Need some experts to help with interpreting data from Wilmington Whiteface 100k MTN bike race

I raced my first endurance mountain bike event this past Saturday, the Wilmington White 100k and would be really interested in some feedback from experienced racers on my data. Wilmington Whiteface 100 is a lot of gravel roads, a little paved road, and then some singletrack mixed in. It has numerous long sustained climbs and totals about 7600 feet of climbing. It is similar to Leadville but shorter and much lower altitude.

I’m 47, currently training at FTP of 255 but due to retest shortly and am anticipating at least some bump. I’m currently at 3.56 w/kg. I live at 900 feet elevation but I think Wilmington is only about 1100 ft, so I don’t think altitude played any role.

For my first race, everything went really smooth. No blow ups, cramps etc. Fluids and nutrition went fantastic with a mix of Skratch, Maurten, Cliff Bars and SIS gels, all practiced ahead of time. I had one mechanical issue that turned out was an overtightened rear derailleur that kept me from using my two smallest cogs on the rear cassette, so lost a little speed on some of the downhills/flats where I was spinning out, but I don’t think it impacted things that much.

I finished in 5h 27min, 141/344 Overall and 54/126 for age group, so solidly midpack. Not bad for first race…

I was 206/349 at the split and moved up to 141/344 at the finish, so had a strong second half pulling past a lot of riders. My pace was nearly identical in both halfs, 4:49 min/mile in first half and 4:50 min/mile in second half.

Other stats:

NP: 204
Avg Power: 167
IF: 0.80
TSS: 350

I tried to be as steady as possible and kept an eye on my power meter throughout most of the race. I avoided big spikes in power for the most part on the road. The only time I really ignored it was on the single tract sections where I just rode to my abilities and let things flow unless stuck behind another rider. I felt strong in the closing miles although the very last climb was a bit of a bear, but it was one of the toughest on the course. I was not spent at the end and pretty much felt fine, so I’m wondering if I should have pushed harder?

Questions:

  1. Was this good pacing or should I have pushed a little harder?
  2. Is IF of 0.8 about right for an event of this length/duration?
  3. Tactically, holding back a little at the start might have ended up separating me from some of the similar level riders. I had a bit of a hard time finding good groups to draft with on the flats, especially in the second half.
  4. I am headed to Leadville in August, so this was really a bit of test run. I know I still have a lot of work to do between now and August, but I at least feel I’m on pace for things. The Wilmington time gets me bumped up to Green Coral too.

I did ride a fairly relaxed solo road century on Monday (Memorial Day) as a final long ride before this event. This was pan flat and I had a NP of 191, average power of 180, IF of 0.75, and a time of 5 hours even. So these numbers were pretty close to Wilmington.

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Nice work on your first MTB endurance race.

There’s some good stats in the following post about translating qualifier times into LT100 times.

The multiplier for wilmington is 1.93, which puts you at about 10:30 for Leadville. Based on this finishing time, you can determine splits for Leadville based on other 10:30 finishers. That will help with pacing, in addition to your power meter - although remember to adjust for altitude when using power to pace.

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0.8 IF for 5 hours plus is perfectly respectable, but not unbeatable, I’d say. Especially if you think your FTP might have gone up in the past few weeks.

What were the stats for your two long climbs (time, ave power, NP, IF)? It’s hard to tell from just a screenshot but maybe you could have pushed a bit more on there. Extra power always has most impact uphill.

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First Big Climb:

Time: 44:15
NP 228
Avg 216
IF 0.89

Second Big Climb

Time 39:27
NP 215
Avg 205
IF 0.84

Nice race @Kuttermax! I’ve done that race 3 times, 2013-15, and you did a really nice job of keeping the pace even. My times have ranged from 5:47 to 5:12, although there have been some slight variations in the course that maybe made a 5 minute difference overall. WW100 is great prep for Leadville, but without the elevation factor as you noted.

I did 9:13 at Leadville in 2014 (with a sidewall tear that I couldn’t fix and had to stop 7 times to pump up the tire between Twin Lakes inbound and the finish) about 6 weeks after the WW100 (5:19), so my personal multiplier was 1.77 (vs. the 1.93 average multiplier mentioned by @DaveWh). Just noting that so you don’t limit yourself! Arrived 11 days before Leadville and the altitude acclimation was pretty helpful, IMHO.

As to your specific questions:

  1. If you’re asking yourself if you should (not could) have pushed harder, then the answer is “YES!”. :slightly_smiling_face:
  2. No idea, I don’t pay attention to the IF.
  3. The second half of that race it seems nearly impossible to get a good group on the flats. People are either feeling strong and moving well or they’ve blown up and have a hard time holding a wheel. That was my experience at Leadville too coming back from Twin Lakes, seemed like every group I could find was too fast or too slow.
  4. Get to Leadville earlier rather than later, if you have that luxury. You may already know how your body will react at 10,000 feet+, but it was a new experience for me.

It’s a great experience and I just might give it another shot in the next year or two. Best of luck!

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This is great. I’m no expert, but I did the Whiteface race on 6/01/19 too, and our circumstances are similar. I’m 51 and my ftp is a little lower than your 255. This was my first long mtb race, and I did it as prep for Leadville in August. I did not use a power meter. I did have a HR monitor, but I was not gauging effort from it. I wanted to see the post race info for HR.

I paced on relative effort/ feel and was shooting for a sub 5 hour time. I went out hard and made an effort to get in with groups of faster riders from the start to help with pacing. I kept my effort floored throughout the race and finished in 4:58. I only stopped at the last aid station for <20 seconds. I felt spent at the end, but not completely wrecked. In hindsight, I might have been able to save a little time on the single track sections, but not more than a few minutes overall.

I think getting in with groups toward the front of the race helped my pacing, and it pushed me to ride at my limit. If you felt ‘fine’ at the end, then you didn’t go hard enough. For a race, I’d think your IF goal should be closer to 1.0 or >, but it’s not a performance metric I use.

I thought it was a great race; weather, course, organization, setting (close to Lake Placid). I’m still getting familiar with training with power and all the associated stats. I find it interesting, but I would be hesitant to use it for pacing until I learn more about how to best leverage the data during a race. Good luck in Leadville!

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I really appreciate the comments and feedback on this thread. They are very helpful.

@Droopy Your comments are very inspiring and get me excited for Leadville. A 9:13 with a damaged tire is amazing! I will be staying out in Avon, CO for 2 weeks before the race. Although Avon isn’t as high as Leadville, it should still help a lot.

@Stroh First, congratulations on a fantastic effort at Whiteface! Sounds like you road really well. The strategy to get in with some fast groups at the start likely paid a lot of dividends, especially with your fitness being strong enough to handle it and then still finish strongly. Being my first big race, I was quite cautious at the start and lined up near the back of the field. I think the next time around I would approach this a bit differently and be more aggressive. With the Corals in Leadville I’ll likely be sticking with the riders around me for a bit. Good luck as well in Leadville! I’m sure you will do great. We should circle back to this thread after Leadville to talk about how it went.

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Be careful with that pacing strategy at Leadville, as the race is almost 2x as long. I felt completely wrecked after leadville, and my pacing strategy was more than several notches back from floored. Had I gone any harder for the first 5 hrs, I think my day would not have ended well.

An IF of 1.0 for Leadville is something I’d like to see :muscle::muscle::muscle::muscle:

Sorry, I never got back to you on this thread. Maybe you could have expended a little more on the second climb and recovered on the descent. But bear in mind that I’m a roadie, and I’m aware that descending on a MTB is more physically demanding.

(In fact, maybe a MTB expert could confirm, do you expect a lower IF in MTB races than road races because of all the extra work your upper body is doing?)

The other thing that just occurred to me is that the finish of the race seems to be mostly downhill - could that have given you a slightly misleading impression of how fresh you were finishing? You might not have felt “spent”, but if you’d had to do that climb for a 3rd time, it could have been a different story…

Leadville, awesome!!! Best of luck.

If you want any other insight or tips, let’s link up on training peaks: https://home.trainingpeaks.com/attachtocoach?sharedKey=3MYFNEDLPIURW

That offer goes to anyone reading this, just email me at heyobrendan@gmail.com if you do so I know who you are in the account.

Cheers!
Brendan

Good point DaveWH on pacing for Leadville. I’ll need to have a more conservative pacing strategy for 100+ mile race. Thanks!

Last summer was quite wet where I live and I started incorporating a lot of 70 - 80 mile road rides in on the weekends. These are pan flat rides and very steady efforts. I’ve been working on doing this again this year and did a number of them so far, including the 104 mile on I mentioned above that had an IF of 0.75 and was not an all out effort but more of a steady tempo ride. Along with the structure from the TR workouts, I have found these long rides made a big difference for me. I looked back at the IF on the rides and they typically fall between 0.7 and 0.8.

I also like to ride a local XC mountain bike loop - Mohican (they had the Mohican 100 there last weeked). It is about 24.5 miles with 3000 feet of climbing over the loop. Lots of short hard efforts with a few sustained climbs. It’s much more punchy compared to what Leadville will be and what 99% of Whiteface was. The last time I road it it took roughly 2hours 40 min and my IF was 0.91. I felt pretty spent after that, but did go out and ride another section of the trail for a little more volume. Even though the efforts are different than Leadville, I believe I likely still get some benefits from these rides as I work on bike handling (its pretty rocky and rooty in parts), VO2 max efforts and some anaerobic work as well.

This week is a recovery week and I will start Century Mid-Volume next week. During the week I will stick with prescribed TR workouts. On weekends it will be a mix of TR workouts, long 80 - 120 mile road rides, and some XC single tract - likely all based on weather. I will do the Leadville training camp at the end of June (ride the entire course over two day), and then race Leadville in August (heading there two weeks early).

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the long rides are irreplaceable; good on you for working them in and getting them done; sounds like you enjoyed them as well.

great IF for that duration, much harder to hold for 6 hours though, when comparing to your other ride, so don’t let the difference worry you. you prob could hit 0.85 for the last ride we were discussing based on this.

I don’t really train by heart rate, but I did hit my 2019 20, 60, and 90 min HR peaks on that ride according to Trainingpeaks. I would defnitely not been able to hold that pace for too much longer.

Great thread going here. I too raced this past June. Actually sent a question about how I raced into TR and they covered it on the podcast. I didn’t follow a TR plan this year but have learned so much from these guys that I just bought a trainer and am mapping out my training year.

It’s a way off, but I am trying to figure out which specialty program might work best. XC Marathon? Climbing Road Race? Grand Fondo/Gravel? The description of XCM mentions 3 hour events - seems a little too short. What have you all gone with?

I use XCM Specialty for MTB ultras (100 miles) that take 9+ hours. Also currently using it for an event expected to take 12-14 hours. Don’t focus on the duration, but rather the demands of the event. If the event is more of a gravel race on MTB (Leadville) consider CRR. If it’s mostly punchy singletrack then XCM is better suited.

So one thing to consider is whether Wilmington Whiteface is going to be your “A” Race next year and therefore set up your training specifically for this. Last year it was a “B” Race for me, so I didn’t do anything specific for it other than taper a little in the week leading up. I was in Sustained Power Build part of my plan at the time.

Wilmington Whiteface is really many paved and gravel roads with a little bit of single track mixed in. It is quite a bit less technical than even Leadville as it lacks the rough rocky descents that Leadville has. The only challenging single track is the portion right at the very end on the ski hill, but it’s short and can easily be pushed through. Therefore I really think that sustained aerobic power is key.

Your choice of specialty plan might also be influenced by what kind of outdoor riding you compliment it with. Do you get out and do rolling single tract with short punchy climbs or are you doing more long, sustained efforts outside? For me personally I get a lot of long steady road work in outdoors as well as some longer mountain bike rides that have short punchy climbs. What I don’t get are the hard 8 - 10 min VO2 max intervals, so hitting these on the trainer is really important.

I see Century plan being a very good fit for Wilmington, provided you can get some outdoor mountain bike riding in. The long sustained efforts really emulate the course. However some of the other specialty plans you mention would still likely work well depending on what you compliment them with.

Thanks for the responses. Realize I may have hijacked the original intent of the thread.

Looking more in depth at the programs, I see your point @MI-XC. Thanks for the insight. @Kuttermax, I think this would be an A race for me. Pretty early in the season and I had a blast last year. I haven’t been able to find the Century Plan but think the CRR might be the way to go.

I followed the XC Marathon mid-volume 2 years ago and then the Century Plan mid-volume this year. I took 16 mins off of my time (went 4:35) and felt the century plan better prepared me for the race. I plan on racing Wilmington Whiteface next year and will most likely use the century plan again after doing sweet spot base and some traditional base this winter.

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