Tr Success story. Ghost of the Gravel Alberta. My 2019 A race

Finished ghost of the gravel today.

Last year my time was 5 hours and 9 minutes for 114 Km and 1936 meters of elevation and ended up in 114th place.

Since then Ive had surgery to fix an inguinal hernia that I rode with last year where I could not stand up and pedal and had to climb while seated.

Today’s race was a little wetter course but the temperature hit 25 degrees C. We’ve only had 1 or 2 days this year of that temperature so I was not really ready for it.

Based on the podcasts I ate more than I ever have for a race.
Breakfast 4 eggs, 4 pieces of bacon in coconut oil and some fried coconut.
During race 6 SIS isotonic gels, 1 skratch bar, 3 perogies and 1 piece of bacon(at last feed stop :).

The race went well except for the fact that I was not thinking right on hydration. After listening to a recent podcast I remembered that it is important to have one normal bottle of water per bottle of Carb mix. Problem is that I was not taking carb loaded water. I was only taking electrolytes in my water. Around 77 Km I really started to cramp in my quads. I popped electrolyte tablets in my mouth and started sucking on them to save my life. I also added them to my other bottle and drank as much as possible and refilled at the last feed station. I managed to keep the cramps mostly away by varying my positions on the climbs and by stretching them out while riding and manipulating them with my thumbs.

I set myself up 4 goals.

  1. Beat last years time.
    2.Beat last years time by ten minutes.
    3.Beat last years time by twenty minutes.
    4.Beat last years time by thirty minutes.
    5.Beat last years time by thirty nine minutes.

I set my garmin up with the course loaded and the time modified to 4 hours and 30 minutes. At the worst part I was almost 14 minutes behind my set pace.

In the end I missed my thirty nine minute time by 6 minutes and 26 seconds and finished in 65th place.

I’m more than happy with the outcome. Ill be even happier next year if I can lose this extra 40 lbs anchor I am carrying.

In the final climb that lasted around 3 km my heart rate hit over 205 on three different occasions and that seems high for a 50 year old.

My average heart rate for the day was 152. Cadence was 79 and that seemed low until I remembered the amount of climbing that was done. I also burned almost 3200 calories.

On strava I beat every PR from last year except for the start where we had a terrible lead out vehicle that almost caused a few multi rider accidents.

Thanks much to TR and the community!

Next stop. My first real crit and road race.


Great job, but you had some crazy morning of and during the race fueling strategies, lol. I think if you nail your fuel and hydration you can expect even better results.

Ghost of the Gravel

Had no idea this existed. Sounds like fun! :metal:

You mean Perogie Power Bar isn’t a thing? :rofl:

Im not much of a carb person. I would get ill on gels before I found the SIS isotonic gels. The previous year I had 3 eggs an 2 pieces of bacon and 2 cliff bars for the whole race.

The perogies and bacon are the only thing available at the last feed stop so not much choice there.

But the electrolytes were a big fail. Just a complete brain fart there.

I returned to work finally about a month ago. Ive been going to a PT 3-4 times a week to strengthen and activate muscles that had not been really used in my layoff of 16 months. 77km into this race was a very poor time for them to activate and get angry. But then I was using everything I had for all of the climbing.

Over all very happy.

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I think the thing that jumps out is not so much the in race fuel as the pre race fuel. You ate a very high fat breakfast - fuel that helps you tomorrow, not today. Even if you aren’t a carb person you should try to find some pre-race carbs that you can tolerate. There are tons of ways to get these and will make a big difference

Congrats on finishing and improving your time, it’s a great feeling, enjoy it!


I’ll echo the sentiment. I believe there are plenty of HFLC athletes (mostly triathletes I think) who carb the f#ck up for races only. You’ll be burning through the carbs, not storing them; afterwards, return to your regular way of eating. :+1:

Nice work. I’ve done Ghost of the Gravel twice (last year Phil Gaimon beat me by 58min).

The hard thing about this race is that the climbs get punchier in the last third, and a lot of people cramp up. There is also the two sustained ~10km downhill sections where if you wind up without a group, you will be fighting the wind on your own. Last year I had to choose between going slower than I could sustain with a few big guys, and forging on solo. I went solo, and ended up finishing 5+ min ahead of the people I was with, but had circumstances been different I could have been up the road quite a bit.

Great event.

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