Race 3hrs away. Drive morning of or stay night before

Wanted to do the gravel event at Sea Otter this Friday. Unfortunately I won’t be able to leave home until about 8pm the night before.

Would it be better to drive 3 hours and get there 11ish, sleep in an unfamiliar bed, wake up early without my normal stuff at home to race at 9.


Just wake up at 3am and drive three hours to get to the race. Downside is probably less sleep? But also wondering about how the legs will feel after sitting In a car then expecting them to perform at a five plus hour event.

Thanks for you opinions friends!emphasized text

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You are going to pay a small fortune for a motel room anywhere near sea otter. I would just plan to get there early enough to stretch and get a good warm up in. I routinely drive 2.5 hours to sacramento from reno for early season mtb races with no ill effect.


W used to do early AM drives like that all the time….when we were tracing in college back in the late 80’s. :crazy_face:

Dunno that I would want to do it today, however…:woozy_face:

If you can afford a hotel, and find one close enough, I would do that personally.

I suspect there is no “right” answer however and you’ll get responses across the board.

I’d personally drive it that morning every time if the alternative is arriving late the night before.

I want to be up early anyways to get some carbs, caffeine, and fluids and then let the system clear out, and sleeping in a hotel like that arriving late is going to be tough.


Drive - perfect duration to let your massive breakfast settle in your stomach :ok_hand:


You could drive part way to shorten the morning drive. Assuming you’re coming from the North, you could make it to Gilroy and stay there then it’s an easy morning drive. I’d just drive the whole thing in the morning though.


It’s basically the same course as the XL cross country race. You could just do that on Saturday?

I’d 100% drive in the morning.

But… Why are you getting up at 3am for a 9am race and 3 hour drive.

Get all your gear, bike, car, nutrition, breakfast, coffee, etc ready the day/night before and wake up later than 3am. I don’t know the Sea Otter schedule but what do you need three extra hours for? I don’t like to be rushed on race mornings either but that seems like a lot of extra time.


3 hours I will drive and it gives me time to eat and digest before the race. It tends to be my cutoff, unless I can find a place to setup our camper and my family wants to come.

Drive. Eat and drink on the way. Make little rice rolls in the evening, easy to chuck down in one bite. No mess, no distructions.
Drink water on the way, coffee after you arrive in the last hour.
You can get rolling at 5 am; not great, not terrible :slight_smile:

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I would drive there the morning of because I’ll be up at 3a race day anyhow. And traffic is likely to be nil at that time. But definitely this is a personal thing. BTW, if you eat a nice breakfast right before you leave that timing is just about correct.

I’ve done it many times for short CX races, XC races and longer gravel races. 3 hours is my limit any longer of a drive I’d have to get up way too early.

Always pack everything the night before, have all your riding things in the car. That way you wake up and only have to put your bike on the rack. Then off to the races as they say!

The situation that you are suggesting to the OP is genuinely not great not terrible. In contrast, Comrade Dyatlov’s situation was really terrible, but he didn’t comprehend its gravity, nor did he realize the implication of the maximum reading on the Geiger counter his comrade was using.

Nevertheless, we understand the broader point you’re trying to make, and it truly does seem like a possible compromise.

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I drive from Phoenix to Socal 5-10x a year to race which is about a 6 hour drive depending on traffic. What I’ve found for me is there is not a noticeable performance trend either way. I’v had some of my better races getting up a 2-3am driving 6 hours solo, jumping out for a short warm up then racing. However, I’ve had some of my worst as well. How macro, meso and micro cycles intersect or not is likely more what determines my performance for any given race.

nonsense. If we needed to read more than that they would have made them bigger.

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This sent me down a nice Wikipedia hole, thanks for that.