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  1. #1
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    Did I just blow up or what?!?

    Raced Expert class at Solitude last night. Started with a hard hole shot with just over a minute of climbing, before coming down, across, and then starting a hard 15 minute climb. I did the same main climb on July 30th in 14:58. Last night - 17:26. When I break it down further, I did the hole shot a little faster than ever, and I wonder if I really paid for that later. The main climb that I did in 17:26 starts with a steep fireroad climb that I did in 4:18. 2 days prior when I pre-road the course at a hard, but controlled pace, I did that section a little slower at 4:26. The next part to a junction, I did in 4:39 during the race, as opposed to 4:00 2 days previously, and in 4:03 during the warmup lap right before the race when I was riding "easy." So to the halfway point, I was 8:25 2 days ago, 8:59 during warm up when I hardly broke a sweat, and 8:57 during the race. What gives? I can tell you that I was sucking wind bad during the race, and was trying to pedal but recover during that middle third of the climb to the junction. One thing I did notice, is that usually during a race my heart rate is 172 (I'm 43 years old). Last night I was dying at 168. I might have trained too hard over the weekend and wasn't fully recovered. I want to learn from this so I don't make the same mistake again. I'm thinking I should have gone easier during the hole shot and the initial fireroad climb, which would have let some riders drop me earlier, but maybe I would have been able to chase them down on the second half of the climb if I hadn't fried myself early?

  2. #2
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    If the weeknight race(ing) is your primary focus right now, definitely make sure you go in more recovered and treat it like the priority workout for the week.

    As far as what caused your speed differences - were you in traffic in the slower sections? Riding someone's wheel? Was the temperature higher?

    Your HR can be affected by temperature, fatigue, caffeine intake, nutrition, etc.

    It's probably impossible to say if you went slower at the beginning you would or wouldn't be able to catch someone near the end. Maybe they could have gone faster or slower as well? You can really only race your own race and just try to ride smart.

    If you went out really hard at the start and you were a little fatigued to begin with, it definitely would make it more difficult to keep the pace as high. Especially if you rode pretty hard over the weekend.

    If the race is more for fun than priority, then just work on maintaining momentum in corners, being efficient, and picking up race tactics (possibly such as sitting in at the start and making smart passes throughout lap 1?) and worry about section timing as a secondary informational thing.

  3. #3
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    I agree with this ^.

    especially making sure youre rested, recovered, and hydrated going into race day. Too many people IMO go into a race not rested enough.

    so many things can come into play...some days are just better than others.

  4. #4
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    Good response above.

    I believe you and I focus on midweeks (for me, Snowbasin series). It's the only MTB racing I do nowadays, so might as well.

    I've done an approach like this:
    -Mondays off
    -Tuesday, 1 hour with a few openers
    -Wednesday, Race, follow up with more aerobic volume, if needed.
    -Thursday, group ride or intervals, 1.5-3 hours
    -Friday, 1-2 hours
    -Saturday, 3 hours with some intervals (maybe)
    -Sunday, 2-3 hours, aerobic

    So I focus on the Wednesday race like it's a Peak race, but vary Thurs-Sun based on periodization. But getting improvement throughout a series takes some planning, so I took out the calendar and roughly planned each week prior to our series starting. Base (pre series), base/build/rest (during series), and peak (mid-series, and end of series).

    That is the only way I can ensure improvement throughout a series. year after year it seems to work for me.

    Also, whether to ride hard or aerobically Thurs-Sun really varies by the individual. The only thing riding hard does for me is cook my legs, but it works well for others.
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  5. #5
    LMN
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    I think you paid for the hard start. To be able to start really hard then climb well requires a high degree of fitness. A level of fitness that only the best riders have.

    I am a really good starter, as long as I start in the first three rows I have a shot of getting the hole shot. But getting the hole shot just about guarantees that I will have a horrible race. It took me a long time to figure out that key for a good race for me was to start as easy as possible.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you were fatigued to me. Your hole shot sprint wasn't long enough for you to blow up and not being able to get your heart rate up is a classic "over trained" response that I'm very familiar with. And I disagree that a high level of fitness is required to grab the hole shot and not blow up; I've done it and I'm far from a high level of fitness. It all depends on how long you have to push hard for, and how deep into the red you go. 1 minute of hard riding that doesn't hit your HRmax isn't typically going to get you there.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies. I seem to have the same problem every year. Great May, June, July, then the wheels fall off August, September. Every September I'm left scratching my head about whether I'm over or under trained. I'm always strapped for time, so I usually do 2-3 hard road rides per week, riding 2hr 15 min to 2hr 45 depending on the ride. They are always Category 1 or HC climbs, with over 4,000 of climbing per ride. The other 3-4 days I spin easy on the spinner. In May I was averaging right around 300W for an hour long effort, with a HR around 172 in the early goings, and then mid 160s near the end of the climb. The last two times I road BigCottonwood Canyon, including today, I'm averaging 281W, peak HR around 168, then dropping into the low 150s the last 30 minutes of the climb, with no ability to go harder, no matter how much I try. This totally sucks. I don't know if I need to find time to do longer 3-4 hour rides with less intensity for a while?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdalcanto View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I seem to have the same problem every year. Great May, June, July, then the wheels fall off August, September. Every September I'm left scratching my head about whether I'm over or under trained. I'm always strapped for time, so I usually do 2-3 hard road rides per week, riding 2hr 15 min to 2hr 45 depending on the ride. They are always Category 1 or HC climbs, with over 4,000 of climbing per ride. The other 3-4 days I spin easy on the spinner. In May I was averaging right around 300W for an hour long effort, with a HR around 172 in the early goings, and then mid 160s near the end of the climb. The last two times I road BigCottonwood Canyon, including today, I'm averaging 281W, peak HR around 168, then dropping into the low 150s the last 30 minutes of the climb, with no ability to go harder, no matter how much I try. This totally sucks. I don't know if I need to find time to do longer 3-4 hour rides with less intensity for a while?
    Well, just remember you cant ALWAYS be at your peak....

  9. #9
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    If you are doing those rides every week with no time off, then you need 1 or more recovery weeks now (probably more). That is an ambitious week that you described. Depending on your age, you need a rest week every 3rd or 4th week. Rest weeks would still have some riding, but low HR and shorter duration.

  10. #10
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    I think you may need to find time to do longer 3-4 hour rides with less intensity more for your base training, and if you want to be at your peak in Aug/Sept set it up so that your intensity is in June/July.

  11. #11
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    That's my style, start fast, recover some on the first DH or flat, then pace myself for the rest of the race. When warming up, I usually ride for about an hour beforehand, with a couple of all out sprints, one about 200m, the other about 100m, then just pedal around moderately for the rest.
    Alot of things could have figured into your performance that race and they were pretty covered by the other posters.
    I race cat.1 50+, here in So. Cal

  12. #12
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    I would occasionally have this problem in the past. I felt tired 10 minutes into the race and simply couldn't put out power, it didn't hurt either...just a totally suppressed heart rate.

    The common factor between all the times this happened was a high ambient temperature (90F+). I took measures to better deal with the heat.
    -no more hydration pack (that's a huge amount of body surface area to cover up.
    -pour water over myself at every aid station.
    -Saturate my jersey with water just prior to race start on the really hot days.

    Not only did I no longer have the issues described above, my habitual back cramping went away as well.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
    I agree with this ^.

    especially making sure youre rested, recovered, and hydrated going into race day. Too many people IMO go into a race not rested enough.
    ^This. Many forget the R&R is just as important as the training itself. Two solid days off, prior to race would have you fresh enough to podium.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    ^This. Many forget the R&R is just as important as the training itself. Two solid days off, prior to race would have you fresh enough to podium.
    So this leads to another question. How do you maintain fitness, or improve, during a race series with races every week, if you are resting 2 days each week before every race? Or do you have to pick a few to target, and use the rest as training rides with little to no rest before them?

  15. #15
    LMN
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    That is one of reasons to do a lot of base training. If you have done the proper preparation, a block of racing combined with limited mid-week intensity will see your race performance improve.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdalcanto View Post
    So this leads to another question. How do you maintain fitness, or improve, during a race series with races every week, if you are resting 2 days each week before every race? Or do you have to pick a few to target, and use the rest as training rides with little to no rest before them?
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  16. #16
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    It really depends.

    everyone is different...
    what type of racing?
    duration of events, etc.

    if, like mentioned above, you have a solid base and youre racing once a week- some people can just spin during the week to recover and keep their legs fresh. Some poeple will recover and have another day with some intensity to maintain form.

    so many variables. Age, genetics, how long youve been riding, racing, etc etc.

    this is where some people can benefit from employing a coach.

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