yeah, same here...
after race #3 at marysville pa, the picture is bigger and the details of strategy loom larger...
i've let almost a full week sink in as i reflect on the last race and compare them to the first two...all within one month. and what a month it was with regards to the learning curve, the humbling experience that it is and the pure blast of it. the folks at the marysville race were by far the nicest and intense.
now to add to my tips for (anyone but mainly) myself:
*yes, get going from the start, be aggressive, don't hang back in the back, get up there and make people work to pass you if that's what they are going to do...not that you should get in the way, but be there to navigate, churn, give it all you have from the start. if it's tough and you are winded, then train more!
*once you are passed, find that rhythm...might take a lap and a half...keep going...take note of you is behind you...keep checking if they are gaining or not...turn it on where you are at your best (flats? technical areas like barriers, off-cambers, etc?)...mine were the technicals...a couple of guys i stayed ahead of barely only by really blasting thru the barriers....they always caught up on the flats
*once that was figured out, i found someone i felt i was gaining on...my mistake was in not passing them earlier....i figured i was saving energy by tailing them, allowing me to pace myself....then i found i slowed down as they slowed down...when i FINALLY passed them, i made alot of ground almost immediately
*take that beer on the run-up! it's fluid! it's energy! it really helped me in more ways than one....seriously (miller gd never tasted so good either).
*take note too of those riders who still keep barely beating you at each race...i've noted...i'm secretly keeping my eye on them...gives you a focus next time around
*really take time to check those tires (get the pressure right), do a lap or two, warmup for 45 minutes or more...just get there earlier than you think is necessary...get your focus on, eat some nuts, fruit, hammer gel and get hydrated.
p.s. to self:
*continue the xc tradition that has carried over into cx: have a brew after the ride/race. enjoy it. then hydrate with water/gatorade...then have another beer or two while watching the folks you hope to compete against next year. or in 2 years...