Lake Tahoe 4hr Solo MTB Race
All right, this was a big one. A big, new challenge. I’ve done very little mountain bike racing, and never at this distance or length. But it will be a good challenge, and it is within reach. I have raced long course XTERRA to about the four hour mark, and I know and love these trails from a race last summer. It was a challenge, but I was confident That I could do it. I picked the race and was excited about it because most of the long marathon like races are 8, 12, or 24 hour races. This four hour length is a perfect stepping stone to those longer races. It would also be a great test of aerobic fitness and the Maffetone Method that I have been experimenting with this spring. And I want to use it check put the bike course in advance of next week’s XTERRA, which uses a lot of the same trails.
Well, the endless winter left endless snow, and part of the course had to be cut because it was truly buried. And there was still a lot of snow! There were many patches to either try to ride through, or hike a bike. And mud. Lots of mud. Mud and snow, but otherwise a perfect Tahoe summer day. The race website estimated fast lap times at forty minutes. Even with the shortened course, few people were able to bring in a lap time under an hour. I managed 1:15.
The real success is that I just kept pedaling. I never bonked, even though I got tired. I believe the Maffetone training protocol is paying off. It appears that my fat burning is more efficient than ever before, thereby increasing my endurance. I kept charging along at 165+ BPM without dropping in pace much, or getting hungry. All three laps were at a similar speed. I kept fueling with Hammer Sustained Energy and Hammer Gel in the range of 150-200 calories an hour like I do in training, and it worked great. When it was all over, I felt pretty good. Despite recently arriving at altitude and not getting quality sleep.
Since I survived four hours, is the next step an eight hour race? It is tempting, and I think with some more training, it is entirely possible. I’ve got my interested piqued by the Leadville Qualifier at Northstar at Tahoe later this summer. If I can find some course information, that might be a good next challenge.