After banking 20,000 feet in preparation for the Giddy-Up for Good Challenge, Belgian Waffle Ride 2018 winner and Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling rider, Brian McCulloch certainly has some tips to share for those attempting the new everesting trend or other epic rides this summer. Here are some of his best tips, tricks, and ride wisdom that can help you have success while climbing as much as possible.
You can also get weekly updates from Brian or personal coaching tailored to you at Big Wheel Coaching.
“How much climbing?”
This is nearly always the second question, that any cyclist asks when thinking about a new ride route. On occasion it is the first. So you can guess that anything with the title “Everest’ing” is going to have more than a mountain-full of climbing included!
Eat early and often is a mantra for all ultra-endurance events and Everest’ing is no different. We suggest eating a small amount, each lap, toward the top of each climb. Eating on the descent is unwise and eating at the bottom of the climb devotes precious energy to digestion rather than climbing power.
During a recent interview with Sports Nutritionist Dina Griffin she suggested that under-hydration is more often the cause of poor performance than under-fueling.
So when it comes to drinking for a big climbing day, you should increase your fluid intake to nearly double what you would on a regular ride. That is 1.5-2 bottles every hour. Drink regularly on the climb, and be sure that you are primarily drinking an electrolyte replacement drink, not plain water!
Pacing is key to climbing more than you ever have. We suggest climbing at a Tempo/ Zone 3 pace or “sweet-spot” power output. These are not threshold climbing repeats!
Take a look at your power numbers and target 85-90% of your FTP, that will help you get through the day whether you are doing 10k, 15k, 20k, or beyond! Don’t ride someone else’s pace, ride yours, otherwise you risk blowing up late in the ride.
STOPS & BREAKS
The key to getting a big ride done is to keep moving. You don’t have to move fast, but you do have to keep moving! Keep stops brief, take care of business and keep moving.
If you are doing a “planned break” keep it short. In fact, plan all your stops, don’t wait until you are destroyed or cramping. It’s better to stop early, when you are fresh of mind and body rather than riding until you are overcome by cramping or pain. Be pro-active about your stops and keep the breaks short!
Steeper may be better when it comes to Everest’ing without racking up the miles, but sharp ramps will destroy your legs if you don’t have easy enough gearing.
We suggest having one or even two “bail-out” gears on the rear cassette. On our local climb that means s 34t small chainring and a 32t rear cog.
LOW-POINTS & BONKS
“Bad legs” and “bonking” are part of a massive climbing day, they come with the territory. Don’t fear those moments, learn to cope with them and battle back.
In order to bounce back from a hunger bonk, take a gel, or better yet drink a bit of coke, this will help get you back on track to being able to eat real food again.
You will need to soften your pace, but don’t despair, you can make it through, just keep turning over the pedals. Focus on eating and drinking to get your energy back up, and you’ll push through pain to better legs before you know it.
Keeping your contact points (hands, chamois area, and feet) in good working order is a must on a long ride.
That means, wearing your best chamois and use generous amounts of Chamois Butt’r. It also means wearing your most comfortable socks/shoes. Everest’ing is a day to wear and use all your best equipment!
As a bonus, we suggest bringing an extra single-use pod of Chamois Butt’r for late in the ride, you’ll be glad you brought it!
With warm temperatures on tap for the Memorial Day weekend we highly recommend a
an ultra-sweat proof sunscreen. And be sure to apply it to your neck, not just arms and legs!
Every rider tackling some or all of the Giddy-Up For Good Everest’ing Challenge should use Amp Human PR Lotion. It’s to good to leave at home. In addition it is worth having an extra single-use packet late in the day to apply half way through your ride!
In closing, it’s important to be reminded that a positive mindset is key to an epic day on the bike. Setbacks are going to happen, this ride will be hard, but you are up for the challenge. Prepare well, be positive, and go for it, we believe in you!