Maah Daah Hey 100 MTB Race: Choosing a Specialty Phase

Hey all -

I’m coming up on the Maah Daah Hey 100 mountain bike race the first weekend in August, and trying to figure out what specialty phase to do. Complicating this is that I’ll only be able to do 5 weeks of the plan before raceday (poor planning / completion of other phases on my part :slightly_frowning_face:)

I know Leadville has been discussed a number of times, both on the #podcast and the forums, but haven’t really seen anything specific to this race. Here are a few stats:

  • 107 miles, almost entirely singletrack (like, I think fewer than 10 miles on pretty harsh gravel)
  • 13,000 feet of climbing, some long slow climbs, some punchy ones. Course profile screenshot
  • temperatures often peaking over 100ºF
  • Course record of 8:53:20

It’s a hard race. I’ve tried and failed twice, quitting at 58 miles the first time and being pulled from the course (but feeling pretty good still?) at 67 miles the second. One of my friends, one of the strongest riders I know, has finished every race he’s ever tried, including Leadville, and dropped out on MDH twice.

I’m better trained than I’ve ever been, but I’m still super nervous, and have no idea what to choose for a specialty phase, especially since I’ll only be able to do about 5 weeks of it. Anyone have any tips? Anyone else done the MDH before? It’s a beautiful, super hard race, in kind of an unexpected place – North Dakota, of all places – and I’d highly recommend riding there some time (there are actually campgrounds every 25 miles or so, so you don’t have to do it all at once)

Thanks for any advice!

[edit: I’m currently in week 5 of Sustained Power Build low volume, plus a weekly pretty-easy-most-of-the-time group ride that I lead]

I need to search, but they addressed this in the podcast from a specific question about the MDH 100. I think the requester was named John, and it was in the “recent past”. I will see if I can find it.

From memory, they recommended XC Marathon or Century for Specialty.

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Awesome, thanks! I’m not sure how I missed it, but I must have (although I guess there are a few episodes I haven’t listened to yet recently). If you figure out which episode it was, that’d be super cool.

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Found it.

  • Episode 185, about 0:10:50 for the question start (and a slight tangent) before the meat of the question around 0:13:00.

Quick Summary:

  • Base:
    • Sweet Spot Base
  • Build:
    • Sustained Power Build (could lead to XC Marathon for variation in efforts)
    • General Build (could lead to Century for variation in efforts)
  • Specialty:
    • XC Marathon (for shorter efforts and if you plan to push early)
    • Century (for longer efforts and if you plan to ride more steady)
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:tada: Thanks, I’ll give it a listen!

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I am in Billings, MT and plan to do the Bad Lands Gravel Battle next year, and maybe the MDH too (but not sure). I need to decide on distance choices for each and take the plunge.

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You won’t regret it. I’d do the 100 for the MDH, just because the first 50 miles have my favorite scenery and riding. Plus if I ever finish one of the shorter ones, I’ll wonder if I’d be able to finish the next one up…

I have to dig back in the forums and podcasts to find out about where to cut 2-3 weeks off of my Specialty plan now, and also figure out why my ramp test was so so so terrible today. Probably overdid things last week… I may possibly have more than doubled what the TSS was supposed to be…

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For cutting, you want to consider how much taper you need or want.

Then cut back from week 6 or 7 as needed. You may need to alter the timing of the one recovery week too.