/ Training tips?
Any advice welcomed!
By team, do you mean a mini peleton of 4, or are you relaying?
Essentially, you just need to get the miles in so you are comfortable with the distance, train at a low intensity over a long time consistently, and you will see good improvements in average speed.
Also, if you are not used to long distance, then experiment with feeding on the wheel. Little and often is the way to go, but you need to find something that agrees with you. Gels aren't good for everyone, certainly in larger amounts. I find flapjacks and jelly babies a good combination and a quartered sandwich every hour work well for me.
Out of interest, is the only way to get comfortable with longer distances to actually ride longer distances, or can shorter but more regular rides make a difference as well?
Shorter, more regular rides will make a difference, and will also help you get used to the saddle, but if you aren't doing long distances, you don't know at what point you'll cramp up, or how to hydrate and feed properly which make a big difference. One of the biggest differences is psychological... when you get to the 50miles to go point if you can say to yourself, just a short training ride to go it certainly feels better.
I guess if you can put in 25 miles a day everyday for a week, you'll certainly cope with a century a lot better than someone who's only been doing one 40 a week say, but if you can get those long rides in it makes a huge difference - you can go out and do them at comfortable slower pace and they don't hurt too much at all, it's just the time it takes.
What ever you do, build up slowly, don't go out and suddenly do 50 miles if you haven't ridden for months and then jump to 100miles, that way injury (knees) lies.
I did the relentless a couple of years ago, in much the same condition as you describe yourself (reasonably fit, team of 4). Here's what I learned:
- Look after yourself properly. I didn't hydrate very well and ended up with horrible cramps on one lap. A few people didn't eat well (the sleeplessness can mess with your appetite) and had some shocking laps. Keep warm when you're off the bike.
- Try to get there early to set up your team camp, as good space is at a premium. If you have a can or caravan that will make your life a million percent better in terms of having somewhere good to recover between laps.
- The route tends to be a figure of eight with two climbs on it. They're not super long but it will help if you practice some intense climbs.
- Get lots of night-riding practice in. It's amazing how different the course becomes in the dark.
- When I did it it was dry, but it's Fort William in October so expect to get wet - bring as much spare clothing as you can.
It's a really cool race. You'll have a blast!
You'll be fine, you'll have a blast.
I have a banged up old camper with a cooker & fridge which sleeps two so if it passes the MOT in June that'll be a good tool.
I'll try and get some hill climbing practice in though there isn't anything technical nearby that I can use regularly. There are plenty of forestry however so i should get some night riding in.
Where do you live? there's likely to be someone on here that knows the area and can point you at some nearby nasty hills for practice! (unless you live in Norfolk)
Theres one semi decent sustained hill climb but its on road, better than nothing i guess.
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