attacked through all the rough sectors which made the gravel race feel like a mountain bike race and was flat out fun.

On the flip side, Unbound was a low point in my season. I came into the race overtrained and consequently picked up a virus. With it being so early in the LifeTime Grand Prix series, I had to salvage the best possible result to remain competitive in the overall. In hindsight, I should’ve let my body rest because racing 200 miles with an illness was torturous.

Were there any key growth moments during your year?

This year I’ve felt tremendous growth in my mental strength by working closely with a mental performance coach. Sea Otter was my first big breakthrough. I didn’t have the legs to follow the accelerations of the lead group, but I didn’t judge myself at the time and focused on pushing through the sections that played to my strengths. I was dropped multiple times but would always pull the group back, this gave me a lot of confidence and I was able to finish 4th on the day.

What key events really made your season?

I’m really proud of how I was able to adapt my training and body to the very specific and changing needs throughout the LifeTime Grand Prix. I did a huge altitude block with high volume leading into the Leadville 100 where I was able to secure a 4th place finish, and a month later I did a shorter, high intensity sea level block to be sharp for the shortest race in the Grand Prix at the Chequamegon 40 where I finished 3rd in a 14-up sprint for the finish. I had some great results including winning MTB Marathon Nationals, but what stands out most to me this year was my consistency. I finished 15 out of 17 races in the top 5 and I’m really proud of how I managed to be consistent over such a long season.

Let's talk fueling. What fueling plan did you lean on this season?

The fueling formula that seems to constantly deliver for me is a combination of multiple products. Since most of my races are 4+ hours, I like to start with a full bottle of Skratch Super High Carb Mix. This allows me to get in carbs without having to eat anything when the race is high stress and getting started. After the first hour I like to switch to a combination of C30 Neversecond Gels and First Endurance’s EFS Hydration Mix to get in about 120g of carbs per hour.

When it’s hot and high altitude, I add in EFS Pro for more sodium content. I also always race with 2 SIS Beta Fuel Chews for when I get tired of eating gels or for emergency situations like dropping a bottle or a gel. I like to take in 200mg of caffeine with RunGum Extra Strength at the start and then re-up my caffeine with Maurten’s 100 CAF Gel after about 2 and 3 hours of racing. In the final 30 minutes of racing I like to take 2 gels at once to get the final superpower strength for the finish line.

Further, did you have any major strategy shifts this season?

The one major strategy shift for me was my caffeine intake. I was always nervous about taking in caffeine in longer races and eventually having a big caffeine crash, but after experimenting and talking with the coaches at The Feed, I was able to get my process dialed. Now I know the exact amount of caffeine I need for my body weight and on the perfect timeline to keep me topped off during the longer races.

Do you have plans going into the new season that you're excited about?

I’m most excited for another chance at all the races I did this season. My calendar will stay the same and I’m motivated to take what I’ve learned this year into the offseason, dial in my preparation and come back swinging in 2024.

Avatar Carson Beckett

Carson Beckett / Friday, November 3, 2023