END TOMBED Twelve hOur Mountain Bike of Endurance Delirium - end of Oct
END TRAILS Twelve hOur Terrifying Run Amongst Innumerable Lost Souls - end Oct
Bikecicle Fatbike Race - Feb
END SURE Sandhills Ultra Run Experience- March
END SPAR Spring Primer Adventure Race- May
END BOB Bicycling Orienteering and Boat Race- June
END WET Watersports Endurance Test- June
We have had the END TOMBED and END TRAILS events on our radar for a year or so because the timing is nice (end of October) and the location isn't too far away (6 1/2 hour drive).
This post is written from the perspective of a first timer to this kind of endurance event and from the perspective of a newbie mountain biker. I rode a cyclocross bike and am not a real confident rider yet. This post has 2 purposes; to help me know what works and doesn't to do better next year and to help other first timers.
We left home Friday in the pouring rain. I was still talking to myself (out loud mostly) to ensure I had not forgotten anything. Not ever participating in an event such as this, not familiar with the course or area and not sure what it was going to look had me making a big list and checking it twice.
This event recap will have extra length to it. This is for a purpose. I am going back next year so I recorded everything and included things to change and do different so I will be better prepared. First time at any event is a learning experience. I didn't know the course, how to execute it and the timing involved in getting done what you need to in the time you have. I think I may know better now.
A few other details first before the recap. We stayed at the Quality Inn in Grand Forks. It is right in the hub of the shopping/restaurant area. Room was comfortable, breakfast included so it worked well for us. It was within walking distance of almost everything. I love that about this part of Grand Forks.
Hit up Texas Roadhouse for supper. We both got hamburgers and they did not disappoint.
A block over was the package pickup at See Dick Run. Spent some time looking around. Lots of great stuff. We walked to Scheels to look around for a bit. Mostly just wanted to stretch the legs for awhile still. Back at the hotel by 8 to start getting things organized and ready. We each had a plastic tote with our things in there for the race. We readjusted a bit but was was basically good. Laid out clothes for the next day, planned our food and got it ready and into bed.
Alarm set for 6, quick shower, dressed, breakfast and on the road by 6:50. 20 min drive to Turtle River State Park in Arvilla, ND. There was a light misty rain coming down for the drive and while we were getting ready after arriving. Rain gear and headlights on to get bikes down, front wheels on and a few clothing and nutrition final touches. Meeting inside the lodge at 7:45 and event to start at 8. Just prior to the start time, it was getting light out and the rain had stopped. Temperature +4 with cloud cover and north wind 10-20 miles/hr.
Everyone left their bikes on the lawn by the lodge and lined up for the 1/2 mile run before we jumped on our bikes to hit the trail.
I ran in my bike shoes. Thank goodness mountain bike clipped in shoes have some grip on them. I sure wouldn't have wanted to run any further with them on. People were either clipped in or not and I can see both have advantages. When it is slick and technical, not being clipped in would be advantageous. The open parts were better being clipped in. Anyway, first lap had my heart rate sky high. The run did spread people out a bit but still a lot of congestion on the bikes. Lots of pressure when people are tailing you wanting to pass and you are unfamiliar with the terrain.
I sectioned the 10 mile loop into 6 parts. First part was basically single and double track through the bush and was decently technical (some of you are laughing I know- but for me it was somewhat stressful and I had to work hard keeping myself off the ground and the bike going the way it was supposed to) Narrow path on the side of a hill with trees very close to the sides of the path. A couple wet, slick areas also. This kind of riding was by far my favourite. I had a blast maneuvering on the trail, in the saddle then out, going up then down, pedaling hard then riding the brakes. Lots of fun! I continued to get more comfortable with each lap. The picture below was right at the start area by the river. It was very hard to take pictures unless you stopped to do so. This was the one place I could kinda coordinate my gloved hands with the camera button with an easy section.
The next section was mostly field riding. It was rough with my cyclocross bike so I didn't love this section but there was nothing hard about it. A bit of traffic both ways, a bit of bush but mostly open field. I can't wait to try this with a mountain or fat bike!
Section 3 took us back into the bush again with all single track riding. This section had a lot of low tree branches to watch for as well as roots over the trail. It was also a blast to ride. There were also a couple small bridges over muddy sections. The scaredy cat that I am, I walked over the bridges. I tried to ride over the first time as those on mountain bikes or fat tire bikes make it look so easy but my nervous-ness and my slippery tire landed me with a booter in the mud. Those that are comfortable on a mountain bike wouldn't ever think twice about riding over this section. The perspective of this recap is from a newbie. Please remember that. (side note: I tried riding my son's fat tired bike across a narrow rail road tie after we got home and I had no trouble. The cyclocross bike was just too unsteady for me. A couple slips and falls and I lost my confidence. After working on it at home, my ability and confidence both improved) I am totally going to be ready for those bridges and ramps next year!
Section 4 was a gravel and road section where you could make up a bit of time (if you aren't riding a fat tired bike), take some fuel in as you don't need both hands on the wheel or you can stop to use an outdoor washroom.
Section 5 is an undeveloped area of the State Park dubbed "the farm" and was basically like riding through the bush. The trail did become more pronounced as the day went on but in the beginning, following the small white flags was the only way of knowing where to go. It was a rough section again for me and the part I least enjoyed because of that. It's actually most like the riding I do at home in my back yard but I guess repetition of the roughness was hard on my parts. Reality check- those with mountain or fat tired bikes would have enjoyed this section and done well. I did see a few other ladies struggling a bit but my struggles are mostly due to poor positioning on the bike and a lot of difficulty with saddle sores. The biggest bridge was in this section and it was about 2 feet wide crossing the Turtle River. Apparently in all the years that this event has run, only a couple people have fallen off the bridge. It wasn't a long fall nor was the water deep but I took no chances and walked ever single time. What a muffin!
The final section was on a curving paved path then paved road to the lodge. It was again a chance for us to make up some time and put the pedal to the medal. Good chance to drink or eat and to prepare for what we needed to stop for/pick up/ do back at the start.
This is the breakdown of lap times, the transitions and what happened each lap. May have missed a few things but generally remembered most.
Lap1 Time 1 hour 10 min w transition of 6 min 24 sec
-changed from mitts to gloves (too hard to shift gears and hit brakes)
-even though the warmth was nice to start with, we warmed up quickly so next time just wear gloves
- took off the short sleeve ENDracing tshirt
Lap 2 Time 1 hour 4 min w transition of 2 min 40 sec
-Hubby changed gloves again and I put on more chamois cream
Lap 3 Time 1 hour 5 min w transition of 10 min
- I needed to use the bathroom and had to go into the lodge, takes time and next time would just use the outdoor washroom in section 4.
-refilled UCAN fuel, NUUN water refill
- ate my peanut butter jam english muffin sandwich
Lap 4 Time 1 hour 13 min w transition of 2 min 37 sec
-changed socks and put on Halloween costume for the dress up part
Lap 5 Time 1 hour 4 min w transition of 3 min 56 sec
-fixed my bike saddle moving it up and tipping it down
-Terry put his shoe covers on, his feet were pretty cold still
-I changed socks
-water and UCAN refill
Lap 6 Time 1 hour 6 min w transition of 7 secs
Lap 7 Time 1 hour 11 min w transition of 35 sec
-quick stop mid way through the loop to enjoy some treats left out for us
Lap 8 Time 1 hour 9 min
Total time 9 hour 32 min with transition time of approximately 23 min
*I decided to stop after 8 laps as I had terrible back pain and saddle pain from lap 1-5 until I made the saddle adjustments. The saddle was a bit loose and had moved and the pain was pretty bad. I knew I had pretty bad chafing. My awesome goal was to ride 10 laps, good goal was 8 laps and anything less was oh well that's the way it goes goal. Probably TMI but I was in the middle of my cycle and I have to admit it does throw things off a bit. Most importantly, we had no idea what the terrain was like and with all the slipping and sliding we did with our good but less than ideal bikes, riding in the dark was pretty scary for me. We both had headlights but agreed after 8 laps we were good with that.
We had registered in the bike event on Saturday, planning to run our own run Sunday and not the event run. I think in hindsight, it would have been good to get an idea of the course and how it would look doing it again. Both of us have spent more time on our bikes and less time running through our busy harvest season so I really didn't think I was trained enough to do what I would want to do.
-long sleeve spring/fall thermal Nike shirt
-Salomon soft shell jacket
-coeur tri shorts
-nike winter tights
-compression socks, then biking socks
-toque under helmet
-mitts then winter gloves
* I would dress the same based on the 0-+5 C temp range but I would add shoe covers to keep my feet dry. I would also consider changing shirts at the 7 lap mark to be drier for the final 3 laps when will be getting dark. It is a good idea to change socks half way through. Gloves
*If it was warmer +5-+10 mark, I would change out the soft shell and wear my columbia wind/water resistant jacket which is thinner than the soft shell but offers some light protection. I would consider just the shorts and compression socks and ditching the pants but with riding in the bush and trails, pants are nice. I may also wear a headband instead of a toque and thinner gloves.
*If the weather was cooler 0 C or below freezing, I would dress the same but maybe stick a couple toe warmers (in those packages you buy) in between my shoes and shoe covers just to ensure I didn't get cold feet. If it was raining, I would wear 2 layers of shirts and my waterproof jacket. Waterproof gloves.
-thin Sugoi long sleeve shirt
-bike jersey overtop
-black Sugoi soft shell biking jacket
-Sugoi waterproof bike jacket
-LG biking tights
*Hubby was overdressed on the top. He never should have kept his waterproof jacket on and he would not wear it next time around unless it was raining. Being overdressed had its disadvantages late in the game as he was very sweaty, then cold.
We had a cooler full of the following in the back of our vehicle parked by the lodge;
-Peanut butter and jam sandwiches (some in english muffins, some on sourdough bread) in sandwich bags
-UCAN chocolate protein mix
-UCAN peanut butter bars
-NUUN tablets, active tablets and caffeine tablets
-2 containers of overnight oats w pb and J
-Quest protein bars (chocolate chip cookie dough)
-lightly salted almonds
We filled up a 20 oz bottle 3 times each with UCAN protein mix and filled up our water bottles 3 times as well. This wasn't enough. I felt slightly dehydrated. There is a challenge to drinking on a technical course and when the temp is cooler. You sweat less but are inclined to also drink less which isn't good. Maybe a hydrapack would be a consideration next time for the NUUN water. On a normal bike ride, my goal is to drink 20-24 oz in 1.5 hours. For the 9.5 hours of biking, I should have 120 oz or twice what I actually consumed. Obviously with the cooler temps that will be a bit less but I am correct in thinking I was dehydrated. Most hydration bladders hold 2 L or 64 oz so a fill halfway through would have given me a good amount of fluids. With the UCAN powder, it's a scoop per 1 hour to 1 1/2. Consuming 3-4 bottles is appropriate.
In terms of food, on the yes list for me was; bananas, pb and j sandwich, quest protein bar. For hubby; overnight oats, pb and j sandwich, watermelon, banana. I think the only thing I would add is a treat food, maybe m and m's or small chocolate bar or cookie. My daughter and I packed my husband's favourite Starbuck's cookie into his special needs bag for his first ironman triathlon. We wrote on the outside messages of encouragement on the outside. A cookie like this would have been a welcome treat.
*For next time, I will have all my bottles of water and NUUN and UCAN premade and ready to go. It didn't take long to mix up then and I didn't want to waste but it would be of benefit to know that I have a certain number of bottles that are mine that I need to consume (and so does hubby). Not just a hit and miss thing.
*I would also take the bagged sandwich along in my pocket because I think I could eat it sometime during the 4 or 6 section.
*I am also currently incorporating branch chain amino acids into my workouts so not sure yet how they would translate to this kind of event but at this point, they would be included.
*Next time will take a hard sided cooler to put drinks and food in and have it by the lodge (as some others had stuff there). It would be easier to access going by after each lap.
Plan for next time around:
My goal is to complete 100 miles in the 12 hours and to do so, a lap needs to be done in 1 hour - 1 hour 10 min with a transition time of about 15 min.
I would stop at laps 3, 5 and 7 only to grab fuel bottles, sandwiches and to change shirts and socks at lap 5 or 7.
There is also the opportunity to enter the 12 hour running event the next day. The goal would be to complete 50 miles in 12 hours to be a part of the Undead Hall of Fame, which requires 100 miles to be done on the bike on Saturday followed by 50 miles on the Sunday run. I am confident that the 100 miles on the bike I can do (with a mountain bike next time) but there will need to be some serious training and tapering for the 50 mile run.
To plan on running the next day, I would plan to refuel the night of the bike with a couple hamburgers or pizza, a protein shake (will need to bring along the magic bullet). I would use UCAN protein drink mix, UCAN bars, protein bars, bananas and water with NUUN for fuel for the run. Each loop for the run is 6 miles so refueling after each lap is ideal. Running about 1 hour - 1 hour 15 per lap for 8 laps needed for the 50 miles would be an approximate time of 10 hours.
Thanks for hanging along for the long recap. For any of you who have completed an event such as this, I welcome suggestions.
Can't wait till next year!