How do you feel fatigue on longer races?

Hi all

can you guys try to explain how do you feel fatigue?

In shorter races (<2hrs) I have “empty” legs, high puls and breathing rate and simply cannot put the numbers, but on longer races (>3 hrs), I feel fine in quads and in general BUT have a strange “near-to-cramping” feeling in/around hip flexors and very weak feeling and that forces me to be very careful with pushing and also that makes off-saddle impossible.

Is there anything to do to prevent this?
Thank you

Maybe you are close to cramp. Hydration and electrolytes?

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Usually I have 750ml - 1L of SiS go electrolite per hour (and 1-2 SiS gel)

Cramping is a big unknown, so many theories. For me it is always an issue when I subject myself to something I’m not used to (yet). For example, when I took up racing after two baby breaks I would cramp in many of the 4-5h races. In the second year I cramped only in the early spring races. Then I never cramped again.

Only exception: last year a ~11h race. Developed some cramps in the hamstrings. I guess these are weak, I’m a typical cyclist.

And how do I feel fatigue? In this 11h race I died completely. I entered a very, very dark place. And you simply notice it when it starts hitting you this dark side.

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Like you want to quit but you know that you can’t go back.

I have this same exact experience. I feel just weak and cannot get out of the saddle for more than 5 pedal strokes. I’m pretty sure it’s because my fueling is bad.

Old thread but I thought this might be an interesting place to put some learning from this past weekend’s race- Blue Ridge Brutal in the mountains of NC. 102 miles, 9000ft of climbing, couple big climbs at the beginning and end with a ton of rollers/short climbs in the middle 60 miles.

Here’s how NOT to play the race and what happens with poor pacing/tactics. I figured I was one of the top 5 strongest there, so I wanted to get into a break in the first climbs (which usually sticks). I did manage to make that break (with some long efforts above threshold), but we were caught about an hour in by a huge peleton. however, there were so many guys free-loading and visibly struggling up every rolling hill. I decided to hit pretty much every roller above threshold to try and snap the elastic and shed the guys hanging on (massive energy expenditure as you’ll see below). Problem is, the peleton was large enough and the climbs short enough that the group kept coming back together.

Tying to the point of this original thread, I got just over 3 hours in and like a light switch, my legs went from magic to feeling heavy and less responsive. I could feel muscle fatigue and just not as much strength in pushing down on the pedals. I could still close down gaps but it was much much harder to keep pushing above threshold. I also felt little twinges of a possible cramp in the calves though that never happened.

I looked down at my watch and saw 295NP for the 1st 3 hours of the race. Well that would be why I was now in the struggle bus. I fueled well, probably could’ve drank a little more but that wasn’t the limiter. Turns out pushing threshold + for 1:20 of the first 3 hours takes a toll thereafter.

I made the tactical decision to sit in leading to the steepest climb of the day and let a couple guys ride off the front. Had a decent effort up the climb (333 for 8 mins) but did not have the gas to hold the wheel of a few guys. That effort pretty much fried me for the rest of the race, and I couldn’t really push threshold for the remaining hour (260NP). I’m a great descender and TTer and only lost 30"-1’ on the climb, and normally I would’ve been able to TT my way back to the few guys after the climb, dropped the others with me except one but ended up losing a couple more mins on the top 4. The legs were just done for the last hour- man the quads and hips ached more like a hard run than a bike race.

Moral of the story- be more selective about how many and when you are writing checks in a 5 hour race!

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I think 2013 going up the Alpe Du Huez on the Marmotte was the last time I actually cramped on a ride (OK it was a sportive and that is apparently not a race :roll_eyes:). More recently on longer events I tend just to slow down and fail to be able to get the same power out; the cramps don’t come till I’m off the bike :-1:

my legs get tired

Just did this a three weeks ago, and had been doing it for the last years. The depicted “shift in mood” shows it quite well. Oh, I had bonked at exactly the same spot as he did. I just didn’t have anyone to say to “F** o**”. That’s how you feel real fatigue!

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