Training for the Death Ride, and advice?
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  1. #1
    White bartape is faster!
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    Training for the Death Ride, and advice?

    Hello,

    I'm currently training for the death ride in July. This will be my most ambitious ride to date (I've done 140 miles, but not with the same amount of climbing or at that elevation). I'm 35, 6'2", currently at 165 lbs. (have lost ten pounds so far in 2010) and am aiming to get down to 155-160 by June.

    I have a great before work training ride (Headlands loop, both climbs, twice, for those of you who live in sf) which I can sometimes repeat in the afternoon depending on my work schedule. I've been going to the gym 2-3 days a week, doing 12 reps on 20 different exercises (full body), usually takes about 45 minutes. On rainy days I'll do hill sprints for 30 minutes instead of biking. But I still have some excess around the middle that I'm trying to lose...

    Nutrition is pretty good but not excellent. Main vices are wine in the evenings and too much coffee at work. Breakfast is usually non fat yogurt with blueberries, a peach and some grape nuts (after my morning ride when I get to work). Salad for lunch (with chicken or seafood), some almonds and a banana throughout the day. Try to keep dinner on the light side, veggies (mostly raw, occasionally steamed) and a lean protein.

    So, what else could I be doing to be properly prepared for this demanding ride? I get long rides in on the weekends, and try to add to my total mileage each week (looking to get to 250 miles/week). I don't know a lot about cycling specific nutrition, and have never used the various gels and powders on the market (tend to eat bananas, pbj's and chewy granola bars on long rides). I drink regular water on anything less than a century, and mix in a dash of salt, lemon juice and honey with water for 100+ mile rides.

    Also, as an aside, on 100+ rides with a ton of climbing, what size water bottles do you use? I'm currently using two 17oz. bottles but am considering going with 22oz. for the death ride. Not sure how far apart the water stations will be. Is 10oz. of water going to make or break hydration? Because it sure does make a difference in weight. But if I am going to switch to 22oz. bottles I want to do so right away to get used to it.

    Anyway, I'm interested in all the opinions out there on training for non-competitive distance/climbing events, so if this is your type of thing, by all means please chime in!

    Thanks,

    Keith
    _____________________________________
    "Marco, why are you such a strong climber?"

    "To shorten my pain."

    -Marco Pantani

  2. #2
    WEG
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    I have done the Death Ride a couple of times

    Sounds like you should have no problem with the amount of riding you plan to do

    Hydration is very important - the Death Ride is like riding in the desert at altitude

    I would go for 24 ounce bottles

    There are plenty of water stops but it is kind of a hassle to stop at every one

    As far as nutrition is concerned - I prefer to bring what I am used to, otherwise you introduce a variable and it may be hard to predict what will happen 7 hours into it

    I rarely have trouble with eating anything but I have had stomach cramps two years in a row on the final pass - may have more to do with hydration status

    Another key issue is gearing

    I have gone with 34-27 and that is probably not enough - my average cadence was about 70

  3. #3
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    To be honest I didn't do any DR specific training until around June. I picked up a ticket then and started doing more hill climbing. I felt that my regular riding through the spring gave me a solid foundation and I knew what I liked in terms of hydration and food. I was comfortable on ~6-8 hour ride with climbing, solo or with a group, so I felt good prep wise. Workout-wise, I focused on streghening my core. Gearing-wise, I had a compact 50-34 with a 12-27 in the back. Mental strength is key, not sure how to prepare for that one.

    Obviously, go with whatever type of calories work for you. I used 22oz bottles and never was in risk of running dry. I put cytomax in one and h2o in the other. I drank cokes and v8 at the rests stops, which are well stocked with real food and packaged stuff. Sounds like you will be plenty prepared. Try a hilly century in advance to check you prep. In terms of hours in the saddle, a hilly double century would be similar (~12hr). Maybe try the Davis Double in May? The DR is harder, but the DD would be an excellent way to gauge your training.

  4. #4
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    don't forget to bring a JACKET, it rained on the last summit and i had to hitch a ride down because it was too cold and i couldn't see. good luck. take it at your pace and have fun...

  5. #5
    White bartape is faster!
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    Thanks for all the good advice, this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

    Currently running a 53/39 in front and a 12-27 in back, but am switching to a 12-29 in back as soon as they're available in Chorus. 39-29 is pretty close to 34-27, at least according to gear inch calculators.

    Will definitely go for some larger water bottles. And the Davis DC sounds like a great prep ride (if you can call a double century a "prep ride"). As for mental strength, I just always place the emphasis on finishing. First, last; whatever, just finish (which I know I can do).

    The guys at my lbs recommend wearing booties, saying the descents can be super cold at that elevation on your feet. Anyone experience this? Seems like pretty sound logic.

    Anyway, thanks for all the input, and keep it coming!!

    -Keith

  6. #6
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    I've finished seven Death Rides, done the KOM series in SoCal a few times, and raced the Everest Challenge.

    The water stops in the DR are pretty close. I bring the large bottles but generally don't finish them before the next stop (and I skip a lot of the stops). Getting water is not a problem. A few oz of water won't slow you down on the climbs, but if you run out you'll be hurting. It's not a race. Remember that on the first descent from TRP. I have seen some nasty crashes there from riders too amped up and not riding safely around others. Ditto on the descents. It's not a race and there's a lot of riders on the roads, some of which are not thinking clearly.

    For training, you want to do a lot of climbing so you're used to doing a lot of climbing. Some long climbing days seems to help. I like to do repeats on Mt Hamilton or Diablo since they are our longest climbs. During the week when time is limited, one or two shorter climbing rides with the climbs ridden at 90-100% of threshold. I also like race-oriented group rides although they are not needed if you're not racing.

    Nutrition is a problem on long rides/races. Usually its eating enough that is my issue, but sometimes it's eating too much. If you can keep track of your intake and make sure you get 250-300 cal/hr that will probably do. You should use sports drink and bars and gels instead water and bars, that makes it easier to get all the calories. A bar and a bit an hour doesn't sound too bad until it's the 8th hour and you are facing your 11th bar.... ugh.

    I also have issues with electrolytes (salt). I didn't know about that on my first Death Ride and got a bad case of hyponatremia. I finished the ride but I was miserable, and slow. Now I know I need salt. Experiment to see what you need. Some people don't need anything, others eat Endurolytes and salt tablets like candy.

    Get in some rides in the heat to acclimitize. My first DR had temps well over 100, and it's often that hot on the first half of Carson even if it's only in the 90s at TRP. If you ride in the heat you'll be used to it.

    Bring the jacket. It often rains in the mid to late afternoon, and it can be cold at the start and on the descents in the morning. I sometimes just bring a vest and arm warmers, but I have a jacket at the car at TRP so I can pick it up on the way to Carson if it looks like it'll rain before I finish. So far I have managed to avoid the rain.

    Bring lower gearing than you think you will need. That way if you miscalculate or have a bad day you're not struggling with too high a gear. I'm one of the faster riders and I use a 34x27 low (my normal gearing) although the low gear doesn't see much use in the DR. For your first time I'd consider a 50/34 compact and that 12-29 cluster. You can always shift up if it doesn't hurt enough.

    I've never used booties in the DR. The feet get a little cold at the start and on the first descent, but it's usually not that bad. There's been some really cold years though, so pay attention to the weather and bring all your clothes so you can decide in the morning.

    Don't forget to have fun.
    Last edited by ericm979; 03-10-2010 at 08:20 PM.

  7. #7
    WEG
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    A jacket is a good idea

    The last two years in a row it has rained in the afternoon

    There is nothing more miserable than pouring rain at altitude with not enough layers

    It can also be hot

    Towards the end I ask the volunteers to drop some ice in my jersey and I also use the water in my water bottles to cool off

    Good luck

    It is one of the nicest centuries I have done

  8. #8
    MING
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    the route has riders swing by the start before you go up the last climb, no need to haul around a jacket all day when you only (usually) need it on the last pass, stop by your car, grab a jacket, drink something cold, change your socks, wash your face etc. in the 3 years ive done the DR it has rained on the last pass twice.

    booties in the morning are overkill if temps are typical. if you can handle having cool feet for 20 minutes youll be fine. youll be warm soon enough.
    Fight Like Susan!

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