100km mtb race strategy- The Convict 100

I did the Convict 100 for the first time last year and finished, which was my goal. This year I want to set a time goal and execute a good race. I’d love some input if you’ve raced similar events. Here’s the course map and profile if you feel so inclined 100KM | Convict 100.

  1. How and when do I set my time goal. Now, while I’m in base phase (and then train toward that) or closer to the event when I have some data. I expect I’ll be fitter (first season on TR), I’ll have a far better bike and hopefully some better strategy.
    2.The course has some long road sections. but being mass start and mixed cat you never know who you’re behind. Often last year I found others painfully slow to draft, so ended up out on my own. How to know when to draft and when to solo in these sections?
  2. There’s 3 food stations. based on my training I could stop at them all and carry very little, or I could only stop at the middle one, but carry about 1.5L extra. My stops took about 2-5 minutes last year. How do you know the best plan here.
  3. what data do you watch for such a race (or do you just go RPE exclusively)


Don’t know what went wrong with the numbers? can’t seem to fix it.

It’s a fun race.
How long did it take you last time?

That seems a bit long. Are they crowded? If you carry your fuel and stop just for water would that help?
There is great info here:

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yep, it’s because they’re crowded. I wasn’t hanging around and I can’t see them being much shorter. I use SIS BETA and a soft flask with my days worth of GU. I know, if I want to, I can get to the 2nd feed station with 800ml of that mix. I carry the powder, so then all I need is water to mix…I think your comment answers it. The stops are too long and I should just do the one in the middle: carry a bit more

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I have done this race several times.

Some tips for speed:

  • Carry all your food, only stop to fill bottles (probably only once). Side benefit - you can train with your race food. And two bottles are probably to faster to fill than a camelbak.
  • Avoid being on your own on the road sections. Know when they are coming up - sometimes it’s worth pushing harder ahead of the road section to make sure you get in a decent group. And often you will be faster in a “slow” group than on your own.
  • Go with relatively fast & light setup including fast tyres - it’s a fairly non-technical course except for a few chunky sandstone sections

Great fun! 6hr 4mins, on a 160mm enduro rig. This year I’ll be on a xc race machine

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Based on that, getting under 5 hours might be a good target this year especially if you are training more for it.

Thanks Guy. Your first point confirmed my gut feeling about one stop. And yeah, I train my nutrition and very comfortable with what I can and need to do to keep a good 80g carbs per hour. Your 2nd point is appreciated. And tyres: I was happy with IKON’s last year. What do you use?

That’s what I was hoping for :slight_smile: but wasn’t sure if a full hour faster was too much

Ikons would be fine, I probably used them the last time I did it.


I’m a little jealous. The Convict is a great day on the bike. Since moving to QLD it’s a bit too far to drive for one day like I could from Sydney.
Port 2 Port is 4 days of fun which makes the drive worth it. Mrs Rosscopeco says “Pick one”.

If you did it in 6hrs the first time you should be able to knock a good 30 minutes off. It’s the traffic that’ll slow you down at the end of the day.
The last time I did the Convict I started a fair way back and ended up having to get off and walk sections due to the traffic. If you can manage to get a clear run on sections like the sandstone steps without walking you’ll make up good time.
Don’t be shy about asking slower riders to let you pass. Most riders are happy to let you go if you’re polite and it’s not gridlocked ahead.

+1 for 1 water stop in the middle. I use a vest with water and a bottle with concentrated carb mix. One stop over 5-6 hours is enough for me using that setup. YMMV.
Practice whatever you intend to do before hand and you’ll fly through the feed stations on race day.

Ikon rear, Ardent race front for me last time. No problems with the sandstone. Although, I did run my 34mm 120 travel fork last time. The chunky bits of sandstone make the Fox 32mm 100mm flex like crazy.

haha, I’d love to do the port to port too…but the stage races are not practical for my family either! Still, the Jetblack 24hr race is also fun at the end of the year, planning to do that in a team of 2 this year :slight_smile:

Last year was a different course due to recent floods which meant 2 things: 1. it became 103 kms! 2. the shorter distance riders overlapped with us for the 2nd half. I’m encouraged with the new layout, that the shorter distance groups won’t interfere because you’re right, getting behind them on the ridge was like doing recovery/max effort intervals; not fun.

I’m looking at a Norco revolver fs 120 today, which is basically made for MTB marathon specifically. thanks for the tip on Ardent race…I’ll look into that a little deeper

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Nice looking bike.

The blue looks good as well.

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I’ve done this race many times… +1 for the Ikon rear, Ardent race front combo. I also agree the feed stops are best to be used just for water. Or at least plan for that, if there’s no crowds when you get there you can always grab a handful of stuff to top you up as you roll through.

Now that you’ve already completed the event once and know the course/terrain, I reckon you’ll be quicker based on that alone. Good luck!

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I did the first Convict 100 years ago! Hoping to go back again this year. I’m not much help with strategy etc. though, sorry.

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good luck! hopefully you gained some mutual benefit from this thread :slight_smile:

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