Telluride 100 - Required Fitness?

There’s a couple topics on the Telluride 100 in this forum but none covering this question. For anyone who has experience competing in this race or riding similar terrain - what would you guess is the necessary FTP or W/kg to finish within the time cuts for the 100 mile race (~16k of climbing)? Based on last years finishing times and DNFs I am guessing the total time will have to be under around 11.5 hours.

I’m relatively fit and have spent some time climbing on my MTB in the mountains in Colorado on some big days but I truly have no idea if I am out of my depth in thinking I have a shot of finishing. I’m currently around 3.1 w/kg (at sea level) with a plan to bring that up a good but reasonable amount between now and July 30 (hopefully to 3.5). Any thoughts or experiences?

All I have to add is the weather was horrific last year, resulting in lots of dnfs and slower times.

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Haha oh man. I raced that race last year, finishing in 9hrs flat. It was the hardest race I’ve ever done, hands down. Weather played a part in that for sure.

Honestly, forget the w/Kg for a second. Are you a good mountain biker? There are enough mildly techy climbs and descents that you can save/lose a ton of time on. How are you with long climbs? You get hit with one of the hardest ones out of the gate, at ~mile 14, and I’m pretty sure everyone ran at least a bit of it.

Can your body handle race fueling for 9+ hrs? You do not want stomach problems on the top of a mountain. I relied heavily on drink mix and gels, but I know I can handle the rocket-fuel stuff on race day. You might need to pack “real” food, whatever keeps your stomach happy.

I know people who were faster/slower than their competitors, or who DNF’d, or had good days, or whatever their stats said they “shouldn’t” do. Telluride 100 is definitely fitness based, but there’s an element of skill and your ability to suffer. I think a 3.5FTP should allow you to finish, but there are going to be a lot of variables besides an FTP that measure success at this event.

Practice long days. And then 6hrs into a ride, do an hour long climb. Then do a couple technical descents and climbs when your body is thrashed. How good are you at keeping your heart rate down? At 13,000 ft, if you redline and can’t bring it back, you’ll be suffering. I hit very high power numbers at the start when keeping with my group, but I knew my ability to recover in hour 4, 5, etc., was very good. Are you a low cadence climber? Get used to it – these climbs will have you praying for lower gearing. Get good at grinding away.

There are some initial thoughts…good luck. It was an unforgettable day. :slight_smile:

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Great info, thank you so much! This challenge really ignites a fire under to me train hard so I think I have to register.

It’s a beautiful and unforgettable race. I did this race in 2019 and while I think the course has changed a bit since then, riding 100 miles in Telluride in late July is an incredible experience.

When I raced, It was a long day, complete with a few hours of thunderstorms and slogging through mud pits after the rain ceased. I wouldn’t worry so much about FTP or w/kg. I think the most important thing is being mentally prepared for a very long day, ensuring that you’re ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you (rain, hail, extreme temperature swings, etc…) and being very on top of your fueling. Racing and riding at altitude will require more food and hydration than you may be used to, so plan on carrying some extra fuel and stopping at aid stations. Wear good shoes, pack a rain jacket and go into it with an open mind. It’s a hard race but I think with the right mindset anyone can finish it.

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I signed up for this one a week ago. Second to my last stop on my NUE calendar (Grizzly 100 is last, but also where I live).

You’re in for a big one, here is the strava of my 50mile course (with power data) a couple days before I tested 282w from 9k to 11k (50 some minutes)
I guess I’m ~5w/kg at Boulder level (5000ft). I want to do the 50miler again and I plan on having a stronger body to not feel totally wrecked by the end (also gears, no shame in having a 30t, I made a point to never walk)

I prepped with lots of 3-6hr mtb rides, if you are shooting for for 10-12hrs, kudos to you

Good advice above. Regarding MTB 100s, the best advice I’ve heard is “eating wins races”. Wether you’re fighting for the win or for a personal PR, it’s an eating contest. I’d ensure you have and can handle 90+ carbs an hour all day. Practice this on the trainer and during long weekend rides. What your stomach can handle now is not set in stone, so gradually increase your carb intake over weeks/months.

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Does anyone have a strava ride/gpx file for the race last year? I know on the website they have course files but it’s split up into 2 50 mile halves. Hoping for 1 full file to use in best bike split to get an idea of pacing strategy.