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Everest Challenge — Race Notes 2011 — Preparation
My preparation was extensive, but my planning was still defective, since I goofed by not taking electrolytes for Stage 1, which resulted in cramping for the entire Rock Creek climb.
Altitude, sleep, calories, muscles
- Five (5) days of altitude acclimatization between 9,000 and 11,000 feet elevation.
- Extra sleep for 5 days preceeding race day.
- Extra calories for five days preceeding the race. No carbo-loading or that sort of silly stuff, but perhaps 20% more than total daily needs.
- Use of a foam roller each day prior to the race, as well as extensive use of it after Stage 1.
- Workouts shortened from 3 hours to 1+ hours as the race day approached, to taper, and allow full recovery.
- All bulky foods avoided the day before (minimal or no fruits and vegetables). Such foods might force an unplanned pit stop on race day.
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Night-before and race day morning
Allow plenty of time to get to the start. Being rushed is no fun.
- Check your tires and bike. If a tire is low in the morning, you’ll need time to fix it. Inspect for glass, cuts, etc: some descents are dangerously fast, and nothing less than a nearly fresh tire will do. Do not ride old or worn tires; this is taking your life into your hands.
- Stay overnight reasonably close to the race start so that you do not need to drive very far. Avoid places that might have noisy neighbors that might wake you, and get to bed early.
- Allow plenty of time to get to the start. Plan on 30 minutes extra, just in case.
- There is no time to stretch during the race (if you want a good time), so use a foam roller and allow time to stretch well before the start.
- Rise 2.5 hours before the race so you can both eat and digest a breakfast. Eat immediately, hydrate immediately upon waking, then repeat 90 minutes before the race with a small digestible meal (such as oatmeal and a few nuts). Don’t eat a supersize breakfast; it won’t help and is likely to slow you down— your muscle stores should have been topped off the day before.
- Apply sunblock at least an hour before race start so that it absorbs; sweat with sunblock in eyes is no fun. A sunburn is extra stress on the body, so don’t go there.
- Wear fresh shorts. Your butt will thank you.
- Wear a full zip jersey, and unzip it fully when it’s hot during climbs; this drops core body temperature more than a partiallly zipped jersey. Lower core body temperature is key to maintaining power. Curiously, very few riders do so, a real mistake.
- Have any extras available at your car at the start, since you’ll pass by it both days: extra food, fluid, clothing, etc. You can also dump stuff at your car as you ride by.
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For the final summit
No matter how hot, do pack a bag with a warm jacket and gloves for the final summit each day (the EC team delivers this for you).
My Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt made the Rock Creek summit reasonably comfortable; it would have been very unpleasant otherwise (I would have been forced to descend immediately, due to cold).