Tips for Tahoe Trail 50k - My 1st race

I’m doing the Tahoe Trail 50k this year. 1st time doing it and 1st time race. Had a couple questions.
1- Hardtail (25lb SC Highball) or Full Suspension (30lb Ibis Ripmo)? From SC and comfortable on all of Wilder trails and the mellower stuff at UC.
2-Nutrition/Hydration - I’m carrying a small backpack with 2L and a bottle with electrolytes. Should I plan on bringing an electrolyte refill to stay hydrated or is one bottle typically enough? For food planning on cliff blocks, honey stingers and maybe a bar or two. Seem like ok plan? With plan for some calories every 30 min or so?
3-How exposed is the ride, especially for that last climb?
4-Any last minute tips? Have been training up to 35 MIles and 5500ft climbing at sea level. Planning last big ride this weekend. Then up to Tahoe on Thursday to get some acclimation in.


I’d say hardtail, its probably 75% fireroad. You hit a few bike park trails on the way out and coming back in. Nutrition sounds good, thats about what I’m using for the 50K. They do have aid stations so if you run out you can grab something. Most of the loop is shady except for the last climb but you should be hitting that before 10am so it shouldnt be that bad, its really bad on the second lap if you are doing the 100K and you hit it at 12pm (or later). The climb out of the village on the first lap is hard, so start easy…after about 5miles you get a long downhill into Tahoe City. Maybe I will see you out there.

  1. I’d go full suspension just because I like it. Not expert here, but developing.
  2. Expert here: 70-90g carbs per hour is a better bet for you than just 20-30g every 30 minutes. Eat them more often and with plenty of water. Yes to electrolytes. Hard to overdo sodium unless you’re dumping salt in your bottles/reservoir. 2L + 1 bottle would not be nearly enough for me in such a race. I’d refill with more water at some point.
  3. No idea.
  4. Have fun. Acclimating starting Thursday before a weekend race will only make you worse. Breakeven point is in weeks, not days. But… it doesn’t matter. Have fun. It’s your first race! Maybe drink more sodium and water while you’re there so you don’t experience as sharp of a hit due to altitude.
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1 - Take the hardtail if you are trying to push it. Ripmo will be a total couch on this course. There are some rocky bits that will be bumpy on HT but not technically challenging like UC.
2 - 2L of water is about 3 bottles which I would call sufficient for 1 lap but. It is hard to eat while racing MTB so I would plan to get carbs in the hydro pack but don’t do some extreme mix you haven’t tried before.
3 - Not very exposed

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I’m doing the relay with a friend so 50k each.

  1. I’m running FS in the form of a Scalpel. My partner hasn’t decided yet.
  2. 3l Osprey with electrolytes here, but I’m also a freaking water hog. I will drink most of it. Nutrition will be pre-load with a Picky bar 15 min before my lap, then likely gels or blocks.
  3. been a long time since I’ve ridden Tahoe will defer to the experts.
  4. What Doc Alex said. One day isn’t going to do much for acclimation. Stay hydrated, maybe drink MORE electrolytes on Thursday/Friday than you would at sea level the point where you think you’re peeing too much. I’m no doctor, but my personal experience is to drink the same non-carb electrolyte as you work out with, but diluted. E.G. I use Nuun tabs, but mix 24 oz of water when just hydrating vs full strength when on the bike.
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Can I barge in with another TT100 question are there doesn’t seem to be another appropriate thread?

5 - How do the drop bags work? Last year I had a feed helper but may not this year. Can I put a hydration pack in the bag drop and still be in contention for a top time in my age group? How cumbersome is the bag pickup? My worry is that there will be 100 bags and I’ll loose a minute or two trying to sort between 35 identical USWE packs.

There will be hundreds of bags at bag drop and swapping bladders is hard when you are winded…The drop is right off course at the beginning of the second lap. I lucked out and had Jonathan Lee help me the last time I did the 100k in 2018…but you will lose time doing it yourself. Might be quicker to use aid stations.

Can you say more about how exactly the bag drop works - are they all laid out on the ground and the riders can freely grab them?

Yep…all laid out. If I remember correctly I brought a small cooler and they let me walk it up to the area myself.

I used a small cooler last year. I wrote all over it with a sharpie - Name and plate #. I stuffed a USWE and two bottles along with some foods in it. The hardest part was finding it, despite tagging the cooler to death. There were a sea of drops. So I wasted a min. just standing and looking. The swap out was easy and quick. Last year was my first time doing this event. Planning on doing the same thing this year, but may just use three bottles instead of a bottle and a pack. Just my experience. Hope this helps in some way. Cheers!

Thanks! Lots of good insight. Hydrating with diluted electrolytes seems like a good idea. Didn’t think of that. My plan is to take a full LMNT packets the night before, morning and then take 2 bottles of it on the ride. I just practiced trying to eat while riding today in Nisene, not the most ideal. How does everyone get the blocks and bars ready for easy consumption? I had each opened half way and was fumbling, thinking of putting in pockets in an open zip lock bag so I can just reach in and grab?

I’m most worried about the first climb. I tend to feel like crap on first climb whenever i ride and feel better as ride goes on (up to a point). Still figuring out warm up routine. And worried adrenaline will kick in with race and will go out too fast and bonk later. Planning to let my heart rate be my guide.

@craigmanning - good luck in race and hope to see you out there. there will be about 10-12 of us from Santa Cruz up there.

Normally my core “food” is Clif Bloks. I cut the packs in the middle, but not all the way, mabye 2/3 to 3/4, that way I can pull them out of a pocket or bento bag (I have one for my gravel AND mtb) and just pop 3 bloks in my mouth. Foil pack gels are harder, but keep in mind that the vast majority of TTR is fire roads, so while you’ll lose some time opening gels, it won’t be THAT much time. Less time than bonking.

I’d LOVE to be able to get all my carbs via hydration, but I’m not there yet. Plus add in water hog factor and I’d be gulping WAY too many carbs. (Enter Chaz from a recent podcast)

I’ve tried contacting Big Blue Adventures about the relay hand off, but heard nothing back. Oh boy a black box to keep me guessing…

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You have to ride down from parking to the race start area so you have a time to warm up, but you have to get in the corral about 20 minutes before the start so its easy to stiffen up. Here is my current kit and I’m the only guy from our team that signed up so if you see me say hi, i’m just an old guy who used to be fast, now I just do it to stay in shape.

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Yea, sounds like I will just have to push through and hope for best without being able to get and stay warm.

Will keep an eye out for you. We made some jersey’s for our motley crew, I think some will wear them and some won’t. They just arrived and need to check feel/fit (White, Orange and Black, will mention SC Mtn’s).

Few goals in the race in order of reachability; Have fun, Finish, Maybe don’t finish last, try to not get lapped by pro’s in the 100k!

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Just pace yourself…pros do the 100k in just over 4 hours…the climb from the village to mid mountain is the worst part…it eases up after you get to mid mountain. Im hoping for about a 2:45 finish…my fastest lap was 2:34 in 2018 and I wasnt going that hard…but my ftp then was 308 and its 243 now. I’ve also had two knee replacements in the last 2 years so my expectations aren’t high.


I have a Ripmo, and I have ridden this course (100k) on a hardtail. The 30 lb Ripmo is definitely not necessary and will be way too sluggish for this course! I am also from the SC area and know that these trails are technically easy compared to our home trails. The only thing to watch out for is that Tahoe fine powder dust - wider tires and lower pressure would be good.

That last climb was HOT 2nd lap, but for 50k it should be all good!

On pacing the 1st climb - do you have a power meter on that Highball? I find that heart rate lies -especially on race day after morning coffee. If not, RPE might be good. If you overpace a little don’t sweat it. There’s time to recover and correct your pace. Really, just ignore the people around you and stay focused on your own goals!

I use a small top tube bag to easily access snacks. Bloks work great for me, too. Have you tried any electrolyte drink mixes with carbs like Skratch? I usually put carb mix in bottle, plain water in pack. Bars might feel too dry up in Tahoe. Make sure they are moist bars. I like macro bars. Medjool dates, salted, work nicely in the top tube bag too.

Have fun on your 1st race!!! How exciting!!!


Julie, no power meter, so will just go off HR and feel. Planning to start towards middle/back of the pack so I don’t feel pressured to push further than I want.

Appreciate the feedback on the Ripmo vs HB, will be riding highball with 2.4’s. I just rode the Mammoth moon dust last weekend and ride HC a lot. Was wondering about tire pressures, wasn’t sure if I should go higher to help with climbs or lower to help more with the loose stuff. Rocks not much of an issue? I usually ride chunky stuff, so that is generally my worry.

I’ll try out a carb electrolyte drink in one of my bottles this weekend (planning 30+ miles and 5k+ climbing at either Nisene/Demo or UC/Wilder)and see how I like it. Also just bought a top tube box based on webdev511’s rec.

About 1/2 our group is road/gravel/race oriented, using power meters, etc. The rest of us (including myself) are more downhill/enduro oriented, so will be interesting to see how it goes.


From what I understand and remember from riding up there, rocks aren’t a huge issue in that particular area. That doesn’t mean it’s rock free, but it’s nothing like when you’re farther south near the McKinley Jeep Trails.

It’s mostly fire roads/double track with sections of track and a half & single. I’m going to run my normal middle of the road pressure, which is what the SRAM pressure guide recommends and works for me in Steven’s Canyon & Fremont-Older. Feels a little soft on hardpack and a tad bouncy on looser trails. :slight_smile:


Well…how did it go?

@craigmanning Hey - Looked for your kit but didn’t see you. It went well. I was hoping for 4 hours and got 3:39, could have easily taken 10-15 minutes off that too. I held back a lot on climbs 1-3 and definitely didn’t push all that hard on the flats. Climb 4 was brutal, but all in all not as bad as expected for 1st race. Lot of fun and excited to try again. We had a group of 9, so that helped trying to keep catch up with everyone after 1st climb. One in our group ended up 10th overall. How did it go for you?