Riding the Test of Metal at Squamish on Saturday. Any 'expert' tips?
I think I am going to carry out bike-assisted suicide on Saturday when I attempt to complete the Test of Metal with the worst possible preparation (getting excuses in early ). Injuries, bike in the shop being fixed, no commuting, restricted practice time, etc. have meant that I'm at my least race-ready condition in years (and that's saying something!).
I've never done an event like this (info) before so wondered if some of you, vastly more experienced guys would have useful input.
I'm roughly there with what to carry, tyre set up, night before eating, etc. Due to be dry and 20C and I expect to take about 6 hours (if I make the cut-off points!).
Today and Friday, what sort of exercise should I do? Short, easy rides/quick blasts? I'm guessing no long mileage...? Stretches?
What sort of pre-ride stuff for Saturday morning?
Is it a good idea to wear baggies over the lycra or will that just be uncomfortable after 60+km?
How often to eat and how much during the ride (food stop at about 25km and 50km points)?
Take breaks or just try and keep going?
Any help would be appreciated (I'm aware I'm asking for trouble with that statement... )!
No Idea of the terrain or route or what sort of event this is...(oh wait google)
ok 67km and 1200m that is not actually that bad looking at the sort of riding and the terrain and the weather you'll be doing!
As you got less than a day here are the only tips I would give.
You can try and carb load eat a good degree of pasta/potatoes rice etc today but more importantly load up on the water, you need to be properly hydrated before you start...( I never take my own advice on this lay off the booze for at least the day before )
Baggies are purely a fashion item for the fashion victim or the man that is perhaps of the greater circumference...leave them at home! And FFS what is the fucking point of wearing them over lycra, why do people do that? ( this is general rant...not aimed at you)
Exercise today...either do none or just do a flat low resistance spin.
What to take? 2x tubes 2xco2 maybe a tyre repair kit, Mini Tool, powerlinks, bunch of zip ties.
I assume there will be feed stops? but take at least one gel for every hour you anticpate riding plus something 'extra' (Jelly beans) for if you bonk.
It looks pretty hot, can you fill up on water bottles en route? One bottle water/electro and one in a 2:1 mixture. take extra drink tablets so you can make up bottles at feed stops.
During the race, take on board at least one gel per hour I guess you're not doing laps of a course so you'll have to take them with you (tape a few to your toptube put the rest on your jersey pocket) I always aim to get through one 750ml bottle per hour.
It's a bit late now if you haven't already tried and tested your preffered gels..I find high5 are the least offensive to my stomach...well during the race at least.
Let others through with as much courteousy as possible and give riders you're overtaking as much warning and info as possible i.e. which side you plan on passing them and when you're coming.
Most of all though the route looks fast and fun, so just enjoy it.
Although 67km and 1200m of climbing (I estimated more like 1500m checking the maps...) most of that is in two honking great climbs with really steep killer bits.
Another thing is that many of the 'flat' sections are particularly rooty/rocky and speed/energy-draining and much of the descending is pretty technical (so still hard work and slow). The race photos are misleading as they are taken at wider, smoother, easier sections nearer to civilisation.
I'm running tubeless so was only taking one tube (I've not flatted with tubeless in over 18 months).
I've never liked gels so usually make do with Clif bars/Shot blocks and this time have Nuun tablets too. I was thinking that just dropping one tablet in a cup of water at the 25, 37 & 50km watering holes would be enough, with just water in the Cbak? Or is that way off? Note that I am not going for Top 10 here (Top 600. Really.).
"One bottle water/electro and one in a 2:1 mixture." Can you clarify?
Ta muchly. Hoping not to let the British end down too much!
I also run tubeless I'd be tempted to take two, but it depends on how far you like to walk home in the likelihood/event of your worst nightmares coming true! It's gamble in a lap type situation I'd only take the thinest of tubes..next week I'm going to be doing both W2/Skyline or 90km round Afan...I'll probably take 2 tubes I just don't fancy having a shitter for an extra 100gms or whatever a tube weighs!
Re hydration, I personally suffer from cramps, doctors can't seem to pinpoint it but they destroy me! so I always have an electrolyte drink, couldn't work with just water alone...by the sounds of it you're pretty clued up so take whatever feels natural, but if i were you and was taking a 2 litre Camelbak I'd stuff a few nuun's in there! and then at the feed stations perhaps down whatever gatorade/energy/carb drinks they have going?
If you can stomach the bars run with them, I find after 6 hours of them my stomach is a solid mass of cramping agony! Shot bloks kick ass but I tend to eat them in a bonking type situation, never used them as a general energy source.
To clarify: In long stuff I take two bottles one with a simple electrolyte (staves off the cramp) and the other a 2:1 Carbohydrate drink for energy...I make sure I drink the elecrolyte fully and sip at the carb drink through the hour.
In any race I always aim for...finishing, not finsihing last and being in the top 50% of riders in last years Bontrager 24hr solo I came 13th so stranger things have happened!
Also... Well Jealous looks like an awesome day out.
Last edited by William of the Hearted Bl; 14-06-13 at 22:28.
Pretty much everything BHB said. I'll try and have a gel every hour and a small amount of solid food on the half-hour - but it depends what you can stomach after a while. Definitely no baggies, drink little and often.
In regards stopping - it's the sure-fire way of not starting again. On this years HONC when I got to the main feed station I made a point of just wolfing down some tea and cake and heading back off asap - made a big difference to the previous year riding with friends when we'd stopped for longer then just couldn't get going again. Likewise at the 24/12 if I have a break for too long it doubles it's intended length and muscles go cold.
All went better than hoped for the first 30+km and I was well up on my cut-off points without busting a gut. I even had time to gain some trail karma by helping someone with a puncture!
Despite BHB's suggestion off Nuun tabs in the CBak and me drinking plenty of it, I then got repeated cramps in the legs for the central section that seriously screwed me up, even though I felt strong and not at all tired.
Then, for the final 30% they went and I blasted to the end with no problems! Huh?
Anyway, I finished and didn't die so that counts as a victory. If I'm still here next year, I'm definitely going to do it a lot better! A great day out, with locals and supporters lining the roads (and quite a lot of the feed-zones and accessible trails), ringing cow-bells and cheering any/all riders on. Excellent atmosphere.
After my recent 7.5 hour event, I'd recommended ham and pickle sandwiches. Alx is a witness to this.
It was a tip given to me by the road club - have something "normal" and yummy to look forward to / digest as opposed to the functional nature of energy gels.
Salted peanut butter on salted oatcakes and Bovril.
After getting really quite delirious 18hours or so into a race all I could possibly think about was drinking bovril, I asked every marshall do you have any Bovril? I was asking spectators Bovril...the things these races do to you.
He is a boy (we only found out on Monday though and if he'd been a girl she would still have been a mountain biker) and is 5lbs 9oz so there's every chance I could pop him in my camelback. Might try...