Overcome life's extreme obstacles by overcoming your State of Mind
Last week we interviewed Ben Welnak, member of the Epic Endurance Cycling team.
Ben is an elite endurance mountain bike racer, and he filled us in on his introduction to the sport and the mentality it takes to complete on of these grueling events. Although he has been in the sport a relatively short time, only 3 years, Ben has an impressive track record: he took 3rd place on a single speed in a12 hour race, 2nd place at 25 hours at Frog Hollow (yes, a full 24 hours of mnt biking straight- Ben did 237 miles in this one) and many other top 10 finishes in races ranging from 6 hours to 24 hours.
First of all, what does a 24 hour mountain bike race entail?
Some riders stop to sleep or for long meals. I just stop to take in what I need and keep riding. The ride is a loop, maybe around 15 miles or less that could gain anywhere up to 2000 feet. You try to complete as many loops as you can in the 24 hours.
What is a typical training week look like for you?
I ride to and from work every day year round. If I go straight there it is about an hour ride, take the long route 2 hours. During the summer I will hit some single track trails on the way home which could extend my ride another 1-2 hours. Weekends I ride 4-5 hours both days.
Last week we had some bone chilling weather here in Colorado. A couple of days it was -15 degrees in the morning. Ben still rode to work those days- take into account riding 15mph or so and the wind chill it was close to -40 degrees. Now that is hard core!
So we are looking at 2 hours of riding a day on a low volume day and up to 6 on a high volume day. And we are in Colorado here people so that means riding in all types of conditions- 2 feet of snow, mud, you name it!
How much mental toughness do you need for these types of events?
You can only trains much, get so good and go so fast. At some point it becomes more mental.
What would you say to others who aspire to try some similar type of event- whether it be a 24 hour mnt bike race, a marathon or summiting a high peak?
The worst thing you can do is to not try. Don't be afraid to fail. I love the quote, "You need 13 reasons to do something and only 1 reason not to".
There are so many lessons you learn in the process of training for endurance events- patience and focus are the greatest lessons.
Check out Ben's blog at: