Lynda Wallenfels is Cat 1 USA Cycling
coach and owner of LWCoaching.com Visit her site for mountain bike training plans, coaching and
consulting. She recently won the self-supported, multi-day ultra endurance Arizona Trail Race 300!
Question: How do you prepare mentally and
physically for a self-supported, multi-day ultra endurance race?
Answer: Finishing a self-supported, multi-day ultra endurance race
such as Tour Divide (TD), Colorado Trail Race (CTR), or Arizona Trail Race
(ATR) is a challenging task. With DNF rates regularly over 50%, finishing one
of these events is no 'gimmie’. Racing them competitivelywith the goal to win or set a course record is another step up in
accomplishment. Both finishing and competing to win require specific
THE MENTAL PART
most important part of your mental preparation is to do your homework. Study
every inch of the course on maps and in Google Earth. Pre-ride sections if you
can. Learn where your resupply points are, what the weather is likely to do,
and what equipment you will need to safely cover the course. Practice with
every piece of your equipment; know how to use it properly, and how to fix it
if it breaks. Confidence in a self-supported, multi-day ultra endurance race
hinges largely on the depth of your race course knowledge and equipment
exactly what your race goal is. You will need this goal to motivate yourself
when the going gets tough. Rest assured, the going WILL get tough during an
event like this.
higher your excitement level for the race, the more motivated you will be to
achieve your goals. Stoke your race passion before the race by reading race
reports, talking to other athletes, looking at race photos, and doing whatever
works to fuel your fire.
THE PHYSICAL PART
any other mountain bike event, training for a multi-day ultra endurance race involves
two parts: (1) general fitness and (2) race-specific fitness. Take care of your
general fitness first by training aerobic endurance, neuromuscular power,
threshold, and VO2max to the highest level time allows. Then build on your race-specific
abilities. For multi-day ultra endurance racing these are: endurance, strength,
technical bike handling skills while riding a loaded bike, night riding, possibly hike-a-biking, and resilience.
Resilience is the ability pedal day after day without generating overuse
final preparation required for a self-supported, multi-day ultra endurance race
is to absolutely sweat the small stuff. In these kinds of races, minor details
overlooked can explode into deal breakers. Small details do count. Blisters can and do cause DNF’s. Running out of brake
pads, flat tires, missing a water resupply, deleting the route on your GPS, and
saddle sores can all be race-enders. Make lists and check them twice. Scope
other racers personal bike set-ups to see if you are overlooking anything
necessary. Do multiple race rehearsal rides wearing your race kit and riding
with everything on your bike, at night and during the day, to ensure you have
no surprises during the race.
an event from the bikepacking race calendar and start your obsession now!