THE SECRET BEHIND 24HOUR RACING (IN MY OPINION)

Now, I’m definitely no expert but after completing three 24 hour events I believe I’ve learnt a lot and would like to offer my opinion on how to do well in a 24 hour event.
1.       Know why you are racing- You must know exactly why it is that you are at the start line in the first place. At 2 o’clock in the morning when you see no one out on course, when transition is fast asleep, when your back, knees and wrists are killing you and your slogging it up a hill or trying hard not to bin it down a descent when you feel like you need toothpicks in your eye balls, you need THAT reason to come in to your head!
2.       Get your nutrition and hydration right- Your body needs the right amount of fuel to replace what it is being used during this time. It’s simple, if you do not replace the energy that is being used and the sweat being lost, you WILL start to feel dizzy and sick, and your body WILL slow down. Practice eating different foods during other races, for me it is more about the texture rather than the taste that allows me to eat the food or not.
3.       Support Crew- 24 solo is anything but, it should be called 24 solo but in a team. Support crew can allow a person to succeed or bomb out of a race. Make sure your support crew knows why you are racing, your goal for the race, how to fix your bike, what to say and what not to say at 2 o’clock in the morning, how many carbs and electrolytes etc. you need every hour and that you are consuming those. To do well in a 24 you need to spend as little time in transition as possible, ideally you should still be on your bike rolling through whilst your support crew runs beside you loading you up with what you need.
4.       Goals- It is important to have a goal for the race and this is often linked to dot point 1-why are you racing, however it is important to be flexible with your goal. In my first 24 my only goal was to ride as long as I could until I couldn’t ride anymore, I would sit when I felt like it and I just wanted to finish it. However at 4 o’clock in the morning when I was told I was in 2nd place, my goal obviously changed to try to go for the win.
5.       Have fun! You cannot ride your bike for 24 hours if you are not enjoying it! It is too hard of a thing to do to not be having a blast. This is the main reason I do 24s, I love riding my bike so why not ride it for as long as I can? The challenge of completing such a task is also a big motivator for me, I love to push myself to see how I react and see how far I can go!
6.       Realise that at times it WON’T be fun! 24 hours is a long time to be doing anything, let alone staying awake and riding a bike! At times you will feel like total crap and every part of you will want to quit. However know that it will pass, you won’t feel like crap for the rest of the race. Like someone has flicked a switch you can go from feeling on top of the world- nailing the lines and riding will seem effortless, to being in the hurt box, but then you will go back to feeling good, and then bad, and then good again!! Not giving in to that voice (unless you’re in danger of really hurting yourself or injured!!) will make you a stronger person both on and off the bike.
7.       It’s 90% mental – I made that figure up but you get the idea. Your mind is what controls your body, it is what controls dealing with the pain and will ultimately control what you do in a race. It can be hard to race a 24 if there are other things going on in your life, you have ALOT of thinking time and if you have other stresses happening then it can make the race even harder.
Once you have finished racing a 24, the elation (and soreness) will be epic. You can transfer these accomplishments into real life situations, gaining confidence to try things you wouldn’t have usually of tried. You can also draw back to those dark times when you are in other races or hard training sessions and remind yourself it was nothing like how you felt during the 24, and you got through that!
It also gives you kudos amongst other people (for me it is the students I teach which can make my day job a bit easier at times!) and I guess a bit of an ego boost when people who don’t ride bikes think you’re unbelievable (or perhaps crazy and ridiculous?)
Some other info about 24’s if you are interested then read on!
FOOD- What I ate during my last race (I can’t eat gluten or wheat but am yet to race this way)
·        Gluten Free bread slice with nutella (crusts cut off and folded in half)
·        Fruit cake
·        Little bite sized muffins
·        Bananas
·        Gels
·        Gnocchi with pasta sauce
·        Couple of mouthfuls of Cinnamon porridge
·        Couple of mouthfuls of creamed rice
·        Hammer Solids (about 15 of them!)
·        Hammer Bars (awesome texture)
·        Muesli Bars
·        Pikelets with honey
DRINKS:
·        Water
·        PureSport Hydration Workout Formula
PureSport Recovery Formula in the last 12 hours
·        Strong Sustagen (after 12am small cups in transition)
·        Coke
OTHER- No doze
TRAINING
Generally I try to get in 1-2 long rides (4-6 hours) per week, plus 2-3 ergo sessions (hard efforts, either high cadence, e2 work or strength efforts), plus 1-2 MTB skill rides. Also some core and upper body strength work, 1-2 runs and yoga.
I used to be really strict with my training and never deviate from what was written down but I continually got injured so now my coach tells me on a day to day basis what I will do based on how I’m feeling, how I’ve recovered from the previous session and who is going out training that day. It’s important to have fun just riding with your mates and being flexible with your program and not getting too caught up in it all.
Well those are just my thoughts on 24 solo’s, it what works for me, but everyone is different and you just need to find what works for you, at the end of the day riding bikes is fun and if you have ever thought of doing a 24 solo then just have a crack, you have nothing to lose!! (the worst that can happen is you to stop for a few hours and that isn’t all that bad!
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