Isla Smith Top 5 Adventure Racing Tips
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Below Isla gives you her top 5 tips for preparing for adventure racing.
1) Get 'off trail' onto rough terrain: The rougher the better. Adventure races such as Godzone are very technical in terms of the terrain they cover. During the race a very small about of your time is actually spent on tracks or trails. So make sure you get out with a pack on your back and the shoes you are planning on using and get off trail. Learn how to sidle around hills, move across rough terrain and just get comfortable in that alpine environment.
2) Get off your bike and carry it: This is one someone once told me and has made a huge difference. Get your mountain bike and go somewhere where you shouldn't/ can't really mountain bike and learn how to carry your bike on your back and push it through the bush as there is quite a high probability that you will be spending a lot of time pushing and carrying your bike.
3) Take the time to look after yourself: While this involves a whole range of things, the key thing is your feet. I spend the week before the race rubbing Gurney goo in to my feet to make them a bit more water repellent. Then during the race take the time to put baby power on your feet to dry them out or continue applying gurney goo on them. Other things such as taking the time to put on chap stick, sun block and eating the right kind of food make a huge difference as the race progresses. Obviously not doing this in a way that is inefficient but making sure you really look after yourself so you don't get to the second day and realise that you are smashed.
4) Communication is king: One thing that I learnt from racing with Team Seagate is to be very open with your communication. Team Seagate had really good communication lines between the team for everything but mostly about how they were feeling. Never be afraid to jump on tow or shift gear between team members if you are not feeling good. At the end of the day it is a team sport and it is the overall team speed that is the key thing. So you have to leave your ego at home and work as a team.
5) Navigation is critical: It doesn't matter how fit you are if you are going in the wrong direction. You see it time and time again at races. It is not necessarily the speed at which you are racing because you will find the speed is actually not that much different between the top 5 or so teams. It often comes down to navigation and the extra distance covered from mistakes, the extra climbing and just generally heading in the right direction.
If you want to listen to the full interview with Isla Smith then make sure you check it out in Episode 3 of the Exponential Performance Podcast.