24h Bike Race. Yes. Its NON STOP! :)
We asked Dejan Kilar a few questions regarding how does a 24h race look like, who finished third on the last race 24h in Schinderei - Austria.
How long before a race do you rest? When is your last HARD training and when is your last training?
The week before the race is as important as the trainings before it. In the last week you usually do some shorter training sessions with lower intensity. In the last week I normally do 4 trainings, from wich is one of them is a high intensity 60minute session. The day before the race I do a 45min recovery ride.
What do you fuel before and during race? Also what do you use for recovery after this type of extreme depletion?
Nutrition on an Ultramaraton race is of vital importance, as the race can turn into the worst nightmare you can have with the wrong choice. I found out on myself, that its not the brightest thing to do to experiment with new and unproofed supplements & mixes. Before the race I add a lot of protein and carbohydrates. Eggs, pasta and rice are a constant part of my nutrition. I avoid sauces of all kinds, I try to keep my meals simple. During the race I watch out for enough calorie intake. Here everyone needs to figure out for himself, how much calories to intake.
Its fact, that if you intake too little calories, you will deplenish your body and brake down. On the opposite, too much calorie intake, may cause your body to use too much energy to break down the nutrients.
During the race I dont eat anything I dont eat during trainings and all year around. An easy and quality meal are "Energy Cake-s" as one bar equals 500 calories, wich is important, because of the longer the race takes place, the harder it is to intake food. Besides the energycakes, I eat toat with nutella, bananas, nuts,.... Meals like pasta and rice arent a key role for me on 24h races, but definitly welcomed on longer ones.
A simple and quality intake of calories are supplied by "GELS". I swear on EFS liquid shot, you can easly mix it with water and use it as a drink. I use this gel, when I know there is a upcomming hill and there is an hour since the last meal.
Hydration is a chapter for itself. Its similiar to calorie intake....experimenting during race is not advisable. I watch out, that I drink a bottle (500-750ml) every hour, depending on the heat. Its important that the bottle contains more than just sugar and salt. I use EFS drink , as its ingredients fuel the body with all the nutrients it needs during exercize. Besides the quality ingredients I like the mild flavour and you dont get fed up with it on long races.
Every 3-4hours I use Ultragen instead of EFS drink, Ultragen is primarly used as recovery. I use it after each workout max. 30minutes after workout, it provides your body with all nutrients required for healing micro injuries of muscle tissue and speeds up recovery.
After a long race, I usually leave my bike alone for 2-3 days, depending on how hard the race was.
In a 24h race there must be problems, right? When do you go to the toilet, ..?
On a race there is a lot of things, wich can influence on a smooth race and which may impact morale and motivation. Navigation is one of the things and here the teams plays a very important role. Reading the way book is a difficult and important task. The team must know how to motivate and slow you down, if they notice you are slowing down, jumping too hard. Mechanical issues are also a fact you have no control over. Defects on the bike or on the escorting vehicle have to be fixed immediatly. Going to the toilet is a team task, and all team has to coordinate going at the same time, as each unplanned stop means loosing time, wich you do not want. Definitly each race requires a well trained team.
How do you train? What do you do the last week? Do you do any other workout besides riding your bike?
Trainings differ depending on the time of year. During the winter the trainings are mostly targeted towards increasing strenght. Not only on my bike, I add running, walking/running uphill, gym and swimming. I watch out, that rest is part of my workout, you need to give your body time to relax and recover. I pace my trainings depending on Conconi test results. My orientation is heart rate and lactate treshold. After the winter, the time comes for longer training sessions, where I work mostly on endurance.
Whats your heart rate during a race and how is it changing?
I try to keep my heart heart around 150 BPM. The heart rate differs from athlete to athlete, thats why its important to do a lactate test and plan your trainings & race heart rate depending on it.
Its fact that the heart rate is drops during long races.
What supplements do you use?
I trust in the brand First Endurance.
Ultramaraton races are a special segment of biking, besides physical conditioning it requires a lot of psychological preparing and endurance. The human body is capable of extreme physical achievements, but the head is the part of the body, who wont let you go into extremes. Only if you are sure that you fuel your body with the right nutrients, you may convince your head to ignore the pain and move on. You need to carefully pick the food, equipment and people around you. There is no space for selfishness in this sport. Its complete trust in your team, equipment and nutrition.
I want to finish with the words of the greatest world ultramaraton cyclist, Jure Robič: "You are never so tired, that you can't pedal one more time".