24 Hour Duo racing and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), My personal experience

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Last year I raced what many endurance mountain bikers call the hardest category to race in a 24 hour format, Duo or 2 Person.  There are many reasons but mainly because it involves riding at a high race pace for each lap followed by a short recovery and then back on the bike again.  As a team, you rely on each other, for motivation, support , keeping spare batteries charged, and above all being ready to lay down another fast lap when it’s his/hers turn.  Recovery is at a premium and there is more to do than just ride a bike and wait to go out on your next lap.  My example: A respectable fast lap in 24 The Hours in the Old Pueblo is under 70 minutes.  After the baton is handed off to your teammate and you have made your way to your camp (~5 min), you park your bike in the workstand, sit down and grab some food and take off your jersey (~10 min).  If you are a Duo team with no support, it is up to you to go over your bike and make sure everything is functioning well before you put your feet up and make sure batteries are plugged in and charging (~5 min).  Mind you, problems do happen and you may find yourself changing a tire, wheel, or worse if you crashed on your lap.  Stay calm, refuel, and take care of what is needed.

What is needed after you have ensured your steed is ready to roll is your recovery.  The time between your post ride checks and the 10 minutes prior to your teammate arriving at the transition zone, the hopefully 40 minutes you have to lay down, put your legs up and fuel some more.  During this time I suggest grabbing your personal soignier, masseuse, your Compex EMS unit and hooking up for an Active Recovery session.  My personal experience is with the Compex units and I travel with 2 and spare batteries to speed recovery sessions.  This works out great when your teammate doesn’t have one also.  The 24 minute workout combined with stripping down, hooking up electrodes, disconnecting everything and getting re-dressed to head back to the transition tent leaves you with little else to do but will pay huge dividends on that next lap when you feel like it’s your first.  if you are in a 4 person team, you have even more tim to relax and flush out the legs before kicking back the next 3 hours.  When using Active Recovery, it is best utilized from a setting of 50 to a max of 100.  And set your alarm when using in the late hours of the race, you may find yourself drifting off to sleep and your partner won’t appreciate not seeing you in the exchange tent on time.
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There are many aspects of 24 hour racing, I find EMS to be a integral part of it.  My duo teammate Tony summed up the experience utilizing EMS during the perfectly when he described it as our secret weapon”.  We went on to a 5th place finish in Mens Duo in 2014.  Although we were unable to compete this year, we are looking forward to the top step for 2016.  Hammer On!

For more information on Active Recovery download the pdf @ http://www.hammernutrition.com/downloads/active_recovery.pdf

While there are many “white papers” out there on the subject of EMS for sport, I have not come across any that addressed the use during 24 hour racing.  I hope this has been helpful.  Any thoughts or questions please feel free to share/ask.

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