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  1. #1
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    2nd Race today and it was 50/50. Help?

    Had my 2nd race today (ever). It was on my home course and im a bit up in the air on how I feel about it.

    I raced hard througout the whole race and I finshed really strong. My technical skills have sky rocketed since I started and I handled the course with little difficulty.

    Then the results were posted and I was pretty disappointed:
    25th out of 30.
    12 Miles in 66 minutes.

    Last race I was 29th out of 36th.
    10 Miles in 72 minutes.

    So I drastically improved my race time but didnt have much to show for it.

    The biggest issue is my home course is a sprint (a lot of road bikers due this race every year). The first 2 miles are double trac, then 1 mile of single trac, then another 2 miles of double trac to follow.

    What im finding with both of my races and in my training is my legs and my lungs really dont get going until somewhere between miles 4-6. This causes me to fall far behind the lead group, especially on a race course that starts the first 5 miles with 4 miles of double trac.

    My last 2 races I was the one doing the passing the last half of the race. The problem is I was already so far behind at that point.

    I need to find some way to get my legs into the game earlier on or finishing in the top 10 is a dream I may never achieve.

    Any advice from you more experienced guys would be great.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Get the 'k' on your keyboard fixed.

    And warm up before you race. Some people spend as much as an hour on their trainers. I think I'm good with about twenty minutes of riding, but it needs to be real riding - either preriding the course or doing warmup exercises on the road nearby. Last time I started with some undirected wandering on the bike and gossiping with my teammates, it didn't work so well.

    There are some threads on the subject, and I imagine it's all over the 'net. So you can do a search. But that's the trick - it's not that other riders are good from the very first minute of riding. It's that they get their crappy riding out of the way before lining up.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    "Get the 'k' on your keyboard fixed"


    ^^ HUH?

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'm being an ******* about your spellings of "singletrack" and "double track." But I meant the rest of my post seriously.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    Oh i get it. Hmmm got that from some others on Beginners Forum (singe trac, double trac)...lol probably from other noobs who didnt know better. I thought that was the way to spell the lingo...

    And your absolutely right. My warmup has consisted of casual riding around the parking lot while talking with people when the opprotunity presented itself. My thought was to conserve as much of my energy stores as possible for the actual race.

    Obviously a change in strategy is in order. I will warm up significantly before the next race in 2 weeks.

    On a positive note I did do my first race clipless; and after only 3 days riding on the new setup (shimano spd's and sette shoes). I had one fall up a steep hill when I could not unclip in time. Other than that I was flawless...

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you need to warm up better to me too. If you can pre-ride the course that will help, unless they make you stage for a long time I find it's best if I'm still sweating from the warm up when I start. Also, do you use a HRM? It's sounds like you make be overdoing it at the start. If you don't do interval training that will help too.

  7. #7
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    Im not sure but i believe its prohibited to ride the course the day of the race. I will have to look into that.

    Since the Juniors start an hour before me im definetely sure I cant pre-ride right before my race. I can however find other areas to warm up im sure.

    As for the HR thing, yeah im definetely getting one next year. The biggest problem with "overdoing it at the start" is so many of my races here in WI start out with a mile or 2 of double track. If you dont go hard right away you will find yourself so far behind you wont ever catch up (like I did today despite a well ridden race by me). In most cases here you need to go fast early to have any chance at finishing high.

  8. #8
    g3h6o3
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    Bloody hell, it's your second race, give yourself a chance.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  9. #9
    Rod
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    I agree with everything that has been said about warm up, but can you elaborate on your racing. I'm assuming you're racing beginner since it is your first race on spd shoes. There are 30 beginners out there or is it a mass start with everyone? The double track is there to avoid bottle necking when you enter the woods. By the time you ride the double track you will be with the group you're likely to finish with, so you are right in saying that you need to perform better at the start to have a good position. Do you actually train for these races? If so what do you do?
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  10. #10
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    Almost everyone hates the way mtb races start...they are really fast and they really hurt, but that is the only way to get the field spread out going into that first section of single track.

    Probably the quickest way to get better at your start is to actually practice it, including your warm-up. So, for one workout a week, you might want to practice your warm-up, then do a max effort 1 to 5 minute time trial (race against the clock) on a two track, followed immediately by a max effort 20 minute time trial on a single track, followed by an untimed tempo ride for what ever time/energy you have left so that at least you have some fun.

    The trick is to get your body trained to handle that anaerobic effort at the start so you can recover quickly and go right into your sustainable race pace.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu View Post

    The trick is to get your body trained to handle that anaerobic effort at the start so you can recover quickly and go right into your sustainable race pace.
    I think that this is a challenge for a lot of folks. You need to haul ass 100% in order to make good position when you file down on the singletrack, but once you are pegged at the redline it can be hard to recover.
    Get it unlocked.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by estabro View Post
    I think that this is a challenge for a lot of folks. You need to haul ass 100% in order to make good position when you file down on the singletrack, but once you are pegged at the redline it can be hard to recover.
    Agree. Many of my local races start with one or two steep hill climbs of double track. I ride singlspeed and burn my way up to the top with the leaders. Once I get to the top, I am wiped and a good chunk of the field passes me by into the woods.

    No good solution except to HTFU and keep practicing the hills

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I usually just do my starts at a pace I think I can sustain for the whole race. I wasn't looking at the podium this season, but neither is the OP. So for now, I just try to ride my own best race and get my own best time, and I think that blowing up in the beginning is not how to do it. This season's project was to improve my handling on singletrack, and I think I have. I even passed someone on a descent on Saturday!

    Of course, spending the first fifteen minutes in traffic is not how to do it either. It's all about finding a balance. I contest them a little more when the passing opportunities are going to suck, or if there's singletrack climbing early on. Really, what I'm looking for is to do the entire race at my own pace; when I make the right decisions to do that, and my own pace is a faster pace, I do better.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    this link was just posted up about mtb race starts training

    on another thread. There is an extra space after the : in case the mtbr filter is at work
    http: //singletrack.competitor.com/2009/08/training/training-race-simulation_1734

    The OP asked for suggestions, I hate to say 'don't worry about it, just ride'

  15. #15
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    Its very true that the group you enter the single trac with is pretty much the group your gonna finish with. This is especially true with the Citizen category as the top guys are mostly either career Citizen guys who refuse to move up to Sport, or are past Sport riders that prefer kicking butt in Citizen to being average or worse in Sport. These guys are a lot higher up conditioning and skill wise then most of the rest of us.

    That being said, I hope to race Sport by the middle to end of next year so it should be my goal to be as good or better than most those guys.

    I like the idea of practicing the beginning of the race when doing my practice runs. I am going to do that a couple times this week and next week to see if it improves my standing in 2 weeks.

    Warming up is going to be important to next time.

    Thanks for all the advice guys.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by "Rod" View Post
    I agree with everything that has been said about warm up, but can you elaborate on your racing. I'm assuming you're racing beginner since it is your first race on spd shoes. There are 30 beginners out there or is it a mass start with everyone? The double track is there to avoid bottle necking when you enter the woods. By the time you ride the double track you will be with the group you're likely to finish with, so you are right in saying that you need to perform better at the start to have a good position. Do you actually train for these races? If so what do you do?
    ^^ Well I think a good portion of us are beginners, however the top 10 -15 guys are mostly guys that couldnt cut it in Sport so they dropped to Citizen to be more competitive, or guys who just like hanging around in Citizen because they dont want to do Sport at all. These guys are all experienced and pretty good.

    I do train. Well I run my local double and singletrack 4 - 5 times a week. I also try to do a long distance road ride once a week. Im starting to think I need to change up my routine if I want to improve more. Basically my training consists of riding the 10 mile course in my home town. Its probably 6 miles singletrack and 4 miles doubletrack. The singletrack here is considered easy to moderate difficulty. Not much for long climbs, mostly short sandy climbs.

    Any suggestions on mixing up my training would certainly be welcome.

  17. #17
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    I will be following this with interest.
    Keep The Rubber Side Down

  18. #18
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    At the start, you have to go harder than you normally do, so there is a rise in blood c02, which soon gives you a feeling like you are drowning and gasping. You have to slow at this point and your body catches up at which point people feel a "second wind" which is really just a drop in c02. At this point, as you noted, the race is already up the road and you spend all day chasing.

    People counteract this through training the body systems that allow you to go faster than your normal aerobic pace. Athletes use "interval training" where they manipulate the speed, duration and recovery of work and rest segments.

    Intervals were what finally broke the 4 minute mile, they can also help you. Read up a bit on how cycle racers train, don't over analyze but take time once or twice a week to ride hard for a set period, rest then ride hard again.

  19. #19
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    ^^ Well I think a good portion of us are beginners, however the top 10 -15 guys are mostly guys that couldnt cut it in Sport so they dropped to Citizen to be more competitive, or guys who just like hanging around in Citizen because they dont want to do Sport at all. These guys are all experienced and pretty good.

    I do train. Well I run my local double and singletrack 4 - 5 times a week. I also try to do a long distance road ride once a week. Im starting to think I need to change up my routine if I want to improve more. Basically my training consists of riding the 10 mile course in my home town. Its probably 6 miles singletrack and 4 miles doubletrack. The singletrack here is considered easy to moderate difficulty. Not much for long climbs, mostly short sandy climbs.

    Any suggestions on mixing up my training would certainly be welcome.
    Here's my suggestions for mixing it up. I would have to ask you a lot of questions to get a grasp on how you train, but below has helped me improve.

    First and foremost listen to our body. If you're tired take a day off. If you feel great go out and ride hard.

    Ride with people who are better than you.
    By riding with people who were better than me I learned how to choose better lines, push my limits by trying to keep up with them (this helps tremendously)

    If you attend a group ride people from various abilities show up and hopefully you can find a place to fit in.

    If they're too fast for you go out and ride hard by yourself. Push your boundaries.

    Also go and ride road with a group. See if they have an A, B, or C group rides. If they don't then ask and see what their avg. speed is roughly. It's much easier to ride a faster pace with a group. If you find yourself struggling ride behind the tallest guy there so he can block the wind until your fitness improves.

    You will have good and bad days and you will get dropped, I did, but your fitness will improve greatly.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  20. #20
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    Agree with the others warm up. The older we get the more we need to warm up. It took me a while to realize this. If it makes you feel anybetter, my 3rd race was my first improvement. Then my forth was even more improvement.

    Ride hard in the non-tech stuff and ride smooth in the single trac.

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