Race Preparations – 12 Hours of Ithaca

I will be racing this Saturday (7/21) in the 12 Hours of Ithaca Mountain Bike Race. I am very excited about this race in particular because of the course. This course has a difference in elevation from the lowest point to the highest of about 50 feet. At least according to the GPS maps from someone who has raced there before.

Start Elevation (ft): 787
Finish Elevation (ft): 781
Min. Elevation (ft): 770
Max. Elevation (ft): 823

Since climbing is the most difficult aspect of cycling for me, this course will definitely be appreciated. The race course is about a 2 hour drive from home and the race starts at noon, so it should be pretty easy to get there on time.

This is a strange week for me however. I am volunteering at my church vacation bible school (VBS) program. I am working with preschoolers (3 to 5) year olds. I really enjoy this time because I can cut loose and just be a big kid with them. It is truly amazing to see a small child who you would think would be terrified of a 6′ 2″ 240 pound man, treat me like a jungle gym. It is a great chance to show a child that it is not necessary to be afraid of everyone who isn’t their parent. God’s love comes in many ways and I like to take the opportunity to show these children some of the love God has given me. VBS runs from 6 to 9 every night this week and I work from 7 to 4, which leaves little time for training. I will either have to ride outside first thing in the morning or inside after VBS.

I just got new shoes to replace the ones that were destroyed in the Stony Creek Marathon race. I also decided to order new shorts and jersey for this race. I ordered bib shorts as an experiment. The shape of my Clydesdale body causes regular shorts to roll down over the course of a ride. This allows the chamois to move and sometimes end up in awkward places. I am hoping the Bib shorts will prevent that. Hopefully the shorts will arrive before the race. I still have to prepare the food I will use for the race. The last 12 hour race, I alternated between Fig Newtons and Power Bars and I had no food related issues or cramping. The difference between this race and Addison Oaks will be significantly less climbing and much quicker laps. My strategy for Ithaca is to try to do 2 laps at a time. I will be using a new Camelbak (the Lobo) which should keep me supplied with water for 3 hours at a time. If all goes well, I will try to stop every 3 hours to resupply water. This means I will have to carry 3 hours worth of food with me and find a good place on course to eat. I hate to publish a goal since I have not ridden this course, but based on last year’s results and and the GPS view, I am going to set my goal at 18 laps which would be right around 90 miles.