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Race on Sunday...any tips?(7 posts)

Race on Sunday...any tips?SJT
Jun 13, 2003 7:59 AM
Well it's not a true cross race, but I will be racing in the Lake to Lake Classic (50k) mountain bike race up in Ontario. I've been told by others who have ridden this course that it isn't too technical even though it is billed as a mountain bike race. A lot of the race is on the road or on gravel/dirt/fire roads and it will be muddy due to the rain over the past few weeks.

This is my second race, the first was two months ago and it was brutal due to all of the snow/ice/mud that was involved. I learned a few things from that race such as:

- making sure I eat/drink more than just water during the race (I should have brought a water bottle of Gatorade)
- make sure your bike is shifting well...this cost me a lot of time and effort because my shifting went from usable to horrible by the end of the race
- pre-register if possible...waiting on line hoping you won't miss the race doesn't help the jitters
- get to the race early...see above

Well probably a few things other than those, but you get the idea. Now that race was on my mountain bike. I'd love to hear any tips that might be cross bike/racing specific.

My gearing is 48/39 with a 12-27 in the rear and I plan on bringing one or two tubes, CO2 inflater with 3 cartridges, mini-tool kit, tire lever, patch kit, couple of links of extra chain, 2 Clif bars, and a mini first aid kit. All of this stuff will be in my camelback (water) and I'll have one bottle on the bike (Gatorade). Did I miss anything? Tires will be Michelin The Mud2's. So that's it, thanks for reading and I'd appreciate any help you can provide in making this race a more comfortable and successful one.
re: Race on Sunday...any tips?atpjunkie
Jun 13, 2003 9:32 AM
lube well with water shedding lube. Spray downtube, fork and stays with PAM to prevent mud from sticking but be CAREFUL not to get on rims and brakes. Skip the Cliff bars and pack gels, about 1 per 45 minutes of the race. Eat a Cliff bar en route to race but take gels while racing, easier to digest and gets the carbs to ya quicker. They are also easier to consume (open and eat) than a bar and don't dry mouth out while eating. I prefer Carb Booms or GU's, I don't like the package on PowerGels. Skip gatorade if you can and get Cytomax, Enervitene, Extran or Accelerade. I don't like the chalkiness of Accelerade from the Whey Protein. ALSO pack a piece of a innertube box lid (thin cardboard) that you can use in case you tear a tire. Insert between tube and tire at tear, works great in a pinch. Make sure your mini tool has a chain breaker.
eat before you are hungry
drink before you are thirsty
re: Race on Sunday...any tips?Cuttsie
Jun 13, 2003 9:39 AM
I haven't raced Lake to Lake but I understand its kinda like Paris Ancaster (mainly Double track/roads with a few km's of single) should be fine on a cross bike.

Spare's kit seems fine. I would suggest something easier to eat than Clif bars - think something without wrappers as they can be difficult to remove when tired and trying to contol a bike, I bet it's gonna be muddy after all this rain in S/W Ontario. At least tear the wrapper before the ride and put it somewhere easily accessable. I expect youll be out for 3 hrs or so so bring more food (bananas cut in half - you can squeeze them out, fig biscuits even gels. Make sure you are accustomed to eating these foods on a bike as racing can do strange things to your stomach!
With a combination of road/trails tire pressure can be difficult, decide on the day dependant on weather, try about 50-55psi I weigh 150lbs (so a little more if you are heavier) its a good trade between hard for the tarmac and soft enough to smooth the off road bumps without pinch flats. Yeah bikes gotta be in good shape, it's no place for bad shifting or loose cables, check it out THOROUGHLY.
Hydrate well night before, start eating carbs from NOW, have a good pasta dinner on Saturday night and a good breakfast, maybe a small snack no more than 2 hrs before the off and drink well during the ride, camelbaks a good idea.
Good luck, you can e-mail me @ if you have any Q's

re: Race on Sunday...any tips?cyclochip
Jun 13, 2003 10:54 AM
I know the above advice is really great as far as technical tips on being prepared and not bonking / dehydrating, etc...

But coming from a more casual racer, I thought I'd throw in a tip myself.

How did the race go?arctic hawk
Jun 15, 2003 5:20 PM
How did the race go? Did your CX bike hold out well? I hope you did not need to make any repairs along the way.

Arctic Hawk
How did the race go?SJT
Jun 16, 2003 7:32 AM
The race went fine and it was a ton of fun. Both I and the bike this time were prepared to race and that made all of the difference. I haven't been training hard, but I got a lot more miles in my legs since my first race and the bike staying in tune for most of the race.

The race course was MUDDY and its clay soil up there so it's a different kind of mud than what I'm used to, much more slick. The Michelin Mud tires worked very well in those conditions when I was in the open areas (doubletrack), but in the tight and twisty single track I wound up shouldering the bike a lot because I couldn't get any traction to gain momentum. The shifting was fine for the whole race, but the mud washed out every bit of grease I put on the chain. I'm sure once I clean the bike up and clean the drivetrain that the bike will be shifting smoothly again. The rest of the course that wasn't muddy were road sections and gravel sections along the water. It was a real beautiful ride.

My body held up well and I think carbo loading from two days prior helped me keep my energy, that and filling my camelback with gatorade. I never really felt tired on the bike, only when having to run so I'll need to work on the running before cross season. When I was on the road, I just picked off the guys on mountain bikes. I would say 98% of the people were on some kind of mountain bike and maybe 1.5% on hybrids...the last .5% were on road/cross bikes. I only saw a handful myself.

Now as for finishing, my goal was to just finish and I accomplished that. I got a flat in the rear tire late in the race and made some mistakes (first flat I've ever had to fix on the trails...yes I've been very lucky so far) but now I know what not to do next time. I came in at 3 hours and 11 minutes, which beat my secret goal of coming in faster than I was happy. I made a few mistakes along the way, but now I know what not to do next time. All in all a great day. Thanks for all of your help everyone! Can't wait till cross season...
How did the race go?arctic hawk
Jun 16, 2003 9:09 AM
Hello Steve!
Way to go!!! I am happy that you have met your goal!
Thanks for the info. I have never raced (yet) & I am thinking of trying one day this year. I always keep my eye out for information, which will be of use in the future. I figure that since I have all the equipment necessary, why not try one day. But I already know I need some more training on the bike & some will power, after that, who knows!

Arctic Hawk
(my $0.02 worth)