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I'm considering doing the 50km Kona Odyssey mtb race in Apollo Bay this month (in 3 weeks time). I'm female, 18 years old and exercise regularly, but even though I love my bike, I haven't done any intense riding for several months.
My question is, how hard is this race (or 50km mtb races in general) and would I be fit enough?
I'd really like to do it but I'm worried 50km may be two hard after not being on the bike for more than 15km in some time. My fitness is pretty good in general, but I know working out in the gym is very different to actual riding.
Any help, advice, or experiential knowledge is greatly appreciated!
Depends on quite a few things.
Get a course profile if you can. If it's a relatively flat course like the Back Yamma Bigfoot, I'd say no problems. If it's hilly, it depends on how hilly. You may need to walk the steeper climbs.
is it point-to-point or around a circuit? You need to plan yoru nutrtion and how much fluid you expect to need to stay hydrated and within yoru energey reserves. It seriously NOT fun getting caught short on carbs/food and especially water.
Make sure you have enough food and water with you to complete the course. I generally consume 700ml of sports drink an hour plus a gel and maybe half a white bread jam sandwich (ie, one full slice of bread) per hour when going hard. When I am fit I do 50km (depending on terrain) in 2-3 hours, you need to have a feel for how long you think it will take you, then add another hour's supply on top in case things go wrong. If it's hot, your water needs will go up. Do ou haved a Camelbak or similar hydration pack? 1 or 2 water bottles on the bike will not be enough.
If it's on a circuit you can perhaps get famly members to hand you stuff each time you go around, depending on the length of the course you may not need ottcarry a camelbak in those circumstances.
Take it easy in the first half and aim to come home faster in the second half if you're looking to race. This avoids blowing up mid-course or locking up with cramps, which on a point-to-point is not a nice place to be. If not, then just enjoy the scenery
5: Have fun
This is supposed to be fun and enjoyable - relax!
You have 3 weeks. Try and get out for some longer rides over the next two weeks without overdoing it. Say a longer ride on Sunday morning, with Tuesday and Thursday rides of an hour or so for mainenance Recover on the other days.
This is important: make your last week before the event your taper week, with your last ride before the event (I'm assuming it's a Sunday) on the Tuesday previous. A quick spin-up on the Saturday as you investigate the course is a good idea, but no more than 45min-1hour max.
Last edited by trailgumby on Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Oh, and regarding comfort: get some decent padded bike knicks, maybe some chamois cream, and if you don't already have them buy or borrow some full-finger mtb gloves.They help you grip the bars when your hands are sweaty (a major problem for me - I can't ride mtb bare-handed) and they provide protection in an off.
I live quite close to the trails at Forrest where the 50 km race is based and ride them often. The 50 km course is challenging but by no means impossible for a reasonably fit adult.
As Trailgumby suggested your best bet would be to try to get some longer rides in on the bike your going to use to see how you cope with the extra time in the saddle.
In the end it comes down to what you want to get out of the experience. Do you want to go out there and hammer it as hard as you can to do the fastest time you can or are you happy to go out a bit slower and soak in the atmosphere and have a good day all round.
If you can try to get along to the course familiarization day being held next Saturday by the Forrest MTB Club. They are a great group of people (I may be biased seeing I'm a member ) and will show you around some of the trails being used in the race.
If you have any other questions feel free to fire away.
Leonidas, at this point in time I think that the best thing you can do is to concentrate on three things.
1. Spend 5 - 7 hours on the bike. Doesn't matter where you ride or how hard you ride, but the time is important to uncover sore spots. Ideally on a warm day so that there's a bit of sweat to soften contact points up. If you find that you are very sore in any particular spot, NOW is the time to address it. It may be something as simple as saddle position. Give that sore spot a chance to heal and then back it up by smashing out another long ride.
In doing so, you will also wake up riding specific muscles and capitalise on your current general fitness.
2. If you haven't already done so, become confident to ride standing up, balanced centrally with little pressure on the hands and nice and loose on the bike to allow it to move underneath you. There are trail sections where this will make the ride easier and more enjoyable for you. Be aware that you will unknowingly stiffen your muscles and develop a death grip on the bars when you feel intimidated by the terrain. Remember that loose is your friend on a long ride.
3. Be prepared to deal with fellow competitors. Guys will want to pass you. It bothers me to see this but it's one of those things that happen out on the trails. Invariably it will be along a downhill section where they will take chances and you will most likely catch up along the next climb. It's here where you will have to deal with the competitive demons and decide what you say as you pass - or indeed whether you decide to pass at all. It doesn't hurt to say something complimentary so that the pressure is off to take more chances along the next down hill section. Most fellow competitors are fantastic - but a few do go twisted to get past.
Look, I must also say good on you for giving the event a go. I think that you will have a great time and hopefully it will inspire you to seek out new adventures and more races. There's a lot out there to offer challenges that are very satisfying.
George from iSi Advanced Bicycle Carrier Systems
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