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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am signed up for the Ouachita Challenge 80 miler. I have been racing SS bikes for the past 4 years. I haven't really played with gearing too much seeing as most of the races I've done are 20-40 miles in distance. I have ridden most of the Womble trail before and have never touched the Ouachita trail. I am thinking about a 32-19 or 32-20 on a 29er. Seeing as this is my first longer distance race, I want to be able to finish above all else.

I am not going to ask what gear I should run, I am just asking what gearing have you ran in the past? I know that course plays a huge roll in selection, but I am coming from the leave it and ride it school of ss riding. I know the trail offers some fairly long singletrack climbs, with some fairly steep sections. From the sound of it , the Ouachita trail section is where it gets nasty.

Also feel free to throw me some advice if you are an SS endurance freak, or if you have raced any sort of longer distance on an SS. I am getting in some good longer miles right now to really build my base even through this crappy winter weather. I've also been getting out on the xc skis about 1-2 times a week to really work the legs and upper body/back.

Thanks for any heads up. The only times I've ridden down there were on a geared bike and I climbed most of the stuff in a 34-32 as I was riding with some slower, but fairly fit riders. I am really looking forward to this race and hopefully fitting in at least 1 of the NUE series races this year. It might sound crazy but the length of these races while greuling, sound like a blast.
 

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I was the last SS rider in on the 80 miler last year(2008), so I may not be the best of references, but I just ran my normal 34-18 gearing on my Explosif 2-9. Granted, I was slower more due to lack of fitness than anything, but I think that was the right gearing for me; the gearing I was used to running worked well.

Training-wise, I'd make sure you're comfortable with a hike-a-bike, since there are a few climbs that are either dangerous or nigh-impossible on the 80 mile course, so that's all I can throw out there for ya.

I'll be there again this year, but on a geared bike. No reason, other than I feel like I've done it on a SS, so now might as well try it with gears.
 

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i did the 60 miler in 2007 with 32x20. there was no 80. it took me about 7 hours. i never did hurt myself, too bad. expect to hike parts of the ouachita because they are not rideable, ss or geared.

this year, we get the womble first, which is easier to me. then the ouachita, where most all of the climbing and hiking happens..

i am signed up for the 80 this year. come feb, i will decide ss or geared.
 

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Not a major endurance rider here. I decided over the last years that my body (or my willingness to train) doesn't like things significantly longer than 5 hours.
Gearing though is entirely a combo of you and the terrain. I've done 6 hours solo, 12 hours solo, Ouachita 60 the last two years, Syllamo's last year and tried the Mohican the last two.
My fitness will determine my gearing for Ouachita this year. Ran 32-19 which was fine, not too hard, not too easy, until I had about 15 miles to go and I hit that wall. A teammate ran 32-18 and wished he had gone higher (smaller rear cog). Once you're walking you're walking and there is stuff on the ouachita trail part that you will be walking, although the 80 course is a little different. He wanted the speed everywhere else, and he was walking away from me on the climbs. He also had a great winter of training under his belt.
I went lower at Syllamo's, with no pavement on it, and ran 32-20. Not so great an idea. It helped me pass that hundred people or so when I got a flat 1 mile in, but sucked trying to keep speed at the end when the trail smoothed out.
I figure this year (also 60) I'm looking for 32-18 (or 32-19) again and more time on the bike this winter.
 

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I haven't done that ride, nor am I a major racer or anything. I have done numerous 6-8 hour alpine rides (and a few races) on a 32x20 (26er) and 32x22 (29er). I know this is lower than a lot of other folks, but I like being able to spin. It helps me recover and stay loose throughout a long day in the saddle. I find that short maximal effort pushes in too big a gear really sap me of energy and slow me down in the long run.
 

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Start a bit lighter than you would normally run for a day of riding. Bring a few different gear changes with you, not a big deal if you need to make a 5 minute gear change. Keeping yourself properly fueled will most likely have a greater impact on you finish than your gear choice. Eat when your not hungry and drink when your not thirsty. I have used Ensure for the plus 8 hour events and they work well, although you need to test ride anything new well before race day. Happy Trails
 

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i do hundies with my SS 29er in the cascades and sierras. I run my typical hilly singletrack gear; 32:20. You're not looking to go out fast, steady through the whole race is going to be faster and less painful overall. I second the last post, figuring out your nutrition is going to be a bigger factor; I'm still working on mine. Have a good ride!

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have worked out my nutrition pretty well over longer 6+ hour days in the saddle. That being said I definitely haven't done that in a race setting. I don't know how much I am looking at this as a race, so much as a ride that I want to complete and have fun riding some singletrack I have never been on before.

Thanks for the solid recommendation on the gearing selection. I was already going to take along a 34t and 32t chainring and then a 18-21t cog selection. I figured that would leave me covered. Hopefully we will be able to get out and ride some trails the day before the race to refamiliarize myself with the area and the climbs.
 

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last year the OC was my first endurance ride. I entered the tour coming off a knee injury. I rode it with gears and did the tour in 6:40 hours, I didnt know much about nutrition back then and I learned why I got major cramps.

I started riding SS this year and I have entered the 60 mile SS race. I've done some endurance training, so I now have my nutrtition dialed in, no cramps with endurance rides so far. I ride a 29'er and usually run 32:18 at the local trails but when I'm doing endurance rides I always run 32:20 for two reasons. 1. I suck at climbing so I need to make it easy as possible with my gearing. 2. running 32:20 is just perfect for the easy cadence which you will appreciate after 4 hours on a bike. I will regret the gearing when it comes to the asphalt and gravel road parts of the trail but I will enjoy it on the single track. I know I will be walking here and there and of course I'll walk a good part of blowout mountain.
 

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32 - 20 is what I like for the entire OC course. The Womble is first but this is where the race is won or lost. Sure you can go charge up the eaiser climbs of this section but why burn the matches when you are only 25 miles in.
 

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story mt biker said:
32 - 20 is what I like for the entire OC course. The Womble is first but this is where the race is won or lost. Sure you can go charge up the eaiser climbs of this section but why burn the matches when you are only 25 miles in.
Are you on a 29er? And do you know which climb is first this year? thanks
 

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Yes a Haro Mary 29er SS, sorry bout that. The first climb this year will be the up the gravel on the North side of Gaston Mt this will also be your second climb up the single track as planned right now, or the south gravel side if we alter the course a bit for the sake of safety. The first big climb on the OT will be Chalybeate Mt.
 
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