Logan to Preston
Distance: 32 miles
Ride Time: 1:22
Average Watts: 166 watts
Average Heart Rate: 138 bpm
Average Speed: 23.4 mph
As we rolled across the start line and I heard the chip sensor beep, I couldn’t help but think about the magnitude of the effort that hitting my goal of 9:30 would take today. I couldn’t help but think about the sacrifices of my wife and boys over the last seven months. I thought about all the 5:00 a.m. alarms that got me out of bed so I could squeeze in my rides before my family woke up. At that moment I got really, really excited about the day. I knew the day was going to be long, but I was excited to see how my training would hold up throughout the race.
The thing about the Logan to Preston segment of the race is that your pace is dictated by the team that decides to take control of the front of the group. Unless you are willing to get on the front for about 80 minutes, then you are going to ride someone else’s wheel at their pace. You could blow your day by trying to get guys to go faster. But if even if you are targeting the win in your group, all you have to do is stay with the group.
This part of the report would be fairly boring if all I did was talk about the ride to Preston. There is very little strategy that is employed in the group during this segment. Truthfully, everyone just sits in the group and just rides. There are very few surges and almost no significant efforts.
My personal strategy on this segment focuses on keeping alert to avoid any accidents and making sure I eat and drink to keep the tank topped off. I never, ever cross wheels with the rider in front so that if they have to swerve, they don’t hit my wheel causing me to go down. I spend time talking with friends in the group, trying to stay warm, and trying to miss potholes and other crap in the road. This is definitely not the section where the race begins.
So let’s talk about my planned nutrition strategy for the entire race. It is imperative in a race of this length to stay fueled up and hydrated. It is also a challenge to achieve both goals. You have to stay focused and on schedule with your feeding and hydration to set yourself up for the performance you want out of your body later in the day. Here is how I make it work.
I drink one bottle of custom blended Infinit Nutrition per hour, which ranges between 280 -300 calories. With Infinit, I never have a problem with absorption – my stomach never feels bloated or like it is not processing calories. I will eat two to three Fig Newtons per hour. I know there are some great solid nutrition products on the market like waffles, bars, and Shot Blocs. But Fig Newtons are cheap and they really do the job. They have about 55 calories each and are super easy for my gut to process.
At neutral aid stations on the LOTOJA course I will take a hand-up of a bottle of water. I chug it within about 100 yards and drop the bottle at the drop zone. It isn’t complicated and I never put a foot down at the neutral aid stations. If you are racing LOTOJA, you cannot waste time with your feet on the group at neutral aid stations. At the supported aid stations in Montpilier, Afton, and Alpine I use a slightly different strategy.
At the Montpilier and Afton aid stations I have a hand-up bag that contains a ziplock bag of boiled new potatoes, a packet of lunchmeat, and a ziplock with six Fig Newtons. I also take on two new bottles of Infinit. My goal is to put a foot down for about 15 seconds at the supported aid stations. As I leave the aid station I plan on soft pedaling and eat and eat and eat. I try to eat until I am full.
When I hit Alpine I always take on two bottles that are made up of half Red Bull and half water. My body really responds at this point to the caffeine. I stumbled on this strategy a couple of years ago and it works really well for me.
The next installment will deal with the segment of LOTOJA where the race actually begins – Preston to Montpilier and the climb up Strawberry Pass.