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Some friendly advice when it all goes to sh!t....

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

You do know that at some point in an endurance race it will all go to sh!t – right?

Alan, our Crew Manager, is fond of saying, “it’s all sh!ts and giggles until someone giggles and sh!ts”. Now, to be fair, that hasn’t happened yet but lots of other things have. So here’s a friendly guide for rider and crew when the proverbial sh!t hits the fan.

1. "Sh!t, I feel like sh!t, I’ve lost all power in my legs......"

As a rider, when this feeling appears or your power disappears, you can take great comfort in the fact that everyone else is feeling exactly the same. He or she who feels like sh!t yet continues to move forward will do just fine. Learn to slow, pull back maybe 1-2 mph and you’ll come around again. It’s a better strategy than stopping. It’s so much harder to get going again if you stop.

2. “Sh!t, we’ve lost our rider.”

We’ve actually done this. Seriously. My crew and I got separated for about 25 minutes during the 2016 Donegal Ultra. It’s a terrible feeling. If this happens to you, please don’t panic. Remember your rider has a tracker and if, for whatever reason, you can’t see where they are in the crew car, our friendly race HQ team will call you just like Sean and Shaun from the Donegal Ultra called us. This is one of the reasons to always leave your cell phone on!

3. “Sh!t, I’m going to bonk.”

I haven’t had this feeling in a long, long time but if you’re new to this sport then you can expect it at some point. Slow up and take the time to feed. Don’t panic feed and double down on gels, etc. If you flood your system with simple sugars you just create a sugar spike followed by another crash. Have a drink and a bar, a mere 20-40grams of carbohydrate will bring you round again in about 20 minutes and then continue to drip feed for a while. You’ll be fine.

4. "Sh!t, we’re off-course, our navigation has gone to sh!t."

We’ve only taken a few wrong turns in our time. It’s mayhem in the crew car when it happens so take a deep breath and know that you’re probably not that off course. Stop though, you don’t want to continue going down a wrong route. If you can’t figure it out then call us, we’ll help you figure it out. We know these courses like the back of our hands and we’ll be monitoring you closely on the tracker.

5."Sh!t, we’re in night-time hours and direct follow and one of the crew has to pee but the rider doesn’t want to stop."

We’ve had a few pee emergencies in our time. Direct follow can be tough on the crew and I sometimes don’t make it any easier. Schedule a “bio-break” (a lady-like term from Jillian) before nighttime hours, when you can still leapfrog. No one needs to be in a moving car with a bladder about to burst. Just ask Ian Struthers who once slammed on the brake, after finally getting me to stop, desperate to pee. The stop was so abrupt Jillian was flung forward hitting the seat in front nearly breaking her Gucci glasses and her nose. That taught her the very valuable (and obvious...) lesson of never taking Gucci anything on an endurance race!

And while we are on the subject of peeing - for all the female crew members - we got so fed up with Jillian peeing on her flip flops in the Texas desert during the 1000 mile No Country For Old Men that we bought her a Sheewee. If you’re female, Google it, it’s a game changer. No more peeing on shoes.

Yes, there are multiple ways that it can all go to sh!t. Please enjoy then all. They make for great stories.

At the end of the Team Joe Barr 200 and The Joe Barr 500 let’s reflect on all the wonderful ways it went to sh!t for you and everything you, quite brilliantly, did to keep the bike moving forward despite it all.

Ahh, the joys of endurance racing....


If you're mad enough to want some coaching on all aspects of endurance cycling please contact me at or check out JB Coaching

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