Sunday, 5 February 2017

Racing The Munga - How to Prepare (Part 1)

A few days ago I received the following message - "Please would you consider posting about how you prepare for something like the Munga? And about what the day or two after look like for you."

Interesting... there is a big difference between "how YOU prepare" (as in me) and "how TO prepare" (normal folk) ... this might end up a case of, do as I say and not as I do. Let's start with the second part.

Post-Race Recovery.
After I get off my bike at the finish line I stay away from my bike for at least a week. Mostly because my backside is sore and also because I just need a break to let my body recover. I suppose I should have a post-race routine that includes stretching, massage and other clever stuff like ice baths and recovery drinks, but, as you are about to discover, I'm both unscientific and unmethodical in my approach to cycling. I simply sloth around and eat whatever I fancy. To entertain myself I put my feet up and start writing my race blog.

It's hard enough getting your head around a race like The Munga. If you have enough head space left to be systematic immediately post-race then I reckon you haven't raced hard enough. You should leave everything out on the trail and finish hollow but happy. If it makes you happy then, by all means, have a massage and drink your fill of recovery shakes. I'm not convinced it serves a useful purpose but what do I know. I'd sooner have a milkshake and a side of fries before falling down on the carpet for a good snooze. I like to keep it simple. I'll touch on the subject of simplicity a bit later.

Race Preparation.
Right up front I should tell you that it has been said of me that my training is both insufficient (not enough) and inadequate (unstructured) to prepare for any form of racing. My physical race preparation is minimal. I generally ride 2 or 3 times a week with my average training ride being around 55 to 60 km's - go look on Strava.

Ten years ago when I was training for the Epic the general consensus was that you should be training for at least 15 hours a week and I did just that. These days I manage between 6 and 7 hours. I know that's not a lot. However, I rode 11 000 km last year and half of that was in competition riding, the majority of it during endurance races.

After 12 years of riding, and I guess a whole pile of endurance enabling DNA, I know I can turn my legs over for at least 42 hours before I need to sleep. In the early days I would do training rides of 200 km. I found them quite exhausting. I wouldn't say they were a waste of time, but I don't do that any more. I race a handful of 500+ nonstop races every year so they help keep my legs in endurance shape.

Race preparation includes equipment, body, and mind. I have covered equipment choices in an earlier blog. It was written before I had done my first Munga. With two Munga's under my belt my equipment choices remain the same so I won't cover that again. It was a 3 part post which started here:

Transitioning to Endurance Distance.

If you're intending to do The Munga then I assume you have done your fair share of one day or multi day stage races. If you are a race virgin then I suggest you bump The Munga down a few notches on your bucket list - it's not the ideal way to get into racing. Marathon distance racing and endurance racing are different animals. I have ridden with marathon distance podium finishers and have watched them fade as the distance ratchets up.

What if you don't yet have any distance in your legs? Well, you have to start somewhere. In the next post we will discuss the options for getting some distance into your legs and head.


Unknown said...

Was great following your Munga Mike! I live in Canada,close to the Tour Divide start and intend on riding it in 2018. If you are ever interested in heading over here to do that or the BC Epic 1000 I'd be more than willing to help out with logistics. Lennard Pretorius.

Unknown said...

Hi Mike. Thanks for the helpful tips. Do you have to carry all your extra clothes yourself? Groete Hilke

Mike said...

Did you do TD last year?