Yesterday I rode 132 miles on the 125-mile Mt Hamilton Challenge. The extra 7 miles are from backtracking due to the numerous turns described in 6-point type on the auto-disintegrating ride handout.
But all in all it was a success. Here’s what I learned (see my full writeup also):
- Tapering prior to such an event works fantastically well: I rode 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 the usual training distance in the days preceeding, which had a huge positive impact on the power I was able to sustain throughout the day.
- Hydrating with 1 scoop of Accelerade per liter of water works great. Do not follow the standard dilution, that’s much too concentrated.
- Fueling with 2-3 Gu energy gels per hour works great.
- Eating an energy bar with nuts, protein powder and fructose sugar (e.g. dates) does not work. Avoid such energy bars, etc: they will sap your energy level. Eat only a fraction of a bar every 15-30 minutes, do not eat a whole bar of such a type. Learned this the hard way at rest stop #3; slowed me down for at least 30 minutes.
- The Lightweight Obermayers are fantastic efficient climbing wheels, into the wind wheels and very comfortable. Not so great for strong side-wind gusts.
- Most of the distance is fantastic riding, starting at Mt Hamilton Road and continuing all the way (almost) to Livermore, with some junk until Calaveras Road, which is fantastic riding.
- There are about 25 very junk miles on the ride, with constant vigilance for glass and debris and traffic necessary on many of those miles, all while watching for tiny route markers on the pavement. The course should be done as an out-and back.
Amazingly, some riders thought a lunch should be... lunch, with large and heavy food bags. That’s absolutely crazy, a recipe for disaster on such a ride. You cannot digest and use a real lunch, too much protein binds precious water needed for blood volume, lots of foods have fiber or other issues, etc. No wonder so many of the riders were moving so slowly. See On The Bike Nutrition.
My diet the day-of is explained in my full writeup of the Mt Hamilton Challenge.