Finishing a 100 mile mountain bike race is a keystone challenge for many mountain bikers. These super cool events are becoming increasingly common.
Turning up on the start line peaked and fit is only half the game at endurance mountain bike races. Executing an accurate race on the day is required to turn your speed and strength into results.
All the training in the world isn't going to get you to the finish line without accurate execution of many race details. The key to success in your first off-road century is to start with a plan. Going into the race with no plan is relying on luck and the strength of your mojo.
The following is a race plan for an athlete with a goal to finish their first mountain bike 100 miler. A race plan for an athlete aiming for a podium spot or personal record performance will have a vastly different look.
First off, take care of the simple common sense details such as the start time and location. Look up the weather. Consider you may be out on the trail for more than 12 hours at a variety of elevations. Know what conditions to anticipate and clothing to carry. Check sunrise and sunset times to see if you will need lights. The more challenging 100 milers may start and finish in the dark for some racers. Being left out on the trail after dark with no lights is a preventable preparation mistake.
Learn as much as you can about the course from race staff and past racers. Race websites, mountain bike blogs and forums can be good information sources. Pre-riding sections of the course over a weekend trip is especially beneficial to assist with tire selection and bike choice. I recommend leaving the single-speed at home for your first ever 100 miler and choosing a full suspension cross country setup.