Tactic for a 24h team mountainbike relay race
September 2, 2013 4:13 AM   Subscribe

We are a team of 6 mountainbikers participating for the first time on a 24h mountainbike relay race. The final ranking is based on the # of laps your team covered. Which relay tactic could/would work best?

There will be ~50 teams with min 4, max 8 riders.
We are 6. none of us very experienced; assume a normal distribution in riding abilities.
Riders can choose when and how often they want to relieve.
We ride on a 3km technical track; let's assume it takes about 12 minutes to complete the track, and you loose about 10 seconds for each handoff

What tactics would give us an advantage over other teams?
Which tactic could maximize our advantage in manpower over smaller teams?
Related: how fast does a person cool down after a 12 or 24 min workout?

i.e. Which tactic would work best with 6 riders: A, B, C, D, E and F ?
-> (1 lap, then 24min rest )x3 and then a 2 hour rest to eat/sleep

-> each rider rides as many laps as possible

3) other ?
posted by Akeem to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've only once run in a 24 hour relay (on foot) where I would run three or four legs of 10km each over the day as part of a large team of people. Unless you train for this (which I never did) it is much harder than you imagine. It was easy to see however that I could run 4x10km over 24 hours way faster than I could run a marathon so immediately I will say 2) is the wrong choice. 1) with longer intervals on the track and resting would probably be the direction I'd go.

One more thing - NO ONE DRIVES THEMSELVES HOME. You will be way more fatigued after this than you might imagine and you do not need a tired rider falling asleep behind the wheel.

Have fun. It will be a blast.
posted by three blind mice at 4:45 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: quick clarification for 2)
-> each rider rides as many laps as possible ánd still go fast; so 2 or 3 laps max. To minimize cool-down and handoff time losses.
posted by Akeem at 5:02 AM on September 2, 2013

Best answer: That's an awfully short track, which makes it a bit weird.
Most teams that I have seen trying to be competitive in a 24 hour race do 2xlaps before switch, but those laps are ~1 hour long. See the 17km map here for the 24 hour summer solstice race.

I would think most people should be able to ride pretty quickly for an hour, maybe an hour and half. That's going to give you 7.5 hours to cool down, eat, rest, and warm back up.

Swapping every 24~36 mins seems crazy to me, I find it takes at least a km or two to find my rhythm and really get into it. Also, as a part of that, I think you want to be able to relax into the race. Staying keyed up to do a couple laps every 30mins for long stretches sounds like it would burn you out.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 2:19 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Those are ridiculously short laps. Number of participants per trail meter is going to be high - this race is going to be bedlam.

I would aim for participants to be doing at least 3 laps per session. 45 minutes to an hour would be a good time to aim for. The first lap will be just getting warmed up, the next few will be fast. You might also want to consider doing more laps in the night, to give people a bigger chance to sleep between laps.

Daytime isn't so much an issue, but it's hard to sleep at night when you're all keyed up. The more time between laps the better.
posted by tim_in_oz at 2:43 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just want to chime in to echo three blind mice about driving. I did a 12 hour Mountain Bike relay race in high school, and was stupidly tired afterward. I drove home and almost nodded off several times. Fortunately, my friend in the passenger seat kept me awake, but I absolutely shouldn't have been behind the wheel at all. Get a designated driver that is NOT racing.

I also vote for 2-5 laps at a time. I'm betting 3-4 will be the sweet spot, and you might do an extra or two at night, as the extra sleep time will be welcome.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 10:45 PM on September 8, 2013

Response by poster: In the end we did 1 lap each every time, as the track was extremely muddy and hard. Our times increased steadily from 12min tot 20min as the track deteriorated. The 24h was paused during the night because the ER room of a local hospital was filled with 24h participants. Good times.
posted by Akeem at 7:58 AM on October 4, 2013

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