Jack, Alex and myself have been spending our time planning for the upcoming 24hour Mountain Bike Challenge on the 21st and 22nd of April. Held at the Kooralbyn Hotel Resort the 24hour has become an annual highlight for many on the Queensland Mountain Bike calendar.
While my training has purely revolved around practising getting up at odd hours of the night (my 13 week old son Hamish has been helping me with this) and basically zero miles on the bike I thought I would pick the brains of my team mates to give you our Lifecycle 24 hour tips.
Tip 1: Pack Extra
If you are planning to do a 24 hour event you really can't be to prepared. A lot can happen in a 24 hour period, rain, hail, shine, you don't know what the weather will do. Therefore we suggest you pack a few changes of cycling gear. You might not think you need it but if it is raining we can guarantee you won't want to put your wet cycling gear back on that has been sitting out all night. If you are planning to ride in the same knicks and jersey all night at least take a bunch of socks. A fresh pair of socks can seem like the ultimate luxury to the sleep deprived mountain biker.
Tip 2: Fuel Up
Keeping the energy levels up over a 24 hour race is no easy task. They key we've found is to take a variety of foods as it is hard to know what your body will crave a 3am in the morning. Energy Gels and Energy Bars are a great choice as you can get them on the fly. Have them on your bike or in your Jersey pocket ready to go so you don't have to hunt for them in a sleep deprived state at 2am. We also reccomend taking a good supply of "real food": biscuits, fruit, pasta, whatever takes your fancy. Our favourite is my Mother's famous fruitcake: tasty, filling and packed with energy.
Tip 3: The Right Bike
Actually there is no one "right bike" for a 24 hour though there are some things that help. A lightweight cross country rig is the way to go, sure we've seen plenty of guys whip out laps on their freeride rigs but 18 hours in you know they are cursing those extra kilos on the climbs. Jack, Alex and myself are all running quite different rigs for the event. I'm riding my all time favourite MTB the full supsension Stumpjumper FSR, this bike pedals well and has a plush five inches of travel that keeps you feeling fresh at 2am. Alex has choosen an Avanti Aggressor, with top quality SRAM X9 running gear, Fox Fork and Avid Juicy 7 brakes. Alex know he has qualiy parts that won't let him down. As you would expect Jack will be riding something different, a fully rigid Salsa El Mariachi 29er. A 29er is a mountain bike with 29inch tyres rather then the usual 26inch. Basically think of the advantages 700c wheels give you on the road and apply the same theory off road. Should be a light, quick bike.
Tip 4: Good Lights
Well duh! Of course you need good lights but aren't some of them a pretty darn expensive? Well next time you are in store ask us about doing a pre-24hour deal on some nice re-charceable lights, we have some great pricing on Cygo-Lights that might make things a bit easier on the hip pocket. Also don't forget a rear tail light, even if you are so fast you don't think anyone will catch you it is a race rule that you must have one, so don't forget.
Hope everyone has a great time at the event. If you see Jack, Alex or myself out there make sure you come and say hello.