By ALP Coach Alison Powers
This past week, I spent 4 days in Leadville, Colorado pre riding the Leadville 100 mountain bike course with various ALP Cycles athletes and friends.
For me, pre riding a race course is part of the training and preparation for the race. It is a must do- for any race. Not just the LT100. Pre riding the course is just as important as the intervals and the hard work that are put in.
For success on race day to happen, you have to be ready and be prepared. Part of that preparation is having no surprises on race day. By doing your homework, you know what lines to take, you know how long each climb is and what kind of effort to put in, you know when to eat and when to drink. You know how to dress and what lenses to put in your sun glasses. And, most of all, you know what climbing up Powerline after 80miles of racing feels like.
Last week, each pre riding day was different. When you look at a race and at a course, you have to take in to account the individual person; their experience, their fitness, their skills, their training, etc. For a person who has done the Leadville 100 three times, they know what to expect and how to pace and what the feed zones are like. For this rider, tweaking just a few things can be what's needed to shave 20 minutes off their time. For a person who is new to mountain biking and has never done this race before, their course pre-ride is much more in depth. How the race starts, what their start corral is, what kind of rider-traffic they can expect on the first climb, how much food and water to consume and when, how the feedzone works, what equipment (tires, gearing, etc.) is best, what their pacing strategy will be, etc.
No matter what type of rider the racer is, the goal of the race has to be set, then it has to be planned and prepared for, and finally, come race day, it can be executed.
In one week, I get to go back to Leadville for one final pre-ride with ALP athelte Josh. We will ride and dial in Pipeline and Columbine. He is new to Leadville, so keeping track of and learning about his heart rate, pacing, and on-bike hydration and nutrition, will be very important. As well as confidence when descending Columbine.
So much great information can be gained when pre riding a race course- no matter what type of race it is. Make The Course Pre Ride part of your training and preparation.