This article is brought to you by Tim King, mountain biking enthusiast and Avadim Health employee.
On October 16–18, Tim King—PHUEL user and cycling enthusiast—will join hundreds of competitors for the Berryman Trail Epic (BT Epic), a 50-mile single-track race in Missouri. We sat down with the experienced mountain biker to discuss how he trains, his must-have gear, and his advice for cyclists who are just starting out.
PHUEL user Tim King loved to bike as a kid. Now, as an adult, he’s an avid mountain biker and racer. We sat down with Tim to discuss how he trains for a race, his must-have gear, and his advice for cyclists who are just starting out.
How and when did you get started in mountain biking? What do you like most about it?
I always rode a bike growing up. It was my freedom and my transportation. I started mountain biking in college, first as transportation, then as exercise, and finally as something fun! I suppose what I like most about cycling in general is the places you can go and things you can see. On a mountain bike, I can ride to places you can’t get to by vehicle, remote places and incredible scenery.
We hear you have a race coming up. Tell us all about the BT Epic.
The Berryman Trail Epic (BT Epic) is a 50+ mile mountain bike race in the Mark Twain National Forest near Potosi, MO. The race uses off-road single-track trails, specifically the Berryman and Ozark trails, with some gravel and asphalt to connect the trail systems.
The off-road can be technical and challenging at times with lots of roots and rocks. Other sections are fast and flowing. It’s in the Ozark hills, so there is a fair amount of climbing and high-speed descents to test your fitness and skills. Finishers will be on the bike for 4–8 hours, so it’s not a race for the unprepared.
How do you prepare/train for a race? For how long?
Training and preparation is all about consistency. I try to ride several times a week for 10–20 miles per ride. This builds my endurance base, and the frequency teaches my body how to recover from an effort. As we get into August and September, I start pushing the length of rides. I want to do at least one long ride, 30–40 miles, each week. Nutrition and fluid intake is super important as the mileage increases. I need to know how much food and water to consume to keep fueling my body. I try to eat about 500 calories and drink about 30 ounces of liquid per hour, but this also depends on the weather conditions.
How do you use PHUEL for training, recovery, and during races?
I use PHUEL for pre-ride to let my muscles know I’m about to do some work. Mountain biking is a total body workout, so it’s not just the legs but also the arms, shoulders and lower back. All of those areas get a liberal amount of PHUEL massaged in before I ride.
I use PHUEL for recovery similar to pre-ride, liberally and all over. I may also include my neck and abs depending on the length and difficulty of the ride.
During a race, it’s tougher because you are moving pretty consistently. During longer races like the BT Epic, we have rest stops between stints. I can reapply PHUEL to the areas that are becoming fatigued. It helps to reinvigorate my muscles and get a small amount of recovery before the next stint.
Do you have any pre- or post-race rituals?
For long races, I need to eat several hours before the start. I need to get a good amount of fuel so I’m topped up and ready for the day’s challenges. For any race, I try to get out and ride for 15–20 minutes to get warmed up. Then, right before the race starts, I want to eat something like an energy bar and drink 16 ounces of liquid with some caffeine. Then it’s ready, set, GO!
Post-race is all about a quick cool down ride, some rehydration, snack food, clean up and then PHUEL to hasten recovery. Now it’s time to relax with my favorite recovery drink/reward: a cold frothy beverage!
What bike are you currently riding? What’s your must-have gear?
I have two similar model bikes, but with very different set-ups. I have a Trek Stache 9.8 set-up, single-speed that I ride the most often. It just has one gear—think of it like your first bike growing up but for adults, with much larger wheels. It will challenge you because you can’t shift to make the ride easier. Just suck it up, buttercup, and power through!
The second is a Trek Full Stache. This is the full suspension (front and rear) geared bike that I ride at BT Epic. It’s comfortable and great for long, “epic” rides.
What has been your favorite race? Why?
I used to race a lot. In 2010, I qualified to go to the U.S. National race in Colorado in the open single-speed category. There were 33 men in the race from all over the nation. I finished 27th. It was very humbling for us flatlanders to race at 8,000+ feet of elevation with only one gear and climb about 4 miles per lap. Being at the race was awesome! However, the coolest thing was the guy who got second in my race was also a Mountain Bike hall of famer—his name was on my tires: Ned Overend. His nickname is “The Lung” because he seems to have a never-ending lung capacity over his rivals. Again, awesome and humbling experience!
We hear you also help maintain a trail.
I’m the trail manager for Smithville Lake Mountain Biking and Hiking Trails in Smithville, MO. This is about a 20-year-old trail system built and maintained by volunteers. As the trail manager, I herd our local #trailgnomes. By herd, I mean I organize trail work to include fixing and maintaining, rerouting sections, clearing down trees, and building new trails. Honestly, a large part of my duties includes educating trail users. I talk to users all the time about trail etiquette, like when the trails open after a rain or how to determine if you are doing damage (e.g., leaving a trace/rut). I also encourage folks to wear a helmet and ride within their limits. Most importantly, I ask people to use the trail and volunteer, so they know that feeling of giving back. It takes a lot of work to have awesome trails like this to use and enjoy!
Mountain biking has gained popularity. What advice do you have for someone starting out?
COVID-19 has created a huge swell in trail use in general and mountain biking specifically. For someone new, I would say go ride, be safe, and get to know other users. There is a lot of adventure awaiting you and it’s way better on a bike, among people you can learn from and enjoy the ride!