Friday, 16 November 2012

Strategy for the Taupo Maxi

There are three key things that I need to keep on top of to be able to make the 640 km Taupo Maxi Enduro:

  • Food intake
  • Riding style
  • Mental control.
Food intake will be vital.  If I don’t keep the fuel coming in, I’ll hit the wall and not be able to finish.  I’m going to rely almost solely on Perpeteum.  I’ll carry one bottle with 3x the concentration, set my timer, and every 20 minutes have 3 squirts followed by a squirt or two of water.  The only supplement will be electrolyte tablets and maybe the odd sachet of gel.

Any issues with riding style will be magnified as the hundreds of kilometres mount up.  This is still work in progress, but I’m definitely riding a lot more efficiently than before and with less strain on the body.  One of the mottos for the ride – relax!  I should preserve my energy and strength; focus on an easy, light style, but with high cadence; not do any wasteful efforts; BUT keep my focus on … going fast!

The mental strategies will be the key ones, especially given how unprepared I am physically.  Here are various things I will use:

  • Consciously working to keep my mind light and positive
  • Living in the present; focusing on the moment.  Not burdening myself with the weight of the kilometres ahead.
  • Chunking the race into smaller bits.  Focusing on milestones and celebrating them when they’re achieved
  • Looking for good things to enjoy – views, people, the peace of night, etc.
  • Focusing on my riding technique, which will keep my mind on things that it should be focused on.
  • Isolating any pain and discomfort.  There are three types of pain/tiredness that I can see: (1) that involving the key cycling muscles; (2) that involving peripheral parts; and (3) sleepiness and tiredness.  I must make sure that the latter two don’t get in the way of the first.  If I’ve got sore arms or am feeling tired, just keep those legs turning!  Isolate that pain and don’t let it infect my cycling!
  • Bouncing off others; i.e. using their enthusiasm and support to re-charge my own spirits.  Even telling people that I’m doing 4 laps, so as to get them cheering me on!
  • Staying in the racing mode and being pushed by the resulting sense of urgency.
  • Maybe inducing a crisis.  If I’m riding to escape a storm, I can dig deep and probably find that I’m not as tired as I thought I was.
  • Also, maybe thinking of my Dad, who died a few years ago.  It's not something I've done before, but it might work.
  • As a last resort, just weathering the low bits.  They might pass.  Or, if they don’t, just accept it.

My lap by lap strategies:

Lap 1.

  • Start 10:30am
  • Pace to be light and easy, but high cadence.  Use the gears!
  • Ride by myself; don’t ride at others’ pace.
  • Mind to be light and happy.  Enjoy the scenery; enjoy the moment.
  • Meet Helen every 40 km for quick exchange of bottles and 1-2 electrolyte tablets.  Carry food bottle plus 1.5 bottles of water.
  • I expect to go fast, especially along the Turangi-Taupo road (despite the traffic!).  However, most people will probably be ahead of me.
  • Along the No. 1 look for lines that I'll need to ride at night in the next lap.  Also, look out for debris and other obstacles to be aware of the later lap.
  • No stop in Taupo, except for bottle change and Caltex check in
  • Expected time: 6.5-7.0 hours.


  • Start 5:00pm – 5:30pm
  • Again, light and easy style.  I’ll be beginning to hurt, so my mind will need to focus on keeping steady and not panicking about the distance to go.  Get in the zone and live the moment
  • Meet Helen every 40 km for brief bottle change.  However, also meet her at dusk to put on full light set-up (2 back-lights, small back-light for helmet, front rechargeable light, front disposable-battery light, and light for forehead).  Only use minimal lighting necessary until the No.1 highway.  Get spare battery at 120 km mark stop.
  • The night traffic will be heavy.  Keep mind steady!  Just ride.
  • At the end, celebrate – it’s half way!  Have quick shower, brush teeth, and change clothes, as this will help me begin the next segment slightly fresher.
  • Expected time (including shower): 7.5-8.0 hours.

Lap 3:

  • Start 12:30am – 1:30am
  • I’ll be hurting now.  Focus on just going forward.  Enjoy the peace and quiet and KEEP CALM.  Keep the mind positive and happy.  Don’t even consider the kilometres to go.
  • Try and resist the urge to have breaks in the car.
  • At the top of Waihi Hill, celebrate.  I’m going to make it!
  • At end, CELEBRATE!  Maybe a few sips of coffee.  Change into day clothes and put on sunblock.  Get food/supplies to last for full round.
  • Expected time: 8.5-9.0 hours.

Lap 4:

  • Start 9:00am – 10:30am
  • I can’t even imagine how hard this is going to be.
  • Use the support of others to keep me going.  Talk with people.  Smile!
  • FOOD, FOOD, FOOD!  Do not forget.  Force-feed if required.
  • Just keep going!!!
  • No long breaks.  Don’t sleep.
  • There’s no escaping the pain.  Just grin and bear it, and remember it’s a race.  It will not last forever.
  • Keep that mind focussed.  Don’t let it get befuddled from tiredness.
  • Expected time: 8.5-9.0 hours; 5:30pm – 7:30pm.

All up, the total estimated time is 31.0-33.0 hours.  I’ll probably be at the upper end of that range, even higher.  My guess is that I’ll be at the lower end early on, but will creep to the upper end in the later laps.  My challenge – keeping the mind and the engine going in the last two laps, and making them fast!


In car:

  • Foot pump
  • 2 spare wheels
  • Spare tire
  • Lots of spare tubes
  • Lube
  • Spare tools
  • Lots of clothes
  • Lots of water + food
  • Towel and blanket
  • First aid kit

On bike all the time:

  • 1  spare tube; toilet paper; money; puncture repair kit; cellphone; multi-tool; tyre levers
  • Back-pack with race number on back
  • Pump

Laps 1-3:

  • 1 bottle Perpeteum (3x concentrate)
  • Tube of solid Perpeteum (as backup)
  • 1.5 bottles water
  • 3 sachets of Hammer Get
  • Electrolyte tablets / anti-cramp spray

Lap 4:

  • 1 bottle made-up Perpeteum (3x concentrate)
  • 2 bottles water
  • 1 empty bottle with 3x concentrate powder
  • Tube of solid Perpeteum
  • Lots of Hammer Gel sachets
  • Small bottle of electrolyte tablets and anti-cramp spray
  • 1 OSM muesli bar
  • 3 spare tubes in total

1 comment:

  1. I think the hardest time to be between moonset (3:02am), and sunrise (5:49am).

    The timing suggests more traffic at the end of lap 1, but it should be encouraging traffio rather than hostile traffic. Work off that energy for a bonus finish to the lap.

    Have a good ride.