We had our first 24 hour race last weekend. We placed 22nd out of 52 teams. Individually we rode well, but we lost 2 laps because of mechanical failures – a broken rear derailer drop-out and a broken chain. This was the first race in over two years were we’ve had any issues, so we are not too upset about it. Personally, I have a bit of work to do to attain my full speed potential.
Keys to improving my time for the next race:
1) Tire selection – I need to ride a softer compound treaded tire. For the last few events I have ridden a road slick. It makes for very fast acceleration in the straight portions of the course, but due to poor cornering and single track speed, they cost me dearly in these cross country races. Estimated time saving 30 seconds to 2 minutes per lap; maybe more during the night laps.
2) Improved hydration – I need to increase that amount of water I drink in the days leading up to the race. I didn’t suffer too much because of this, but any boost I can get will help me dramatically.
3) Stand up in the single track sections. You carry a lot more momentum when you are standing up and you have more agility. Plus, if you are good at finding the right gear, you accelerate faster when you stand. Estimated time saving 30 seconds to 2 minutes per lap.
4) Faster transitions. I need to find an easy access place to put the time chip so I don’t have to dig for it at the end of the lap when I’m exhausted or take my time putting it away at the beginning of the lap. Estimated time saving = 30 seconds per lap.
5) Don’t carry a camel pack. I don’t drink during the ride, so I don’t need water. Since I’ll scrap any lap that I have a real mechanical issue on, there isn’t any need to carry anything with me other than a tube and some tire irons. The goal is to ride fast and carrying a 3 pound pack isn’t going to make that happen. Estimated time saving = 1 to 2 minutes per lap.