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  1. #1
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    Sport to Expert Transition?

    Hey guys. I've heard this transition is kinda a tough one. I'm fortunate enough that I did well this season so I've gotta move up. How was the transition for those that have gone through this? Any words of wisdom besides train a lot? I'll be training a ton this winter to improve myself. I'm just curious to hear what others have gone through.

    Ryan H.

  2. #2
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    Ryan,

    I moved up last year after one season in Sport. There is a big difference, you will find that most every one in Expert is a hell of a lot faster. But so should you if you train right and don't get sick/crash.

    I was fortunate enough to be at the front of the pack from the get go, so mine is not one of those stories where you struggle at the back of the pack for a while before you improve. Just mentioning this to let you know it's possible.

    This was my second and last season in Expert, I'm moving up again.

    Maurice

  3. #3
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    sorry, duplicate posting
    Last edited by cgee; 10-11-2006 at 09:10 AM.

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    Just went through this transition this year. Phew. Here are things to look out for:

    1) I went from being at the top of the sport class with a stellar race season to the bottom of the expert class. This is surprising psychologically. Remember you will be racing against people who are ready to move up to Pro.
    2) My nutrition habits for sport class didn't hold a candle to what is required for expert. I practically carried a bag of groceries with me in the first half of this season. Be diligent in eating and drinking during the race. I carry a Camelbak and water bottles. I carry three Gu's and two Powerbars. I don't always eat all this, but it's essential to have "just in case" stuff.
    3) I started going through bike parts more. The increased speed and length of time on the bike wore many things out. Also, bike maintenance increased.
    4) My personal life eroded because of the commitment and energy it takes at expert level.
    5) The experts are more serious racers than sports. There is more comraderie and more awareness of how hard MTB can be with the experts. As a result, many experts freely give advice and support, and are interested in your experience, too.
    6) It's nicer to race with experts on the course because they are polite and supportive, they are good at passing, and it's inspiring to ride with people better than you.
    7) You start to win money.
    8) I started to feel like a monk when training and racing this season.
    9) Training becomes an odd combination of tearing the heck out of your body, then pampering the heck out of yourself for recovery.
    Last edited by cgee; 10-11-2006 at 10:00 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgee
    Just went through this transition this year. Phew. Here are things to look out for:

    1) I went from being at the top of the sport class with a stellar race season to the bottom of the expert class. This is surprising psychologically. Remember you will be racing against people who are ready to move up to Pro.
    2) My nutrition habits for sport class didn't hold a candle to what is required for expert. I practically carried a bag of groceries with me in the first half of this season. Be diligent in eating and drinking during the race. I carry a Camelbak and water bottles. I carry three Gu's and two Powerbars. I don't always eat all this, but it's essential to have "just in case" stuff.
    3) I started going through bike parts more. The increased speed and length of time on the bike wore many things out. Also, bike maintenance increased.
    4) My personal life eroded because of the commitment and energy it takes at expert level.
    5) The experts are more serious racers than sports. There is more comraderie and more awareness of how hard MTB can be with the experts. As a result, many experts freely give advice and support, and are interested in your experience, too.
    6) It's nicer to race with experts on the course because they are polite and supportive, they are good at passing, and it's inspiring to ride with people better than you.
    7) You start to win money.
    8) I started to feel like a monk when training and racing this season.
    9) Training becomes an odd combination of tearing the heck out of your body, then pampering the heck out of yourself for recovery.
    Thanks for the great post. I think I'm going to be pretty prepared by the time I start next season. I'm also looking for some non-Norba events to enter in just so I could try an expert distance race and see how that goes. More than a few of the races I've done this season I could have definitely gone for another lap so that's promising. I'm just going to keep an open mind, hone my diet and do a lot of research on training methods and applications to make myself faster and more skillfull. The legs are still calling for more abuse so I don't want to let them down! :-)

    Ryan H.

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    I would say the three most important things to monitor are your pacing throughout a race, your state of being in a race and in training (fatigue, focus, food, water), and your personal life (relationships, work, etc). Not necessarily in that order

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    Sport => Expert

    Good discussion point.

    I made the move from Sport to Expert a few years ago, and here are some things that struck me.

    One is that you'll have to go at least as fast as you did in Sport for (typically) half-again the distance. There are both substantial physiological and psychological implications to this. As for the latter, it was/is more challenging than I expected to maintain a very high level of power output and focus on going fast, being efficient/economical, and minimizing mistakes for that duration.

    I think you'll also been amazed at the tenacity of your competitors, and you'll need to exhibit the same. As an example, if you pass a fellow age-grouper mid/late-race and establish a nice gap, think again if you start to get comfortable with that and assume they're forever behind you. This is a extremely small percentage of the human population that will scratch and claw and fight you tooth and nail for every second of a 2:30 race when there is oftentimes little more than pride at stake! Greatly admirable, of course!

  8. #8
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    I made the move up after 2 races this year. I had an amazing year in sport in 2005...

    Like everyone else said there is a sense of commradery in expert that just isnt there in sport. I started out w a mid pack finish my first race, i felt i could have done better but had poor tire choice for a rain race... excuses aside... the jump up is noticable, but the only way to get better is to ride with those who are better than you. This is something you will never accomplish by simply domnating sport class. Up your training, spend some long miles on the road bike if you can and be prepared with food/water when you race. you'll be fine.

  9. #9
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    My move up to expert was totally different than most people's. When I was racing sport I was already training for the longer distance. Every weekend at the races I compared my lap times to the experts/semi-pros/pros. When the time came to move up I didnt notice any difference from the sport class. In my mind I was suppose to be out front, PERIOD. And yes there definitely is more of a feeling of superiority in the expert class. Afterall it is the ego that made me train like a SOB.
    Now the jump to pro was way way tougher.

  10. #10
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    I agree with what everyone has said. I'm 46, and moved up 2 seasons ago. I remember my first expert race talking to a guy at the start. I told him it was my first expert race and he said something like" Welcome to the real deal". I still see and talk him at races.
    The big thing to get used to for me was doing that extra lap! I always liked doing long rides but racing another lap was a big change. I remember quite a few times felling like I was the only one left onthe course. No more spectators, an occasional rider here and there. It was at this moment that I realized I'm no longer some weekend warrior who like to ride a bike, I'm an ATHLETE now. I may be riding all by myslef and hurting all over after racing for 2.5 hours, but I'm one of the fastest guys over 40 years old who showed up to race today
    Good luck and welcome to the real deal
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    I agree with what everyone has said. I'm 46, and moved up 2 seasons ago. I remember my first expert race talking to a guy at the start. I told him it was my first expert race and he said something like" Welcome to the real deal". I still see and talk him at races.
    The big thing to get used to for me was doing that extra lap! I always liked doing long rides but racing another lap was a big change. I remember quite a few times felling like I was the only one left onthe course. No more spectators, an occasional rider here and there. It was at this moment that I realized I'm no longer some weekend warrior who like to ride a bike, I'm an ATHLETE now. I may be riding all by myslef and hurting all over after racing for 2.5 hours, but I'm one of the fastest guys over 40 years old who showed up to race today
    Good luck and welcome to the real deal
    Yea I'm wondering how that 3rd lap will be for the most part. I remember for a lot of my races that I could have done a 3rd lap pretty easily. So that's a good sign, and there's some I would have shot myself if I had to do a 3rd lap. So I guess the strategy is going to be doing higher intensity workouts for longer periods of time and work up to that distance. I'm really excited to be racing the expert group. I did my first year of racing this year in sport thinking I might finish mid pack so I'm really excited to have won my division. I can only hope expert goes half as well as this year. I know it's going to take a lot more devotion effort and greater dependency on my gear as well as well.

    Ryan H.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC62701
    So I guess the strategy is going to be doing higher intensity workouts for longer periods of time and work up to that distance.
    Ryan H.
    training is different for everyone based on your genetics, age etc. But, for me I actually did less high intensity work. I worked with a coach and thought this was bass ackwards, but it sure worked for me.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    training is different for everyone based on your genetics, age etc. But, for me I actually did less high intensity work. I worked with a coach and thought this was bass ackwards, but it sure worked for me.
    So instead of intensity you did mileage workouts? This past season was my first year racing so I'm just trying to absorb any knowledge possible. I really didn't train so to speak this year. I just rode when I could and did some hard effort rides. I really think I'm going to have to try and balance my workouts with long rides and shorter high intensity rides to build up my ability. The sport races I pushed through pretty hard the whole way and the distance felt fine. But I know that extra lap is going to play head games and cause some more anguish which I'm looking forward to. My problem is that I don't know how to do a relaxed ride some days for recovery. I usually push pretty hard on most days just cause it's more fun that way. I'm going to do a lot of research over the winter via the web and some books and see what works best for me.

    Ryan H.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC62701
    So instead of intensity you did mileage workouts? ..... I'm going to do a lot of research over the winter via the web and some books and see what works best for me.

    Ryan H.
    If you got the $$ for a coach , hire one, it makes a huge differance. My first year racing expert I went out and rode pretty hard, especially on the hills. I averaged around 10 hours per week and totally blew up in August
    I started with Whole Athlete the following January and they had me riding about the same hours but with A LOT less intensity. I never got burnt out and to my surprise I was faster even though I was spending a very tiny amount of my training time at "race pace". For me, a little larger training volume worked better then lots of intensity.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    If you got the $$ for a coach , hire one, it makes a huge differance. My first year racing expert I went out and rode pretty hard, especially on the hills. I averaged around 10 hours per week and totally blew up in August
    I started with Whole Athlete the following January and they had me riding about the same hours but with A LOT less intensity. I never got burnt out and to my surprise I was faster even though I was spending a very tiny amount of my training time at "race pace". For me, a little larger training volume worked better then lots of intensity.
    How much $$$ do coaches usually charge?

    Ryan H.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC62701
    Hey guys. I've heard this transition is kinda a tough one. I'm fortunate enough that I did well this season so I've gotta move up. How was the transition for those that have gone through this? Any words of wisdom besides train a lot? I'll be training a ton this winter to improve myself. I'm just curious to hear what others have gone through.

    Ryan H.
    it's a big change to go from sport to expert.

    my words of wisdom: don't train too much. i think over training is far more detrimental than under training for the transition. up your training a reasonable increment and see how you do. if you're killing everyone then you've trained enough. if you're not, then you can adjust.

    remember, it's supposed to be fun.

    rt

    ps- that 3rd lap is painful.
    "where are you not going so fast?" (question asked to cyclist on a trainer)

    *rt*'s fabulous blog
    mm blogging

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC62701
    How much $$$ do coaches usually charge?

    Ryan H.
    Ryan,
    I checked your profile and see your in Jersy, If you did the Bull Dog Rump race I was there. Anyway, to answer your question, 50-150 per month. I was spending $100 per month. I know you could do Carmichael Taining Systems via the internet from where you live at a good price.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    Ryan,
    I checked your profile and see your in Jersy, If you did the Bull Dog Rump race I was there. Anyway, to answer your question, 50-150 per month. I was spending $100 per month. I know you could do Carmichael Taining Systems via the internet from where you live at a good price.
    Yea I'm in Jersey. I was at the Bulldog Rump. I guess that's not too bad if the methods work. Any knowledge is appreciated!

    Ryan H.

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