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I'm from Utah
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone on this forum has ridden the Susitna 100 in the past? I am planning on registering this year, and would love to hear from people who have done it before and know what to expect. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,

Jill
 

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FatBike Fiend
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974 Posts
Conditions do change, but...

You can expect:

Great racer support from the Su100 folks.
A well marked trail.
Lots of check points ran by friendly volunteers with drinking water, a warm place to dry off, and even a steaming bowl of Jambalaya at Flat Horn lake.
Variable trail conditions, you just never know. As a rule the far reaches of the trail from Eagle Song to the Yentna river is the least travelled/ packed and that stretch is usually what makes or breaks the racers.Many people scratch on this section. Expect lots of pushing through this stretch, even in good years.
Meeting lots of fellow racers from all over the place.
Temperatures between -30 and +45 and trail conditions ranging from glare ice to overflow to deep unconsolidated sugary snow.
More hills then you would expect.
14 hours of darkness, bring good lights.
Being very happy to see the finish line when it's all over!

Good luck in the race.

Wildfire
 

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that about sums it up...

Wildfire said:
You can expect:

Great racer support from the Su100 folks.
A well marked trail.
Lots of check points ran by friendly volunteers with drinking water, a warm place to dry off, and even a steaming bowl of Jambalaya at Flat Horn lake.
Variable trail conditions, you just never know. As a rule the far reaches of the trail from Eagle Song to the Yentna river is the least travelled/ packed and that stretch is usually what makes or breaks the racers.Many people scratch on this section. Expect lots of pushing through this stretch, even in good years.
Meeting lots of fellow racers from all over the place.
Temperatures between -30 and +45 and trail conditions ranging from glare ice to overflow to deep unconsolidated sugary snow.
More hills then you would expect.
14 hours of darkness, bring good lights.
Being very happy to see the finish line when it's all over!

Good luck in the race.

Wildfire
Wildfire has supported the race for many years and has had quite a few of his fatbikes do quite well. His summary is very accurate. You can email our website at susitna100.com and ask specific questions, I usually handle all the bike related ones. This forum has lot of folks who have done the race and can also give you good advice. Let us help you. Do the race, you'll love it and never forget it.

Happy trails,

Mike
 

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Beware of Doggerel
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665 Posts
As Pat said what do you want to know?

Wildfire already summed it up, so here are some of my thoughts from the race, train on snow machine trails if possible. I trained for the Susitna 100 mainly on groomed ski trails in Anchorage and was surprised when I went out to the big lake area for a shakedown ride. Be prepared to push your bike. Incorporate pushing workouts into your training. Bring food you like. I brought half a pizza in my frame bag, with me on the Susitna, way better than “energy food. Spend as much time riding in the snow as possible. Get off the roads and trainers. Also start early trying to figure out how you are going to carry all that required gear.

Adam
 

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I'm from Utah
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks

Thanks for the good advice. This definitly gives me a start on training on what to expect (which can be hard down in Homer. It's so warm and wet here this month.) I have been riding on snowmobile trails around town. After the thaw the trails were torn to shreds, and refroze like a boulderfield of ice. Tough riding. I took a few good spills. I have some specific questions I'd love to ask:
Out of curiosity, how much pushing do you usually do?
In past years, what has the average temperature been during the race?
Do you where anything (like cleats) on your feet to aid in pushing?
What kind of time do beginners who are not racing competitively usually post?

I think that's all for now. Any more advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Jill
 

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FatBike Fiend
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974 Posts
Hey Jill, was just down riding the beaches in your neighborhood, man you can go forever down there. I was on my FatBike but it seemed that a SnowCat set up would work for most of it so great place to train. Here's some pointers though I havn't done the SU 100 since 2000, can't be real specific but maybe AK 29 can chime in.

The last few years were slog fests with lots of pushing. I would guess the finishers pushed around 30 to 40 miles (AK29, correct me if I'm wrong). But there have been years of yore when there was almost no pushing involved.

Depending on conditions, you could finish in around 14 hours if it's hard and fast and around 24 hours or more if it's soft and punchy

For footwear I prefer a shoe that's comfortable to walk in and big enough for a pair of heavy wool socks with a NEOS overboot over that for warmth and overflow protection. The rubber sole on the NEOS grips pretty good on ice and works great on snow. Also they are so big they actually give you a bit of flotation like a snowshoe and makes pushing much easier.Also, go with a BMX style flat pedal instead of clipless cause you're on and off the bike so often and the metal SPD cleats can ice up.

The last few years have been relatively warm for the race I don't think it got below much zero (AK29?). For lights, the new generation of LED's work great and the batteries last a long time. A good and inexpensive set up is a Cateye or similiar 5 led or 1 watt led handlebar light with a smaller LED like the Petzl Tika on your head.

Anyhow, don't be too daunted, just keep on training and you should do just fine. It really is a real fun race mixed in with a bit of pain and suffering for good measure.

Wildfire

Jilleo said:
Thanks for the good advice. This definitly gives me a start on training on what to expect (which can be hard down in Homer. It's so warm and wet here this month.) I have been riding on snowmobile trails around town. After the thaw the trails were torn to shreds, and refroze like a boulderfield of ice. Tough riding. I took a few good spills. I have some specific questions I'd love to ask:
Out of curiosity, how much pushing do you usually do?
In past years, what has the average temperature been during the race?
Do you where anything (like cleats) on your feet to aid in pushing?
What kind of time do beginners who are not racing competitively usually post?

I think that's all for now. Any more advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Jill
 

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159 Posts
3 things

After doing the Su in 2000 I came to the conclusion there were three facets. It's not as hard as you would think physically. (it's hard) But one third of it is in your head, are you prepared, does it bother you to be out in the middle of nowhere in the dark with gangster moose looking for you. I saw this guy quit at the checkpoint before the river. He was in waaaay better shape than me but was from outside and not used to being in AK in the snow at night. A third of it is knowing your equipment. Being able to fix anything, having the right equipment (Buy yourself a Surly Pugsley), The physical part is just a bunch of training and knowing how to keep warm without sweating and then freezing. Don't focus on winning. Just finish. And sometimes when it snows everyone has to scratch just know when to. Gil Hjellen is my hero.
 

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Beware of Doggerel
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665 Posts
I did the Su 100 in 2004 which was an okay year from what I understand. Not as bad as last year but not as fast, for the bikers, as some previous years.

Here’s my answers for your questions:

Out of curiosity, how much pushing do you usually do?

I remember pushing for 6 hours straight in addition to little bits of pushing here and there.

In past years, what has the average temperature been during the race?

The average doesn't really tell the story. In the day it was about 40 with some rain then at night when I hit the yetena it dropped to around zero. The trail got super fast at night and really bumpy. Also all my wet gear froze solid. I stopped to put on an extra shirt from the bottom of my frame bag and it was frozen into a ball, also when I went to put on dry socks I found my shoes frozen solid, from a day of walking in wet snow then cruising on cold rivers.

Do you where anything (like cleats) on your feet to aid in pushing?

No. Just make sure your shoes have a good coating of waterproofing. My feet never got that cold but the above mentioned freezing was a result of the leather getting saturated with water then freezing, a fresh coat of snowseal would have prevented that.

What kind of time do beginners who are not racing competitively usually post?

I have no idea and I suspect that this varies wildly from year to year. Go for some test rides to get an idea of what is a comfortable and sustainable pace for you. This will give you an idea of how long the race will take. Also I think it is good to go into these races with a plan of some sort. If you know your average sustainable riding speed and your average sustainable pushing speed, you can calculate how the race should take. You can also use this information on the course to track your progress and see if you are falling behind or ahead of your projected pace. It gives you something to think about while on the trail. I also tend to over think these things, that’s part of the fun for me, so this approach may not be fun for you. If the race is taking longer than you expected you can always rest or even take a nap at a check point. But to keep the race fun you should be comfortable riding for 24hrs non-stop.

Good Luck
 
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