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  1. #1
    Daniel the Dog
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    Getting to the singletrack first

    I have this problem getting to the singletrack first and then end up having to try and get by slower riders. Guys pedal faster than me on the road and I end up behind slower riders. I need 5-10 minutes to win.

    Any tips? Motorcycle would help

  2. #2
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    Re: Getting to the singletrack first

    Subcribed because i do the same thing jaybo!

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  3. #3
    I'd rather be riding
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    I have the opposite issue. I always get the hole shot, then pop and ruin my race. I feel like it just takes lots of practice before you get it down. Maybe practice starts with hard efforts so you can get to the st first?

  4. #4
    Harshing my mellow, man..
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    Depends on the course. If I know there will be a fire road somewhere on the course or other places to pass, I won't burn too many matches trying to get the hole shot. I've seen too many people get burned out because they ran with their adrenaline and didn't pace themselves for the whole race.

  5. #5
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    This is why I really like races that start with a long climb. Everyone takes off hard and the slow people drop off really quick. Its nice when there is only a small group when you get to the singletrack. Some of the really fast guys I race with will hang back for the first hour and then turn it on after the half way point. I think it really comes down to knowing the course. If there is lots of fire road then I really don't care if I'm first to the singletrack. There will be plenty of passing later.

  6. #6
    Daniel the Dog
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    Good tips. I raced last weekend and my fitness isn't what it should be...so I was racing with limited ability--more limited than I usually have Getting into racing fitness is tough until the light is better and I can actually ride. Guys tell me they can do it on a spin machine or stair stepper but not me.

  7. #7
    rwmtb
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    I have a similar experience, where I'm fast on the singletrack and technical sections but then get passed on the flatter or doubletrack sections. My buddy, who has a lot more experience racing than I do, including at an elite level, tells me I need to put in a lot more base miles-- so that's what I've been working on. Unfortunately that does mean getting on the rollers 2 to 3 times a week as I live in the great white north. It seems to be paying off, I have started to go for 2 hour road rides on the weekend with ~400m climbing and I can push a bigger gear without trouble. Haven't tried out the legs in a race yet this year though and of course that's the real test.

    Oh, and when I'm on the rollers I'll watch old races on YouTube, or a movie-- anything to keep me from thinking about how boring it is being on rollers in my garage!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    I have this problem getting to the singletrack first and then end up having to try and get by slower riders. Guys pedal faster than me on the road and I end up behind slower riders. I need 5-10 minutes to win.

    Any tips? Motorcycle would help
    It could be lack of anaerobic endurance or power. I think Power.

    How long are your starts to single track typically?

    Look at these two examples and see if one applies to you

    Anaerobic power - ability to close a gap, go fast at start
    Sample workout would: full warm up, then 30 sec to 1 min (up hill to help apply power) - HARD as you can then recover completely 5-10 min.

    Anaerobic endurance - ability to recover quickly after repeated hard efforts.
    Sample workout would be 1m up hill at perceived effort of 8-9 out of 10. One minute coasting down. Repeat 10 climbs. Last couple should be very hard.

    I am thinking it is anaerobic power - once a week, do when well rested and an easy day the next day.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwmtb View Post
    I have a similar experience, where I'm fast on the singletrack and technical sections but then get passed on the flatter or doubletrack sections.
    I would think more 2x20 @ L4 or SST workouts is what you need. Train like you race.
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  10. #10
    Daniel the Dog
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    Yaw, I think doing more interval training would be the ticket. I start climbing 4k plus on some very steep climbs starting this month. I have a rigid bike I do some climbs on and get stronger.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    Yaw, I think doing more interval training would be the ticket. I start climbing 4k plus on some very steep climbs starting this month. I have a rigid bike I do some climbs on and get stronger.

    Any tips?
    Those are hard workouts! Sounded in your post like you wanted help with help with what you think is a weakness - fast starts. Are your starts up climbs?
    Last edited by scottz123; 03-06-2013 at 04:11 AM.

  12. #12
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    Always get into the singletrack with the guys you want to beat. If you get stuck behind a slow poke and lose sight of the leaders, is gonna be a lot harder to catch up to them again.

    If you clip in fast, you have no wasted time staying with the front. When sitting at the start line in my gear of choice and my right leg at 2:30 oclock, I bend down and turn my left pedal vertical. So by the time my right leg drops and rotates the crank, the left will be perfectly position for you to step into.

    Viola, you just won the hole-shot.
    Another tip is dont be afraid to be a little aggressive when battling for position. There is no shame in bullying another rider out of the wheel he is drafting off of.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  13. #13
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    Warm up is huge also. 5 minutes of spinning around is not enough. You need some time to do some short efforts and a few jumps. Need to get all systems up and running before you get to the start.

  14. #14
    LMN
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    How soon is the single track?

    If the single track is within the first 2 minutes then you need to work on your starts. You need to be able to start strong enough to be in or quickly work your way to the top 8 and have enough in reserve to make a move to pass people just before the single track.

    If the single track is further away then that, then all you need is an OK start, draft and save your energy until the people who haven't been saving energy start to slow, and then make a move.

    If the single track is after a long climb, then there is no tactical fix. You need to put in the training to be able to climb with the leaders.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  15. #15
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    It's not a bad thing to over-extend at the start, then slow down/recover a bit on the ST. Everybody else will be too to a certain extent. Don't be 'that guy' that blows up 5 minutes into a race, but a guy that starts fast w/good position, slows down a bit and recovers, then hammers again is generally better off than a slow starter that has to dial it back because he stuck behind 20 slower guys.

    It's a balance of course, but I can guarantee if you want to win races, you can't be slowed down by much traffic. The guys at the front have a clear trail and can gain MINUTES if your not careful.

    Like others have said though, every course is different. Lots of fire roads, treat it like a ITT with a controlled start. Lots of ST with minimal passing, hammer time.

  16. #16
    Daniel the Dog
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    The road climb was 3.5 miles. I am not in super shape and lost some air trying to make my darn bike go. However, that said, I still am not a super fast gravel/cement rider. I kick some tail on the singletrack but even there some guys pass me Just wanted to hear your thoughts. Great tips.

    The 4k of climbing in 2 hour training periods will harden me up...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    The road climb was 3.5 miles. I am not in super shape and lost some air trying to make my darn bike go. However, that said, I still am not a super fast gravel/cement rider. I kick some tail on the singletrack but even there some guys pass me Just wanted to hear your thoughts. Great tips.

    The 4k of climbing in 2 hour training periods will harden me up...
    Ouch! And here I was thinking it was a 30 second sprint to the singletrack! Any idea how many feet of elevation on the 3.5 mile road climb?

    To get faster on long steady efforts = 2x20 @ LTHR

  18. #18
    FasCat Coaching
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    Strong and really good warm-up. But have to determine how far out the singletrack is...

    Velonews absorbed Singletrack and my articles aren't up any more

    But I had a great article for Race Starts/Race Simulation:

    Basically workout was:
    Start from zero, clip in and go Zone 5/6: ~2-3 minutes
    Down to threshold: 5-8 minutes
    Sweet Spot: 10-15 minutes with the goal being able to bring it back to threshold effort at the last few of this effort, but never dropping your effort overall too much

    (the times vary for the effort and as you are stronger you can do longer efforts or move to 2x)
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  19. #19
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    Lots of zones 2,3, and 4. As well as race start simulations (oh, those hurt so bad).....for long climbs.

    Like it was said above, gotta put the time in.

    As a side note, I did a lot of cross racing last fall, and those race starts are crazy. Crowded starts, blowing your self up, some elbow to elbow contact, and it's easy to blow a corner if you take it too fast. Cross starts are a blast!! A lot of riding skill required.
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  20. #20
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    I worked on my fast starts this winter as they were a weakness. First race of the season a couple of weeks ago and I blew past everyone on the latter part of the start straight from about 10th place.
    Then got schooled by a mob of superior racers in the singletrack. Guess all that road/turbo training isn't much help for speed skills.
    working on my off road speed now.
    Got to laugh!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9 View Post
    Strong and really good warm-up. But have to determine how far out the singletrack is...

    Velonews absorbed Singletrack and my articles aren't up any more

    But I had a great article for Race Starts/Race Simulation:

    Basically workout was:
    Start from zero, clip in and go Zone 5/6: ~2-3 minutes
    Down to threshold: 5-8 minutes
    Sweet Spot: 10-15 minutes with the goal being able to bring it back to threshold effort at the last few of this effort, but never dropping your effort overall too much

    (the times vary for the effort and as you are stronger you can do longer efforts or move to 2x)
    I read the article - it was good!

    I was wondering why I could not find it in a search...

  22. #22
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    Couple of really important things. First I do race Cat 1 and did win 8 races last year. All of those races I won, were won from start to finish. I got the hole shot and never let the hammer off the whole race.

    1. During warm ups ride the start a good 5 to 6 times and find what the best gear is for the start. You want a gear you can get on top of (out of the saddle effort) very quickly to achieve your max speed.

    2. Be at the start before anyone else and pick your spot. When finding the right gear also time or check the fastest position from the start line to the singletrack. (check grass, sand, dirt, pavement, loose gravel, first turn and so forth)

    3. Lastly, once you find your spot and gear be a complete dick and not let anyone move you from your spot. You did the work to analyze the start and was first to pick your spot, you deserve to be where you line up. Absolutely do not let someone warm up to the last second and sneak in front of you. Move your bike around them and take back your spot.

    All the training and fitness is useless without picking the best line for the start. You can lose a couple of seconds by lining up in a bad spot.

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