Preparing for a 100 mile endurance MTB race

Preparation for the High Cascade 100 MTB race started early this winter. Early season training consisted of long days on the road bike putting in the base miles at or slightly under my endurance heart rate zone. I would do four to six hour days maintaining a heart rate around 130 beats per minute. Even though I was not reaching a heart rate as high as an interval workout, the long hour days were more mentally and physically challenging. In order for these long base training rides to be most effective, having the right quantity and quality of nutrition and hydration is essential. It’s the perfect time to test out many different products to see what worked best for me and my needs. During this so called “testing” period, the support from The Feed helped me guage what I needed for the duration of the base miles. After trying out multiple energy bars, I found out that the Health Warrior Chia Bars and the new Skratch Labs Energy Bars tasted the best as well as kept me fueled for the long training days.

Spring rolls around and my training shifted to more intensity... In order to increase the speed and power that I could put out for a longer period of time, high intensity workouts were added to my training scheme. The addition of adding more intensity to my training, I took the opportunity to race the colligate road season for Fort Lewis College for my final year of college. Incorporating road racing into my training will be very beneficial when it comes to a 100-mile mountain bike race. First, off road racing is way more tactical than the normal cross country MTB race. Understanding these road racing tactics will come in handy when you think of the tactics that will be necessary to conserve as much energy as possible for an endurance race like the High Cascade 100 or the Park City Point to Point. These kinds of MTB racing, pacing and drafting are a big part for the duration of the event. Normally in an endurance MTB race over 6hrs there will be sections of the course that are open dirt roads or at lease long sections that are a consistent climb. In sections like these, it is important to work with other riders in order to be the most efficient rider as possible.

Now that the colligate road season has come to a close, I am back home for the summer. I have had the challenge of working and trying to fit in more preparation races and some more big training days. Some of the bigger MTB races that I have done this year in preparation for these upcoming endurance races have been the Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road, True Grit 50 in St. George Utah, Wasatch 50 here at home In Utah, along with a few XC races in Québec, Canada, and Missoula, Montana. Alongside additional racing, there has been many hours dedicated to training on the road as well as on the trails of Park City, Utah. Some of my favorite, but hard training days included some over-under intervals. The over-under workouts that I did included 45sec at your threshold or 180HR and then 15sec rest. In a 2hr ride I would do two 10minute sets of these, with the rest of the ride being at endurance or 150HR. Some of the other of my favorite workouts were 4hr endurance road ride with a couple 20-30min tempo or 170HR climbing efforts.

With the big day of the High Cascade 100 coming up in a few weeks training preparation continues. Preparation other than just training is also taking place in these next few days. Race nutrition and a support crew is being finalized. With only a few feed zones open to support, I know I will be using a camelback for extra water, along with my water bottle filled with Asend Nutrition drink mix. As far as on the bike food goes, I will be using some sort of energy chew alongside energy bars that balance both salty and sweet. Long rides like this, you don’t just want sugar for the entire duration. The most important steps to take with fueling on the bike in order to not bonk is to eat before your hungry and drink before your thirsty. In general the goal is to eat and drink as often as I can in order to replenish the liquids and calories I am burning, and to stay ahead of the game before it is too late. My bike setup will be my Spry Cycles Centaurus, Reynolds Black Label wheels with Vittoria Mezcal G+ Tires.

I am very excited for this race. It will be my first 100mile MTB race. My dad will also be out there suffering for the same distance as me. I look forward to seeing the feeling of accomplishment on his face. I have done plenty of hard endurance races including 24hour racing, but I believe this will be one of the longest MTB races that I’ve done all at one time without stopping. Even though I am new to this distance of racing, my goal is to take the top step of the podium. I know this will be a challenge, but with all the preparation that has been put into the event. I know if I fuel properly I have a very good chance of doing well. The previous years winning time took 7 hours and 30 minutes. If I can finish under this time of the winner from last year, I know I will be in the hunt for the win. If you are thinking about entering an endurance MTB event in the near future. Follow my journey and the steps that I’ve taken with training and everything else that goes on behind the scenes to insure a successful first 100-mile endurance MTB race.
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