23 Feb 2017 Assault on Mount Currahee
Once again, this race will challenge riders of all skill levels. Beautiful scenery, great town, oh, and some killer climbs and sketchy descents…and more climbs…
Let’s keep this simple; this is a course which is easy to BONK on without proper fueling. And to further educate, ‘BONK’ is when your brain shuts down various energy systems in the body to preserve the limited remaining glucose you have in your body (yes, your brain runs on sugar…). You can still move, but at a crawl.
So far, the weather is looking great – layer for morning chill, strip off after you conquer the Currahee segment. However, due to the length (~35mi), and intense el-profile throughout (3737ft), your body will be solidly in the upper zones burning glycogen (glucose) as the primary fuel source. To learn more on how the body leverages different energy systems and fuel sources, check out our article here.
Planning the Course:
The 35 mile race will have a very wide range of completion times. Sub 2.5hrs is an absolute torrid pace, where most riders will be assumed to complete in the 2:45 to 3:45hr mark.
The climb up Currahee along will make or break some riders, with sustained profiles above 15% grade. Practice high-cadence, good posture, and mental toughness. (WE FULLY RECOMMEND CONSUMING A GEL at HOUR 1 – which will be ~12-15mi in, at the base of the climbing. Be sure to consume your energy FLUID atop the Currahee climb).
So how does this elevation profile relate to my body? As stated earlier, your body will look to burn glycogen as its preferred fuel source (vs fat) to manage the high intensity climbing throughout the race – and it will burn through this fuel quickly. All riders should plan to consume a minimum of 60g of carbohydrate (CHO) per hour. Riders looking to push the envelope a bit more, maintaining zones 5/6 throughout, will need to consider moving up to 90g CHO per hour. This is what our Pro riders do for nearly every race.
We have created a very easy to follow fueling video which can be seen here.
Follow this video and you will be able to push harder, longer, while maintaining proper digestive flow (no gut-rot).
The TORQ guys will be at the event to help you prepare your fueling sources at the event, and we will have TORQ Energy for you to refill your bottles at the pit-stops.
Refueling with carbohydrates at min 60g per hour is recommended for this race (higher for those looking to do another ride on Sunday or Monday). Fuel should include both hydration sources (e.g. TORQ Energy once per hour) to replenish electrolytes as well as provide 30g of clean carbohydrates per serving, as well as TORQ gels, bars, and chews, (30g per serving each) to achieve a planned 60-90gCHO/hr.
Here are some recommendations on what and where to fuel during the race:
- Pre-race: eat light, there is no need to STUFF carbs down your gut. Rather, ‘top’ them up. Banana with honey on toast is always delicious with pre-ride coffee…or try a TORQ bar which will be very easy on the stomach and not spike insulin levels. Avoid downing your ‘sports drinks’ pre race.
- You can see from the elevation profile that the first 8 miles are straight forward, where several miles of pavement will help to warm up with medium, fast climb to get into the woods and into the gravel battle. Once you hit gravel, its climb time.
- It is recommended to FUEL BEFORE the CLIMB to the TOP OF CURRAHEE MOUNTAIN. This is a true assault, where many racers may still feel ‘good’ on energy leading up to this, but it will drain you. The goal is to keep your glycogen levels high, as if they are depleted, there is no catching back up no matter how much you try to eat. Consider yourself ‘BONKED’.
- After the climb, the course does not let up. A mix of burst and longer climbs and some downhills through different terrain will keep you engaged and your HR high. Be sure to be taking down a fuel source ~30 minutes to maintain your energy stores and ensure you have fuel in the tank for the final climbs to come.
- The FINAL PUSH is a good one. Different this year, you will want to hit a gel at around mile 26, atop a summit effort which will take you down hill until the final steep climb between miles 27-28. You taper off there and sprint up the final miles at a more mild climb. Continue to fuel from your bottle for the last 5 miles, you can really make up time here if fueled up!
- Race Completion: at the end of this one, there is no question that you will be exhausted. You have put your body through a lot, stressed your muscles and fought a tough mental battle. It is most important to provide your body with the protein, carbohydrate, amino acids, and vitamins it needs within 15 minutes after completion. Come see the TORQ tent at the post-race beer garden to sample our lineup of TORQ Recovery shakes, where we will pour to order to get you back up and running, or feeling great for some post-race brews and amazing food!
As at all Chain Buster Race events, TORQ will be offering 20% off all products (including online with Code CBR2017). Be sure to sample all of our products including TORQ bars, gels, energy drinks, and recovery shakes, as well as talk about the race and how you can plan your nutrition for Currahee and future races to come.
Get ready everyone, this is going to be a fast and grueling gravel battle to take on an conquere Currahee Mountain.