Why do we do this to ourselves. Sometimes I really wonder. Why do I ride for 24 hours straight. Why do we spend huge money on equipment that just gets trashed and we spend even more to fix it. HMMM There is some glory in endurance racing but its not hyped up the same as short course racing like Ontario Cup and Canada Cup.
The life of an endurance cyclist is tough. The hours we spend on the bike is down right crazy. Training for a 2-3 hour race is easy. You pretty much max out your time on the bike at 4 hours straight. For a solo racers thats just getting warmed up. I'm only early in the season traing and already riding 5 plus hours and will be ramping up to over 7 by mid May.
So what are the payoffs. All the hours spent training and the lack of a social life at times becuase your to tired to do much more than lift a fork to refuel for another ride. Now one thing that is always cool is when you pass team racers after 20 hours and they just go wow. It does give you that little boost that all the training really makes a difference.
We don't do this type of racing for glory, OK wait ya we still like some glory. This is a test for oursleves both physically and mentally. I've already gone over the things that happen in a 24 hour soloist mind earlier. Other reasons we do this, hell its just cool. The one thing I like among soloist is how we treat each other.
its not like a short race where its literlly full contact racing. With us its more or a ride and chat with the person your going to pass for a few minutes. Not the MOVE or LET ME BY A$$H@LE!!!! I think that most endurance racers went to this level becuase they got bored doing the shorter stuff. I'll admit that driving 3 hours to an event for a 2 hour race then driving home is a pretty exhausting day.
Now some big things with endurance racing verus short course racing. Well the first thing is gear. Right off the bat you basiclly need 2 of everything. MINIMUM. Bikes: 2 Helmets: 2 Clothing: as much as you can afford!!! I will admit that I go a bit overkill on things for gear list BUT with this I eliminate 98% of controlled things to go wrong. I run 2 identical bikes. My race rig is perfect BUT it has
failed during a race. I do recomend full suspension, I know a few racers that do 8 hours on hardtails and I've done one myself that way. It's hard onthe body, a 24 hour, you might never stand up staight again. * hours are pretty easy. your race gear kit along with some cool weather stuff. 24 hour bring everything on your shelf for clothing. At a tag team 24 hour race I went through 9 pairs of short and 10 jerseys because it was so cold and wet that
my support crew could'nt dry anything. Solo is a bit easier but bring it all becuase you never know. Many a racers have been caught wearing 2 pairs of shorts after 20 hours of riding.
Ok enough with gear for the moment. The most important thing for any endurance racer is YOUR SUPPORT CREW. First off thank them every time. With out them you wont have bottles ready, food prepared, lights charged, or gear ready. They are giving up time of their life to help you suffer. They also have to deal with your pissy attitude and help motivate you to get back on the bike. If you thought that you will always be in a good mood during the race
dream on!!! In a 24 hour race you will come in so tired that you dont even want to look at your bike, they will be the ones to push you back out. They make sure you are eating and drinking enough, That your change of clothes are out, watch your pace etc. Pick your support crew wisely. You want someone that will not take anything you say personally during the race. You will swear at them etc. If you have the right person, they will swear back at you!!!!
For most of my races my Mom has been the lead for support crew at them. A line that she has learned is GET THE FLICK BACK ON THE BIKE!!! now other things that your support watchs is YOU. I had one race that I could keep anything down and lost over 10 pounds in wieght in 7 hours. I was recovering from a virus and was borderline to race. At that point that let me stop for health reasons. This is a big thing to talk about to. you will feel like shit
during the race. The biggest thing is learning what to push through and when not to. Because we can't ride for 24 hours during training we really don't know what it will feel like. Every race you learn from. Certain pains will go away other intesify. Remember that your not getting paid to do this, Your real world life does come first. If something feels bad ask someone who isnt exhausted to look at it. Trust their decision.
A friend of mine who has been on the podium many times in endurance races besiclly said that all the rider should be thinking about is riding, all other decisions are left up to your support crew. So treat them nice!!!!
Back to gear. I will say that it again that I go overkill. If I need 8 hours of night burn time I bring 12 hours plus a charging kit. Prepare for the worst. If you dont have it with you that will be the thing that breaks. As you get more experiened in the events you will fine tune your list. This is the same thing with food. You never know what you will have a craving for and food is food when racing.
Now one thing I will say. Learn to eat things that you can throw up easily. As gross as it sounds it will happen. Experiment as much as you can with your foods during training. I don't eat much junk food but I do have potato chips and coke in my race food list. Gels, drink powders, etc make sure you bring more than enough. Also you will still want real food. You can only put so many chemical carbs in your body.
At one race I had another rider commment that all he could smell was apple cinimmon, For the previous 3 laps all I had been eating was apple cinimmon gels. They work BUT they can cause some uncomfort. I've found that Chunky Chicken Tortallini soup, potato patties, and mini raviolli is great in my stomach. Hi sodium, carbs etc and easy to digest. This is a very individual thing though so still experiment.
As for fluids, stright water is just asking to bonk. Sport drink is the only option. drink what you like just make sure you drink alot.
So back to gear. On the course its all very personal on what you wear and carry. I used to do the camel back and all the tools. Now I've gone to a single bottle, a few allen keys, and a c02 pump. I've witched to tubless tires and stan's no tube sealant. This stuff is awesome. I havent had a flat since I started using it. Before every race I send both bikes in for a complete once over. DOenst matter if they have been
ridden or not. Back to the eliminating all possible problems. Another big one is checking your lights. you cant ride if you cant see. I start running my systems a couple weeks before an event with full charges and timing each batteries burn time. The last thing you want to have happen is losing your lights half way through a lap.
So back to the originally question, why do we do this to ourselves. Because not everyone can. This is something that not everyone is capable of. This puts you in to a bit of an elite class. Some get it some don't. We are spending lots of time and money to inflict a lot of pain to ourselves. ISN"T IT GREAT!!!!!!