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  1. #1
    Lazy People Suck
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    And this is my reward? Sport to Expert

    After being a mid to upper pack Sport racer for the last 3 years or so, I decided this was the year I was going to elevate my game and try to win my series Sport class title. I dropped 20 pounds, got more structured in my training. Low and behold, I won the overall Sport in the first 3 series races of the year, two of them by about 2 minutes. Immediately the sandbagger calls start coming and the race series director "suggested" I move up to Expert, giving me a points incentive to do so (giving me last place expert points for the first 3 races).

    I accepted the challenge and race my first race as an Expert July 4th. I got my ass handed to me taking 29th out of 41 racers, though admittedly it was regarded as the most brutal course in series along with being an ANBCC race in addition to the regular series race.

    It is a different ball game. I told myself that I had to go out slower to adjust for the longer distances, but found myself redlining the first lap to maintain the pace and ended up bonking pretty hard on the last lap. I am looking for suggestions from people who have made this jump as to strategies for the transition. I have my next race coming up on 7/25 and part of me says that I should let myself go to the very back of the pack at the start and simply work on trying to get a little faster every lap. Since I am not now contending for any type of title for the rest of this year, I am thinking I can mess with pace a little more and spend the remainder of the season trying to figure out just how to race Expert.

    I would welcome any insights.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  2. #2
    It's about showing up.
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    For what it is worth...

    all I can say is congratulations on your move up. It takes courage to make that kind of move and character to deal with a fall from grace. Yet 29 out of 41 is a very respectable finish. It's just not atop the Podium with pretty girl smooches.
    While I really can't offer you any time proven method to approach your current situation I would like to suggest that your method seems sound. It is clear that you cannot approach this class the same way you rode in Sport; there is no way you can use the riders around you as a guage anymore as they are off of your former scale. Definitely an adjustment of goals and expctations is called for here. The idea of falling back to understand the use of the course by the current riders and progress as you are feeling able makes a lot of sense.
    As we tell all beginner riders: ride your ride, ride well, finish, and learn. Kinda funny for you but not far off the mark.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I really just need to pay attention to my heart rate monitor and just go as fast as it tells me I can go. The competitiveness in me really conflicts with that, as I have a real problem just letting one person after another pull away from me, but for at least a little while I need to get over that and let them go.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  4. #4
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    I can't offer training advice on the move from sport to expert (as only a beginner racer myself) but would agree that 29th out of 41 sounds really good for a first expert race. You also could look at how many of those guys have been racing expert already and are used to the expert distance and stamina. My husband made the move this year to sport and is focusing this first year on getting acclimated to the sport distance, particularly after not placing as high as he'd hoped in the first few races. I try to encourage him by pointing out that if he took out all the guys in sport who've been there for a couple if years and was just putting himself against others who moved up with him, he's improving. This might be a good way to look at things in your group, but sounds like you're on the way to doing well in expert.

  5. #5
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    Excellent work!

    Finishing 29th in a field of 41 Experts in your first Expert race is terrific. What's even more astonishing is that you only just decided this year to get serious about training. You've obviously been training well and will need to continue and improve your training habits. My suggestion is that you go just as hard as you can tolerate in every race until you figure out what pace leaves you 100% used up as you cross the finish line. Meanwhile the important thing is to examine your training program and figure out how that can be improved. You may not think it can but I'll bet as you figure out your weaknesses with respect to the other Experts you'll modify the way you train.

    But cutting to the chase............it takes years to make the transition to Expert, unless of course you're one of the genetic mutants. Be prepared to spend a couple of years making the transition; it's really really hard.

  6. #6
    i worship Mr T
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fett
    After being a mid to upper pack Sport racer for the last 3 years or so, I decided this was the year I was going to elevate my game and try to win my series Sport class title. I dropped 20 pounds, got more structured in my training. Low and behold, I won the overall Sport in the first 3 series races of the year, two of them by about 2 minutes. Immediately the sandbagger calls start coming and the race series director "suggested" I move up to Expert, giving me a points incentive to do so (giving me last place expert points for the first 3 races).

    I accepted the challenge and race my first race as an Expert July 4th. I got my ass handed to me taking 29th out of 41 racers, though admittedly it was regarded as the most brutal course in series along with being an ANBCC race in addition to the regular series race.

    It is a different ball game. I told myself that I had to go out slower to adjust for the longer distances, but found myself redlining the first lap to maintain the pace and ended up bonking pretty hard on the last lap. I am looking for suggestions from people who have made this jump as to strategies for the transition. I have my next race coming up on 7/25 and part of me says that I should let myself go to the very back of the pack at the start and simply work on trying to get a little faster every lap. Since I am not now contending for any type of title for the rest of this year, I am thinking I can mess with pace a little more and spend the remainder of the season trying to figure out just how to race Expert.

    I would welcome any insights.
    as Andrew McD & others said congratulations on the move up. finishing mid pack in your first expert race is pretty good. though it might not feel that way coming from the top of the podium in sport.

    the jump from sport to expert is a big one and it takes time and patience to make the transition. the distances feel exponentially longer (eventhough its usually only 1 more lap) and you often feel like no matter how much training you do it's not enough....or at least that's how i often feel! but then again, i'm a little type-a

    i made the same transition this year after a really strong season last year in sport. in my first race, after a concerted effort in training over the winter, i ended up finishing 6th...........out of 8. it took 3 races and 2 more months of training before i didn't feel like i was going to die in my last lap. i've had to learn how to go out at a more moderate pace and watch my heart rate so that i am not that person who gets the hole-shot and then dies 1/2 way through the race.

    one thing that i've found is common from talking to others who have made the same jump this year is that everyone complains of inconsistent results and needing to readjust expectations so that finishing mid-pack is an accomplishment rather than a bad race. my results have been everwhere from 1st to nearly last (10th out of 11 in one race).

    play with your pace and test out different approaches to racing and training this year. remember (write it down!) what seems to work and by next year you will have a better framework for training & racing at the higher level.....or so they tell me.

    good luck.

    rt
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  7. #7
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    Expert is a different focus

    About the same results here, but the fields I race in are less than 25. And that is very typical for the move to Expert. For me the focus isn't so much about where I place but how I rate my performance. I've had great races and finished 14th. I still don't understand how the top guys can start so fast (my best guess is excellent endurance which enables a good long, 30+ minute warmup). To podium in a well stacked Expert race takes a serious rider. If you are serious then the two things to work on (as I'm sure you know) are power and endurance. Maybe now is the time to enter some marathon races for distance training. And never forget the intervals. It has been written "it doesn't get easier, you just get faster". Keep at it and by next season you will have moved up significantly.



    Quote Originally Posted by Fett
    After being a mid to upper pack Sport racer for the last 3 years or so, I decided this was the year I was going to elevate my game and try to win my series Sport class title. I dropped 20 pounds, got more structured in my training. Low and behold, I won the overall Sport in the first 3 series races of the year, two of them by about 2 minutes. Immediately the sandbagger calls start coming and the race series director "suggested" I move up to Expert, giving me a points incentive to do so (giving me last place expert points for the first 3 races).

    I accepted the challenge and race my first race as an Expert July 4th. I got my ass handed to me taking 29th out of 41 racers, though admittedly it was regarded as the most brutal course in series along with being an ANBCC race in addition to the regular series race.

    It is a different ball game. I told myself that I had to go out slower to adjust for the longer distances, but found myself redlining the first lap to maintain the pace and ended up bonking pretty hard on the last lap. I am looking for suggestions from people who have made this jump as to strategies for the transition. I have my next race coming up on 7/25 and part of me says that I should let myself go to the very back of the pack at the start and simply work on trying to get a little faster every lap. Since I am not now contending for any type of title for the rest of this year, I am thinking I can mess with pace a little more and spend the remainder of the season trying to figure out just how to race Expert.

    I would welcome any insights.
    M

  8. #8
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    It's a huge leap in conditioning whence in expert!

    I raced for the first time ever last year here in the rocky mountains, in Sport class (beginner seemed a wee bit too easy to start in...) and got SPANKED. The combination of going like crazy at the start, then surviving 1000's of feet of climbing per lap was way too hard. Like you, this past winter I trained, dropped weight (didn't work enough on power, but had no idea what was to come...) and accumulated good miles. First Sport race in New Mexico = Won it! Then the big test 2 weeks later, at the season opener for the Mountain States Cup (wickedy competitive regional series) in Moab, and gosh darn I won!!! This far exceeded my expectations and sent me on a weeks long self reflection journey about jumping up to Expert. I realized I liked racing because it made me push myself and I liked that. The next race in the series I decided to make the leap. I actually had a great race despite starting near the rear of the pack on a holeshot type course (sucked...) and finished pretty well....17th out of 34 or so riders. I was blown away! (at how relatively well I was "hanging" in there....) Well, this was the best expert race I've had to date and I've finally hit the bottom of the bottom by DNF'ing after a horrific crash that sent me away in an ambulance. (still have no memory of crash & being placed in ambulance...) at the end of lap 1 of 2 at Snowmass, CO last week. The race before that, 2nd from last at Crested Butte, and before that up in Lakewood, CO I cracked severely at lap 5 of 7 on a FAST fast race/course and big field.

    The net result is that I am learning A LOT! Aside form the wreck, I had stabilized my fitness and felt great the week before doing the Firecracker 50 miler in Breckenridge (12K+ feet of climbing!) and had a good rest & recovery week prior to Snowmass, and in fact was having a good race. At Snowmass, I started easier than I normally would have as the course beats you up with about 3.5 miles of STEEP and moderate climbing mixed together. Before the top of this first climb, I had found a good groove and was passing people (a first in expert while CLIMBING), having never really lost site of the stronger half of the pack while others that went out hard were popping left and right. The few uber-racers at the front were long gone of course, but I'm in nowhere near condition to come close to them anyhow, and were of no concern. Anyhow, after the ups & downs of that somewhat conservative first 13 mile lap, I unexplainably washed out at the start/finish area slamming my face and cracking my helmet and knocking myself out cold! The time I logged was aprx. 1:12:30 and would have been a great finish in Sport (having Bock chase me (a regular mtbr'er) would have made me go that much faster and won of course) and would have been a great split for two laps..... oh well.

    The few things I've figured out so far:

    1) Because I was focused more on weight loss over the winter, building a good aerobic base, I did ZERO strength work which has been hurting my climbing at race pace.

    2) I was putting in way too many "junk miles" in between races..... not enough rest & recovery (active or inactive) and have started renedying that with a pro friend/coach/mentor helping me formulate a training regimen. Firecracker was the first "rebound" race and felt awesome. Had a forced week off (mostly) this past week due to messed up face, head, elbows and knee (and a blood clot in my eye, mmmmm) which felt awesome yesterday on my maiden post-wreck MTBike ride. 4.5 hours and about 26 miles with lot's of climbing!

    3) Expert level is where MOST riders are very serious, if not totally commited cyclists with coaches and so on. A road bike is absolutely required to be competitive/fit enough to do well at this level. (got one this season and regularly flog myself on FAST group rides with the local champs) You need a mix of power workouts (shorter duration, intense efforts) and endurance (nice long steady tempo rides with good amounts of climbing, IMO) and EQUALLY important are real rest/recover days.

    4) Expert will take at least a season or two to really start competing in the upper levels.... at least for us mere mortals, so stay alert and learn all you can!

    I'll also note that you are VERY very lucky to have been able to take any points with you from sport! That is absolutely verboten and unheard of out here, especially at a regional level!

    Have a great season! Where are you? East? West?
    Last edited by glenzx; 07-19-2004 at 12:57 PM.
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  9. #9
    Lazy People Suck
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    2nd Expert Race-better results

    Yesterday, I did my second Expert race with better results. I faded instantly towards the rear at the start and hung with guys that I used to race against a couple of years ago while I was in Sport. I basically decided that I did not care what anyone else did and I was going to regard it as a time trial paying only attention to my heart rate monitor. I finished 16th out of 26 riders, but with 2 miles to go in the 26 mile race, I was sitting in 13th with 11th and 12th in my sights about 100 yards ahead (although I was not reeling them in, I was not falling any further back either). There was a large log hop which I cleared and then accelerated and "snap" there goes my chain. I lost 3 positions fixing it, discovering it was also pretty twisted and finished the race popping and banging holding my place at 16th.

    All in all, I was pretty happy with the result. Just not shocking my legs right off the bat and easing into the pace made all of the difference. It was a much less technical, much faster course than a few weeks ago and finding a rhythm was much easier.

    Thanks for all of the advice.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  10. #10
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    Now you know what us mere mortals

    Quote Originally Posted by Fett
    After being a mid to upper pack Sport racer for the last 3 years or so, I decided this was the year I was going to elevate my game and try to win my series Sport class title. I dropped 20 pounds, got more structured in my training. Low and behold, I won the overall Sport in the first 3 series races of the year, two of them by about 2 minutes. Immediately the sandbagger calls start coming and the race series director "suggested" I move up to Expert, giving me a points incentive to do so (giving me last place expert points for the first 3 races).

    I accepted the challenge and race my first race as an Expert July 4th. I got my ass handed to me taking 29th out of 41 racers, though admittedly it was regarded as the most brutal course in series along with being an ANBCC race in addition to the regular series race.

    It is a different ball game. I told myself that I had to go out slower to adjust for the longer distances, but found myself redlining the first lap to maintain the pace and ended up bonking pretty hard on the last lap. I am looking for suggestions from people who have made this jump as to strategies for the transition. I have my next race coming up on 7/25 and part of me says that I should let myself go to the very back of the pack at the start and simply work on trying to get a little faster every lap. Since I am not now contending for any type of title for the rest of this year, I am thinking I can mess with pace a little more and spend the remainder of the season trying to figure out just how to race Expert.

    I would welcome any insights.
    feel like when racing sport, the top half is so fast.
    You just went from fastest of the slow to slowest of the fast, I'm jealous, that's huge, especially if you subscribe to the fish in the bowl theory.

  11. #11
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    Congratulations!

    It is a real challenge to keep your head and keep to your game when everyone else seems to be moving ahead. Looks like you found your spot with your former competitors and that gave you a bunch of support. Great work. Keep bulding your groove.

  12. #12
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    Hr

    congratualtions on the upgrade as well as you latest race result. I also moved up to expert class this year and like everyone else ahve had mixed results. I just look at this first year in Expert as the year to get hammered and learn. Anything above mid pack is a HUGE victory this year, next year I turn 45 so no more racing against those 35-44 kids
    One suggestion: Stop looking at your Heart rate Monitor when your racing! I use mine but put duxt tape over it during the race. ihave had 2 coaches and they both gave me that advise. All you attention and energy needs to be on the race. I betYou know what you HR is at anytime during the race, you do not need to keep checking it, just race.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

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