My ‘passion’ is self-supported multi day bike racing. I have been at it for a while now and feel I know the basics pretty well. In terms of importance one could break down the basic parameters as follows:· Fitness
· Route knowledge
· Race Strategy
This break down isn’t absolute, one might come up with a logical alternative but this one suffices for this post.
Fitness, ahh even at my age fitness is an ongoing work in progress but in general I just need to reach my ‘race weight’ and that gets me 90 to 95% of my maximum. In all honesty I do not have the inclination (read time and dedication) to work on that last 5 to 10 %. I will leave that to those who want to and can. I struggle hard enough just to reach the desired weight and frankly that’s good enough for me.
Bike/gear/craftsmanship is also a never finished project. I truly enjoy honing my gear and craftsmanship However unless I take up wintertime multiday racing I am pretty far along the learning curve in this area. I work at this more for the satisfaction and fun rather than noticeable improvement.
Route knowledge is something I do spend a lot of time at. I know many like to approach a multi-day with less than ideal route knowledge because that’s the way they want to experience the event. I on the other hand truly enjoy the study. Studying a route is one of my simple pleasures in life. And it’s also a huge stress relief from my day to day work life. Perhaps someday I will do a multi-day without my usual in-depth pre-route preparation, just for the experience, but I sort of doubt it.
Race Strategy, now this is currently where my head is at. This is where one tries to put all the pieces together in such a way so as to minimize your finish time and maximize your race placement. I think if I ever archive perfect implementation of an ideal race strategy my head will explode from pure satisfaction. It won’t happen because first I always make too many mistakes during a race and second I can always think of something I might have done better. To me strategy is a journey not a destination (thanks Ralph)
So right now as I prep for the upcoming 2016 Stagecoach 400 I am working on fitness/weight but really I am wondering and thinking about strategy. How should I approach this particular race? My current thinking (sure to change) is to focus on pace, followed by duration with a set recovery time. This is not so different than what I always think I will do. But in both Stagecoach 400’s I have done it seems I never quite nail the ‘pace’ part of the plan, ha-not even close. Which then throws the rest of my strategy out of sync, and I wind up yo-yoing most of race.
So how might I actually hold a sustainable pace? Sounds easy but when you factor in my untested/current/improving/early year fitness level, huge temperature differential vs my home base and the shock of always longer than trained for ride hours—well let’s just say I could not possibly do worse than my first two Stagecoach races at holding a ideal 1st day pace. If fact this is a common issue (horrible first day & maybe even second day) in almost all my multi-day races. Only in the TDR have I avoided this issue, I think because the TDR sort of regulates your effort due to the easy terrain.
Thought about it for most of my 5 hour ride today.......nice day bty....
Power Meter? Heart Rate Monitor? Perceived exertion scale? Jedi focus? Forget the whole idea and just go with the natural flow?
What say you?
I am open to all ideas......