"Stage 5 “The Long Day” For most of us 188km on a MTB is a daunting distance and a long, long day in the saddle, particularly as the previous 4 days are starting to hurt. Being mentally prepared for this stage helped us remain calm and organise our day carefully. Get a good night’s sleep the day before and carry a range of clothing to deal with the possible varied weather conditions. It goes without saying that you’ll need sufficient food and water, however we generally found villages at convenient intervals to stock up. With such a long day ahead you’ll want to start slowly and build yourself up, but overall expect a smooth road surface with very moderate overall climbing, the km’s will generally fly past; An experienced endurance athlete once explained to me how he prepared for his 1st ultra endurance race with a question. “How do you eat an elephant?” Puzzled I stared into the distance trying to figure out the answer. The answer is very simple “In small pieces!” So set yourself some manageable targets i.e. 50km or 3hr portions of the day and take a break at these points. Once you’re comfortable look ahead to the next portion and hopefully you’ll surprise yourself with a record time well within the cut-off!”
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