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First 12 Hour Race Report, 12 Hours of Albuquerque

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    • #13795

      Race Report, ABQ 12 Hour using the 12 Hour Finisher Plan

      I had a couple of strategies/ goals going into the 12 Hours of Albuquerque as a female solo rider: one was to, of course, watch my pacing and to stay mostly in HR zone 2, the other to take care of myself (getting enough food, not getting hurt). I wanted to focus on process rather than outcome- I figured if I could take care of myself and pace, I was more likely to reach my 6 lap goal. According to my practice race day (which I was able to do on-course) and calculations, it would be pretty unrealistic to get in 7 laps, so I wanted to do the 6 laps as quickly and efficiently as I could, racing it as a 6 lap course. The podium was in the back of my mind, but I planned on using that as an external motivator later in the race if I needed to. I had done some endurance rides as part of a team, but this was my first solo effort.

      The venue was in my backyard: the east side of the Manzano Mountains SE of Albuquerque. The loop was just over 11 miles on a hilly course. The first half of the course has some technical sections, more so than the other endurance races I had done (Dawn til Dusk, Tommyknocker 10), and some climbs where my heart rate spiked into HR 4. I had the opportunity to ride the loop a lot during my training rides, which was great. I had memorized the course, knew where the HR spikes would happen, and was able to work out the technical sections.

      My nutrition plan was pretty loose, but was anchored by 40 oz of Perpetuum in a camel back per lap, in a ratio based on my body weight. I premixed the Perpetuum in water bottles and had them in a cooler in the pit. I chugged plain water in the pit. I brought a lot of foods to choose from, and wrote down some combos that I could grab to have enough calories per hour. Food ended up being an unanticipated challenge for me! I never have a weird gut, but I did during the race. During lap 1, I ate a bite of bar (Taos, Cliff kid) every 15 min or so, but after awhile my gut turned and I couldn’t eat on the hills like I had during my training sessions. During the end of lap 2 into lap 3, I couldn’t seem to eat at all and knew a bonk was looming. I had to refocus on my goal to take care of myself. During lap 3, when I knew a long DH was coming, I stopped at the top of a hill, had a seat, let my HR go down, and got a Feed Zone Portable rice cake down the hatch. It was the best thing I could have done and was a valuable lesson; I felt so much better and it was definitely worth the time. I did the same thing in the middle of a long DH 30 minutes later and felt back on track energetically/ calorically.

      For the rest of lap 3, I thought of everything I would eat in the pit: more rice cakes, quinoa, sweet potatoes, but when I got to the pit, I didn’t want to eat at all. I took a longer pit, changed, drank some ginger ale, elevated my legs, and ate 15 or so potato chips. For the rest of the race, all I could stomach, on top of the Perpetuum, were potato chips, donuts from an aid station, GU, and an occasional bite of rice cake. Good thing I brought those chips! One thing I did use that I hadn’t during my training, which may have contributed to my stinkgut, was beet juice. I read it could lead to an overactive digestion, which I did NOT want to deal with on race day, so I started using it a couple days before the race, and I was good. I used beet elite 1 hour before and halfway through the race, and I felt really great in the second half of the race. It seemed my quads were ready to rumble after the halfway-mark shot of the beet elite.

      Coach Lynda writes in the 12 Hour Finisher training plan that most pacing errors occur in the first three hours of the race, and I can see why. Even with a HR monitor, it was so hard to hold back and not go fast in comparison to other riders in the first 3 hours. I felt like such a gaper slowly spinning up big easy climbs while other racers sped by. “You know I can go faster than this,” I wanted to say to the folks who cheered me up a big hill: “You can do it!” Luckily during training, I had ridden with folks who weren’t training and had wrapped my mind and ego around being the slow one. Luckily, after a couple laps, that ego involvement wore off and the pride of being out there lap after lap won out. I’m the tortoise, you are the hare; I finally embraced my identity.

      As I haven’t done much night riding, a huge goal of mine was to be situated with enough time to get though the technical sections of lap 6 before it got dark. I set off at 6:10, with a 7:00 sunset. It was perfect. It seemed like the first wave of racers squeezing in those final laps passed me when it started to get really dark, then for awhile, I was alone on the course, taking my time on the downhills and enjoying the night and the cool air.

      I rolled into the finish at the 11 hour mark, super psyched. For the first time that day, I checked the leader board… and I came in 2/10!

      I honestly could not have done this without the plan and blog support from Coach Lynda. The method of training and racing was so counter to how I had trained for my other races (go hard, go long, get real tired). I also really valued and learned a lot from another 12 hour finisher race report I read on the LW blog, so wanted to provide solidarity with other new racers out there with this report. My friend Aimee, an ultrarunner, told me that before her first 100 mile race, a veteran racer told her that on your first big, long race, something you don’t expect to happen will. For me it was having a stinkgut for the first time. I had all this healthy, yummy research-supported food and all I wanted was greasy donuts, potato chips and GU… A nice surprise was the beet juice. I switched over to a 1×10 drivetrain a little over a month before the race, and I think the front gear is a little big, which has led to my quads being a bit more sore than usual. The beet juice seemed to counter that, or I just got into a good cadence on the hills…who really knows, but I felt great for the second half of the race. All and all, a great learning experience!

      • This topic was modified 8 years ago by Avatarscabq.
    • #13798

      To note: I walked the hills where my HR spiked into zone 4

      • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Avatarscabq.
    • #13800

      Congrats on your second place! Thanks for a great race report. I’m sure other racers will appreciate it and I certainly love it. Great job sticking to your pacing plan. Being patient in a 12 hour solo race always pays off.

      I am almost certain your stink gut came from the Perpetuem. I recommend dropping that from your fuel plan. It is really hard to digest when racing.


    • #13803

      Thanks! Ah, the Perpetuam, bummer. It works so well for me on long rides and saved my quads from certain ruin when I bikepacked the C250 last spring. What about races makes it hard to digest? I will certainly have to experiment more on that front. Go donuts :-/

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