Tips on Driving to a Long MTB Race - 2.5+ Hours Drive There

Hi All
I have a couple of MTB Marathon races coming up where I need to drive over 2.5+ hours to get to the location (going by myself). I’m not used to driving these distances though I normally I just drive through and don’t stop. I try to stay as comfortable as I can and also using cruise control as much as safely possible.
I normally try to get there about 90 min before the event to stretch my legs, walk around a soak in the event and get warmed up. Sometimes I feel a bit mentally fatigued so like to try to do some meditation as a way to reset a bit.

I snack a little on the way and sip water through the journey.
I tried to do a search for a thread on this though couldn’t find one. Any tips would be great.

Podcasts are a great way to pass the time. Cycling ones also may help get you in the mood plus you may learn a thing or two. There maybe a good one associated with this forum.:wink:


I routinely travel 90 mins to two or so hours every weekend to race. I have my music, anything to have me not think about the race(s), eat about three-two hours before I hit the line. Yeah, that usually means I am eating as I drive down. Oatmeal, eggs and brown rice. Probably some honey stinger waffles and a banana about an hour out and sipping on water and my mix.
My legs usually feel fine and like you I like to get there 90 mins or so before the race starts to get my number, meet up the team, warmup, talk race tactics, go to the bathroom 15 times, and then go race.


Main things for me is to have everything except the bike packed and ready to go in the morning. Make sure your vehicle has a full tank.
Have waters/liquid nutrition ready to go in a cooler and all race nutrition on your bike or with your gear.
Good tips above regarding on the road entertainment.
Also, if you have a vehicle that’ll work well for it, consider leaving the night before and sleep in your vehicle near the race site.


Rare that I don’t have to drive 90+ minutes at least once per weekend during CX season. Get your bag packed and your bike ready the night before. I don’t want to do anything but make breakfast, fill bottles, and load the car in the morning. Podcasts, music, have all your timing down. I’m going to leave at this time, stop at this rest stop to pee/eat, etc.

Have a great race!


I like to have a little sleep when I arrive. anything from 10 to 30 minutes is enough to refresh me. Actually I look forward to it as I am on the way. Just ensure you leave in plenty of time.

The other advantage of arriving quite early is that you can get to the toilets quite easily with no queuing.

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Every year I drive 5+ hours solo to socal 5-6x/year to race. No way to know if my routine helps or hinders but, here’s what I do if I can’t find anyone to go travel with:

  • Rest a couple days out has to be pretty solid.
  • Hydration starts a couple days out.
  • All equipment is perfect before I leave and super organized so I don’t have to think or wonder where something is. No surprises. They happen but, I pack the car slow and early so I know I have everything. I have everything organized in boxes I just throw in the car so this is a no brainer.
  • Cruise control. Legs as straight as possible/keep hip “open” (depends on the car).
  • Pack all food/liquid and make sure I eat my normal food 3 hours prior on the drive.
  • I like to show early (2 hours). Get everything pinned and bike ready to race. Go spin around well before the race clear the head, then chill/eat and hit the warm up on schedule. Warm ups are short.
  • Caffein prior to warm up.

Agree with all above, I also travel 1-2 hours for races. Only thing I’d add is to make a checklist of everything you need. Literally check off each item as they get loaded in the car. Load as much as possible the night before. Bring extra water (gallon) for before or after just in case.

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I loveeeee 20 minute catnaps before starting a warmup, in fact, almost every time I’m not the driver I’ll try to sleep in the car on the way.

There’s some good advice here, but the one I want to reinforce even more is to leave early. Construction, traffic, a flat tire, and Google Maps leading you astray can all happen on your way to the race. Having a little more time to work with will keep you from becoming unnecessarily stressed during a (hopefully unlikely) adverse situation. Every time I leave at the last minute, it’s a mad rush to get to the race venue and it throws off all of my pre-race preparation.

2-3 hour drives are long enough to require a bit of stretching and a little longer and gentler warmup once you finally arrive, especially since you’ve been stuck in a car seat position for so long. I regularly make pretty long drives throughout the year, and I can’t say enough about comfort. A small pillow on the seat so your sitbones are less fatigued, more lumbar support (either with a pillow or built-in), and some side bolstering (especially for windy roads to venues) goes a long way in preventing the painful, full-body lockup that can occur when testing the full range of your vehicle’s fuel tank.


Thank you everyone as the tips have been fantastic. I only race a couple of times a year so I’ll put together a checklist with the above tips and go through it in the lead up to and on race day to help reduce the pre-race anxiety which can be overwhelming.

I’m really loving this community

Thanks again everyone.