As the race is not too far away, it is tough to offer training advice and expect it to make a major impact for your 2018 race. However, it may be beneficial to implement some of these tips in your last few training weeks. A major theme that was echoed by all three 100 MTB finishers was the emphasis on consistency in training. Both Kimo Seymour and Michael Melley, placed a major emphasis on the need to climb in training. “Climb, climb, and climb so more”, says Seymour when asked about his top training tips. Bryan Derstine also highlighted climbing, but placed more of a focus on getting your body use to riding for 8+ hours. “You can do all the climbing you want, but if your body cannot last 8-9 hours in the saddle, then race day will be tough,” says Derstine. So, although the massive elevation gain is a daunting task, make sure you place an emphasis on training rides that mimic an 8+ hour race. Another major factor of the Trail 100 MTB is the elevation. Michael Melley emphasized the importance of training at altitude to prep your body for race day. Melley recalled thinking he was in good shape going into the race, but the elevation quickly made him realize how big of a factor it was in performance.
For long races such as the 100, nutrition is a CRUCIAL part of your success. Fueling for an 8+ hour day can be tricky, which is why all three preached the importance of practicing your nutrition throughout training. Kimo Seymour said “train your system to be able to handle food on your long training rides.” Seymour stated he is quite particular when it came to his nutrition and referred to himself as a “calorie counter.” Knowing how many calories your body can handle per hour is an experiment in its own, which is why training is the perfect time to test what works for you.
Another important nutrition tip that Bryan Derstine mentioned, was the importance of training with whole foods. A majority of the fuel at aid stations consists of fruit, sandwiches, chips, and cookies. Although there will be energy gels and chews at aid stations, Derstine said it is great to know that your body can handle the food at aid-stations on race day.
Race Day + Course Guidance
As you line up on August 11th, make sure your equipment is in top form. Bryan Derstine experienced two flats in each of his two appearances. The first year he raced, he failed to realize he had a faulty spare tube, which gave him a second flat no more than 10 miles after his first. Derstine said the race requires the utmost respect, and the proper equipment is a major part of this. However over the course of this race, expect flats and mechanicals to happen. Just about everyone has to deal with some mechanical issue, so make sure you have experience dealing with potential issues.
Having a tested race day strategy is particular to each rider, but there are certain tips and factors that are beneficial to consider. As mentioned prior, Kimo Seymour made it clear that having a tested nutrition strategy on race day is necessary for a successful day. Know what is available to you at our aid stations and plan accordingly. One of Seymour’s biggest emphasis about race day was the importance of the start of the race. “You can make or break your day in the first 30 miles,” stated Seymour. He recommends erring on the side of caution and riding at a conversational pace to get into a rhythm. In terms of course strategy, Seymour said that getting into a pack between Powerline and Twin Lakes, and Columbine to Twin Lakes is a great way to save energy and gain time back. Riders in a pack save 30% less energy as compared to riding solo, so it is highly beneficial to find packs on the flat sections.
A major player in the 100 are the two historic climbs: the Powerline and Columbine climb. These climbs can play a major factor in your race and if unprepared, can really hurt your chance at your best race. According to Michael Melley, he felt that the Powerline Climb was not as tough as expected, but the Columbine Climb certainly lived up to its name. Despite Melley’s claim, both climbs require big efforts and Bryan Derstine recommends utilizing the aid stations approaching these climbs. The Columbine Climb represents the peak altitude of the race, so getting the necessary fuel and equipment for the long, potentially cold assent can make for a much smoother climb.