6 hour XC relay race- strategy

Coming up in a couple of weeks time I have a 6 hour XC relay race, we are doing it in a team of 2 (both TR users! :slight_smile: ). The course is 1.6 miles long, relatively flat, mostly tight singletrack through the woods with 2 sections of uphill fire trail which turn in to sprints for position before you dive back in to the woods. A lap is about 12 minutes give or take.

We are wondering about strategy- long or short stints? 2 laps each would mean no need to carry liquid or food on the bike but give shorter recoveries. Set up a base camp with a cooler full or snacks and drinks. Longer stints would give longer recoveries but possibly reduce the pace overall and we would need to carry hydration with us?

Any thoughts most appreciated!

I don’t have any experience with this situation, but it seems to be an interesting optimization problem )) What is your power duration curve? Can you effectively do 7x20min threshold intervals? Or would you explode and be better off doing 3x50min sweet spot reliably instead? In which case, you would probably need to continue spinning on rollers to keep warm.

This is an interesting format that allows for plenty of options. I’d play into each other’s strengths on the bike. Are you guys short power or steady state athletes? Plan your strategy to your power profile. Whatever you choose don’t be committed to it. You may find at hour 3 or 4 that the initial strategy no longer works and you may need more or less rest.

I would do 3 or 4 laps each flat out which will allow plenty of time to recover before the next set.

Well after considering pacing options and agreeing that 3 lap stints would work well, it’s all moot as my team mate has pulled out due to travel commitments.

My wife has been amazing and bought me a surprize gift of new pair of bibs and a jersey especially for the race, so I’m doing it solo instead :astonished: didn’t want the training to go to waste!


Nice! Now you can dial back the intensity strategy and enjoy a nice endurance/tempo race with all that new fitness you have.

Yes it certainly changes things a bit!

The new challenge will be working out a fuelling and hydration strategy as I don’t want to carry 6 hours worth of food and drink for the whole race. May have to prep a bunch of bottles and baggies of food (couple of gels and a date/oat bar) to leave next to the course and stop say every 60-90 mins to replenish supplies.

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Yup, just start testing out all your nutrition well in advance (nothing new on race day). For my MTB 100 (9 hour race), I stopped every 3 hours. Stopping every 60-90 seems a little excessive, probably just 2 hour stops is all that’s needed. Unless this is a lap course, then just stop on each lap for a quick refill.

Yes its a 1.6 mile lap, twisty singletrack through a pine forest- the winners last year did 31 laps in the 6hr solo category.

The race is this Saturday. Weather looks perfect, 18-20 degrees C. Don’t want to load up the bike too much with heavy water and I tend to drink quite a lot hence the 60-90 min thinking, but I’ll probably make up more than I think I’ll need and see how it goes, the short lap means I can be quite flexible.

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I just did a 6 hour solo MTB race and used a similar strategy. Each lap was 75 minutes for me. So I prepared 3 Camelbaks with OSMO or Scratch at normal concentration and carried enough gels for 2 per hour. I had a box of gels and other food like apricots and dates. I downed a 340 calorie meal replacement sport bar about 15 minutes before the start. The fueling worked well. Unfortunately my rear tire crapped out starting lap 3 but I felt great nutrition wise. Good luck @Lufbramatt