Here at MarathonMTB.com we have a bit of 24 hour pedigree amongst our team. Not only was Ed McDonald 2016 Australian 24hr Solo champion, our XCO/XCM/Stage racer Imogen Smith has raced a 24hr solo, and many team events. And Mike Blewitt has also done plenty of 24hr team events with podium finishes.
Did you catch Gordon W. Wadsworth’s Old Pueblo coverage?
But it’s Ed who has the best experience, so we asked him to put his best tips and strategies down for anyone about to line up at 24hr race – on their own or in a team.
Ed McDonald has powered through 100milers and 24hr solo events for as long as we can remember.
“My best advice for those about to head into a 24 hour race – irrespective of whether in a team or solo – would be to leave the stress behind, and immerse into it. Yes it’s hard at times, can be unhygienic, and the witching hours of the night can be awful.”
The LeMans style start make for an interesting spectacle – on course at Old Pueblo.
“It’s completely mad in its own way, but in the madness, lies the beauty – still pinning lines after hours on the bike, the pleasure of delirium, and the intense joy of a morning coffee.”
There is a difference between attacking a race in a team, or striving for a strong finish racing solo, says Ed.
“For those racing solo, it’s best to relax and focus on the fun rather than putting too much pressure on rolling transitions or how the race is going. If you can’t sing, you’re going too hard. Deep depressing lows happen, they come as an inevitability and to everyone. Things can, and will, turn around – and you’ll be flying down your favourite descent again.”
Ed out at dawn, and crushing it. Photo: Outerimage
With riders setting up south of Sydney for Rocky Trail Entertainment’s JetBlack 24hr, Ed has his tips for the course as well.
“Rydal is a course with so many corners that it favours smooth and consistent riding. Sprinting out of the corners will get you nowhere. Picking smooth lines and knowing when to rest will be crucial. The plus side is that there isn’t significant climbing, or sections that will break you. Maintaining basic discipline and staying focused will be key, and thinking mainly of smoothness and rhythm in the riding.”
So, straight from the horses mouth. Embrace the unexpected, capture the kooky, ride out the lows and devote yourself to the rhythm of 24hr racing.
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