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David Kinjah, offers inside tips on how to power through challenging cycling races.

In response to Mt Kenya’s Mt Kenya Epik race, the event’s co-founder, David Kinjah, offers inside tips on how to power through challenging cycling races. David, a legend in the cycling world and known to have trained Tour-de-France champion, Chris Froome, created Mt Kenya Epik to challenge contenders to push their cycling limits in the mountain bike stage race.
 
 
Mt Kenya Epik is an event organised by Africa Extreme, a company specialising in adventurous outdoor challenges. The event which offers both running and cycling challenges, follows a four stage route across four days. Starting on Saturday 21st November, the cycling route started and finished at Naro Moru River Lodge, 150km north of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. 
 
 
Here are David Kinjah’s top five tips for cycling races:
 
 
Cycling in Kenya is growing fast, both on and off road cycling is gaining in popularity, and my advice is to opt for mountain biking which this offers an opportunity for the riders to truly connect with nature. 
 
 
Break long days down into sections
 
 
Cycling in Kenya takes place both in the low lands and highlands; often at altitudes of above 2000 metres. Days of cycling in high altitudes and rough terrain can seem intimidating even to the most fearless of participants. As well as strong physical fitness levels, it’s a mental game too. Take each day as it comes and then break each day down further into sections providing a collection of mini challenges. Working your way through each of these challenges will build momentum and the set of achievements will all work towards the overall goal of completing the race. 
 
 
Take in the scenery and engage with the communities
 
 
Make sure you take in the scenery while en-route. The Mt Kenya Epik challenge in particular, offers stunning views across Kenya and the majestic Mt Kenya which can distract from the physical challenges you are putting your body through. The cycling route will also take you through towns and villages located on the slopes of the majestic mountain, take time to engage with the local communties as you cycle through and beware of domestic animals; dogs, donkeys, chickens and goats crossing your path, this is Africa, expect anything.
 
 
Get the right gear
 
 
A simple preparation which can make a huge impact on your race results. Wearing suitable clothing for your race is imperative. If you wear too many layers you will be prone to sweat more and will need significantly more replenishing stops slowing you down; or if you go without a waterproof coat when there is rain scheduled, your clothes will be heavier making the journey even more challenging.
 
 
Breakfast of winners
 
 
Carefully choosing the right food before, during and after your cycling trip can increase your appetite for the race. Cycling requires you to use high levels of energy which your body won’t be used to, and fuel levels need to be constantly topped up. Ensure that before the race, you are eating high energy foods and carbohydrates. Throughout the race, aim to consume energy drinks, bananas and honey and once the race is completed, replenish your body with plenty of recovering drinks/gels, and water to rebuild muscle damage.
 
 
Communication is key
 
 
Cycling with someone else or a group can give you additional support as well as push you into territories you might otherwise be afraid to do on your own. The Mt Kenya Epik race requires you to be part of a 2-person mountain bike stage race so it’s hugely important you choose your partner wisely to act as encouragement for each other. Strong communication is needed all the way through to ensure you both reach your optimum without over-working yourselves. In addition to the physical challenge of the terrain, there is a threat of encountering wildlife on your tour, it is critical that you listen to and adhere to the rules and regulations set by the wildlife rangers during briefing and remember, animals have right of way.

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