HELP! Potential MTB Mud Race

Hi everyone!

This Saturday I am racing The Tour of the White Mountains a single track mountain bike race in Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ. Over the weekend they got rain and even some snow, and it looks like more rain is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday.

Living in Phoenix, this is not something I have very much experience with. Heat and dry trials is what I’m used to.

I’m wondering what everyone’s best tips are for a cold and muddy mountain bike race. Here are some topics I’m curious about, but all advice is greatly appreciated:

  • The dirt up there is pretty sticky and will start to cake onto the bike, is there anything to limit this?
  • Trying to keep my hands and feet dry
  • I was planning on racing my Specialized Epic, but depending on the mud I think my Trek Stache (3 inch tires) might be the better choice.

Epic Rides mentioned they have a Plan B and C, but they didn’t release what those are. My guess is this race will go from 90% single track to a gravel grinder. If they reroute us to the fire roads, the mud will less of an issue and more about staying warm and comfortable for 5-6 hours on the bike.

Thanks for everyone’s help!

I live in Oregon and half our XC races take place in downpours (sometimes snow too). First, get a strap on front fender (mucky nuts make good ones) and make sure you have good glasses so you can maintain vision.

Bike choice is tough because the epic will give you a lot of speed if there’s fire roads. I would suggest you reach out the organizers to see if the course will change.

As for clothes, wear a waterproof jacket to keep the water out (I like gore bike wear but there’s a lot of good options). I haven’t found a good glove option so I would suggest bringing a couple pairs and changing them out. Also wear shoe covers and wear baggie shorts over your chamois and tights. It will help keep your legs dry.

It sounds like this is a long race so don’t go out too hard. Every bad weather race I’ve done has ended as a slog. Take it easy at the start and enjoy catching everyone over the next 5 hours.

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You are in for a fun and epic time. I love those types of races. It stops being a race of strength and power and becomes a race of toughness and who is too dumb to quit.

That being said here are my two cents:

  • you can’t stop the mud. Instead, embrace the suck
  • I second, the front fender suggestion
  • don’t bring the fat tire bike, if you have to carry your bike that will be crazy heavy
  • care for your rear derailleur (and front but I am guessing you don’t have one) mud likes to rip those babies off
  • let the PSi’s go
  • enjoy the slip and slide
    Finally, MTB podcast (Jon’s other podcast) just covered this topic with Geoff kabush. They focused more on handling and technique aspect.

Thank you! The Mucky Nutz fenders are on the way!

I’ve got a water proof jacket I’ll be wearing. Wasn’t planning on wearing baggies but that’s a good idea to try to keep my legs dry.

Extra gloves will be a life saver! I’ll have to give some to my support crew and I’ll try to switch at aid stations.

Thanks! Definitely going in expecting to be cold and to out suffer everyone!

Good point about the weight of the fat bike. My thought there was it has more room for mud clearance, and I could run lower PSI.

Going to listen to that episode a few times!

Cover your bike (not the brakes of course!) in a good silicon based spray like Pedro’s Bike Lust or similar, really helps stop the mud sticking!

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Thanks for the tips everyone! The weather ended up holding off and turned into a beautiful day of single track and hero dirt.

Thanks to TrainerRoad I was able to finish the 52 miles in 5:17:46, almost 45 minutes faster than my goal time!

Here is a photo of me in a dark dark place pushing hard all the way to the finish:

Now on to the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo!

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