Here is a sample race plan for a 50 mile mountain bike race with 6000 feet climbing. The primary goal for this rider, who has raced this event several times before, is to set a personal record.
Starting smart and finishing strong wins long mountain bike races.
Start to Hour One For the first hour watch heart rate carefully and keep it zone 4 and below. Heart rate zone 2 and 3 are fine if you are caught in traffic or while descending. Relax and focus on being efficient. Spend energy where it counts towards making you go faster i.e. avoid crazy passes that risk a crash or mechanical or burn up a lot of energy for little gain. Switch on that annoying HR monitor beeper to sound when you are over zone 4. The irritating sound can be effective in keeping your pace under control. During the first hour this pace will seem very easy as you are rested, fresh and also will have an elevated heart rate from the excitement. No hammering out of the saddle in this first hour.
Hour One to Two This is when you must get on your calorie, electrolyte and hydration plan if you haven’t already. This is a crucial period to fuel accurately to keep power up for the duration of the race. Heart rate should be zone 3-4 on the climbs and flats and lower on the descents. Smooth pedaling, mostly seated, high cadence. Shift softly and be kind to your bike.
Hour Two to Three Be focused on fueling, riding smart and smooth. Keep cadence high to use the power of your cardio system and not tax your muscular system. Stretch out your back and any area which gets tight every 15 minutes or so.
Hour Three to Four This is where the effects of your fueling plan start to show. If you nailed it, you can keep up heart rate zone 3 on climbs and flats. Keep cadence up. If you did not fuel well this is where you will start to fade and the effort to keep heart rate in zone 3 becomes unreasonable. This is where the difference between survival mode and racing shows up.
Hour Four to Finish Forget about heart rate now. Ride smoothly and put the hammer down. Pick off all of those riders in front of you who are in survival mode. Drop your cadence to produce more power and get out of the saddle to hammer up some hills. You have trained hard. Kick in the mental side and pump yourself full of endorphins with positive self talk. Enjoy your fitness and crush it.
By Lynda Wallenfels Google+