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Discussion Starter #1
The race is Sept. 15th and I've been training on my road bike, Tallboy and Highball at 3-6K ft. elevation. I get about 85 mile a week in between them and I'm 42 yr. old and 6'4" 225 lbs.

I've previously received some advice on this forum, but I need a refresher update. My goal is to make the time cutoffs and finish. I have a FTP of 335 watts based on my 20 min power with an ave. HR around 167. For some 3-4 hr. rides on my road bike, I have about a 275 watt ave. with a HR in the high 140's with these efforts.

1. Altitude. I've been told that to adjust to altitude you need to get up there 2 weeks ahead, or arrive the day before. Unfortunately, I'll be at 6K ft. elev. days 3-8 prior at at 8K ft. 2 days prior. I may be able to get an altitude tent before this. Does anyone have experience with these?

2. Race Course. Does anyone have a link to a Garmin Connect or Strava for the race course so I can look at it in more detail. The website has a profile, of the elev. but no total gain listed.

3. Higball HT vs. Tallboy. I've got a fair amount of miles on both and they are 22 lbs. vs. 26 lbs. respectively. I've ridden 3 hours on the Highball without issue, but at 225 lbs. my legs get tired if I am in and out of the saddle over roots, rocks, etc. for this amount of time. The Tallboy let's me sit through more of the mild rough stuff that gives me more a beating on the HT. Is this trail mostly fire roads on the climbs? Any long single track stretches of rocks and roots? If there is a lot of single track climbs/descents, I think I may be better off having the extra travel on the Tallboy, in spite of the extra 4 lbs. of weight.

4. Feed/Water stations. I'm planning on bringing two 25 oz bottles and I'll probably go though a bottle every 40-60 min (probably closer to 40 because of my wt. and elev.) I'll have enough calories in my drink plus some other calories in the form of chomps/bonk breakers/etc. that I've tested on 2-3 hr rides without issues. Is this enough water to get me from station to station? If not, I'll throw on my Camelback and take more H20.

5. HR at altitude. I train with a power meter and know what power/HR I can hold for 3 hours, but I have not done any longer rides or endurance mountain bike racing. What %HR of your LTHR do most of you find you can hold for 6-8 hours. Also, what adjustment have you made for your HR or RPE when going to this altitude change. I have an idea (probably around 140ish ave.), but then again because I haven't done any endurance races, or rides at this elev., I don't want to guess wrong and bonk 20 miles into this.

I know I will learn a lot at this race and hope to have fun, I'm just trying to increase my odds of having fun and decrease my risk of falling apart by asking this questions. Thanks!
 

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If your goal is to meet the cutoff in your first endurance event, two tips: ride the FS bike and stop worrying about everything else. Enjoy it, don't overthink it.
 

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Zefal Magnum water bottles. 33 ounces. Fit standard cages. Don't race anybody but yourself. Otherwise, what Mudge said.
 

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I'm also racing a Highball this year and the Odyssey is a home race. Seriously, if ever there was a long race made for this bike, this is it. The only singletrack is the stuff at the ski area at the end of each lap: a hard steep but smooth climb and a relatively smooth fast singletrack descent. The rest of your time will be on pavement, dirt roads, and jeep roads.

If I recall correctly, the aid station was at the top of Paradise Divide, which is the top of each lap's big climb... It'll take around 1.5 hours for a strong rider to get to the aid station from the start of each lap. You should also be able to have your own bag at the base area for when you come in from lap 1.

If the race is exactly like last year, we started with a nuetral pavement descent into town and it's gonna be freakin' Cold ! Plan for anything in mid-September around here.

As far as all the power and HR data, I can't help you there. I use more of a sense of 'feel' on race day. When this race goes green on Slate river road, it takes off like a rocketship to the base of the big climb. Use your drafting skills and then just settle in on the climb. You need to still feel really good when you get to the top.

Oh, and use a fast tire... Good Luck !!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the great advice. I can't wait to ride at least 30+ miles of the course next week and see how it goes.
 

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I'm also racing a Highball this year and the Odyssey is a home race. Seriously, if ever there was a long race made for this bike, this is it. The only singletrack is the stuff at the ski area at the end of each lap: a hard steep but smooth climb and a relatively smooth fast singletrack descent. The rest of your time will be on pavement, dirt roads, and jeep roads.
Srsly? Little singletrack and lots of dirt/jeep roads?

I've never been to that area, but would've assumed they would put together a good SINGLETRACK course in CB. I'm surprised.
 

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Srsly? Little singletrack and lots of dirt/jeep roads?

I've never been to that area, but would've assumed they would put together a good SINGLETRACK course in CB. I'm surprised.
I understand where you're coming from, but there are a few good reasons for the course being what it is. Since this is a qualifier for Leadville, they want to keep the terrain and difficulty level(technically) the same. The race is also trying to appeal to a different crowd- Roadies and families, people who will come and stay awhile, test themselves in a race without being too far out of their element.

Then there is the 1000 person field limit. Sure, there will only be a few hundred, but the space is available. A race this big would never get the permits to go on Forest Service trails. Honestly, the die hard locals would sh!t a green worm if 800 people charged out onto their favorite singletrack. You would think grown men could keep track of a GU wrapper, but I haven't seen it yet.

Truth is, in a high volume race, double track is almost a relief. Being all wadded up with everybody on singletrack can be frustrating. Watching other people trampling through the wildflowers trying to pass on these trails would also suck it. I will admit that the Odyssey goes right past argueably the best piece of singletrack in CB... twice! Riding up to 10,700' and dodgeballing that trail should be a crime!

Living and racing in Gunnison means being in the same loop as Dave Wiens, which is cool. A few Augusts ago, in an email exchange concerning a local race, I told him I was heading to Leadville for my first one. He said 'enjoy it, it's a great race, and besides, we have plenty of great singletrack to ride here at home.' I still feel the same about racing- If I can ride great trail all the time, it's ok if I don't on raceday.

Now then, there ARE some cooler options- Fat Tire Bike week starts in a few days and the Fat Tire 40 is next weekend. A lot of good singletrack in that one. And then there's the big one- The CB Classic. 100 miles divided into 3 classic singletrack loops. Killer riding, low key racing... and beer.
 

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I understand where you're coming from, but there are a few good reasons for the course being what it is. Since this is a qualifier for Leadville, they want to keep the terrain and difficulty level(technically) the same. The race is also trying to appeal to a different crowd- Roadies and families, people who will come and stay awhile, test themselves in a race without being too far out of their element.

Then there is the 1000 person field limit. Sure, there will only be a few hundred, but the space is available. A race this big would never get the permits to go on Forest Service trails. Honestly, the die hard locals would sh!t a green worm if 800 people charged out onto their favorite singletrack. You would think grown men could keep track of a GU wrapper, but I haven't seen it yet.

Truth is, in a high volume race, double track is almost a relief. Being all wadded up with everybody on singletrack can be frustrating. Watching other people trampling through the wildflowers trying to pass on these trails would also suck it. I will admit that the Odyssey goes right past argueably the best piece of singletrack in CB... twice! Riding up to 10,700' and dodgeballing that trail should be a crime!

Living and racing in Gunnison means being in the same loop as Dave Wiens, which is cool. A few Augusts ago, in an email exchange concerning a local race, I told him I was heading to Leadville for my first one. He said 'enjoy it, it's a great race, and besides, we have plenty of great singletrack to ride here at home.' I still feel the same about racing- If I can ride great trail all the time, it's ok if I don't on raceday.

Now then, there ARE some cooler options- Fat Tire Bike week starts in a few days and the Fat Tire 40 is next weekend. A lot of good singletrack in that one. And then there's the big one- The CB Classic. 100 miles divided into 3 classic singletrack loops. Killer riding, low key racing... and beer.
Excellent points, none of which I'd considered. Makes sense.
 

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Not sure if you can see my course from last year or if you are on strava but here is my ride profile: Bike Ride Profile | 62miles near Crested Butte | Times and Records | Strava

It was hard and I live at altitude in Albuquerque. Very steep and long climbs, but gorgeous views. I finished 86th total at just under 6 hours and needless to say I was spent. The singletrack section was freshly cut so it destroyed my lower back, but other than that I felt ok through most of the course. Run low profile (fast/light tires) as it is very smooth and very fast. A carbon hardtail is recommended but full squish would make it more enjoyable except for the weight penalty, light wheels would make life much more enjoyable. Lance did it last year on a Superfly with stans raven tires if that helps, so light and fast is the key. I recommend a triple if you can as a double would have been too much gear for the start of the second lap for us mortals. Like everyone else said the race is between you and the course go at a fast pace you can do for 63 miles. I struggled with get my heart rate high enough at that altitude, hr stayed low and legs filled with acid fast so really focus on breathing. It was a blast to race in August and I am sure you will enjoys it as well. The aid stations are well stocked and the course is so picturesque. If I can get time off I may see you out there.
 

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5. HR at altitude. I train with a power meter and know what power/HR I can hold for 3 hours, but I have not done any longer rides or endurance mountain bike racing. What %HR of your LTHR do most of you find you can hold for 6-8 hours. Also, what adjustment have you made for your HR or RPE when going to this altitude change.
Altitude can do funny things to your HR. I find that it's not a particularly good gauge of effort when you're going from lower elevations to race at 6K or higher. There are a couple of effects that can completely skew the relationship between HR and power output.

1. It's much easier to get dehydrated at altitude.

2. Since there is less O2 your cardio system has to work harder for the same power output. There is also a limit to your peak power output.

It's important to remember that the real limiter is your power output, not necessarily your HR. Just because you're going at a higher heart rate doesn't necessarily mean that you're exceeding your effective power output.

So, I would focus on RPE and pacing. The only place I would worry about HR is if it doesn't seem to recover to lower levels on downhills and rest stops. This may be an early sign of dehydration.
 
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