How to Survive an All-Night Race

Feb 15, 2012
Outside Magazine
Night race

With the right preparation, you can race through the night    Photo: David Hunter/Flickr

Golden, Colorado-based pro mountain biker Nat Ross has competed solo in at least three dozen twice-around-the-clock events—todays' preeminent endurance sufferfests—most recently winning Utah's 24 Hours of Moab in 2006. Here are his tried and true methods for making those long, hard rides as painless as possible:

1. Check, pick your race, and give yourself six weeks to prepare. Get your bike properly fitted to your body (see, then work in some four-to-six-hour sessions and night rides, and train after meals to get used to going hard after eating.
Start out at a comfortable pace—it takes a few laps to get your nerves unjangled—then settle into a groove and stay hydrated.
Munch on the go: fruit, burritos, mashed potatoes, ravioli.
4. Rotate water and sports drinks, using different hydration packs for each, and go for 50 to 70 ounces per lap.
5. Prevent blisters: Switch gloves and socks, use chamois cream on your nether regions, and align and tighten your cleats.
6. Layer for a balance of warmth and wicking.
7. Oh, yeah: Have fun.