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  1. #1
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    Race Tactics needed

    In 1st full season of racing (started slowly last year) and now placing steady around 15th out of 60-80 entrents - but still in the shorter distance races.

    However, think I can do better as I always seem to be right on the limit after a mile into the race and am sucking air hard & only seem to get better into the 2nd lap.. this is every race that 2nd lap seems easier smoother - the 1st lap seems harder & I am pushing harder & yet do 2nd lap in similar time & it seems easier...

    Is it important to be right at the front of the start ? how hard should I go off ? should I try to pace so I do not get too much out of breath ? is it better to stand on most climbs ? Should I be focussing more on smooth riding, than speed ?

    I am just not sure what to focus on to improve from here..

  2. #2
    blacksheep the blemish
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    Do you warm up beforehand?

  3. #3
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    How much conditioning do you do in a given week? How much riding do you do on average every week leading up to your races and at what intensity?
    First Class Jerk

  4. #4
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    Sounds typical, just make sure you get a good warmup. I warmup for about 1/2 an hour with one good burst to "redline" in there.

    First lap is always the hardest, especially the first 15 minutes as the pack spreads out. As far as tactics go in an XC race, mine have been simple, go as hard as you can.

  5. #5
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Hopefully, you are taking care of your nutrition and hydration needs - the day before the race! Load up on the slow release carbs the night before - pasta, rice, etc., and the protiens at least 3 hours before your race. You should try to set your training distance at a longer distance than your average race - that way you will be conditioning your body to race the entire distance - if your races are 10 miles, train at 15 or 20. Throw in some road work for endurance, too.

    Definately, warm up - it sounds like you've been using your 1st lap as a warm up, instead of hitting the line ready to race. Other things to think about - pre-ride the course so you know what's coming at you & have a change to choose your lines. A good starting position will help you to avoid some traffic.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  6. #6
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    thanks for the replies - bit late comming back on this..

    You have rienforced what I suspect - my warm up is not good enough - some races a few rides up & down is all I do..

    Hwvr, I have a further question relating to this - a lot of the riders get to the start line up to 10 mins early & if you get to the start early to not get stuck behind a big group your heart rate obviously drops down - how do you deal with this ?

    what is the longest you can be still at the start before your warm up is wasted ?

    I guess better to be warmed up and in the middle of the field at the start, than at the front ?

  7. #7
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I'm thinking a warm up is more about your legs than your heart? I have noticed that easiest way for you guys to win a race is to start up front & stay there...
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  8. #8
    later free_pizza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9
    I'm thinking a warm up is more about your legs than your heart?
    For sure its about warming up the legs, but i have found when ive showed up late to races, and hadnt had the chance to warm up, its a real shock to the heart when you go from a resting heart rate to it beating a million miles an hour when you hit that first big climb.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by free_pizza
    For sure its about warming up the legs, but i have found when ive showed up late to races, and hadnt had the chance to warm up, its a real shock to the heart when you go from a resting heart rate to it beating a million miles an hour when you hit that first big climb.
    Agreed. Also I find if I don't get a good warmup in the chances of getting hit with the dreaded "lung burn" are much higher. Nothing kills a race like having to suffer through 10 minutes of the burn.

  10. #10
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    So, to answer Riles' question - would 10 minutes waiting on the start line negate the warmup? I'm still thinking no.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  11. #11
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    Yes APCLASSIC, that is now the question that remains.

    Seems clear I need to warm up much more thoroughly which I can do, but what is longest I can stand still at the start line before my warm up is wasted?

    THANKS !

    p.s I have competed in many sports - including (pro/full rules) thai boxing and yet XC racing is the hardest thing I have ever done - it can really hurt sometimes... how the expert/sport do 4 laps at that pace is a mystery to me......................

  12. #12
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question - I'm just a MTB-mom. Ask Lowcel via pm, perhaps?
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  13. #13
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    Well you have been very helpful anyway MTB mom..

    Where is LOWCEL ? he is normally the font of all knowledge on these issues..

  14. #14
    Should be riding Bike Lover's Avatar
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    I think he's hanging out in the road forum now!

    Not that I'd know at all...
    Regret lasts longer than pain
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  15. #15
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    What various folks do to prepare for a race morning is mostly personal preference. Some like to line up covered in warm-up sweat. Others like to spin for a while, then stretch a long while, then eventually hop on the line.

    Personally, I find that as long as my heart rate is slightly above resting when on the line, I'll be golden for the race. This equates so that I finish my warm up about 10 minutes before race start, then stretch for a while. Stretching and the nervousness of the coming starting gun keeps my heart up enough, about 55-65 BPM (my resting is 38.)

    Of course, I'd say play around with it and see what works for you. It may be that you just need to cover a few critical aspects of racing (spinning, moderate effort, putting the hammer down on hills) so that when you're actually racing it all just feels familiar. You can even try it first just before a hard workout.

    Once you find what works for you,g et in a routine and use it every race - it will get you focused and your body will tell itself "Okay, it's time to perform now..."
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