Going with the premise that any training stimulus done 10 days or less before an event really won't help, I headed out to Lake Ahquabi to do a endurance simulation yesterday to take advantage of the high heat and humidity. That put my final endurance test (I've been doing about one endurance ride per week to build up for it) around 11 days before the actual race. One Lake Ahquabi lap for the race course is about 7.5 miles, so I headed out in the morning and got underway at 9:40 a.m. while things were still moist from the evening fog and dew.
I had mixed a 4 hour bottle of Perpetuem in one Camelbak bottle and had a cooler in the car of 5 fresh water bottles, one bottle of pickle juice, 3 GU's and some maple walnut snack bites to see if and what I needed for nutrition.
I used lap one as a warm-up, but was up to an easier endurance race pace by the end of it. I stopped after every lap for a fresh water bottle and made sure every 15-20 minutes I was sipping on the Perpetuem bottle to stay nurished. Laps 2, 3 and 4 I put the gas on and saw just how far I could push myself pace wise to keep momentum going and hammer the climbs (within reason). Some of that was very close to XC race pace. I have memories of cramping pretty hard at mile 26 back in 2005 on my first attempt at the Dakota Five-0 when I went out way too hard from the get go. I had the flu at the time with a fever and cough which contributed to the cramping. I didn't really have a solid nutrition plan back then for the race. This year, I do and I wanted to try it out yesterday.
I shot a GU after laps 2 and lap 4. Lap 5 had me starting to fatigue with some twinges right above the knee cap which usually leads to cramping later on, but I pushed it hard and matched my time of previous laps. I hit the pickle juice after lap 5. Lap 6 was simply to "hit the distance" and see what my body did in the condition it was in. I ran out of Perpetuem, so utilized some of the maple walnut bites (ate 3) and a bottle of Heed and a bottle of water and a GU for the final lap. I throttled down on the climbs and took advantage of the granny 23T ring to simply turn the cranks over and make the climbs.
I was spent at the end of lap 6, but rolled in the 6 laps with an average time of 53 minutes per lap which - if it transfers at altitude and the Black Hills, should get me sub 6 hours depending on weather, traffic and how my body responds to the effort. Sub 6 hours is my goal since last time with the flu and severe cramping I rolled in at 6:44 which included tearing a tire and the repair time, hanging out at some of the aid stations for a relaxing rejuvination and riding the 2nd half of the race more as a ride rather than a race due to my cramped legs. I think with good nutrition and proper pacing this year, I should be able to hit the sub 6 hour target without any problems.
Nutrition felt fine for the endurance test of 45 miles off road, the bike felt fine, the stomach was fine and I had no trouble sleeping and recovering from the effort. I did take today off the bike outside of the dog walks, but I will do a recovery/easy effort on Friday afternoon to see how I feel.
I have an XC race at Sugar Bottom on Sunday, so I am hoping to bounce back from Wednesday's endurance test for the quicker XC effort needed on Sunday. I'm also mired in day long workshops and faculty meetings most of this week, so time is limited.