In a couple weekends, WEDU is holding a Full day to give you all the opportunity who want to participate to send it up the 'Road to the Sky' in Watopia as many times as you want or participate in the V- Everest day.
I thought it would be perfect to talk about how to prepare for such a big long ride as its most important to prepare and know what to do to be successful. Now this can apply for any long ride as well.
The time has come as you all might have heard.. wait what?! Everesting? Yes WEDU is going to complete and everlasting challenge May 29th 2022!
Now what exactly is this Virtual Everlasting on Zwift
There’s a few rules
Elevation gain must total at least 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) – the height of Mt. Everest.
The ride must be made up of hill repeats of a single climb. *We are taking on road to Sky!
There is no time limit, and you can take breaks – but don’t go to sleep. The ride must be finished in one activity. Breaks count toward your total time, so manage them carefully.
WEDU Suffer Sundays have been gearing up for all things V- Everlasting at the end of May. We have now began to fully focus on Sundays with one lap up to the Road to Sky to release you all back down and go for many ore laps. As we near to the day of the event here are some details that I know you all are stoked about…
May 21st We will be doing a couple laps, but keeping it light to prepare for May 29th! *we will discuss strategy and open up for all questions for all things Everlasting.
WEDU V-Everesting Challenge!
May 29th 2022
Where: Road to sky in Watopia
When: 7am - until you finish your 9 laps!
How: sign up for the ride at least a week before
How many laps? Alpe du Zwift: 8.5
12.22km with 1,047m of climbing 8.5% gradient Average
How TO Prepare Now many of us are stoked about this Everesting challenge. Its been around for a hot min. And its most definitely on the radar of us WEDU folks. But as we near the event day, it starts to soak in and then you might be thinking…well how would prepare for such an event…
It can last for hours on end.. 7-12 hours depending on your pace and breaks.. and good news… there’s a Lot of climbing! So gear up your inner mountain goat and lets get into ways you can prepare for such an event and make the day of the event swift powerful, and some good hard Suffer!
There is a lot to consider when on a trainer for more than 3 hours, let alone 8! Its a long time in the saddle, so we must start at the basics… yes you… and your clothing.. you’re set up.
Time to load up all your Fans!
Being inside generates a lot of heat and even having a window or garage door open won’t cut it. I would consider not one fan, but two.. or even three! Yes you need a lot of fans to cheer you up the alp for the big day 😉, but also be position to make is a cooling smooth ride. I would suggest to have one fan pointing directly onto your chest/ upper body and one smaller fan on your face. Other fans are additional points for optimal cooling action.
Those Chamois art going to last.
Sweat and time in the saddle will create a lot of friction and unwanted discomfort in the chamois region to super tip is to have a few fresh pares of clothing in reach to change into during breaks so you can feel like you are starting fresh as well is that big tube of chamois cream in reach.
Yes chamois cream. If you haven’t used it before, I highly recommend dz nuts bliss or regular.. apply as directed. You might think.. Ehhh I don’t need that! But time in that saddle, especially on a strainer, there isn’t much movement and that can create a lot of friction within those nether regions.. Then that leads to discomfort and it can be a ride stopper..
What’s on the table?
You might have your set up on your computer or TV, or iPad that’s propped up, but it is crucial to take a walk around your house and find a tan stool, music stand, plant stand, or a table that you can easily reach down to and times that table by two so you have one on each side of you. Yes one for nutrition and one for all other things. You will that me later.
Towel me up!
Sweat towels. A hot commodity for indoor riding, but a V-Everesting will most definitely call for a towel upgrade.. not 2…not 3.. but 4! Here’s the run down on why 4 towels… might seem a little much but I recommend using some nice microfiber cleaning towels to fold and put on the hoods of your bike. Why you may ask? You are still going to be sweating and your hands can get clammy regardless of how many fans are on you. You sweat salt and salt can get under that bar tape and wear away to your hazel bars leading to corrosion. Yes I have seen it happen. I have seen handlebars so corroded that they have snapped in half, just because of sweat getting under the bar tape.. so one: check under your bar tape and two: out some towels on it. Having towels there will also give you more comfort and grip for the many vertical feet of climbing. Next (third towel) is a towel for face sweat or even the occasional nose blow. For me, it always becomes Niagara Falls when I start riding and working out so having a source to blow it into is nice and allows you to keep your breathing pathways open so your body can get the vital oxygen it will need. Now the fourth towel is in reach on your trusty makeshift table or other tall desk. This is for all things backup! Yes it sucks when you are in the middle of riding and you go to whipe that darn dripping sweat that’s rolling right to sting your eyes and whoop! There is goes… all the way down to the floor… the dreaded towel drop! This is bound to happen and so having g back up is number one priority.
Raise the bar
Now when it comes to indoor riding, being low and aero isn’t as important since there is no outside speed and wind factor to your momentum. This is where getting a front wheel block and some books or raising your kicks climb all the way up or to a position that you feel your chest open. This allows for better airflow and also more comfort as you won’t be as hunched over meaning your seat boned are more planted on your saddle equalling more power from your legs as well as less back pain.
You won’t get beat if you have all the beats
Music! Yes music.. this is huge. Having a beat that you can ride to can make the world of difference for a moment you are having difficult time concentrating or are struggling. You don’t have to listen to music the whole time, hey you can bingo listen to all the WEDU forward podcasts and switch from those to music. Having that beat and external stimulation will help make those hours seem more manageable.
Now that we have the set up all dialed and ready lets get into what food and hydration looks like. This can be complicated as everyones fueling and hydration strategies can vary. Heck I know people who each full on burritos or even order pizza for rides. That might not work for you, but there are guidelines you can use to beat the bonk and keep that energizer bunny going.
For a V-Everest, nutrition is one of the components that will make or break you. This is one of the most important things you must prepare and consider for the even. Even leading up to it.
You will be training to practice doing multiple laps up the alp, so its more than perfect to also practice nutrition each time we have our suffer Sundays, Now yes there is so much out there.. gels, bars, treats, gummies, potatoes… I suggest you choose what you always use for riding.. something with a good amount of carbohydrates and less on the fiber, protein and fat. *we will get to fat in a moment.
The biggest tip I have for you… and you can repeat after me… NEVER TRY SOMETHING NEW ON EVENT DAY! This can lead to disaster! Stomach problems and cramps. We train and practice to get stronger and nutrition is the same, Practice as you would for event day.
Now there are guidelines to how much to reach and what amounts so you can snoop on those nutrition labels and calculate the best strategy for you.
This also goes to timing and most importantly starting early before its too late… yes you might not be feeling hungry at the moment, but if you find yourself with that little hankering hunger, you are too late. Now I like to say when it comes to simple fast carbs like gels, there’s a time and place for them and they are incredibly helpful since its the pure source of carbohydrates that your body needs. Now I say this because I don’t want to shame carbs but its all about strategy on when you take it. I call it ‘opening the hatch.’ Once you start consuming this instant carbs your body uses to fuel your energy needs, your body then expects it and burn right through it so you must stay on top of consuming that pure carb source to maintain optimal mental clarity and energy. This is awesome for a 90min to 2 hour event or race and perfect for 60 min because your body gets what it wants and you don’t necessarily have to sludge in ten gels. For an Everest challenge, you will be riding for more than just two hours.. try 7-9 hours… well if you were to start with the purest form of carbs, you would have to keep getting in that form every 30 min as best as possible to maintain energy as well as mental clarity. Yes our brain run on 90% of carbs for energy to process.
Tip: one way I can detect that I am in the midst of a dreaded bonk is when my brain begins to become a bit cloudy and the effort seems to be a bit less manageable and your thoughts start to deteriorate.
Now Riding for that long, you don’t want to be going through 20-30 gels as yes those simple carbs are great for maintaining quick energy, but incredibly stressful on the stomach (Gastrointestinal GI) system unless you train with gels all the time. But most of us like to use others modes of n nutrition to keep from pale fatigue but also not have to eat every 20-30 min to maintain energy levels. This is where the strategy of ultra/ long ride nutrition comes in.
Calculate your burn
First you want to practice doing the route a few times and calculate the pace you will be going for 7-9 hours to sustain speed but not be burning yourself to the ground. Usually this end up being a solid low tempo to endurance pace with occasional harder pushes on the climb. This can equal to 400-600 calories burned per hour depending on your weight and size and also metabolism. So if you are riding 5 hours during 500 calories per hour, you will burn a total of give or take 2500 calories… THATS A LOT! And you might think you need to replace 100% of those calories during the ride, but that’s not necessarily the case…
SO STEP 1- Calculate an estimated caloric burn for your goal time based on your practice rounds on the course. Write it down.
Eat Eat Eat
Now that you have estimated your total caloric burn for the Everest, STEP 2- you want to calculate what percentage you are going to consume during the ride to not completely relate those calories, but enough to keep energy riding high and strong. Filling the car with just enough fuel to take you home. Why we don’t exactly replace 100% of your caloric burn is because for one, exercise can suppress appetite. Your body is enduring an external stress for being on the bike that long so it can cause a lot of stress on the stomach to try to meet caloric burning. Now I recommend to have a nice breakfast of balance like some oats with berries and peanut butter, or a legal with peanut butter and sliced bananas at least 1 hour or more before the start. The night before aim to top yourself off with a nice dinner with complete protein, steamed veg *less on the fiber, and healthy fats so you are set off well. Now what percentage of calories *mainly in the form of carbs should we replace our total burn by? 30-40% of the total estimated calories you calculated above is a good range for not causing stomach issues as well as not having to eat every 15 min and it would be inconvenient. So of the example above, if you are calculating burning 2500 calories in a 5 hour ride, you will can’t to load up with 750-1000 calories in energy, Now if intensity goes up, so does total calorie burn and so does the amount you need to consume. So make sure you have a base plan and leave extra just in case. Consider all the scenarios and be prepared.
Timing is Everything
Now we don’t want to be eating 30 gels for the ride so what do you eat? Well I recommend to start eating early into the ride at least at 45min to 1hour in. Now you can consume a bar or food that has more complex carbs and some fat. Yes fat is our second most fuel source and its incredible how it can help us keep going. fat has 9 calories per gram where as carbs have 4 calories per gram so starting with nuts or even some peanut butter or a bar will hold you off longer but give you the energy you need to keep going. Two or more hours in to where you might be on your 2-3rd climb up, this is where you can enjoy some carbs but ones that are a bit more complex, slowing digestion down. Bagels, rice crispy treats or rollers, dried fruit, bananas, biscuit Cookies are some good choices. If you aunt digging the sweet, slat and vinegar chips are perfect for preventing flavor fatigue. Moving deeper into hour 4-6, now comes out the gummies, chews, some caffeine if you wish, and apple sauce pouches. Closing into the last 90 min of your Everest, this is where the gels can come out. Once you get them out, I recommend you to have one at least every 45 min to the finish… this will ‘open that hatch’ and take you to home finishing base! Now again, I emphasize practicing this and having gels on high intense days and knowing what foods work for you as we all are different and we all like different things. So practice what you are going to do for that big day. Most of all write each our out and what you will be eating each our and make sure to have it set out with some extras as either emergency or there if you bump up that intensity. Dont be that one to bonk.
Now for nutrition there is a good guideline to calculate for each hour you ride on how many carbs you will need so you can line up your goodies the day before and be ready to rock and roll and snack away! 30-40 grams per hour of exercise so use that to best manage how much you have and again, ALWAYS stock up a little bit more than you need!
Now onto the next part- yes water, I mean electrolytes! Wait which one? There is a fine balance with electrolytes and water during exercise. Overdo it you might be running to the bathroom and cramping, under it you might be running to the bathroom and cramping so its a fine balance. Now you will be in your lovely pain cave and either sweating upon a lake below you or breathing, electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium can be lost. These are vital for muscle contraction. Then there’s water. Water is crucial for blood flow and keeping everything fluid surrounding cellular energy production and muscular movement. Water and electrolytes are important! I recommend to have at least one 25-30oz or 1 liter bottle per hour of exercise, but instead of all just water, or all just electrolytes, switch between the two. SO back to that 5 hour ride example, you will have 5 bottles..
Hour 1- Start with wanter as it will take some time for you to start sweating *if you hate the taste of water, try some lemon juice or lime juice to give it a sour tang
Hour 2- add an electrolyte tablet to the bottle as this will be the electrolyte bottle
Hour 3- Back to the plain stuff!
Hour 4- you can add another tablet or you can go for a drink ix that you can incorporate into your carb consumption like Skratch hydration or liv momentous hydration that has electrolytes, but also some carbs
Hour 5- finish it off with water or of course you can add flavors if water become too plain
So now write out your hydration plan and grab all those water bottles, fill them up and have them sent next to you ready to go for that big day!
Now lastly, preparing for this big effort is going to take some planning and prepping off the bike, but on the bike, pacing becomes key for such event that exceed 5 hours. You don’t want to overdue yourself and max out at our 3. You want a pace that will suit you for the long haul. So how does one go about finding that pace…
Ah yes, practice… We have some time until May 29th and every Sunday we here at WEDU are practicing doing laps up the course so you can get a feel on each lap time you will do and how you can pace each lap to make it to 9. Now Road to sky is a great Everest rout as you can strategically make every other switchback something different like out of the saddle, or 80-90 rpm goal, or a higher tempo sweet spot *sub threshold pace. There are also great checkpoints you can use to go by each lap to look forward to like our good friends mr. Yeti on switchback 9. You might even get to see the real yeti moving around on the left side on switchback six.
Here are some good sections to note each lap going up:
1- first few switchbacks are always the hardest so getting through those, your body will get into the zone mode and hit will get better
2- switchback 15 is a longer one but our lovely goat friend are there to cheer you on along with Maissel who bakes all the yummy Cookes at the top waiting for you 😉.
3- Switchback 13 is also another longer stretch ice and steady though
4- Switchback 9 is where our Wooden Yeti friend is waving you along with beer hand outs!
5- Switchback 6 and 3 you are above tree line and these two are the longest of them all, but again nice and steady and once you know your past those, its home stretch!
So that’s a lot of information to soak in, but that’s why WEDU is practicing each wonderful Sunday and feeding our souls with good hard suffer to prepare for that big day! We want you to be prepared and ready and most of all, we want you to have fun and its not just you.. its