Training for Mountain Mayhem

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  • Training for Mountain Mayhem
  • As a virgin soloist what’s the best way to go about training? I am not looking to win or owt, I just want to keep on pedaling, keep on pedaling etc….
    I do mostly road riding these days, as living in Lincs and having a young family means getting out on the MTB can be hard at times.
    I am clocking up around 200 miles a week at the ‘mo, but I think I may need some “structure” to my riding.
    Cheers in advance.

    nick3216
    Member

    Tabata to increase your endurance

    10 mins warm up. 10 reps of 20s all out effort, 10s rest. vomit. 5 min watm down 4 ttimes a week.

    keeping going is all in the head.

    tracknicko
    Member

    Any lincs based xc ride will be spot on. Muddy bridleway round edge of field.
    Perfect training.

    Is the course really not that hilly?? After feeling a bit iffy after Kielder I thought I had better train for this one lol.

    Premier Icon grtdkad
    Subscriber

    M-child – it tends to be about 1000ft of climbing per lap. In 2011 the laps were around 10.5miles each with 1350ft of climbing. It soon adds up!!

    The nobs on here who criticise Mayhem have probably never done it πŸ™„

    michaelmcc
    Member

    Don’t mean to put a downer on this, but I think mountain mayhem is the worst possible event you can chose as a first time solo. I nearly felt like slitting my wrists doing it last year, it was so boring. The course that is, which is the main thing I like (or dislike) about competing.

    I can see how teams like it cuz they can blast along in the big ring meaning all the long slow monotonous sections would go by quicker, but I def don’t plan on doing it solo again unless the course gets significantly better.. or I get paid for in some way :wink:.

    I’d much more highly recommend twentyfour 12, relentless 24 or the 24 hours exposure, all of which I’ve done and highly enjoyed.

    Yeah. There are no huge mountains but it goes up and down enough for the distance. It’s not super gnar but to criticise it for that is totally missing the point.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    But to say something more constructive, it really depends what your aims are. Keep riding for the whole time?(god help you) ,take a few breaks here and there?
    The mileage you have sounds decent. I’d throw in at least one ride a week consisting of a few 30 second sprints with about 4 mins rest in between to help boost the fitness more.

    Also last year there was about a 15 – 20 minute run at the start, so if you haven’t been running in a while maybe go for a few.

    Most of the soloists walked the run section though, from what I could see? There doesn’t seem like a lot to be gained from rushing to be in the middle of the melee, if you’re gonna be at it for 24 hours. I don’t know if the genuinely competitive soloists might give it a good go though.

    I’m no expert but don’t you need to do some sort of conditioning to force your body to cope with extreme endurance? I.e. go for some 12 hour long road rides?

    nick3216
    Member

    If you want a good place it is worth taking the run and first lap seriously. You save a lot of time not being held up by the queues into every even slightly technical bit on lap one.

    IMO, YMMV, caveat emptor ect ect*

    * deliberate

    michaelmcc
    Member

    If you want a good place it is worth taking the run and first lap seriously. You save a lot of time not being held up by the queues into every even slightly technical bit on lap one.

    Yep…. This ^^^^^

    I was fit enough to be competitive, probably could have got top 10, maybe top five, just didn’t have the mental strength for that course!!

    So anyway I ran the run, but not so I was knackered afterwards. Just enough to get past the majority of the numpteys.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    I’m no expert but don’t you need to do some sort of conditioning to force your body to cope with extreme endurance? I.e. go for some 12 hour long road rides?

    I don’t know of anyone that goes for longer training rides than about 7 hours max, MAYBE 8 hours. Theres not much to be gained after that long. Whats more important is the overall weekly or monthly volume of hours.

    Anyway, after about 8 hours you go into auto pilot and just keep pedalling. 12 or 24 hours, it’s all the same to me really. After a certain point it’s all just tiredness anyway. Obv the really competive people ride 12 hour races at a much faster pace then 24’s. You’ll be surprised how much you really have in your tank when you keep it going though.

    micky
    Member

    There is a lot of climbing. To put this into perspective in terms of elevation gain, last years winner climbed higher than mount everest. The first year I did it, it was very special. Very emotional and an incredible experiance for me. One of the best things I have ever done and I would encourage anyone to try. I have done solo twice now and came in the top 50 last year. The first time doing it is the learning part really. In terms of training I found many 6 – 7 hour rides on very hilly terrain sufficiant to do the full 24 hours. Think in terms of elevation gain when planning training routes and make this the target to beat each time. The race is more mental than anything. Dont try riding up steep hill even from the start of the race. It saves energy to push up very steep parts. swapping between pushing & riding helps stretch your legs/back etc too. Good Luck!

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    As said, it’s not technical, but it is hilly. Despite micky’s advice I’d rather just spin up steep climbs than walk, you’ll know what works for you.

    Getting ahead of the congestion on lap 1 will make a big difference, there are a hell of a lot of riders!

    tracknicko
    Member

    woh there. i wasn’t being critical.

    i do genuinely think lincs riding would be spot on. non technical, occasional (relatively short) hills, and some HUUUUGE milage available.

    also lots of grinding over muddy/slow surfaces.

    and i have indeed ridden MM. and will be again this year.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    i do genuinely think lincs riding would be spot on. non technical, occasional (relatively short) hills, and some HUUUUGE milage available.

    I don’t think you can say Mayhem has occasional small hills though, SiTS does, but Mayhem is pretty bloody hilly! Far hillier than 24/12 or SiTS, and on par with Strathpuffer.

    Premier Icon offthebrakes
    Subscriber

    I don’t know of anyone that goes for longer training rides than about 7 hours max, MAYBE 8 hours. Theres not much to be gained after that long.

    I’d dispute that. What you gain is the mental side of the training. Ride away from your house for 6 hours, then turn round and ride back, by the same route.

    You’ll wish you could stop long before you get home, and you won’t even have the novelty of new terrain to maintain morale. If you can handle that without finding a way of bailing out, then you’ve got one of the key psychological tools for keeping plugging away at at solo.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Aidan of this parish trains for far longer than that. His Strava profile is eye opening 😯

    Premier Icon offthebrakes
    Subscriber

    Aidan is a bit daft though πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon honeybadgerx
    Subscriber

    I found regular training, as well as making sure you have rest days were key for me. You’ll benefit a lot more from a regular structured routine (I used to do a slow spin session before work, general cardio in the gymn at lunch time and then a longer road ride/turbo trainer session on an evening). Also, I used to use the SIS Rego stuff after hard sessions and I do think it helps recover (I also foudn it good during the race).

    Don’t forget to do plenty of stretching, you’ll be on the bike for a bloody long time, make sure your cockpit is set up comfortable and make sure you ride with a straight back, if you hunch you’ll feel it after 10-12 hours! As an aside, my worst injury was from getting a blister jogging the start in rigd spd shoes! Don’t set off too quick, and if you hit a steep hill bang it straight down to granny and take it easy so you don’t strain yourself for later.

    Fuel wise I get along well with electrolyte drink in my camelbak (High5 summer berry), then made a point of having one gel (torq are my favourite), as I went through the start and another when I went back through the campsite. Topped that up with a few mouthfuls of SIS Rego when I came in for a stop, plus the odd clif shot block thing and never bonked/felt empty.

    Hopefully the above is of some help and good luck, the atmosphere & support for soloists is great, just enjoy it (or at least try to!).

    nick3216
    Member

    If its “non technical” why are there so many mincers in the singletrack in the woods, on the steeper descents, the bench cut sections… ?

    For a lot of new to the sport riders it is technical.

    Aidan
    Member

    Aidan of this parish trains for far longer than that. His Strava profile is eye opening

    I’m training for rides that may involve >24 hrs continuous and/or many 16 hour days back to back.

    My rationale is that for a single 24 hr race you can burn yourself right down to nothing and cross the line on empty then sleep for a week. When you’re in remote back-country and you put 24 hrs to grab the lead, you need to be able to do that and then get up the next day to keep the lead and not get yourself needing rescue.

    Proper 24 hr racers train for shorter, more intense periods than me. They weigh less and go faster than me.

    If I were to advise the OP, I’d say it’s useful to properly trash yourself on a training ride once to know what it feels like. Not good on a regular basis, though.

    You should be training (in no particular order):

    Your heart + lungs (road is more efficient for this, I don’t like it, though, so stick to MTB myself)

    Your contact points + joints (the bike you’ll race on is best for this)

    Your stomach (eating/drinking enough is a skill)

    Your brain (completely personal: first time I rode through the night was in my first 24 solo)

    Your muscles (important if you ride singlespeed, otherwise it’ll take care of itself)

    Your enjoyment (go mountain biking somewhere fun regularly or you’ll just hate riding)

    Dimmadan
    Member

    Depends on what your idea of technical is? Some people think going into woody trails with a few roots is technical no matter how “technical” they actually are. This is all down to what riding they normally do and how much of it. Last year there were a few teams made up of roadies who had never done off road. But dam they were quick up the hills and awful in the woods.

    Best advice I can give is treat this one as a learning experience and don’t expect too much. You will find adrenaline will take over at the start and you will run too fast. Then wish you hadn’t half way round the first lap. Lap 2 and 3 will start to get quicker as the pack spreads out and then 4,5 and 6 will fly by. 7 and 8 will see you starting in the nite and wonder what the hell you are doing. 9 will see you want to give up so you may stop for a few hours, 10 will be a blur and 11 will have your body sensing the dawn and hear the birds in the trees. 12 will be your favourite lap as the sun is on the way up and then your on the home stretch. 13 and 14 will hurt and if you can manage more very well done.

    All I can say is enjoy it and if you have a friend doing it solo too, stay with them and also chat to other riders as it makes the pain go away as you can concentrate on getting words out rather than “MY ARSE HURTS”

    tracknicko
    Member

    no, i’m afraid it’s non technical.

    not imo, just fact.

    that course IS NOT technical, and god help anyone that thinks it is.

    the reason you come across is mincers is that they are mincers.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    no, i’m afraid it’s non technical.

    not imo, just fact.

    It’s a reasonable point he made, to the sorts of folk who never ride more than a canal path it probably is. To cycling deities like yourself, who provide skills tuition to Steve Peat of course it’s ridiculously easy!

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    Huge amount of it is in the mind – thought I might as well get some good out of it so did it for charity – after 10 laps I was ready to give in but the I’d told everybody who sponsored me that I could do 16 laps so kept going & managed 15 laps in the end πŸ™‚

    Not technical? – at 3am just getting back on yer bike is fairly technical

    footflaps
    Member

    One man’s technical is another man’s gnarly, but yes MM is very easy e.g. compared to most trail centres.

    The is one notable exception: the MM course is more technical than Thetford Forest’s Black graded route, The Beast – but then that says more about Thetford than the MM course πŸ˜‰

    Some good info cheers.
    Tech wise I am the kind of guy who blatted around hamsterley and llandegla black on a rigid SS (not willy waving just pointing out tech doesn’t scare me) so on my trance x it will be armchair tastic πŸ˜€ I got some of those 355s from merlin to lighten the bike a bit (may go tubeless), found my camelback rogue so I don’t have the world on my back. What’s the crack re rest areas for soloists? Ie to pickup more gels, water etc.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Do you need anything on your back? You’re coming back to the same place once an hour or so. Bottle, multi tool, tube, pump, bar/gel/Haribo/whatever. I’d far rather not have anything on my back at all.

    I am bottle paranoid ie if they escape lol. After bunny hopping loads at Kielder I thought no Ta lol.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I’ve dropped one in 12 years! Even if you do, again, you’ll be coming back to the same place in an hour! I’d have thought that would far outweigh the benefits of not having crap on your back. Quicker to fill up too, and if you have helpers they can have them ready for you, and you can have a range of drinks, so if you just want water/squash/energy drink for a lap you can have them all prepared.

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    What’s the crack re rest areas for soloists?

    There’s a marquee by the side of the track where you can leave everything, – have you got some helpers enrolled? its nice to see a friendly face each lap & they can have a bottle refilled etc ready for you to pick up, some very kindly souls even cleaned my bike for me during one break last year πŸ™‚

    jota180
    Member

    Mincing through the singletrack bits is the best bit IMO – if only for the wannbees behind complaining, the more I hear FFS, the slower I go πŸ˜€

    the proper racers manage to pick their spot, call it and go

    nick3216
    Member

    found my camelback rogue so I don’t have the world on my back.

    As njee20 points out, try and do it without anything on your back. Use bottles for fluids and seat pack for tools. Your lower back will thank you at 4am. I’ve never lost a water bottle in all my years of Mayhem, but otgers obviously do. Get good metal cages. (King cage?)

    rkk01
    Member

    MM is very easy e.g. compared to most trail centres.

    Wouldn’t agree with that in any way.

    10 years ago some folks were complaing that the Penhydd and the Wall wall weren’t technical enough. I agree with what the ranger at the time used to say:

    “then, you aint riding them fast enough”.

    I’ve had more scary moments at MM than on any trail centre.
    – 1. You’re racing, and so is everyone else (ok abeit at there own level). The adrenaline is up, personally I push myself far harder (in terms of risk taking) under those sort of conditions.

    – 2. Fatigue. What is easy on Saturday afternoon is a different prospect in the cold hour before dawn on Sunday

    – 3. Most importantly – grip. You compare the MM course to trail centres. Trail centres are all designed with trail life in mind and are therefore all well drained. They all / mostly have a hard / durable surface, and are therefore, pretty artificial. The MM course is as technical as you like when wet. No, there aren’t any gap jumps, ladders or steeep drops, but there are plenty of sections where staying upright or keeping the front wheel as the front wheel becomes incredibly tricky

    What RKK01 says is true πŸ™‚ At Kielder I foolishly had dry summer tyres on so the mud and sludge made interesting fast cornering πŸ˜€ I had a commendable wash out on one section due to loss of focus due to being a smidge tired.

    Mincing through the singletrack bits is the best bit IMO – if only for the wannbees behind complaining, the more I hear FFS, the slower I go

    the proper racers manage to pick their spot, call it and go

    Yeah, the best thing about MM is the overtaking mincers on the downhills (and usually getting re-overtaken on the next climb 😳 ). Without mincers it’d be well boring. Mincers, I salute thee.

    footflaps
    Member

    You can’t really be serious? It really isn’t a difficult course even at speed. As for going fast, I admit I probably could have gone a bit faster, but as we made the 2nd spot on the podium, we weren’t exactly hanging around…..

    michaelmcc
    Member

    MM is very easy e.g. compared to most trail centres.

    Wouldn’t agree with that in any way.

    10 years ago some folks were complaing that the Penhydd and the Wall wall weren’t technical enough. I agree with what the ranger at the time used to say:

    “then, you aint riding them fast enough”.

    I’ve had more scary moments at MM than on any trail centre.
    – 1. You’re racing, and so is everyone else (ok abeit at there own level). The adrenaline is up, personally I push myself far harder (in terms of risk taking) under those sort of conditions.

    – 2. Fatigue. What is easy on Saturday afternoon is a different prospect in the cold hour before dawn on Sunday

    – 3. Most importantly – grip. You compare the MM course to trail centres. Trail centres are all designed with trail life in mind and are therefore all well drained. They all / mostly have a hard / durable surface, and are therefore, pretty artificial. The MM course is as technical as you like when wet. No, there aren’t any gap jumps, ladders or steeep drops, but there are plenty of sections where staying upright or keeping the front wheel as the front wheel becomes incredibly tricky

    I found last year it was a piss easy course, can’t compare it to other years though, only other 24’s Ive done. So on that bases comparing it to other 12 and 24’s it was very easy and pretty boring I think. What were all the long flat sections through fields all about? –yawn–

    I also think Penhydd and the Wall aren’t technical. They are fun if ridden fast though!

    Anyway, technical isn’t what I look for in a race course, for me a course thats fun is most important, with lots of fast flowy singletrack, aka Twentyfour 12. I know mayhem gets much bigger number etc so it’s hard to find a venue that can take that many people, but it’s not for me.

    Theres only so much I’ll push it when going 24 solo, but even at speed i didn’t find much of mayhem technical, maybe about 5%.

    nick3216
    Member

    It really isn’t a difficult course even at speed.

    You’re right. For the likes of you. And me. But for lots of riders it is a technical course.

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