Training for my first 100

I am toying with the idea of racing a 100 Mtb race here in Ohio (Mohican 100). I have been a triathlete for 12 years and over the pandemic lost the passion for racing tri’s. I’m trying to restart my racing career so although I have a history or training for triathlon, I am out of practice. I have absolutely no idea where to start in training for my first 100.

Does anyone have any experience with Mohican, and tips on racing a 100 that is NOT Leadville?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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Looking at the site (I have not done the race) good number of aid stations. So I’d plan on what you’re going to put in your drop bags and at which ones for a start.

Thanks for the reply, but what I am looking for is more training for the race.

If you’re racing:

Choice of base
Sustained Power Build
Climbing Road Race

If you’re riding:

Choice of base
Sustained Power Build

I don’t know how long the bike sections are in tri… but if you’ve never done a 100 before then the best advice I was given is ‘learn to eat’ and don’t assume it’ll be right on the day.

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I have done several 100-mile rides in my time in triathlon and cycling. My concern is over the past few years, I have fallen out of training. So I feel that I am starting over in fitness. I know what it is like to train for 8-10 hours a week, it has just been 3-4 years since I have done that.

When you say “Choice of Base” what are you referring too?

Traditional base 1, 2 and 3 for 12 weeks
Sweetspot base 1 and 2 for 12 weeks
Polarised base twice for 12 weeks

Have a look at them and see which you feel like doing. Whichever you choose will build your aerobic base, so I recommend choosing the one that looks most fun.

If in doubt btwn High and Mid Volume, choose Mid. If in doubt btwn Mid and Low, choose Low. You can always change later on, or just add additional indoor or.outdoor endurance rides to increase the volume if you want.

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The Mohican 100 is a very tough event. Are you thinking the 100km or the 100 mile?

The event prides itself on having a lot of single track, so you really have to train for the demands of the course. If you are local, going out and trying to do two laps of the Mohican 25 mile single track loop will be a good measure of your fitness. You can also ride some gravel roads from there and ride the Mohican Wilderness single track loop. It’s a cool loop and is more technical in parts than the Mohican 25 mile loop. It is part of the Mohican 100 course.

Other considerations for the event is that it has been muddy in places many of the years related to the spring rain. They have also had some really hot days and last year moved it earlier to try and get away from the heat, but that also increases the chance of there being some mud.

My advice is really work on your base fitness over the winter, but something like short power build as the event gets closer will help a lot. Ideally, getting out and riding a lot of single track will be one of the best ways to train.


I’m just a bit ahead of you and completed in July my first 100miles MTB marathon (High Cascades 100) I had tried it in 2020 and it was my first DNF ever when i ran out of gas ~ 80miles in.

Long time triathlete here ( 8 IM completed + 2 offbrands ) and found that I’m more motivated to train for MTB than IM races.

My (obvious) insights about MTB XC Marathon racing

  • pick the right tires: lots of watts can be traded for less traction (I wish i had been told to avoid maxxis Minions)
  • more steepness : so going above thresholds will happen for sure in a well paced mtb race, unlike tri where i haven’t seen much above 10% grade.
  • much more vertical gains: HC100 has 9000’ while hilly IM Lake Tahoe, IMMT or IMCA had ~ half of that.
  • handling: you can save time & energy through better handling & less braking, you cannot zombie-pedal when tired


  • Plan Builder gave me SSBase to start with. I think SSB doesn’t fit well to transitioning directly from tri training as it lacks Vo2max. My thresholds and SS are well developed and i’m already at a relatively high fractional utilization. I need to lift that ceiling.
  • you need to lift your short duration power (vo2max) and train to use it over and over.
  • Practice single track and fireroads, picking your lines, your hands/shoulders can take a beating (instead of resting on aero bars) and that won’t come from indoor training.
  • bike handling: it needs to be second nature even when dead tired. We had lots of single tracks throughout HC100 including some with jump ramps in later parts of HC100.

Thanks for the great advice! I live about 40 min south of Mohican, so I have access to the trails. I have been watching videos from last year’s race and saw it is a very tough race. I am a bit over the top with challenges and I was thinking of doing the 100 miles. I have raced Ironman Triathlon in the past, so long endurance events are very familiar to me.

I have NEVER done a race this distance on a mountain bike. I have ridden plenty of century road rides, just never on the trails.

You’ll like it :smile:

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I agree with all of the above. Like Asteryx I did HC100 this summer and it was also my first 100 mile MB event. I posted a recap about it, including some training comments, on July 25th here (I’ve probably screwed the link up, you might need to search):

A few additional comments:

  • Train your nutrition: That’s not just the grams of carbs you can ingest per hour, but how you are going to do it. Technical MB trails make it a lot harder to grab bottles, gels etc.

  • Technical training: Reiterating what Asteryx says, but its worth repeating. Riding smooth and with flow are worth a ton of watts over a 100 miles of MB trails. Build technical rides into your plan, ride technical trails when you are tired, ride them when they are wet, ride them when they are dry. For me it isn’t about max speed, but rather balancing the highest speed I can carry through sections with as little effort as possible.


(Total aside and I certainly don’t want to derail this thread, but man I would love to see a more technical MB race like this or HC100 in the Lifetime Grand Prix!)

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Yeah eating & drinking on a tribike can be done on the clock. Grabbing water and food refills can be done without stopping.

Eating & drinking while pedaling 100milers mtb race is something else. Having a hydrapak and a tube to drink water helps with rough terrain. Can you pedal with only 1 hand while you eat with the other?
Aid stations are quite different. You might have to stop for a few min and eat while waterpouch get refilled. I use frozen waterpaks (backpack and lumbar) for heat management + fluids.

Dust and muds might be a challenge too.

and 1 more thing: recon is even more important than in tri’s. The linked thread has a lot on this kind of race.

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i second that.
Technical handling on singletracks in addition to pure watts & endurance.

Keegan crushing Tiddlywinks & Tylers would be fun to watch.

Back to OP: one drill i do on recovery MTB rides to be smoother:
once i get some speed going slightly downhill, refrain from pedaling & from braking and see how far i can go.

Did you train for HC100 using Trainer Road? I appreciate the insight it is tons of great information!

Yep, used TR a ton. Here is some of the info on my prep from the other thread. Full disclosure, I am not a contender by any stretch of the imagination. I was there to finish and have fun (goal achieved!). So take anything I’m posting within that context.

Our family downhill skis Dec - April. Like the majority of people on this forum, I have a busy high stress job, kids and other obligations. This means I’m lucky to ride 3 - 4 hours/week in the winter. I used train now and tried to do one 75-90 minute ride per week. I also did 3 or 4x 15 minute yoga/core sessions per week and some bodyweight stuff. I’m getting older and stiffer, so mobility and strength makes a huge difference for me when MB (and skiing!).

Once skiing ended I became more structured and was riding in the 8 -10 h/week range. Generally 2 trainer sessions for intervals, a longer weekend ride on either the MB or gravel bike, and some fun technical rides. I did not use a TR training plan, but if I had I would have chosen a LV plan and added in one long zone 2 ride and 1 or 2 technical rides.

Only had about 3 rides over 4 hours before the event with the longest one being a 5 hour gravel race. That was not by design, that is just the way life unfolded. I did get lots of rides in the 2- 3 hour range.

Not having many long rides concerned me going into the event. But during training I focused on consistency and subscribed to the ‘something is better than nothing’ motto when I changed a workout around because of life demands. That mindset kept me positive and on track and I think made a difference even without getting those long rides in. (see issues though)

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My case is similar to BDChunk.
I trained for HC100 on LV plan + outside rides

Jan to Mar: 2 indoor TR workouts / wk as I’m DH skiing during the weekends
Apr and May: 2 indoor TR workouts /wk + 1 or 2 outside rides (mtb or road)
June-Aug: 2 indoor TR workouts / wk + 2 or 3 outside rides

Sep to now: 3 to 4 TR workouts / wk +2 or 3 outside rides (I’m on MV plan now but I haven’t run since later Aug)

I was out at Mohican yesterday and the trail is in great shape. There are a lot of leaves on the trail at the moment, so tough to see some of the rocks and roots, but if you follow the trail line you will be ok.

If you haven’t ridden Mohican much, now is a great time to get out to get some “feels” in before the winter hits.

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