Tuesday, May 29, 2007

165-mile Maiden Voyage???

Yep the title is right...I shamelessly thrashed ("gently broke-in") a new, just-out-of-the-box mountain bike on it's first ride over 165-miles of bone-jarring trails in a single 24-hr event. My actual intent was to ride it more like 300-miles during that event but my hydration/nutrition plan failed me (again) and eventually made me stop due to physiolgical race stoppers (i.e. bonk, puking, and dehydration).

The bike was a new Trek Fuel EX-9 (now it's a used bike) with 5-inches of butt cushioning suspension front and back purchased from the ultimate local bike shop, B & L Bicycles. Believe me, my butt was appreciative of the cushy suspension during this "test" ride. I changed a few things on the bike right out of the box including setting up the Bontrager wheels and tires tubeless (super easy with a floor pump - impressive), changing out the Avid Juicy-7 disc brakes for my much preferred Magura Marta disc brakes, swapping out the Bontrager saddle for my supreme butt-saving Koobi AU-Enduro saddle, and installing Ergon's ultra comfy grips.

But it's not a 29er!!! Yes, I know this is a 26-inch and not a 29-inch (29er) wheeled bike. Let me say that I have been very apprehensive about buying a 26-inch wheeled bike after riding 29ers for the last 4-years, but after this maiden ride on the Fuel EX-9 I have found nearly complete satisfaction. The ride is smooth and everything I wanted in a full-suspension bike - quick, nimble, squishy/plush, pedals efficiently, no frame flex, and it eats up the bumps. I did notice some disadvantages in sand and rolling over "some" rocky sections compared to 29ers - both of which I had to learn to compensate for (a minor detail overall - much less so than I thought it would be). I also noticed some advantage over my 29ers (gasp!!! Say it isn't so!!!) - most noteable was momentum up hills. My 29ers seem to go from having momentum to grunt mode (no smooth transition in between), whereas the Fuel EX-9 would smoothly transition from high momentum to easier pedaling options - never directly to the ultra grunt mode I find with the 29ers.

I took the bike to Spokane for the 24-Hrs Round the Clock race thinking I would use it for my back-up bike and ended up using it as my primary ride because it was so smooth on the butt and pedaled well over the bumpy yuk. I was on par for a 18-20 laps around the 15-mile course but on lap-8 (120-miles into the event) I was experiencing effects of dehydration, nausea, and I finally puked. So I sat out for a while and rehydrated. After a few hours I started feeling much better so I jumped on the bike with renewed energy and blew through another few laps before it happened again (puke), but this time I could not keep down fluids or foods and eventually was zapped of energy completely...at this point I decided to save my body for another day.

Someday I will figure out a race nutrition/hydration plan that actually works in both training and races. The same thing happened last year at the same race. So far my plans work well in all of my extreme training and in short races. The only exception I have found is that during long high intensity rides on super hot days I tend to be unable to hydrate enough no matter what. This year and last I trained with and used Hammer Nutrition products (which are designed for this kind of endurance event), but I am nearly convinced that they are partially the problem. I am debating several issues right now including 1) Hammer products (used as recommended) are not allowing me to hydrate properly and may even be contributing to dehydration by pulling body fluids into my intestinal tract - maybe I need to use less??, 2) I am not getting enough sodium with the Hammer products even though I am taking their recommended usage (low body sodium will contribute to all my problems), 3) Maybe I need to prehydrate more - hard to believe since I was peeing frequently and clear just before the race, and 4) I need to find a way to take in (absorb) more fluid faster...according to all the research out there I was drinking the maximal amount my body should be able to take in per hour, yet I was thirsty feeling (a very bad sign) within 4-hours. I never felt I really caught up on the hydration. If I ever get this figured out I will be competitive in these events.

1 comment:

monk3y mike wellborn said...

Bummer about the puking Eric. Heard the weather was much nicer this year over in Spokane. I stayed close to home and conserved $$ and fuel. I did end up getting really trashed Saturday night and went for a 50k at midnight...

Good on ya for going out and doing it up. I still think the secret to nutrition is eat a variety of whatever the hell you want, and listen to your body - not the "pros"!