Absolute Motion

Pacing for Stage Races

How can I get through 3 days of Racing?

A stage race is all about pacing and conserving energy. You do not want to waste all your energy on Stage 1 / Day 1; therefore, you want to be mindful of the pace that you are riding.  Go your own pace and understand that Day 3 is also coming.

The idea is to not go out too hard or too fast and use up all your reserves too soon.  If you burn all your matches at the beginning of the day, you won’t have anything left to finish strong by the day’s end, and even less by the end of the stage race.

Part of endurance is mental skills.  In your training, that means adding bigger days so you understand what happens and what fatigue feels like, this will help you learn pacing so you can avoid getting into a dark place in the race.  But remember, everyone has bad days and you need to be ready to ride your own race and fight off those negative thoughts.  Find your own mantra to get your through the difficult parts.

You can use your Heart Rate Monitor or Power meter to assist you with your pacing during the race.  Here are some tips to follow to assist you with your pacing:

  • Start Easy.  Never go out to fast on a stage race, especially on day 1. Let the other guys race each other, and when they are done and tired, you can use your consistent pace to pass them.  The weariness caused by each stage doesn’t just add to the one from the previous day but works like if it were multiplied.
  • The distances can be daunting, so it is important to breakdown the race into days and the days into sections. Breaking the whole race up into sections makes it a bit more manageable. Every day is a new day with new challenges and new obstacles.  A good or bad performance the day before does not guarantee the same for the following day.  Riding day to day is wise.  Even break down each day into the major obstacles for the day and the water points for the day.  This again makes everything seem just that bit more achievable.
  • Ride at a consistent pace and try to limit your time spent in Zone 5.  Some short spikes are ok, but the more time you put in zone 5 or higher the more matches you are burning.  Save your matches for when you really need them.
  • Stay below your Threshold power or Threshold Heart Rate at all times.  Zone 3 is a safe zone to get you through your stage race, with the occasional burst into Zone 4 on steep climbs. 
  • If you find yourself in a group that is even slightly too fast, rather fall back and set your own pace.
  • Stop at every water point, fill up both bottles and have a bite to eat – DO NOT SKIP WATER POINTS
  • Know your partner well. Communicate with your partner and always let him know how you feel.  If you don’t tell your partner that the pace is too high and you are burning your matches, he won’t know it.  Let the weakest rider of the team, set the pace.  Never half wheel your partner.

Most of all have FUN and ENJOY every moment!

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