The real answer is this:
I’m not terrible at endurance events. I’ve done well at the 8H events here on my home turf… pending I don’t mechanical or do something stupid like ride way outside my zones.
On a single speed, I manage an average of 10-11 laps on a completed race which is about 110 km in 8h, over terrain which is everything but flat.
When I raced Pueblo 2 years ago, I had an incredible life experience and I remember nearly every moment of it. From the first panic of not being able to find my bike, to the first time I pointed down the bitches, to the panic of not being able to pass off the baton to the next rider. I remember the new terrain was fast and fun, and the scenery kept me entertained on the ride all the way through the 26km laps. The food, the people I raced with, and everything about the weekend was top notch stuff and I’m hoping to enjoy it as much as I did last time.
Pueblo’s course itself is about 900ft of climbing per lap, with one really grinding long distance climb on the back side, and the “bitches” on the front side. Looking at the course in general you’ll do the big climb, descend into camp, do the rock drop, head into the timing tent, head back out and over the bitches. After that you’re looking at a fairly flat and extremely friendly course…. where when you’re tired you don’t hit trees, but cholla.
Throughout the course there are 2 “climbs” that are fairly good “get up and stretch your back” kind of climbs that should keep my legs from going to sleep and my back from trying to stab me in the face.
Apart from that the course length is fairly significant. 4 Laps would be a 100km ride. My goal is to break 14 laps, or 364km, and about 12,000+ ft of climbing.
Things I’ve done already this year that I suggest doing:
1. Get a coach. This is a personal choice. I am terrible at training on my own, and having someone to answer to makes it easier for me to stay focused. Some people can follow a plan day in day out. I need someone to tell me when I’m slacking, or to tell me when I’m doing well. I also need someone to tell me to train my weaknesses, as I’ll avoid them heavily if left to my own devices.
2. Figure out nutrition. When riding, nutrition becomes a big thing for me. If I get behind on water or calories, this can get really bad. I am a big lad, I will burn the equivalent of a thin crust pizza every lap by way of calories. Perpetuem and calorie dense food ends up being what keeps me going. Combine with water and electrolytes and I’m good. I’ll write more about it as I go on.
Things I know I need to do before Pueblo:
1. My high end power is shit for my size. Climbs and punchy stuff still needs a bunch of work as it takes more out of me than I care for, and honestly around here its all we have. Grind climbs, do not care. I have the mid-range to do it for hours. Power is already a work in process. My FTP is somewhere around 350W, hoping to have this higher by the time Pueblo rolls round. Before you get all “HURR NO WAY”, its a 3.1 W/KG ratio. That’s an average ratio for someone who bikes 4-5 days a week, and I certainly hit that mark.
2. Weight. Here’s where things get tricky. I am easily 245lbs. On a dehydrated day, I’ve touched 239. On a heavy eating day where I throw diet into the wind, I can touch 250. The issue is, dieting at this point is fairly hard, and trying to do it through the race season is not advisable apart from generic losses from riding and training. I’ll work on it, and would like to hit Pueblo at 225lbs. This is about as low as I can go without surgery… of which I don’t want to do.
3. Mental toughness. Once I start to slip, the well to draw extra push from varies from day to day. Some days I can just keep going like a machine and not care. Some days, I’ll give up if a bug hits me in the face. For example, a 100km ride I did a few weeks ago, I fell off my bike in some soft sand, and sliced my leg open… about 2km into the ride. Instead of quitting I found the “fuck it” button and kept going…. And yet on another ride just recently, I couldn’t do jack squat after the first hill. I need to figure out how to put myself in the hurt locker, and then stay there and enjoy it on a regular basis.
4. I am woefully under equipped for riding 12 hours in the night… I will need batteries for my lights along with other gear for the night ride.
5. Pit crew. This is a work in progress… cause its not like I’m racing next door.
I know what needs to be done to hit my goals, and this is my journey. I hope you’ll enjoy watching the evolution.