Don't smoke, Mike.
Join Date: Oct 2006
Bikes: Devinci Tosca, IRO Rob Roy
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Totally get to the race early. I generally try to be there an hour before my start time. Generally I do two test laps of the course. The first one I take basically a walking pace, just to spot as many potential problems as I can. If there are any tricky spots, I'll go over them a few times until I figure out what my plan is. Then I'll do a second lap and try to put everything together. That still leaves me time for stretching, meet + greet, washroom break, etc. before I have to show up at the line.
As far as tire pressure/choice goes ... I just run mine as low as I can get away with (ie. w/out pinch flatting all the time or suffering from tire flop). With my weight of 140-145# or so and Michelin Mud2s, that's generally between 34 and 38psi.