Tuesday, May 29, 2007

misery obsession

It's interesting how something that I wasn't really into has taken on a life of it's own. From the second I finished MOM this year I was planning the steps to improve on the time.

I've got a friend that was really into mountain biking and then he got into this thing and it's all he thinks about and prepares for. I can totally see why now. Having finally had a good experience with the ride I can see the lure of wanting to improve on the time.

The training effect from it can't do anything but help mountain bike racing I'd hope. These kinds of rides provide some great baseline strength. The key is to tweak the fitness with mountain bike specific types of efforts.

I wanted to get some thoughts/ideas down before I forget about it.

-The plan my wife came up with is perfect for preparing for MOM. I didn't follow it exactly but this will help anyone prepare for this ride in 13 weeks

Week# Miles Ride
1 30 Spruce Run
2 35
3 45
4 50-55 Blacksburg, Spruce run up backside, Clover Hollow, 460--home
5 50-55
6 ?? Whatever
7 60-65 Bradshaw with some add on
8 60 Newport to River to backside x2
9 75 1st part of MOM w/o cloverhollow
10 65-70
11 85 1st part of MOM with clover hollow
12 40
13 103 MOM

In order to accomplish these rides while training for mtb racing at the same time, I just substituted one of these rides in place of a race sim. This did hurt me some for mountain bike specific efforts but it was totally worth it to be able to ride this thing well.

I did do the 2x up the backside ride twice which was helpful. The backside is the key to MOM. This is basically two rides to me. The first 100 miles and the last 3. The backside has the potential to take an hour or more from your life. There is just no way to hide on this thing. The last 2 miles are just something else when under the fatigue of the previous 101 miles. You see the 2 mile and 1 mile to go signs on the road and you think it's almost over. Big mistake. It's not over till the cowbells are ringing.

My one friend did the whole ride solo and stashed some water/fuel at the halfway point. If I can psyche myself up for it is the one thing I'd want to do if I was preparing for it to break a time goal. It is the only way to shock my body into remembering what it feels like to hit the back side.

Another option would be to do the 2x up the backside ride and then hit clover hollow, or maybe go back down 613 and do the climb a third time. No way to hide from the fatigue.

The other keys for me had been to do the training rides hard. Really hurt on John's Creek and clover hollow and to dangle away in the wind. Come the real ride the ability to ride in big groups made things much easier. That's the additional key. Getting with the right group and staying with the group w/o killing yourself.

Weight has also been a positive factor this year. I'm at my lowest in memory. This has been very helpful for these hilly long rides. I'm not so sure it's as beneficial for thr mountain bike races, but I'll take whatever advantage it brings for rides like this.

The problems with a faster time lie in getting the stoppage time down. The rest stops kill the clock and having to eat/drink/pee are just a pain when it comes to time. My hope is that with a slightly higher intensity that I'll actually be able to get away with needing less to eat. Counter intuitive I know, but my body has a switch point somewhere in intensity when it comes to how much fuel is needed. At high intensity I can get away with less.

The limiting issue is really how fast things clear from my stomach. At high intensity, I can't clear at that high a rate so I can't eat that much. But my body seems to burn what I've got more efficiently. At lower intensities all of a sudden I just need to eat almost twice as much.

I'm thinking of experimenting with high calorie sources of liquid food like Perpeteum. Not totally remove solid food but maybe this will help cut down on how much I need to stop.

The other think is stopping to go to the bathroom. At a certain intensity, bladder function seems to shut down a little. Go easier and then I gotta stop to go much more. I'm wondering too if I drank too much during the ride as I was so worried about the heat. Which was a record high btw.

It's time to shift focus back to mtb racing but I think next year I'll be doing this again. My ride time this year was 6:28 and my overall time was 6:53. My goal for next year is 6:30 overall.

-Tip. When climbing if going to stand always grab one higher gear then go back to one lower when you sit back down.


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