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2019 Season Summary – Endurance and XC events

Home MTB Training and Racing Forums Athlete Stories and Race Reports 2019 Season Summary – Endurance and XC events

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    • #20122


      I came across your site December 2018 as I was preparing to make a second attempt to complete a 100 Mile Endurance MTB Race, the Lumberjack 100. I had managed a partial plan during an initial attempt 4 years ago that didn’t go so well due to a couple of factors. Not finishing it was something that always nagged at me, so I chose 2019 to be the year to put a “check” in that box.

      Looking for more structure and guidance than my previous attempt and reading multiple positive reviews of your programs and services, I decided to jump right in at the perfect time as the way the calendar fell, I would be able to complete the base program and the Personal Best program and have it end right on Race Day, Father’s Day weekend June 2019.

      I was grateful for the direction, guidance, and completeness of the program. I have known that I was weak in the core and my cycling would benefit from hitting the gym on a regular basis. As a physical therapist, I know what I *should* do, but pushing myself to do it just didn’t happen. Having the workouts listed and structured gave me the motivation to get in and get things done… as much as I would rather have been out on the bike or doing anything other than toil in the gym.

      Flash forward to the race, it was a cold (50 degree) and rainy June day in Northern Michigan. Rain is a real mental challenge for me and the though of being cold and wet all day long was not appealing. However, once I got moving and “embraced the suck of the muck” all seemed to go well. The pacing that came with the workouts kept me even and in the right zones without pushing too hard for too long… one of the things that definitely didn’t go well for me the first time around. At mile 80 the fatigue was setting in and I knew it was more of a mental game at that point as I had followed your plans almost to the letter for 6 months and had faith that they prepared me, it was just up to me to make good on the plans you laid out for me.

      At mile 82, I had a medical issue that I needed to attend to (Type 1 diabetic with hypoglycemic issue that was not responding enough with the food I had with me) which required me to leave the course to get back to my support tent. Upon getting my blood glucose back on target I returned to the point at which I exited and continued the race having only added about 1.5 miles to my total distance.

      Once I got through Mile 90 of the course the mental difficulty eased and I just kept counting down as the miles ticked by. Though I was DQ’d for leaving the course, I “finished” with a time within my goal range of 8:30. The target goal/pace for my first attempt a couple years before was 9:30 – 10 hours, which I was not able to complete.

      Though I was DQ’d, and understandably so, I still consider that box “checked” and the race completed in my book. If I hadn’t left the course to seek aide, I most likely would have had a major medical incident that could have caused death or medical extraction… either way, I still would not have finished! The fact that I got that time with an additional 1.5 miles added on AND the time that it took me at my support tent left me very pleased with the result. And with no body aches/pains other than what would be typical fatigue, I know the “off bike” portion of your plan was of great benefit to me.

      After my “successful” completion of Lumberjack and the results that I achieved with your training plan, I took a couple of weeks “off” before starting the Masters 12 week Build-Peak plan for a 30 mile point to point XC event, The Iceman Cometh Challenge.

      There were a couple of race events I did leading up to this event that should have foretold my results. The first was an XC event, The BearClaw Epic, in which I finished 2nd overall in the Expert Men. (Prior to following your plan(s), I would finish solidly middle-of-the-pack or top 2/3’s of the Expert Men. I chalked the results of that event to either just having a weak Field or I was having a “good day” despite starting at the back of the pack due to difficulty getting into my pedals!

      Three weeks later, I completed a 33 mile gravel race on a singlespeed and won the category. I had done that previously, but what I was never able to do was to remain in contact with the lead group through the first half of the race (lots of hills) before the course gets flatter until the finale. Again, I chalked it up to having a “good day” and the true test would be at Iceman the following weekend (Nov 2).

      Iceman seeds their starts with about 100 riders in each wave based upon: 1) Prior years results, or 2) if you are new rider to the event based upon their Strava Training Scoring system or they start you at the back of the field. Each wave is released in 3 minute intervals. With 4500 registered racers every year, getting an early seed is key to having a good result with most Podiums and Top 10’s for all categories coming from Waves 1-3.

      2018 saw me return to the event after a 2-3 hiatus due to mis-managed medical issues that zapped me of my ability to race and train. So based upon my prior results, I started 2018’s even in Wave 12. I had a decent enough race despite being crashed into by a couple of more novice riders. Prior results of this race, even when healthy and 2018 was no exception, was typically in the Top 25-40 of my Age Group.

      Based upon my 2018 results, the 2019 Event saw me slotted into Wave 5 at the start. I had thought to myself that this seemed about right based upon my “historical” fitness and abilities.

      Race day presented itself with, as could be expected for a November race, 2 inches of wet heavy snow on the ground, a light rain/sleet mix in the air, and temps right around freezing. The trail consists of lots of single and double track and snowmobile trails. Based on the weather leading up to the event, it was primed to be a muddy, sloppy affair.

      When lining up at the start, I had managed to find myself on the front row of my Wave. A good place to start, but typically I like to follow wheels for the first couple of miles before the single track hits to let others set the pace as the pack dwindles. However, within seconds of the work “Go!”, I found myself at the front of the group and with a 2-3 bike length gap. This gap continued to open with only 1 other rider bridging up after 2.5 miles when I had to slow up due to catching lapped traffic in the first of MANY greasy, sloppy single track sections that would alternate with the two tracks.

      After about 6-7 miles of racing, I barked at him to pull through and to work with me as he had seemed content to sit in despite me backing of the gas a here and there to try to get him to come around. When he did finally come around, he pulled for about a quarter mile before a short, steep (12%) climb. Upon that climb he “popped” and I never saw him again.

      I proceeded to continue to make my way through lapped traffic the remaining length of the course using the sloppy single track as areas to recover as at times it was “standing room only” waiting for the line of riders to progress through the trees while avoiding falling or slipping out. At times “hike a bike” through the mud was definitely the better4/faster/safer method of travel.

      The Event Promoter claims that a quarter of the total elevation gained on the 30 Mile course comes in the last 4 miles. He doesn’t lie. Historically, when I have gotten to this point of the race, the event becomes a matter of survival; clawing your way to the top and inching your way closer to the finish line. I have always known that no matter what your fitness level, these climbs are always going to hurt. My goal has always been to have enough energy left when getting to that point to be able to “attack” them rather than “survive” them.

      This year, yes, they did still hurt. Probably just as bad as they usually do, but have blocked out. But this year, I had the gumption and ability to attack the final three climbs over the final 2K. I didn’t do so earlier in the last 4 miles, as I wasn’t sure if the legs were going to hold up and still had the “survive” mentality firmly entrenched.

      Overall, I finished 10th in my Age Group (with the other all others ahead of me being in Waves 1-3 and at least 200 riders between us when it came to the line-up on the single track), 1st in my Wave, and about 20 minutes off the Overall (non-pro) Winner from Wave 1. I have historically been about 25-30 minutes behind those individuals on my “good days” and with Average to Great weather/trail conditions.

      In summary, I have had a very productive training/racing 2019 and have been very pleased with my results. Using your training plans have made a very significant positive impact on my performance. I THANK YOU for the work, feedback to questions on the forum, and the effort that you put into your product. Other “over the counter” plans that I have tried to use in the past left me feeling “burned out” or fried after 3-4 months despite some improvement. Having the recovery time built in, especially for a Master’s age group racer who is also time-crunched with work and other responsibilities.

      After a couple of weeks “off” with active recovery and just having unstructured “fun”, I look forward to plotting out my 2020 event calendar and utilizing your plans once again going forward!

      Sincere Thanks and Much Appreciation-


    • #20127

      Hi Dave,

      What a superb season. Congrats! It’s so great to receive feedback like this and hear that our LW Coaching training plans worked so well for you.

      Thanks for the tremendous write-up.

      Coach Lynda

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