Finish the 7hr race - check, avoid bonking out - check, feel comfortable and free of major pain throughout the course of the race - check. 5th place for my age group (30-39) with 10 laps is an encouraging result for my first race back from injury. Best of all, I had a ton of fun and finished the race with a big smile on my face. Let's start with the weather conditions. I was expecting intense heat but instead we got heat and sporadic rain throughout most of the day. The rain helped cool the body but made for some very slippery tracks, particularly during the first third of the course which consisted of mostly coastal rainforest surroundings (real pretty by the way). This means lots of fertile earthy terrain and plenty of tree roots. It's nice and tacky when semi-dry, but horrible under the rain. I had to really focus to stay on two wheels, and when I didn't (on two occasions) I came off. Fortunately these were only minor incidents. Bike wise, the new rig performed really well under these conditions and I did not experience any mechanical faults *phew*! I should note that I was super happy with the tyres (2018 Specilaized Fast Trak) despite running 30psi, excellent all round except over the exposed tree roots. The rest of set up (suspension, cockpit etc) was spot on. Specialized have done an amazing job with the new design. She's off to the shop tomorrow for a full strip down and rebuild. Call it preventative maintenance :)
So what about the lessons learnt? Firstly, the keto diet is working! I rode the race on a 16hr fast, relying on pure water, salt tablets, cacao fat chocolate, hard boiled eggs, and nuts for most of the race. Towards the second half of the race I threw in some bananas which gave me a surprising boost of energy to help finish things strong. More importantly, there was no sugar crash (a first for me) and minimal lower back inflammation. I've suffered from lower back pain ever since I started mountain bike riding and this is the first time I've been able to get through a race without only a small amount of pain. This is extremely encouraging and by far the biggest positive for me. Secondly, the bananas were a new addition that I had not experimented with during training but something that I will now keep up my sleeve for race day. I think the potassium, magnesium, and carbs helped avoid the hard hitting end of race fatigue. In fact, my pace increased towards the end because I felt a surge of strength kick in. The cacao chocolate didn't do much so I'll cease using it in future. Overall, I firmly believe I'm onto something that I can now use as a basis for further improvement. I ended up clocking in my 10th lap with less than 10 mins of race time remaining. Normally I would have headed out for an 11th but by this stage I was very happy that I had achieved my objectives. It was a weird feeling to call it a day with that much time left feeling completely satisfied with my effort. So what does this mean? It means that I'm now extremely motivated to continue learning, and building on the foundation that I have laid for further improvement. I can now start working on pace. My new goal is a podium finish in June :)
Until the next post.......
I'm a 36 year old male from Carwoola, New South Wales, a small rural area situated just outside of Canberra, Australia. I'll be using this blog to share my experiences with training, dieting, and other methods to optimise overall well being. The basic idea behind all of this is to have lots of fun with the learning and experimentation process. It's worth noting that what may work well for me may not work as well for others. I also don't think there are right or wrong answers, as things are constantly changing and evolving.