Planning 2021 and I’ve got 23 weeks between now and my first A event. It’s a 340ish mile, single stage gravel race with a 34 hour cut off and will probably be in the neighbor hood of 25-30k feet of elevation gain.
Due to Covid the 2020 edition was moved from April to October(last weekend) where I competed and took a DNF after 19.5 hrs at mile 200 and 15k+ ft of gain. My nutrition(mixture of Roctane, Gels, and waffle) worked quite well, got a little gassy around 9-10 hours but went away after eating a bag of funyuns.(Lesson #1, a bit more ‘real’ food in 2021) Fitness was pretty good, I managed to hit my pacing goal fairly well(shooting for staying around a .73 IF for the first 6ish hours and then ride the fatigue cascade to the finish) Clothing choice was the root cause of my DNF this year IMO, instead of opting for 1 heavier layer for the overnight I added layers(ended up with 3 layers) that caused too much resistance to motion and caused me all sorts of aches and pains and a significant drop in power.(Lesson #2.)
As far as training for 2020 I stuck pretty good to the base, build, specialty plan. All Mid-Volume, progressing through SSBI>SSBII>SusPB>Century. With only a couple of longer 4+ hour rides in the later 2 progressions. Honestly fitness wise I did pretty darn good IMO. Planning for next year, with 23 weeks to go I don’t have time for a full progression. My plan is to use the HV versions of SSBI and II but omit the Friday endurance ride, and replace the Sunday workout with some form of endurance progression(i.e. 3>4>5 hour z2 rides). I also feel the need to add in some form of strength/mobility work(zero experience in this arena). Would twice a week be enough? Would this be a good case for reversing the plans? I spent just 30 minutes total at power levels above threshold over 19.5 hours. I get that I don’t want to neglect the vo2 effort but, it just isn’t used in this type of race. Would I be better served by running the massive SSB right before my event and doing some of the vo2 work early in the progression?