Personally, I think it’s only worth doing these events if you’re going to keep riding and go pretty fast. I know some people have done it with the aim of just surviving, but unless you’re going to do it solo or something silly like that, better to try and be good. Anyway you’re pretty fast at hockey, so you’ve obviously got the capability to be fast in a race.
With that in mind, here’s my training advice -
To do well in this kind of event, you need 3 things -
- To be able to ride fast
- To be able to ride for a long time.
- To be good enough that you aren’t falling off all the time and getting in the way.
To be fast in these events, you need a big wheel of some kind, either a 29er or a coker. If you want to ride them on coker it’ll be harder and need more training than on a 29er, but you’ll probably be a bit faster.
For training, what you need to do is ride regularly on the wheel you’re riding, with the race setup. You need to get the skills to ride trails on the bigger wheel. The most important thing is to ride lots. I aimed for working up from 50-100 miles each week when I did solo, doing it in a team, you probably don’t need quite so much but really need to have some weeks when you’ve done 50 miles, and work up to riding 25 miles every week.
Long rides on the road will help a bit, but riding muni training rides is also really important and I reckon underestimated by a lot of people. On the muni don’t go on silly stop all the time hop up something rides, ride as fast as you can and take only short breaks. If you want some proper fast rides, John H + I know some rides round Nottinghamshire that are pretty good training routes for this kind of riding. This is really really important - especially if you’ve only ever ridden really easy muni like Cannock Chase or Sherwood Pines, the courses at these races are harder than those, and you’re riding a big wheel.
Also, you should come to the manchester hockey in September and stay over to ride with Steve C if possible, he’s one of the fastest and best muni riders in the country, riding with good riders is incredibly useful when you want to improve your racing skills. Similarly, take any other chance to ride muni or distance with other riders, particularly ones who are fast, it really does help.