Stage race tips/tricks

Hey Gang,
For some foolish reason, I’ve gone and signed up for next years Quebec Singletrack Experience!
I’m both excited and nervous for 6 days of approx. 40km/day. I’m not a racer boi, so hoping this could be a thread where anyone who may have experience with this event, or multi day stage races/riding trips in general could chime in with any advice on training, nutrition, hydration, clothing, bike setup, travel logistics and anything else you think would be helpful! I have no delusions of podiums, just want to be able enjoy myself and be able to walk by the morning of day 3…


@adventurer has done that race a few times. He’s your man.


Tubeless tires with Vittoria airliners or some other sort of liner system for the tires. They really are the bees knees.

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Yes I did 6 stage races and signed up for Single track 6 in the Rockies next year. I did the Quebec race twice including this past summer, sooo…
Don’t let that 40k trick you, most of it is single track and lots of rocks and roots. Hills, hills,hills.
Make sure you practice hills because at a stage race you need a steady pace going up and still feel good at the top. Training very simplified I do one 4 hour ride a week and intervals once a week. About 8 plus hours a week of riding. Intervals can be a spirited ride as long as you get your heart rate up. That’s what I do and it works for me.
Pace is VERY important as a too quick start will knock the legs off you after a few hours. I think almost everyone starts at too fast a pace.
Nutrition eat et least every hour, what ever suits you.
Water. I use a hydrogen pack. Also a water bottle with energy boost, electrolytes or whatever you like.
This is only a very simplified version of what I do.
PM me for details as there are many.
Almost every bike is a 29ner. Tubeless is the best. XC bike or 120 mil shocks or less. Race tires are the best overall but bigger nobs on a tire help in wet. Some people have two sets of wheels they can easily switch.
Make sure you paid for transportation and accommodation. It will be sold out soon.

You just signed up for a guided tour of the best trails in Quebec with a bunch of like minded people and you will just be amazed. They will keep you busy from breakfast till bedtime so no need to plan anything else.

And all the training hints I gave work for me but may not for you.


This is great stuff for starting off, thanks!
Looks like Eddy Merckx was right, “don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades”

I haven’t raced but fitness/training was a larger part of my life up until MTB took over. Some crosstraining through the winter will pay off!


How did you find the terrain compared to around here? When I hear roots and rocks I think about whopper. The descriptions/pics/videos make me think things are fairly flowy.
Regarding tires, I hadn’t previously considered tire liners-always figured more of an enduro/DH thing-although those vittorias @JoshM mentioned look useful for a run-flat situation. I figure I would want to carry a spare tube anyway. Currently around here I run maxxis DHF/DHR combo-thinking something with a bit less rolling resistance such as an Ardent or ardent race? Aggressor? Minion SS? (Not married to maxxis,just more familiar with their models).

If I can pipe in. Coming from a running/marathon background. As noted above, one long ride a week and lots of hills for strength and endurance. Use your long rides to experiment with fuels to see what works best for you. Racing hard I would fuel almost every half hour( running they say 15 min) in terms of gels or whatever suits your fancy. Salt mixes or supplements I would say is a must, as you’ll sweat a lot of it out. Be careful with caffeine gels, I would mix it up because some people get really bad crashes.

Cross training highly recommended, running XC skiing, snowshoeing and lifting.

Ultimately for running it comes down to time on the legs or for cycling time in the saddle.


Overall there is a lot of fast and flowy trails, the reason for race tires. But look forward to black diamond trails because Nova Scotia riders think they are normal. (McIntosh Run and Whopper)
You will pass people on black diamond more than anywhere else. The famous Nielson trail (on youtube) is a good example, you will be doing this one. You will be tempted to race down descents and gain time, don’t do this! It is not worth the risk to gain a few seconds. Every stage race a least one person gets injured on a downhill.
Protect your bike at all costs, avoid jumping when you don’t have to and avoid any unnecessary risk. Wash and inspect bike at the end of every day.
Just a note on long descents. For cross training focus on upper body, you will need this. I passed more than a few people half way down a long descend that had to stop because there upper body was toast. Legs will get stronger on the bike.
I like race tires but the majority of people like bulkier. Your choice, they both work. But do go tubeless to help avoid flats. And always carry a spare tube, just in case. In 6 stage races I used 2 tubes.


I’ll second that. Took me most of summer to get my legs stronger on the bike despite squatting 400 and deadlifting 500 at the start of the summer. It was pretty much useless!


Thanks for all the advice! I’ll sure I’ll be having lots more questions, but will try not to bother too much for now!!