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akagi 3h offroad enduro race report

I went to akagi on sunday
my first experience of an offroad enduro

☆the course

a 3km loop

half up, half down, no flat

forest trails



and single track.

I’m aiming for
※15 laps
※1,300m up

☆the course condition

the course is dry
but it will get a bit muddy in places as the race progresses
there are a few roots to avoid
this is why the course reconnaisance is so important
= a walk in
and 3 bike laps before the race

the craftsman testing his wheels!

☆the bike set up

the bike is stripped down
berd spoke wheels
make it as light as possible
I can really notice the difference on the climbs
they take some shock out of the descents too
I’m glad of this as my arms begin to tire mid race

☆feeding strategy

there is only one place to feed on the course
I plan to eat a bar every 2 laps
= 8 bars in the pockets

during the race in this short feed section
there is not enough time to eat a full bar
so I change the schedule
half a bar each lap

the bars are difficult to digest too

※next time I would swap 8 bars
for 2 bananas, 3 bars & 3 gels

☆hydration strategy

for 3h in the heat
I think I will need the 2L hydration pack and x2 800ml bottles
I think about carrying everything from the start
but carrying 3.6kg is overkill!

I start with the 2L frozen backpack
this is a good cooling aid as temperatures rise above 30 degrees
the plan is to pit in for the x2 800ml bottles

the problem with the hydration pack is it requires effort to suck out the water
like a mini interval!

the bottles have a big output and deliver water quickly
despite the cooling benefits of the backpack

※next time I would swap for 4 big bottles

158HR av / 178HR max

☆pacing strategy

3h offroad is a long time
ideally it would be all zone 3
but with a long steep climb
realistically it will be 15 climbs sub threshold
and trying to recover on the descents

☆race start

about 100 riders line up
a good spot 2nd line in the grid
and a relaxed atmosphere

☆3,2,1 GO!

like a cyclocross explosive start!
everyone looking for the hole shot into the gravel!
I’m going backwards!

☆laps 1 to 3

making my way through the field each climb
it’s a hard effort
probably 10th on the dirt now?

following the team riders
and the super strong Igname rider
I’m above 174 LTHR on the climb each time

this is okay for an hour
but for 3h it will be suicide!

turn it down a notch
slow the pace from here
sitting subthreshold at around 170HR on the climb

☆laps 4 to 8

I’m with 2 or 3 strong guys
both MTB and CX
I drop them on the climbs
they pass me on the descents


wondering to myself
“in the race of attrition
who is wasting more energy?”

a branch has been jammed in the derailleur since lap 2
but the mech still works
it will wait until the pit in

also difficult to drink from the backpack

I’m looking forward to pitting in
2 bottles and freeing up the derailleur

☆laps 9 to 12

after the pit in
it’s a lonely ride
motivation drops with no wheels to chase

getting hotter too
focus on the pacing
the average speed is dropping
the third hour is all about damage limitation

☆laps 13 to 15

if you pass the start / goal line before 3h
you can do an extra lap

I’m doing the math while avoiding tree roots

pace laps 13 and 14
enter lap 15 with a minute to spare

the last lap could be a parade
but I push on
maybe a chance to steal a place…


15 laps & 10th in the solo category

the top team did 17 laps
the Igname guy did 16
15 laps from 5th place…

I was hoping for a podium
but I don’t think I could have ridden harder with my current level


if I race this again

1. more specific training is necessary
= long duration at high intensity

2. better feeding and drinking
= bottles only and easy to consume food

3. strength work
the arms were tired by hour 3
= push ups!

4. enter the team category!
= one hour full gas!

it was a great event
I will definitely go back

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