Competing in endurance mountain bike racing requires a significant amount of time on the bike. There are days when you eat your breakfast and lunch on the go, get on your bike before the sun comes up and even get lost in the woods trying to find six hours worth of trails. We all settle into distinct collections of gear to make the bike our home, but for us, this kit offers the perfect blend of performance, durability and comfort.
At 5 a.m. I felt the slight buzz of my UP band. Go time. Well, actually it was time to fill 10 water bottles with Skratch Labs hydration, get my cooler ready and find a decent cup of coffee in the mountains of North Georgia. After a short chat with a couple of young police officers at Dunkin Donuts about why I would ride 100 miles on a mountain bike, I was off for the Montaluce Winery. It was pitch black on the winding roads leading up to the parking lot, so I followed the stream of cars with bikes on the roof. Race director Eddie O’Dea welcomed us at the entrance, where I parked the car and unloaded my gear for the Fool’s Gold 100.
For the last six months my dietary goal has been fairly simple: use more fat and less glycogen (stored carbs) for fuel during long rides. You’re probably wondering why I’d do that when I could just carbo-load the night before and suck down a few gels to get through the day. A new school of thought is emerging, though, that debunks the myth that a diet rich in starchy carbohydrates is the best way to fuel during training and racing. As I prepare for the Fool’s Gold 100 this weekend, I’m hoping to see this dietary tactic pay dividends.
Time to leave it all on the trail
Anyone who’s been in a race knows that the rush of crossing the finish line is followed almost immediately by the sinking question “What’s next?” The longer the training leading up to the race, the more acute the question. So it wasn’t long after last year’s Road to Ironman series that we were already planning something bigger, inspired by a friendly reader inquiry from Mr. Dirk Shaw, a Senior Vice President at Ogilvy, husband, father of three and endurance cycling fanatic. His assigment: a coast-to-coast race mountain bike race in Costa Rica ranking among the hardest in the world.