3 Day MTB Stage Race

Hi there

I’ve started using TrainerRoad in mid July and I’m loving it. I have never done any structured training and am amazed at the outcone.

My plan is to do a 3 Day MTB Stage race (82km, 96km & 86km) in May 2019. I did it this year not knowing what to expect and would love to go back much better prepared.

I started and finished SSB Mid Volume 1 and had to take a break two weeks into SSB Mid Volune 2 due to a few hiccups.

I’ve been in two minds about doing SSB again, then thought that Traditional Base might be a good option to build up endurance. The plan is to then do a Short Power Build followed by a Cross Country Marathon as speciality.

Any suggestions and/or advise in the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

My first step would be to work backwards from the week prior the 3-day stage race (ie the plan ends the weekend prior) so that I could program in an easy midweek ride three days before (like Petite) to make sure I had well rested legs going into the three days of what will be pretty taxing effort. If you use Strava and the fitness and freshness tool, then you want that Form number in the positives, and the higher the better

I would do XCM low volume and substitute out the weekend ride with two outdoor MTB rides so the body got used to doing consecutive days efforts, ramping up the distances so that at three weekends out I was riding say 70km on each of the Saturday and Sunday knowing that the body / mind will sort out the other 20km of distance on race day! I would want to be at least three weeks out for my longest training ride so that the body had time to recover - I find it takes me about 10-12 days to recover from big MTB ride weekends before the body is really firing on all cylinders; you’ll know your own body of course, and may need less time :slight_smile:

One reason for the low volume is that your will want to be fresh come that three-days, and I think you’ll find longer and longer outdoor MTB rides are going to be more fatiguing than you may estimate. Also with the low program, at least you can add a workout on the Wednesday (between the Tues/Thurs planned workouts) if you really felt up to it. Mentally that is a better feeling than not finishing a workout because of cumulative fatigue and not enough rest.

I would also recommend the General Power Build rather than Short Power - Short Power would be OK leading into a season of XCO, but I think for a stage race, you’ll want to be a little more rounded rather than just having short burst “jumping” power.

Then tag ahead of that your preferred base plan.

Certainly throughout I would be getting as much outside offroad MTB as possible to build technique, ankle strength (for those standing, technical downs etc), and upper body strength. If you aren’t already doing some form of upper body work, investigate that. As Geoff Kabush recently said in a TR podcast, “every mountainbiker should be able to do 50 push ups”.

Look for some marathon B-races you can do as well to get your fueling strategy correct, and what fuel your body can handle / likes. Science in Sport products account for maybe 80% of my fueling with High-5 and PowerBar products the rest, aside from real food that is!

What is the race that you are doing?

Thanks handynzl!

Planning on doing the Sani2C Adventure in South Africa.

I have scheduled a 12 day break before the race exactly for that reason. On top of that, we would also need to travel to SA, with a 6 hour time difference to work through.

For the General Power Build would you choose low volume to add in outside MTB rides extra during each week?

Up until now I have not ridden on trails much and realize that that is something I need to address. Although the race is not that technical, one can really conserve a lot of energy and make up a lot of time if ones technical skills are strong.

To get back to the Base option, SSB/Traditional? I really got a lot out of SSB, just want to make sure that the base built is big enough wrt endurance should I go for the SSB?

Thanks for the suggestions on nutrition, this is something that I would have to figure out going forward. It’s the one thing that I have never really put much thought into.

Thanks again!

Make sure that 12 days isn’t completely devoid of activity, otherwise you will see a small performance loss. The days T-minus-12 to T-minus-6 days should still have some decent workouts, just shorter in duration and a little less in intensity, i.e. pick something for every other day (if you’re doing that sort of pattern) and ride it at 85-90% (you can adjust on the screen while riding). T-minus-5 to T-minus-1 days is where you want to ideally get that rest, which is where I would schedule in the easy 1 to 1.5hr session three days out just to spin up the legs.

I would certainly choose the low volume General Power - do the week rides on the trainer (Tues / Thurs) and then you do your MTB outdoor rides on the weekend. Maybe earlier on when you are not doing large distances on the MTB (you’ll need to be able to handle 50-60km for a ride, so around 4hrs of ride time, eventually), you can always fill the Wednesday with a 45min session on TR or a nice easy recovery ride around the block.

Traditional build is exactly that - ride a lot…and ride reasonable easy. It’s the old-school way of the roadie. The SSB is better in terms of it being a time-crunched-cyclist program. You’ll get your results faster with SSB, purely because there is less time involved and it is more targeted. There is nothing stopping you from adding an extra week of the SSB plan using the calendar feature - just repeat one of the third or second to last week of the SSB plan or something like that. What ever tickles your fancy.

But always listen to your body. If you are struggling to finish sessions, say like three or four in a row, then that is a good sign that you are too fatigued. Just rest up a bit, cut the riding back, and maybe only do one ride for one week, then come back fresh and re-motivated.

Nutrition is key on the longer rides. The best habit I can suggest is getting used to eating something every half hour - I find aiming for every 20-mins difficult when it comes to mountainbiking as you don’t really get the breaks to fosick around in your back pockets or shuttle pack coughfanny packcough. But do get into the habit. I tend to alternate gel then bar then gel then bar etc. SIS does the perfect size bar at 40gm - takes two bites and you’re good to go. I also use their caffeine shots (little bottles) at the 3hr mark on 4-ish hour rides. Just gives a little lift for the last half hour or so of riding. Banana’s are great too! Just tape one to your frame, and chow down at any time that is appropriate.

For real food you’ll want some good carb intake, eg from vegetables. Swear off the white bread (full of sugar and other crap). If you want some good eating ideas, check out diabetic magazines for recipes. Diabetic recipes will have good carbs in them. Otherwise, troll through the Ask A Cycling Coach Podcasts, especially the ones around Nate doing Leadville 100. Some good discussions on prep, carbs, etc.