- January 20, 2016 at 9:17 pm #14223scabqParticipant
Race Report: El Paso Puzzler 50 mile. Masters PR Plan.
This was my first 50 mile race. The other endurance races I have done have been lap-style races. I really enjoyed the Masters PR plan. Working on my technical skills every week improved my riding and confidence and I enjoyed the lifting/ intervals schedule. I also found articles in the training and racing article library helpful, especially How to build your MTB race fuel plan and How to race a PR 50 miler.
I did my warm up and anticipated that the first part of the course was going to push me into HR zone 4 from the get-go. My plan was to stay in zone 4 on the first hill and get a decent spot for the single track, then back down to my race pace of zone 3-4. I knew the first long uphill from my recon ride; the grade of this hill seemed similar to those in my area and I was confident I could stay sub-zone 5. As I went up up up, so did my heart rate, and before I knew it, I was in zone 5. I didn’t want to come off my bike, so I tried to slow my breathing and spin, and was surprised when I couldn’t bring my HR down. For the first 15 miles of the race my HR bounced between zone 5 and even 6! It seemed like it wouldn’t even come down on downhill sections… weird. Another weird thing was that, at times, I could have a conversation and my perceived effort did not seem in line with the high HR. Luckily, I had read an article by Coach Lynda about HR monitors and how racers shouldn’t exclusivly depend on them, so I tried not to fixate. I also wasn’t completely confident in my zones. When I set them, I did it on the trainer for the first time, and I felt like they were skewed a little low. So for the remainder of the race, I kept an incredulous eye on my jacked HR, but used perceived effort, and made sure I could have conversations with other racers along the course. I was really glad that the training plan had me evaluate perceived effort as well as use HR. By the latter part of the race, there was no laying down the hammer for me. My quads were cooked. I focused on staying positive, celebrating small achievements, and enjoying the moves.
Plenty went well during this race: my gut, which was horrible on my last race, and my nutrition plan were awesome; I only stopped once during the race at the 25 mile aid station to refill food and water and to reapply chamois butter; I was confident in my technical riding and it worked to my advantage; and I came in 3/6!
A factor that may have contributed to the elevated HR at the beginning of the race and my tired/ sore quads could have been inadequate recovery from a bikepacking trip a couple weeks before the race, but I look forward to hearing feedback from others. Anyway, it was a super fun race- El Paso and Juarez riders were really friendly, and I made some new friends from ABQ. I’m looking forward to using this training plan for the rest of the spring and re-peaking for some lapped endurance races.
- January 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm #14227
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