Nothing tests your skill and mental strength like racing your bike for hours on end – follow these tips to perform at your best.
Lining up for your first ultra-endurance event can be an intimidating experience, but everyone has to start somewhere and there are plenty of tricks and tips to help you on your way. Read on for our best five tips to make sure your in tip-top shape on race day.
Find what fuel works best for you
Fuelling for ultra-endurance events is obviously very important, as too much or too little can lead to dire consequences, but that doesn’t mean you should endlessly obsess over getting everything perfect.
During a 24hr race, many top competitors fuel with sports nutrition and ordinary food, as a whole day of eating nothing but gels and sports bars can lead to all sorts of stomach trouble.
A general rule of thumb for the last half of an Ultra is ‘eat what you want’, as well as some sports nutrition. Whether this is chocolate, cake, burgers, sandwiches, crisps, or even something more healthy (we’ve heard of people eating broccoli), make sure you allow yourself some treats for that mental/physical boost.
Train your mind
Perhaps no other discipline relies on your mind more than an Ultra event. In the last stages of a 24hr race, everyone’s hurting and on their last legs, so it’s the rider who keeps pushing and stays positive that eventually succeeds.
Obviously this isn’t easy and everyone will go through low moments, but being prepared for the down times and having the mental fortitude to overcome them will make a huge difference to your enjoyment and success during an Ultra.
If you’re racing a team event, like Red Bull Timelaps, getting your tactics right is very important. If you’re competing as a quad and want to go fast, the quickest way of riding is usually a strategy of one lap each. This means with a 30min lap, for example, you’d only get 1hr 30mins before you’re on again; and you have to keep that up for 24 hours.
It sounds tough and it is, but you’ll be fresher for each lap and be able to get the most out of your body. A pairs team can be a little different, with riders starting on a one lap each strategy, then moving to two or three during the night. This gives each rider a chance to have a decent rest when the sleep deprivation kicks in.