Ever viewed an epic marathon stage race such as the Cape Epic on your social feeds or on forums and been really interested to try it for yourself? Well a few months back there was a stage race announced to take place right here in Far North Queensland called the Reef to Reef. So what are stage races?
Stage races are commonly a four-day race in the wilderness, riding in epic scenery, either pushing yourself and finding your limits or enjoying time with mates along the way. These examples of what can be experienced during such an event got me super excited and I decided to sign up for my first ever stage race, the Reef to Reef. Apart from doing other events such as the ELEV8XCM 8-hour race solo that we have here in Far North QLD, I never really knew what to bring or how to pace myself, so here is my plan to tackle my first stage race.
The Reef to Reef is set to take place right here in FNQ, starting in Cairns and finishing in Port Douglas. The race features over 2000m of vertical climbing and 188km of riding, so making sure I finish the race is pretty important to me. With this in mind, I am going to give three tips on what to bring and what to do to help make sure you finish.
Firstly, hydration. Now this may sound extremely basic but here in the tropics you can expect the temperatures to be UP and the humidity to be through the ROOF, so that means that your going to sweat it out. Personally to combat this I will be using SIS Nutrition to get through. Some of the SIS products that I plan on using are their Go Energy & Go Hydro for electrolytes and carbohydrates through my water, as well as their energy bars and Go Isotonic Energy Gels (pictured right) to keep my legs spinning throughout the day.
Secondly, consider the amount of physical exertion you put out during the day. If you are planning on being consistent over the four days then you are going to need to make sure that you make it to the end and don’t completely crash on the last day of racing. To manage this, I’ll be using my heart rate monitor paired with a cycling computer, a Garmin Edge 25, but you could also use a sports watch. You need to calculate a heart rate zone that’s high enough to keep your pace high but also not too draining. Once you find something that works the Garmin has a feature which allows you to set a maximum and minimum heart rate, so when these rates are exceeded they’ll sound an alarm. I found this extremely effective when I raced the ELEV8XCM 8-hour race solo and I will be using this again to measure my efforts during the race.
Lastly, have fun! If you’re absolutely hating how hard the race is, then the struggle won’t be worth all the effort, so accept that it’s not going to get any easier, and remember to manage your pace and enjoy yourself.
Hopefully this advice helps you get sorted and out there to try your first Stage Race!
By Toby Greenwood – Pushys Sponsored Athlete
Categories: Riding Tips