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Tell me your preparation for a 80-100km road race

MapaputsiMapaputsi Posts: 104
edited May 2018 in Amateur race
I’m planning to enter a couple of road races this spring/early summer of between 80 and 100km in distance.

Up to this point my racing experience has been 10-25 mile time trials (on my road bike, local club TTs) and about 10 or so circuit races of 40-60 minutes in duration. Managed to place top 10 in about half of the circuit races so I’ve been bumped up to 3rd Cat now.

I’ve been working hard on the turbo over the winter doing 1, 1.5 and 2 hour sessions using Trainerroad, but I assume that 80-100km is going to be closer to 2.5 hours. With other commitments I haven’t been able to get out for longer 3-4+ hour rides like I did last summer.

I’m a bit concerned that I won’t have the endurance to keep the pace over this distance. (The first race I plan to enter is later April)

I am interested to hear any tips for preparation for a road race of this length based on my current state, and in particular what sort of nutrition you take on board before and during the race.


  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    My season starts in March. I'm doing 3 Sufferfest sessions, two tough and one as an hour recovery ride. I then do one 40 mile solo ride, again this is more just enjoying being outside and riding. Lastly I do a club ride on a Sunday, anywhere between 60 and 80 miles. This is probably on an rpe scale an 8 out of ten as it can get a bit quick on the way back. I also use this as my endurance training day so spend as much time on the front as I can.

    Just before the road race season starts I'll do a couple of Crits, just to get back into the mentality and feel of racing.

    I tailor my Sufferfest sessions to work on my weaknesses, recovery after accelerations. Some of the guys will be coming off a winter series so they will already have speed in their legs. If you've got enough base training over the years you shouldn't find the endurance aspect the sapping element. It may be the repeated accelerations then sustained pace for 5 or more minutes that is difficult. First race of the season I won't get too disappointed about getting spat out of the back. Nutrition and drinks depends on the weather. Winter and cold weather just the one bidon and one gel mid race if needed. Prior to race I'll have a caffeine gel and a home made flapjack washed down with a bit of lucozade. Breakfast will be strong coffee and porridge.

    The week before I start racing I'll ease of with my training. No club rides, one solo easy ride, two Sufferfest sessions. No idea if my approach is correct, just what I do.
  • jrichjrich Posts: 278
    If you're 3rd cat and you're doing 25 mile TTs then I dont think you'll have any problem keeping with the bunch, there's usually quite a large spread of fitness levels in a 3/4 road race and the pace of the main bunch will not be that harsh. Whether or not you have the fitness to contest the finish or to go in a break will be another matter. The main thing is to conserve energy by riding as efficiently as possible and that comes down to positioning within the bunch and following the right wheels. Hopefully you have a good idea of who are the strongest guys in the race and it would be wise to keep tabs on them. Seeing as it's the start of the season the racing will be very lively so you will need to make sure you are not getting too caught up in the excitement and wasting too much energy; but you also need to be in a position that allows you to react if the bunch is going to split, particularly in the final hour of the race - by that stage the cream will be well on its way to the top so you need to be right behind it. Positioning on hills will be most important because the bunch will really string out as the 4th cats struggle to keep pace with the strongest riders. You do not want to be stuck behind them! If you're going to get dropped then it's going to be on the hills so rather than training Z2 with 4 hour rides, I would be training Z5 to make sure that I'm not getting dropped on the hills.

    I usually take a bottle of energy drink (along with a bottle of plain water) and a banana for emergencies. But everyones different, better to have too much than too little, you will know what you need to take in once you have done a few races.
  • ShutupJensShutupJens Posts: 1,373
    It's difficult to know what you need to do until you've done them, such is the beauty of bike racing! Try to get out for a bit longer perhaps in the build up (<1month) to the start of the season, with 2 hour turbo sessions in the bank though you should be alright endurance wise, whether your legs stand up to the nature of the course is a different matter.

    If these are your first road races though I'd say go and enjoy them, watch out for who does well and how they ride if you can but focus on spending as little time with your nose in the wind as possible, it can be so easy to get excited and burn your matches before the top riders decide to make their moves. Good luck!
  • Thanks for the replies guys, puts me more at ease. My first race is 8th April - I'll report back!
  • FWIW, I'd do some good recon or Strava snooping of the races in that length you plan to do. How often did the break work or fail, where did it go, what was the finish like?

    Activity search is down, but you can still easily find the races by the segment times on the course. They'll be fastest and same dates on the race days.

    I also use Google street view of the course. Good to know if that sharp corner is flat or off-camber. Also good for finding landmarks for knowing when you may want to attack on a hill finish.

    My race is 03 March. I'll let everyone know how it goes, lol. See if all this effort was worth piss in the pot.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Hi burn the sheep,
    Uk races tend to be laps of a fairly big circuit, my first race of the season is 3 laps of a 23 mile undulating road loop. The weather here is more likely to dictate the shape of the race. Early season races tend to be wet and often windy, pretty rare for any early breakaways to hold. Riding 30 miles in a small group with 15 to 20 mph winds will be hard, maybe last 40 or 45 minutes people will start to get organised and strong breaks happen, a lot of the time it’s the strong guys trying to snap the elastic over a prolonged effort, accelerations out of corners with sustained pace, sustaining pace up hills and then pushing on with no recovery.
    My advice early on in a season is to stay in the pack, if riding as a privateer I’d just let the teams work. They may try and thin the pack out, but just surf wheels. If there are any organised tactics it’ll be a good lesson.
    You do need to get out though, just get used to fast cornering and then working on keeping the wheel or bridging gaps after accelerations. Work hard to keep wheels, keep your nose out of the wind, you may find after 20 miles that you find it too easy, but hold back that natural instinct to attack or lead the bunch.
    Sounds negative, but it’s a long season. But this is why I do a couple of non series races to see how my race fitness is.

    I like the comment regarding having fun.....will have to try that, normally my eyes are bleeding and lungs bursting too much to have fun!

    3 weeks to season opener.......still a kg or two to lose!
  • JTUKJTUK Posts: 67
    I did a 75km race recently, it goes by quite quickly, but I would say you have to mix a bit of endurance with short track racing. I started the year just doing chaingang, an hour high intensity, then 1.5 when the weather got better but my first 100km ride was harder than I thought it would be as my body was not used to a longer effort. I think you need a few 3-4 hour rides in the legs to start feeling comfortable.
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