Light it up! With half of a 24 hour race generally being in the dark it is important to make this tough part of the race as easy on yourself as possible. After caffeine, having good lights, in my opinion, is the most critical ingredient in having a successful night portion of your 24 hr race.
Having two lights is important to ensure you can still finish your lap strong if one stops working. The most important light is the one on your helmet as it will allow you to see around corners as you approach them. The handlebar light is generally stronger/heavier and lights up whatever is directly in front of you. In the past, I’ve used lights from Lights and Motion and Exposure. I currently use Radical Lights and have won my last 2 World Championships with them. Radical lights systems illuminate like a pair of powerful truck lights that allows me to race at the same speeds as I do in the daylight. Radical lights can also customize the light colour for different trail conditions.
Having good lights saves you a lot of energy as trying to see with a poor set of lights is straining for both your eyes and your body. I use to run my lights on low to conserve battery power but now I run them on high and rely on quick changeovers in the pits. With a good pit crew like I have with Radical Lights, they can swap out a battery in 2-3 seconds while I grab food from my other support team.
Be sure test your lights on a night ride before the race so there are no surprises and give you a chance to get use to the shadows that the lights will cast on the trail. After a couple night rides your confidence should grow and soon you’ll be racing around in the dark like it’s the middle of the day. .
– Cory Wallace