Race expectations set to high?

Did my 3rd gravel race of 2020 this past weekend.

I keep bonking or something but I still finish in a decent spot. I’m confused if it’s fitness, fueling, or core strength.

I’ve completed ssb1 and 2 twice during this off season.

Lap 1 is when I was in a 2 man break. The IF was .85 for 2hrs24mins.
Obviously over the race it’s gonna drop but am I going out too hard?

On weekends I do 3-4 hour group rides and feel fine. But is racing longer events that end up being solo for a portion and trying to maintain .75 IF simply too much?

I had 3-4 larbars. 1 bottle of Beta fuel. 2 bottles of water. 5-6 gu/sis gels. 2 oatmeal cream pies(neutral feed).
I had 500-600 calories 3 hours before the race(Kodiak pancake mix)
I never felt hungry or had to pee during the race I ate everything I had to keep on top of it.

In previous years I mainly focused on crits. last year was my first year targeting road races as a cat2 and a few gravel races.

My A race is big sugar but at this point I’m thinking I should just enjoy it because I can’t race the pros lol

What do y’all think??


I’m no expert, but I’m going to say yes, probably going out too hard. 4 hours of racing is pretty huge (compared to a 3-4 hour weekend group ride), and your first 2 and a half hours was very solid. You’re definately going to pay for that at the end of the race no matter how much fuel you put in.

How did the race go? Did you have people passing you in the last hour when you were falling flat that perhaps if you went easier at the start you could have stayed with and ultimately ended up with a better position? I’m just thinking perhaps better pacing could have you hold a better overall power, and finish with more in the tank.

I got 2nd so I never got passed. first gapped me by 7 more minutes and he’s not really known as a threat like that.

a lot different then sitting in a road race for 3 hours where the spikes are harder but the avg is lower.

Just curious. I’m happy with my result. I had good takeaways from the first two races and this third race I’m like okay what else can I fix. Sitting in isn’t fun. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ So whether I got 2nd or 100th. Knowing I gave it my all is worth it.

I saw this literally 2mins after reading this new blog from Matt Fitzgerald (author of the Endurance Diet) - not sure if it’ll be what you’re after or not, but thought it’d be worth you checking out:


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Great job then. Sounds like you couldn’t have done much more. You went with the right move.
I think going from a crit background to these longer races, you will get better with time and getting use to extra distance.
Personally I would drink more water than you did for a 4 hour race, but I also live in Australia where it’s probably hotter and 2 bottles hardly gets you through an hour :stuck_out_tongue:

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no, i think it’s great!! Go out hard and try your best to stick with the front group, you’ll get faster down the road from this, esp if you’re already lasting 2.5h!

do you add in Kitchen Sink type workouts or really hard weekend rides on non-race weekends; these can help!

seems good, altho not sure of total ride duration. 60-90g of carbs per hour, independent of body weight… personally i prefer Sis Go over Beta Fuel but that’s just me.

give yourself some time to adapt to the distance; gravel is obvi way longer than a crit

STAY CONFIDENT!! Stick to your plan and make improvements in vo2max, repeatability, and youll be able to last much longer!

Good luck! Keep us posted how the season goes.


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Mate! I’m in Texas and my girlfriend is in Adelaide. :cowboy_hat_face:

3 bottles wasn’t enough but no time to stop. Didn’t help I dropped the one bottle I did pick up.

Our weekend rides are good quality zone 2 lower z3 rides with sprints if you choose to start it. :wink:

I’ve Been aiming for 90 but man I have no idea how to get there. I was eating Bobo bars but I was thinking two larbars an hour are much easier to eat than oatmeal. I might try two bottles of the sis beta fuel next time. I’ll check out the sis go when I run out. I like the beta so far no issues.

Thanks for the help! Excited have a few 100 milers on top in March so we’ll see what happens then.

Thanks I’ll check this out.

The only thing that jumps out at me is that you’re getting a decent percentage of your calories (the lara bars) with a relatively high fat content. Depending on what lara bar variety you were eating something like 45g of fat or around 400 calories. It isn’t a huge deal, but definitely something you could optimize.

If you’re really at race intensity for the effort this is not doing you any favors. I would suggest subbing those outs for additional beta fuel or gels

The main problem I’m seeing here is that you aren’t able to contemplate what an ass kicker you are.

How about this: train your butt off and get it in your head right now that if that ridiculous supposition is correct your damn sure going to know at the end of the day only. Not the beginning.

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Big Sugar is 8.5 months away, I think you have still have some time :slight_smile:

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I agree and was worried about the fat content but last time i did only gels and beta fuel plus skratch my stomach was hurting Towards the end. So many different things to do. So the next race I did gels one bobo Bar and one beta fuel and felt better. The latest tr podcast with what’s his name from cliff bar(sorry) said solids then gels so I tried that.

Lol yes it is. I can’t wait for it.
10k ft of climbing :skull:


True hoping I can stage with people I know are in my wheel house. I don’t need to line up behind peter and Colin. I wanna go fast just not hard af out the gate.

A) Dude, you got second place. So unless there were only two people in the race then I’d say you did pretty well.
B) A 3-4 hour Z2/Lower Z3 ride is going to be way easier than 2 hours at 0.89 IF then another 2 hours at 0.75 IF.

Just keep at it. As @brendanhousler said, long gravel races are way different than crits. It will take time to adapt to racing for that long. Keep trying to stretch those group rides out to 5/6 hours even if that means doing some time by yourself after the group finishes. That way you keep building that aerobic endurance that should help you in that final hour of the race.

The other difference between these gravel races and crits are the lack of categories. In crits you can just race everyone on the start line with you because there is a reasonable expectation that you are all on the same level. However, with these you have to use the beginning of the race to sort of guess where you fit in and race those around you to get the best finish time for you. You may not be able to race Pete Stetina and Payson Mcelveen. But maybe the best move for you is to stay with their group as long a possible. Or maybe it would be better in the long run to drop into the next fastest group so that you don’t fall apart later in the race. That’s just something that you will have to learn on your own and figure out as you race more often.

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Colin waits until ~mile 100. :wink: You never know. When somebody told me a dark horse from Austin won that race my first guess was Tristan.

It isn’t so much that you need to avoid solids as it is that there are probably better options than lara bars as these have a lot of nuts in them. You’re doing the right thing by experimenting with what works best for you, and if you had no stomach distress with the lara bars there isn’t necessarily a reason to change. It’s a small item on the long list of things but I’d encourage you to keep experimenting until you find a balance that lets you push hard into that 3rd and 4th hour

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I try to avoid races with Tristan :rofl:

That Oregon gravel grinder they all did looks amazing. Not sure how people near sea level can climb so well.