High Cascades 100: 2014 and 2015
(High Cascades 100 is a one hundred mile mountain bike race in Bend, Oregon.)
It was during a mountain bike trip to Moab that a friend urged me to sign-up for High Cascades 100 (HC100) . It was April, 2014. I’d only ridden 100 miles a couple of times on my road bike and it wasn’t a pretty experience. And the longest I had ridden my mountain bike was 5 hours. What was I thinking? I think it was the awesome riding in Moab and the opportunity to ride for 5 days straight that boosted my confidence to think that a 100 mile mountain bike race was within my reach. So it was in the middle of this Moab trip that I got online and signed up for HC100.
I had almost 4 months to prepare. I mapped out a training plan based on 3 weeks of build and a fourth week of recovery. My longest training ride was 7 hours on the road. And 6 hours on my mountain bike. I had a fueling plan and a back-up fueling plan. My bike was kept in tip top condition. You can prepare all you can physically, mentally and logistically, but your first 100 mile race is still a bit of test. Could I do it? Would my body and mind hold up? Did I like racing that long? Did I have the discipline to pace myself and keep on top of fueling and hydrating?
Turns out I could do it and did like it! As soon as I had finished, I knew that I wanted to sign-up again, but this time to be competitive and ‘race’. I was confident that I could build on this experience and had more to give.
It’s a big commitment to train to be competitive in a race like HC100. For this endeavor to be successful I needed the support from my husband (John) and daughter (Indie). I’m so fortunate to have their backing. Indie loves providing race day support. She gets to hang out with Dad in the feed zones and watch the spectacle of racers going by. But it’s not just about race day support. It’s all the support I would need during the months of training. It’s the expense, it’s the time and energy to train for a race that long. There would be times I’d come home from a ride too tired to make dinner, or too late to pick Indie up from school. It impacts the family. And in terms of finances, it’s an expense too (entry fee, transportation, accommodation, equipment, ride food, new tires…..the list goes on).
When talking to John and Indie about supporting me on this journey again, Indie told me she was proud of me racing 100 miles on my mountain bike. How could I not sign up for 2015? I love showing her that you can be a Mom and still pursue your own athletic passions. There are so many lessons that hopefully I'm passing on to her: hard work pays off, challenge yourself, make a commitment, you need support, it's OK to ask for it, but don't take it for granted, and that you can take up a new sport at the age of 40!
The preparations went well leading up to the 2015 event. I had a winter of running, nordic skiing, strength training and body work. Once the inclement weather was over with, I slowly began to build up my time on the bike every week to the point where I had gotten in several 7 hour road rides with various teammates and some solid 6 hour mountain bike rides under my belt. With all the training miles I’d racked up, my fitness was good and my body was holding up.
Putting time in on the bike is important. Equally as important is recovery and nutrition. Every fourth week was a recovery week for me with 40% reduced volume. This format worked well for me. I typically tend to eat a very clean diet (no processed foods, lots of greens, very little dairy, soy, and wheat). Three months before the race I decided to follow a modified vegetarian Ketogenic diet. This is a low carbohydrate diet, moderate protein and high fat type of diet. It helped me shed 5 pounds which got me down to a good race weight.
Three weeks prior to the HC100, I competed in the six-hour of Mount Hood race. I probably raced a little too hard trying to get in 10 laps.... ahhh the competitor in me. It’s a hard race anyway, and proved to be a good training race to get in a last hard effort before a 3 week taper period. And it was a good opportunity to check out all the clothing, food, equipment, etc. that I planned on using for the big day. Everything was falling into place.
6 Hours of Mount Hood Race, 2015
For 2015 I made a few changes to my bike and equipment:
- I decided to use a Garmin. I split the race up into sections based on the feed zones. I knew at what mile the important climbs and descents were compared to the feed zones. This helped so much with pacing.