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Need a training program for Furnace Creek 508. HELP(5 posts)

Need a training program for Furnace Creek 508. HELPmdooley0
Dec 2, 2002 7:01 PM
I can ride a century in 4.5 hrs that includes a short break, but riding 500 miles seems impossible. I plan to start now and get in better shape for ultra cycling. I need your advice. Thanks Mark
learn lots, ride lotsDougSloan
Dec 5, 2002 8:14 AM
First, read everything, and I mean everything, at these two websites:

(Here's my story: )

Second, join the UMCA and get the newsletters.

Third, start working on a plan, both training and logistics. Training is half the battle, the other is lining up crew and crew vehicles and all the crap you have to take.

You'll need to be good at several things to complete the race: 1) sitting on a bike for almost 2 days straight; 2) eating on a bike for almost 2 days straight; 3) getting used to riding at a controlled, but fast as you can, speed for that long. #1 is important -- if you can't stay on the bike, it will take you much longer; you get nowhere off the bike. #2 is absolutely vital -- I bonked bad around 410 miles, to the point of almost blacking out; up until that point, I was going fairly fast; I lost about 2 hours from bonking; lesson, start right now testing food to eat on the bike, like Sustained Energy and Hammergel, and use it every ride, especially long ones -- find out what works for you #3 is the least important, strangely; most people who attempt this can do fast double centuries; that is a given; it's the food, water, salt, and comfort that makes or breaks you.

I probably did 20-25 doubles, solo and organized, getting ready; I did some really hard ones, like Terrible Two in northern California, which is somewhat similar. The 508 has around 35,000 feet of climbing; the TT has around 16,000; so, the 508 has more than twice the climbing and 2 1/2 times the distance. Lesson, do lots of doubles, including doubles with lots of hills (mountains, if you can). Do lots and lots of hills. I figure I spent over half my time climbing -- that's 18-20 hours of climbing!

Do some road racing in the spring and summer to build speed, strength, and aerobic capacity. It will toughen you up, too. Don't worry about placing -- you are using them for training. YOu won't be that fast doing double centuries all the time.

I don't know what else to tell you at this point. Again, read everything, and I really do mean everything, including the riders' stories of their races, at the UMCA and 508 websites. Information is very helpful. Then, check back here with questions.

Thanks for the info.mdooley0
Dec 5, 2002 1:41 PM
Hello Doug, I've read your story, sent my membership to UMCA and the 508 website is in my favorite list. I'm with you so on with the training.....many thanks
something elseDougSloan
Dec 6, 2002 7:03 AM
You may want to find a coach. Get someone who has done the 508 and maybe RAAM, too. Before you do, though, communicate thorough with the person who may be your coach, and make sure you share a training philosophy, or at least know what you are getting into. I hired one for a while, but was very dissappointed, as he had me doing no intensity whatsoever over the winter, and my condition deteriorated horribly. While that philosophy may be perfectly legitimate, particularly when the 508 is not until October, I did not care for it, as I also enjoy road racing and riding with road racers throughout the year. I also enjoy doing fast doubles in the spring, and I hit spring unable to climb worth a crap. So, figure out what you want out of the coach before you engage one.

I'd be happy to help you more with training, but I'm not sure I'm all that qualified, other than to tell you what has and has not worked for me, what I've read, and what I've observed others doing. I'm not sure that would work for you. Generally, though, I can tell that you need a good combination of endurance (of course), toughness, strength and climbing ability, and ability to burn fat and process food as you ride. Experience counts for a lot, too. The best way to learn what works and what doesn't is to do a lot of long, hard, rides, like competitive doubles. When you do hilly (like Terrible Two or Central Coast) doubles, figure out how far back you are from the "winners." Then, multiply that time difference by 2 1/2; that should reflect your potential for the 508, if you don't stop too much; the winners of the 508 lately finish around 31-32 hours. This formula worked out almost exactly for me.

Oh, and get used to riding without drafting and with minimal stopping. There is no drafting in the 508, and you never stop unless you absolutely have to, and then briefly as possible.

There is a forum just for ultra riding. You'll benefit much more is you post there, rather than just here. Here's the link: Ask about coaches there.

I signed up, Thanks (nm)mdooley0
Dec 9, 2002 12:45 PM