Can I manage this race?

First post, appreciate all advice / comments.
I have been MTB riding for 3-4 years, started by sons but they have bailed and I have continued.

I have entered for an event in 10 days and I am seeking opinions on whether I am over-reaching.
The event is a gravel race in Western Australia, 125km with 3000 + metres of elevation gain. Truly a big ride and all who have done it before would attest that the hurt zone will be visited multiple times.
The ride is on varied gravel surfaces and consists mostly of ups > downs > “level” zones.

I am 49 and I have been using TR for about 4 months. My A event was a 50 mile MTB race that has been cancelled and so this event ( the SEVEN of Nannup) has been a replacement so as to not waste my fitness gained.
I weight 75kg and my FTP has increased from 287 to 378 over the past 4 months.

Now, besides the stationary bike training, I frequently ride outdoors, gravel terrain.
However, the longest ride I have ever done was 77km with 1200metres of climbing… I felt pretty good at the end of that; tired yes but not beat. I reckon I could have done another 10 km at the end. It was a solo ride. completed in 4hours 14 minutes.
I appreciate that the vibe of race meetings can improve our performance considerably.

So my question really is - can a guy whose longest ride to date has been 77km / 1200m climbing realistically chew and digest a 125 km / 3300m event with a 10 hour cut off time? I have never tested myself beyond 77km and although I appreciate that we never know what we can acomplish until we try - there is the option of a shorter course at the same event ( 5 stages, 85km with 1600m metres of climb) that i can default to. I am pretty confident that I can complete the 5 stages ( it is the safe option)- but the 7 will be exhilarating to finish!

I appreciate any comments; particularly anecdotes of your personal increments in distance that you have either succeeded in or found too big a step.

Thank you

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The fact that you don’t know if you can manage it, makes it a worthwhile endeavor.
If you apply the main techniques discussed in the podcasts over the years, namely pacing and nutrition, then I think you’ll be fine.
With your numbers and the fact that it’s basically a lot of climbing over a relatively short distance, I’d treat it as a bunch of interval repeats and decide beforehand how hard you intend to hit the climbs. Hold yourself back for the first half of the race then you can do the second half on instinct.


@grawp That is at once encouraging and informative. I chuckle though that you call it a “relatively short distance” - I clearly have an envelope to punch!
Cheers mate!

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Firstly, wow! That’s a staggering increase in FTP in four months from a pretty decent starting point at that weight and age. Did you do other sports before taking up MTB?

378W and 75kg Wright is 5 w/kg. At that power to weight ration you should be in the mix to actually win it!


I had the same question at the start of the year before tackling 3 Peaks, 235k/4000m.

I didn’t do any long rides, but I wish I had done a longer ride in the hills beforehand to decide on gearing… I would have also preferred to have finished building my bike before arriving at Falls Creek :rofl:

Unless there’s terrain not appropriate for gravel bikes, you have the fitness to finish well within the time limit. :100:

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There’ll be some very jealous people here (myself included) that you are so strong and so humble.

Those numbers are good, you can do well.

The biggest enemy will be yourself. So take some time to plan your pacing and your nutrition and stick to the plan as best as possible.

Yeah, that’s doable for sure. It’s all in the execution: Good planning, good pacing and good nutrition and hydration.

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Hey @Jonnyboy, thanks for the comment. Played rugby in my teens, some squash and athletics.
Mostly living in acreage and doing irrigation / horses hooves / raising kids these days.
Yea I just stuck to the MTB marathon plan from TR and seeing the improvement is encouraging.
Probably manage 3/4 of the prescribed workouts

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Awesome mate that is really encouraging

@onemanpeloton Thank you for taking the time to respond - I appreciate the encouragement and advice.

It seems that the general feeling is that the stretch from 77km to 125 should be manageable - if I plan and execute properly

Thanks @RCC; I appreciate your response

VERY manageable.

Nutrition. Eat more than you think you need. Drink more than you think you need. Have fun with the ride. Enjoying it will help you through the inevitable dark periods.

I suspect when you get done, you will shortly be saying “Why didn’t I go harder?”

I’ve found that on long rides the point where I’m starting to hurt and want to quit, is roughly about half the distance I’m capable of. If you have decent training, and are on top of your pacing, hydration, and nutrition, then it’s mostly just a mental challenge.

With those numbers you should be thinking about winning, not simply finishing. Chapeau.


My only other recommendation in addition to those above is to keep an eye on any contact point that become uncomfortable… A few extra hours in the saddle can do damage if you start to chafe, or get hot spots from your gloves/shoes. A 2 min stop to readjust/reapply creme etc can save you on pain, and possibly time off the bike after the race. Good luck, sounds like it will be fun!

Do you have a power meter on your mtb? You might want to think about pacing the race. While the extra distance and climbing should be managable, if you’fe used to shorter, harder rides, going out too hard will see you suffer later on. Also, because it’s a mtb event, don’t underestimate how much the rough surface beats the rest of your body up over time - not just your legs.

Hey, I’m only commenting because I’m also doing seven and I agonised over the distance as well. I ended up entering the five (85km) because I didn’t want to destroy my legs while also training for the tour of Margaret river.
I am also fitter than I’ve ever been but definitely not 5w/kg more like 4w/kg and even given that I know there’s a lot to deal with, the excitement of a race pushing me over threshold, not eating or drinking enough, not pacing properly up some of the hills and blowing up.
In saying that I’m looking forward to it because even 85km is no joke and needs nutrition and pacing to be dialed in so it’s going to be a good challenge.

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Hey @dprimm your comment is very encouraging - I “feel” the CAPITALS . Yes the careful consideration to nutrition and pacing seem to be the repeated advice to my call for comments.
And you are so right - if there is no FUN in it then I should stay at home or change hobby!

@coke what an awesomely useful point. That is really something that I can “hang my hat on”. I managed the 77km so by your encouraging comment 125 should be doable - so long as I feed and pace well.
Thanks mate!

No power meter on the bike @splash . I’ll have to go by RPE, and faith! Ah yes - the truth about mtb vs road riding in the whole body training / fitness!