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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Race Preview: XCMansfield Marathon

I always hate when people use the term "marathon" to describe things that aren't marathons... "John and Kate Plus Eight Marathon", "Star Wars Marathon", etc.

... yet here I am, participating in a mountain bike race that calls itself a "marathon".  Crap!  My principles will have to take a back seat for a day, because this event looks cool.

What it is

Race website

60-65km mountain bike race.  There are also shorter options - a 30km option they call a "half marathon", and a 12-15km called a "microthon".

You will likely notice no actual resemblance to an actual marathon distance (42.2km) which is based on the distance from Marathon to Athens in Greece... but I digress!

The race takes place in Mansfield

Neat things about this race

It isn't loops, nor does it re-use trails you've already been on in any way - it's 60km of unique trail.

Map is below - as you can see they've chosen on World Cup Finals day to do a tribute to Italy by making a map that looks like spaghetti!

I'm pretty sure it starts with the red trail, then yellow, then purple, then light blue.

60km on a mountain bike on actual mountain bike trails is not the trivial distance it sounds... I can pound out 125km on my road bike in around 4 hours, and I'm expecting this to take about the same amount of time!  Lots of windy singletrack on the map and Mansfield is a pretty hilly place.  Lots of short steep hills, which they say they've tried to keep to a minimum, but we shall see!  It's all relative!


I dunno, this is new to me, I have never been on the mountain bike that long so I really don't know how that last hour will feel.  I'm guessing it will feel a bit like crap, especially in the high heat of the early afternoon!  I'm just going to take in as much fluids as I can stomach and try to stay on top of my energy needs, pretty much like any other race.

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