As many of you who have followed me for any length of time know, I am an avid Mt Biker. MT Biking is pretty much my one hobby so I dedicate time to riding or training for rides each week. Here in Northern Michigan, in the fall, most Mt Bikers (myself include) are starting to ramp-up for the end of the season event called ICEMAN. Here is a description of the ICEMAN Race from their website:
The 2018 Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge is a point to point mountain bike race held traditionally on the first Saturday of November. The race starts in downtown Kalkaska, Michigan and finishes thirty miles later at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort on the eastern edge of Traverse City, Michigan. The course consists primarily of dirt roads, two-tracks (the majority of the course), abandoned railroad beds and the world famous Vasa Nordic ski trail. It crosses only one paved road (Williamsburg Rd at mile 17) as it winds through the breathtaking terrain of the Pere Marquette State Forest in Northern Lower Michigan. In 2017, 5393 athletes participated!!
To prepare our bodies for the race cyclist are riding more frequently, we are starting to ride longer distances, and we are preparing multiple combinations of clothing. Believe it or not, there is a lot of planning for a 30-mile race that is held in November. Because this is a point-to-point race you have to plan for transportation. Most racers go off in the morning (my wave will probably start around 9am) so nutrition is also important to consider. What’s more, who really knows a week out what the weather will be like; wet or dry, warm or cold, snow or rain or sunshine – all factors that will affect what clothing you will wear. Not to mention hydration and fuel while competing in the race.
Two years ago I invested in some high-tech cycling clothing for cold weather. The tights and jersey are made specifically for cold weather (comfortable down to 20 degrees) and can wick away moisture as my body temperature warms up. I also have a covering for my shoes, a winter cycling cap, and gloves. Having the right gear for the race-and for fall/winter riding-has been a big bright spot. Being miserable because you are cold and wet is no way to approach a race.
Pre-race: I eat a normal meal the night before the race with plenty of water the few days leading up to the race. The morning of the race I get up at 6am to prepare a very high-calorie breakfast of oatmeal (made with butter, maple syrup, cream, and nuts – the high fat is to feed my brain) washing it down with water and black coffee. That’s it, very simple.
Race: for a 30-mile ride in November I will only have one 24-oz. water bottle and some Cliff Blocks and/or Hammer gels. I’ll take one hammer gel right before the race and then 2 -3 during the race (of the shots or gels). That’s about it. It has been very interesting to see how my body has changed through the years of training and cycling. I used to go through about 70 oz of water for a 20-mile ride and had to stop once or twice for a cliff bar break. Now, for the 30+ mile rides, I need less water.
Post-race: When the race is over I down a 24 oz recover drink (Hammer Recover-rite) and there are usually a lot of cookies near the finish line that I will consume. I’ll stick around the race a little bit, congratulate other racers, and then head over to a friend’s house for a shower and lunch. Then it’s back to the race to watch the Pros compete.
There is always more isn’t there? After ICEMAN this year I will take a short (30 days) break from training and then the real fun begins. Next June I will be competing in a 99-mile race, the Lutsen 99 held in Northern Minnesota. I have NEVER been on a bike ride longer than 60 miles so this will be a stretch for me. I am not a road cyclist so my approach to this race will have to change. In fact, I will be retaining a life coach to learn how to train for this type of race. I can complete the ICEMAN in about 2 hours but the 99-mile race will probably take about 8 hours – that’s a long day in the saddle. So stay connected to the blog as I share some of the training sessions and changes to my diet as I train for the Lutsen 99.
I Want to Hear From You
What races have you completed? Have you ever done an endurance race? What is your approach to nutrition, hydration, and clothing? What is the race you dream of doing? How do you train for longer races? I want to hear from you, please comment below and share your thoughts or suggestions. So leave your comment, share this post with a friend, and go ride your bike.