“Stay on the bike and you will win” – Mark Gibson
This is what he told me before I beat him in 2019 at the Silver State 508. That was my first win, and Mark was right. That is just like us, (ultra-cyclists), we will help each other even if it means costing ourselves the win. Mark Gibson was one of my first mentors, an extremely accomplished ultra-cyclist and dear friend. He gave me all the advice he could and helped me get my first win in Ultra Cycling.
Mark’s words ring true regarding every ultra-cycling event I have ever competed in. The reason I didn’t get 500 miles in 2019 at the 24-Hour World Championship was because I couldn’t stay on the bike. I didn’t take the time I needed to put on the necessary cold gear through the night, and it ultimately cost me half a lap plus over an hour deliriously shivering in the van. Lucky for me, almost everyone had a rough night that year, and I was still able to secure the AG World Championship win.
Staying on the bike is one of the hardest things to do, and I personally have only found one way to get better at it, which is, doing it. One of Christoph Strasser’s famous quotes, loosely translated is “Come get on the bike then it gets better!” So how do we practice staying on the bike longer? By staying on the bike longer.
This means hustling between stops, peeing on the side of the road, possibly having support crew lined up to swap your bottles on the move and anything else that keeps you on the bike longer while training. I have found that even when I have my bottles pre-mixed and everything goes perfectly, I still end up off the bike for about 2 minutes every hour I am out training. Which is much longer than what I want to do in the first 12 hours at an ultra-race. Usually, the first 12 hours I take no longer than about 8 minutes total off bike, assuming no mechanical or bodily function issues.
My friend Brian Davis, from YouTube channel Brian Davis Races, has come up with a solution that indirectly helps us ultra-cyclists. His invention is called the back bottle. You can put up to three of these in your back. So, with this nifty little back bottle plus a couple of bottles on your bike, you can now go 4-8 hours without stopping. More training, less refueling. You can grab a back bottle, or 3 (one for each pocket) at www.BackBottle.com
Brian has been gracious enough to extend a discount to all newsletter subscribers. Using code trottercycling will get you 20% off.
More discounts to come in the next newsletter, so tell all your other ultra-family members to head to our site and subscribe.
I am off to the 24 Hour World Time Trial Championships next week. If you see me there, please come say hi!
--Shane (The Fat Cyclist)