Last week I competed in my first mountain bike race in about 10 years. I've been training pretty consistently since December, and had no reservations about racing in the CAT2 class. I've lost nearly 50lbs since last summer, and I've been posting some competitive times on my home course during training rides. I thought I was all set to put on a good showing, and achieve my 2 hour goal for this race. Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake.
I've been using a line of nutritional products designed for endurance athletes. I haven't been using them exactly as prescribed by the company, but I feel like they've had a positive impact on my training, and subsequently my overall fitness.
Unfortunately, in the fog of pre-race anxiety, I decided I should start using said products exactly according to the companies specifications. For example, during a typical 2-3 hour training ride, I would drink about 20oz of the carb/electrolyte replenishment drink, and 20oz of water. However, the guidelines say to drink 24oz of the replenishment drink per hour, and nothing about fresh water. This is what I decided to do during the race. Big mistake.
My first lap took me 1 hour 3 minutes. I was hoping for under one hour. Half way into my second lap, however, things started to really slow down for me. Yes, things slowed down as my stomach began to feel full from all of that replenishment drink sloshing around. On top of that, I was craving fresh water, and only had more of the same drink in my bottle. My second lap took me 1 hour and 16 minutes, and I dropped from 5th or 6th to 10th place. Damn.
Lesson learned: listen to your body, and don't switch anything up on race day!